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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Nice loop NE of Dallas, TX

Here is a nice loop to ride NE of Dallas. It will take you through some little known communities in North Texas and on some fun Farm to Market roads. The loop from McKinney and back is about 113 miles. There are plenty of curves and some great hills. Traffic is very light once you get a few miles away from McKinney. (There is a link to map at the end of the post.)  TX 5 and US 380 intersects on the east side of McKinney. There are several service stations in the area so riders can fill up the gas tank.

Heading east on US 380 the road is divided and multi-laned. About 2 miles you will turn left on FM 1824 which will take you through New Hope and then to the even smaller community of Altoga. Just after you pass the Altoga Baptist Church FM1824 will turn left (if you continue straight the road become CR 465). Three miles later you intersect FM 545. Turn right and you will pass Valdasta (which is where the picture of my grandfather on his Harley was taken in 1908 – see earlier post and pictures).

FM 545 East will take you to Blue Ridge. Turn left on Business TX 78, ride ½ mile and then turn right on FM 981. This will cross TX 78 and then procedure to Frognot, TX. The S curve in Frognot is pretty sharp so be ready. About three miles east of Frognot FM 981 turns north – the road continues straight, but becomes FM 1582 (this will take you to Celeste). Turn north on FM 981 and enjoy some more curves.

FM 981 intersects TX 78, turn right and ride into Leonard. You will go under a bridge for the train and you will be on the SW corner of the downtown Leonard square. Turn left when you first get to the square on Connett Street. Connett Street will end at Cottonwood Street, turn left and then take the first right on Oak Street.

Oak Street intersects US 69, which is a busy road. Ride across 69 and you will be on FM 896 or what locals call Randolph Hills road. This is a really fun road. After a big S curve you will come to a series of hills and some curves. Watch for farm equipment on the road, but have fun, this is a great stretch. Towards the end of this 12 mile stretch you will top a hill and you can see 2+miles of the road ahead, a great place to “air it out.”

At the end of FM 896 you will intersect TX 11. Turn left (west) and ride to Whitewright. TX 11 and US 69 merge just east of Whitewright. At the 4-way stop turn right on US 69. There is a DQ and a large Exxon on the corner – both good places to stop if you need to.

Once heading north on US 69 you will ride about 1.3 miles. Turn left on FM 697 (Ida Road). This 14-mile road is one of the best in the area. Numerous times Ride Texas Magazine readers have voted it one of the top 10 in Texas. During the first 1.5-2 miles watch for some road cracks. After that the road is nice. There are curves and a lot of elevation changes.

At the end of FM 697 turn left on TX 11 and ride to Tom Bean. At Tom Bean turn right on FM 902 and then left on FM 2729 (follow the signs carefully). A little over 6 miles later FM 2729 intersects FM 121 (not to be confused with TX 121). Turn right on FM 121 and ride to Van Alstyne. Turn left on TX 5 and ride south for about 1.6 miles. Turn left on FM 3133 and enjoy this road. You will come to a stop sign in Westminster and the road becomes FM 2862/ Houston Street. Go straight, the road will curve right and you will come to downtown Westminster. Park and enjoy a burger at Big Slicks and shop at the Motorcycle Outpost (see earlier post).

Proceed west on FM 2862 for 6 miles and you will ride into Anna. FM 2862 intersects FM 455 (another great road for another post). Turn right, cross the railroad tracks, and you will intersect TX 5.

At this time you could go north on TX 5 for about a mile and stop at the Malt Shop for a great shake or malt, or ride south into Melissa and back to McKinney, or you can ride straight and FM 455 crosses over US 75 and you can head home from there (or ride 455 west).

I have ridden these roads a lot. They are some of the more curvy ones in the area. You can enjoy some great NT countryside.

My suggestions is to begin the day with a great breakfast at Bill Smith’s CafĂ© in McKinney, drag some pegs while on the loop, and then enjoy lunch at Big Slick’s in Westminster. Sounds like a great day!

Map

2 comments:

  1. You detailed a nice ride. I live off of FM121 and FM 2729 and 697 (IDA Road) are lots of fun.
    FM 902 into Howe isn't bad either & of course yu can always take FM121 west. (be aware there is road work on FM121 west of Gunter right now)

    Just watch for farm equipment and the occasional cow on the road. Also we ride horses on the berms so if you see someone on horseback pulling in your clutch until you go by is much appreciated.

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  2. I have a long list of rides I want to take. One is to spend about 2 weeks touring Texas. Thanks for your comment on my blog. I added you to my links.

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