Wanting to explore some new routes today, I headed north to Gainesville, Texas via Hwy 51 (a familiar route) and looped back on some Cooke County roads I found on a map, but had never traveled.
Heading out at 6:30 am, the sun was just coming over the ridge east of my house. It was a cool start rolling into the slight NE breeze. Within moments, I settled into a groove and rode the rollers within a nice, smooth, and wide shoulder. At the turnaround point, I stopped at the also peaceful Leonard Park on the banks of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River.
Gainesville has a zoo next to the park and, for a small town, it appears fairly impressive. I made a mental note to come back and visit the zoo one day in the future. If you know what you are looking for, you can see the levee constructed along the river, just beyond the road in the background.
I'm guessing that about 12 of my 47 miles today were on gravel county roads. Yes, there were a few rough spots with slow going, but most of those miles zipped by easily under my puffy 650B tires. Frankly, the dust settling on my freshly washed bike was the most troubling thing about it.
But after all, cruising the rolling north Texas hills, through the quiet countryside, is what country bikes are for.