River Trip Part 1

Sabine RiverFor around 14 years or so, a couple of my buddies and I have been talking about making a river trip from the northern part of the Sabine river, all the way to the Orange / Bridge city area.   If everything goes according to plan, we will be making the trip sometime in 2012.  The trip is currently in the planning phase – we talking about what boats we want to bring, where we are going to launch the boats at, who is going to be going on the trip,,, just stuff like that.

There are two boat launches in the Bon Wier Texas / Merryville Louisiana area that we are looking at using.  On Sunday January 15, 2012 my wife and I made a trip to the boat launches to see if it was feasible to launch at either one.

Sunday morning started off bright and when my wife and I crawled out of bed around 8:45am.  After getting our shower and having some breakfast, it was finally time to get one the road.  We stopped at a local corner store to picked up some snacks, bought a sunday paper for the coupons, then it was to wal-mart to get some gas.  If you use the wal-mart gift card, you save 3 cents a gallon on gasoline.  A few days before hand, my wife put $40 on a gift card.  When we stopped at the super wal-mart in Jasper I put the whole $40 in my truck.

After gassing up, and getting some snacks, it was finally time to get on the road.  My wife and I left Jasper heading west on HWY 190 towards Newton.  At Newton, we passed over HWY 87, then turned south on HWY 190.

HWY 190 south of Newton is a nice country drive, and a scenic drive.  There is very little out there, besides trees and the occasional house.

The plan was to look at the boat launch at Bon Wier where where 190 crosses into Louisiana  first, then go to the launch at Merryville.

Sabine River HWY 190As my wife and I approached the Sabine river on 190, there is a road turning to the right (south side of HWY 190) just before the bridge.  As soon as my wife and I turned on the road, I knew there was no way we could launch a boat from there.  The road was at a steep angle to the side and dead ended into a rather large mud hole.  The distance from where I had to stop the truck to the rive was a rough estimate of 75 yards,,, maybe even 100 yards.

Texas Sabine River HWY 190My wife and I decided to walk down to the river, walk around, and take some pictures.  While my wife and I were at the edge of the river, we noticed there was a car and a road on the other side of the bridge.  After talking about going to the other side of the bridge, my wife and I agreed to go to the other side (North side of 190) on the way back home.

After taking a few pictures, it was time for my wife and I to get back on the road.

Hwy 190 through Merryville to Junction.

At Junction take a left on HWY 111

After turning on HWY 111, take the first road on the left.  On the corner is a large white house with a spacious front yard.  There used to be a sign that says something like “Sabine river boat launch, but it looks like someone pulled the sign up and threw it in the ditch.  The road is called “Mouth of Mill Creek Road”.

My wife and I passed the boat launch road up the first time.  After driving for maybe 20 minutes too far, we stopped at a corner store, bought a few things and got directions.

As we were backtracking on HWY 111, we passed the road up yet again.  This time we saw the road , made a u-turn in the driveway of some house and finally got on track.

I “really” wish Louisiana would invest some money into signs, because there was no sign saying we were supposed to hang a left to go to the boat launch.  My wife and I reached the end of Mouth of Mill Creek Road, there was nothing there, so we turned around.  As we were heading back towards HWY 111, I flagged down a truck to ask directions “yet” again.  My luck finally turned around, as the guy driving the truck not only spoke English, but knew where the boat launch was.  After getting directions, yet again, my wife and I backtracked yet again.

I tell you what, this backtracking stuff was getting old, and quick.  Anyway, my wife and I finally found the boat launch.

Sabine River Boat LaunchThis is something I do not understand, the US government can send million of dollars over seas, but we can not even get a decent boat launch on the Sabine river.  The launch looked like it had been there since the first settlers moved into Texas.  The launch was rather steep, good luck getting a 2 wheel drive truck in and out of there, but where the cement met the water, the cement looked like crap.

Boat launch Sabine RiverThe roads in Louisiana are crap, I do not know why I expected the boat launches to be any different.  But then again, there are 2 things cajuns really enjoy, drinking bear and fishing.  In the back of my head I was hoping that the boat launch would be nice so those cajuns could go fishing and drink some beer while they are at it.

Crap, crap crap, 2 of the sites visited so far have been total crap.

Our tax dollars can help educate kids in third world countries, but we can not even have a decent boat launch on the Sabine river just south of Toledo Bend.  How is that supposed to work out?  I pay highway taxes on fuel, buy my hunting and fishing license, and can not even get a halfway decent boat launch.  I think there needs to be some kind of new law saying that when a state collects tax dollars for something, those tax dollars have to be spent on their intended purpose.

Besides the boat launch, there was a nice sandbar, with what looked like some nice places for the kids to go swimming.

After my wife and I took some pictures along the edge of the river, we got back in the truck, and made a bee line for Texas.

As we were crossing over the state line into Texas, my wife and I made a sharp right turn to look at the north side of HWY 190.   We probably did not go 20 feet when the truck hit a pot hole that was large enough it threw us for a jolt.

Texas Sabine River boat launchWe parked the truck at the top of what “looked” like a boat launch, but for some reason the ramp stopped about 25 yards from the edge of the water.

Now this, I think we can manage.  Even though the boat launch does not go all the way to the water, with a 4-wheel drive truck we can back the boat all the way to the water, then with 4 men we can pick the boat up off the trailer and set it on the sand.

Once the boat is sitting on the sand, its just a matter of pushing the boat into the water.

After the boat is in the water, then we load all of our gear, ice chest, fuel cans,,,.

The first spot and the third spot are at the same location, one is on the south side of HWY 190, one is on the north side of HWY 190.

Monday is Martin Luther King jr. day, which means  I have the day off.  I plan on looking at another boat launch Monday that is just below the Toledo Bend dam.  I am kinda unsure of this launch, because Google earth shows a rock flat just south of the launch.  I am not sure if the boats can make it over the rocks without some help.

Other sections to this article:

River trip part 2
River trip part 3
River trip part 4

This series of articles is in preps of a 100+ mile river / camping trip down the Sabine river. My buddies and I are planning on launching the boats around Bon Weir Texas, and ending up in Bridge City.