Sam Houston National Forest and Murphy’s law

How our Sam Houston trip could have been ruined

We have been pretty lucky so far, in that we have not encountered a single real setback in our travels. During our trips no one has been injured, no disaster has ended our trip early, and our means of transportation has remained reliable. Nothing vital to our survival has been lost, destroyed, or forgotten. Up until now that is.

Everything went smoothly leaving, since we had organized and packed our bags Wednesday evening, and we ready to go. Friday morning we loaded up the VFR 800 with the Nelson-Rigg saddlebags, tank bag, hiking pack, and 2 geared up riders, ready to rip down the frigid highway to New Waverly, TX for some marshlands exploration.

The commute from north Dallas to Houston was pretty calm. We saw only a few pockets of construction and our speed dropped only on those rare occasions.   While navigating around the few cars, we made great time. When we arrived at the National Forest, a small sign off the highway marked the forest’s presence and our road FM 1375, which would take us to Parrish Rd (Forest Service Road 222) and then to Forest Service Road 222A.

We arrived, happy to get off and stretch our legs, and began the hunt for our perfect camping spot.  We had decided to search along 222A towards the lake since that particular area had a creek that looked promising on Google maps. Even if the creek wasn’t pristine, the lake appeared to be just a few hundred feet from our target area.  Unfortunately, what we found there was a dry creek bed, with the exception of a puddle formed by the tire ruts of a recent Jeep adventurer.

Exploring closer to the lake we realized it would be nearly impossible to retrieve any water.  About thirty feet from the lakes edge we realized how the area could be home to Quick Sand Creek.  The closer I drew to the water’s edge, the more I felt like my shoes were about to be sucked off my feet and swallowed whole. Not only that, but the underbrush was so thick with Saw Palmettos that there was barely clear space to walk, never mind set up a tent. Eventually, we had to admit we were defeated by the muck and underbrush, and needed to look elsewhere for a campsite.

At this point, I think we both regretted not knowing the area a little better. Knowing we could help others avoid the same fate motivated us to continue on to locate a more hospitable site. As dinner time approached, we headed back to the trail head deciding to go to a traditional campsite. As if our day hadn’t been thrown off enough, when we got there we found our most upsetting surprise. Our ride, my baby, the VFR, had been toppled over.

With no one around it was impossible to determine what exactly had happened. However, with scratches on both sides of the bike and a lack of any wind, an act of vandalism was likely. I think at this point, a lot of people would have lost it and declared the weekend ruined.  Being the eternal optimists that we are, we just laughed about our luck running out in the middle of the wilderness of Sam Houston Forest, of all places.

Luckily, the bike started right up and seemed okay minus the scuffs and cracks in the plastics.  We found Stubblefield campground and it was packed.  Cars lined the road leading in and what sounded like a concert of some sort could be heard from the boy scout event there.  We moved further down to the primitive hunters camp. It is called a primitive camp but most of the campers were typical car campers and it was noisy from the generators and rock music. We were reminded why we normally try to backpack into sites but since we needed cell reception for the insurance and tow companies we didn’t have that option.

After settling in we spent the rest of our time there enjoying observing the differences between car campers and backpackers. It was pretty clear to us that our neighbors thought we were the most unprepared campers ever. From our tiny two person tent, lack of firewood, and no cooler, they obviously thought we were in need of rescue. They watched as we built a small cook fire perfect for a bed of hot coals to cook on. Finally, they decided to take pity on us and offered us some of their huge stack of firewood so we could have a proper bonfire like them. We gladly accepted a couple logs as they made great seats. The next morning, while they ate chips and cokes from their cooler, they watched in amazement as a veggie omelet, fresh biscuits, coffee and tea were prepared over our fire from the contents of a couple of plastic baggies. After that they were reassured of our continued survival and were able to focus on packing up all their gear.


After breakfast, we started making arrangements for getting us and the motorcycle out of there. I had fortunately fully covered the motorcycle with Progressive Insurance.  After an hour on the phone they told us a tow truck had been dispatched and we would be able to ride with the driver to town. For the next few hours we passed the time packing up camp, lounging in our hammock, and eating lunch. Finally we grew tired of waiting and called back, only to find out that someone forgot to dispatch the tow truck. After another hour we were finally rescued and on our way to town. There we passed the time while waiting for a family member to drive down with a motorcycle trailer and bring us home. Our trip was finally completed when we arrived home at two in the morning. It was quite a series of unfortunate events but we managed to squeeze some fun out of the weekend. Hopefully we have now paid our dues to Murphy and we can get back to our usual smooth trips.

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