Another historic fort ride! We’ve been planning rides for the year that have something besides food as our destination. We're usually pretty good with that idea but this year it's a priority to find interesting destinations to ride to. Texas has a lot of frontier forts from the 1800s that were constructed as defense and staging points against hostile Indian’s which we thought would make for some nice rides.
The Ride To Fort Richardson
We met up with a friend of ours to share the experience together and ride some great roads. I took off work on Friday and the weather was great for a ride. We really took our time on this one, making frequent stops, and enjoying the day and the ride. We took FM-4 out of Granbury, TX, and rode it through the small towns, grassy fields, twisty roads carved on the side of hills, and set the cruise control on the long straight open expanses.
The insects were out in full force, using our bikes for target practice as they prepared for the summer. They lost in the end but did well on hitting their targets. The air was fresh from the rains the day before and the roadsides were covered in spring blooms. The antique stores in the old town historic buildings were open with their goods overflowing into the parking lot begging to be claimed and given a new home. People were in good spirits and waved as we rode past. Overall it was just perfect.
A Picnic Lunch At The Fort
Fort Richardson was great. We packed lunches to eat at Fort Richardson State Park instead of eating at some high-dollar grease trap which our bodies would regret later. This provided a relaxing time to talk about the ride before touring Fort Richardson. Then we headed into history on the frontier!
The Structures Of Fort Richardson
The buildings of Fort Richardson that are restored were built on the original foundations. They surround the parade grounds where bugle calls and most activities took place at the fort. A park ranger provided us with stories and facts about the fort as we roamed the insides of the structures. Each structure was fitted with items of the time according to the purpose of the building. This made you feel even more as if you were walking in a time period.
A Brief History Of Fort Richardson
As much as any frontier army installation, Fort Richardson was responsible for the Anglo settlement in north-central Texas. It was one installation in a system of forts along the Texas frontier to protect and encourage settlement in north-central and west Texas. Originally a five company post, it was expanded…to accommodate ten or more companies so that in 1872, with a population of 666 officers and men, it was listed as the largest U.S. Army installation in the United States.
Life At The Fort
Life was hard for a soldier at Fort Richardson, and routine duties included long, arduous patrols along the Texas frontier from Clay and Jack counties west to Palo Duro Canyon near present-day Amarillo. Battles with Comanche and Kiowa Indians became commonplace as the cavalry and infantry units sought to prove their ability to repel Indian attacks and allow settlement.
Structures To Visit
Visitors can tour seven restored original buildings, including the post-hospital, officers’ quarters, powder magazine, morgue, commissary, guardhouse, and bakery. There are also two replica buildings of the enlisted men’s barracks and the officer’s barracks, which houses the Interpretive Center. Guided tours of the buildings are held daily.
The Ride Home
After visiting the fort we began the ride home. It was such a nice day we didn’t make it home for many hours. We just kept riding finally finding ourselves in Glen Rose, TX at the Hollywood & Vine where we had dinner and listened to a live band for a couple hours. We were 10 hours into the day of riding and sightseeing. Finally giving in to the fact it had been a long day, we headed home. It was after dark when we rolled into the garage after almost 12 hours and 375 miles of road. We were tired and thrilled at the same time. It was hard to unwind from such a wonderful day. It’s days like this that you want to remember as you roll down the road on your next adventure.