Sunday, April 6, 2014

Matagorda, Texas Bike Friendly Beach Camping, by Rideon

Matagorda Bridge over Colorado River
Matagorda Bridge over the Colorado River
Matagorda Nature Center on the Texas Gulf Coast provides fun beach camping for the entire family.  With most folks heading to Padre Island, Galveston and Surfside (respectively) we opted for a new area.  

Approaching Matagorda to get our beach camping permit, which is good for the entire year at a very reasonable ten bucks I took one of our first photos of the trip.  A calm cool breeze settled in to the area and for seasoned south Texas campers it is very welcomed weather.  During the summer mosquitoes and humidity are reported to provide some of the worst camping conditions of any other outdoor climates.  

So, with a minivan full of excited teenage girls and a trailer full of their stuff to match we trolled about looking for a place to settle in and enjoy both the Colorado River as well as Gulf Coast waters.  One of the niceties of Matagorda providing both salt and fresh water for boaters and fishermen as well as beach combers and folks like us who enjoy pedaling our bikes around such diverse and scenic waterways.

For more information about visiting Matagorda, TX visit their site. Our first night and morning was rather uneventful other than when the wind picked up, which I had expected as it seems to me anywhere along the coast tends to be a bit on the breezy side of things when temperatures are a bit chilly.  Lisa would not be deterred by the girls'
Lisa's Organic Orange Brownies baked in Dutch Oven

insistent pressure to make her ever popular orange filled organic brownies before finding a camp site.  But when they insisted she use a grill more exposed to wind than any other grill in the picnic area Lisa began to shift her mood and that's typically when I decide to intervene a bit. After a bit of a pep talk and some help with getting the grill going to cook with she settled in until the cool mellow breeze turned down right cold.

Finding a pleasant camp site was easy enough and we were able to get a small cozy fire going to chat, cook dinner and Lisa was able to warm herself before turning in for the night.  She was so pleasantly surprised to see I had brought my itty bitty portable cookset so that she could be treated to coffee in the tent.  That's love.
mountain bike touring and beach camping
Making early morning coffee bike friendly beach camping in Matagorda, TX

As luck would have it, we met a woman who know all about bicycling the area, what parts of the beach to ride, how to get to town without having to ride over the bridge with full narrative of each ride she referenced.  So we grabbed our bikes and headed for town and as it turned out the woman never rode her bike to town and had no idea where the rugged access road along the Colorado River went, certainly not to town.  Lisa was a bit peeved that the woman would lead us on a wild goose chase like that, luckily our very long detour was covered as I kept snack food, extra water and tools in my pack and on my bike. We appreciate our fenders for commuting and touring, but with the mud so thick I had to remove a rear fender for the tire and mud to clear.
Mountain Bike touring along Colorado River
Luckily I had tools to remove the mud clogged fender

Fatigued and upset these little micro adventures are much more enjoyable when your with someone who has such a good attitude about it all.  My partner Lisa borrowed my bike for parts of the ride where navigating the rutted muddy road wouldn't be at all challenging.  On the way back to the campsite I began to get a bit concerned about her enjoying the day as Lisa was obviously tired.  But she made it back to the Nature Park area when I decided it was safer for me to pick her up when some very thick fog rolled in creating limited visibility. 
We made a cozy fire to gather round and chat about the day, cooked some good grub and all in all managed to have a very nice time.  Even when the 40 mph winds blew in our last night beating our tents around and blowing camp chairs about, my coffee remained untouched on the fender of our trailer and provided a good laugh amidst the chaos of the wind storm.  Tents held up fine, no damage to gear or equipment and most importantly nobody was hurt.  
bicycle touring along Colorado River
A pleasant and scenic ride along the Colorado River in Matagorda, TX