View Full Version : Big Bend Loop
12-15-2006, 02:46 PM
:eek2: Big Bend Loop Day 1 & 2
This is ol’ Mike McSpadden, aka Skyrider, and now…roughrider maximus for the sake of TWT forums and such.
Richard and I got back from West Texas a few days ago, and I thought I’d write and help augment his story with my own, and assist with some of the pictures I took while we were there. Man, did we have a blast! So, lets see…how did all this start? Oh yeah…I remember.
Several months ago Richard sent out some e-mail asking who wanted to go with him on a trip to Mexico, and that there was room for 4 total people. Several of our group responded, and we were looking like a full house. Then one day Randy needed to cancel because his shoulder was in a severely painful predicament, and it did not look like he was going to be able to go. No problem says we, we will just need to manage…just us three!
So the dye was cast for our little sojourn into Mexico. Richard kept in good contact with me, and was always checking to insure I was in good condition, had this or had that, etc., etc. About 6 weeks before we were to leave, I sprained my right ankle and left knee. The ankle was all right and would heal well in that amount of time, but the left knee was a killer! I was worried it might upset our plans for the trip. Slowly but surely I worked with it, but to no avail. I could not post in the saddle, nor could I hold the Knee straight for too long. However I was determined to go.
I had arranged with the husband of my ex-wife, to use his new 16ft. trailer to load and transport our 2 KLR’s to Terlingua (weird huh?). I picked up the trailer in Spring Branch on Thursday the 16th, went back to San Antonio, loaded my bike and equipment, and waited for the 17th. Friday morning I took off for Austin at about 09:00 to go get Rich and his equipment. Getting there about 10:30, his friend and I got the bike loaded about the time Rich showed up. He helped get his bike done, loaded his equipment, and it was off for B-B-Q in Austin behind Albertsons off of highway 290. Rich and I left for West Texas on or about 13:15 on this day, but needed to stop and get filled up on jerky at Whittingtons jerky in Johnson City. I got the regular beef, and the garlic beef. Mmm-Mmm good!http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c178/rgibbens/Copper%20Canyon%20and%20Big%20Bend%202006/IdahoJennKappaDeltaPiTerlinguaBi-1.jpg
Whittingtons Jerky in Johnson City Texas. Both KLR’s locked and loaded.
Richard and I didn’t have much to do except talk about the trip and other things. I think I about drove him crazy with my weird mumblings before we arrived in Terlingua at his Uncle’s place around 21:30. It took us about 9 hours to get there. Anyway, we went right to bed, and surprisingly slept well.
We woke early to the loud booming drill sergeant voice of Richard’s Uncle Roger. How can a man his size have such a loud voice? I was remembering basic training at Ft. Polk La. As I stumbled to the front door and looked outside to see this:http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c178/rgibbens/Copper%20Canyon%20and%20Big%20Bend%202006/IdahoJennKappaDeltaPiTerlinguaBi-5.jpg
I thought this was quite impressive, so we moved smartly to unload the trailer and gear, get cleaned up, and move out for breakfast. When all was all said and done at camp we headed for Kathy’s Kosmic Kowgirl Kafe for a GREAT breakfast around a morning Kampfire! If you are there in the near future, try Kathy’s AWSOME Frito Burrito for a change. It’s good for you. You’ll like it.http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c178/rgibbens/Copper%20Canyon%20and%20Big%20Bend%202006/IdahoJennKappaDeltaPiTerlinguaBi-8.jpg
Left: Roger with his Wee-Vee Right: Richard with his KLR.
Sitting around the fire at the KKKK.
It was the night before when I had made my crushing decision not to go into Mexico. I knew that the other 2 guys were counting on me to go, all was prepared, packed and ready. However, I could not justify going with so much pain in my knee. I did not want to end up being a liability to my friends if something went terribly wrong with my knee.
Roger gave me a list of do’s and do nots for his place, and how to and who to reach if I needed something. He told me about the best bars and people to hang with, if I wanted, and some places for casual rides around the Big Bend area….actually a very LARGE area! So we were set, and off to Presidio we headed. The border crossing is in Presidio, with the town of Ojinaga Mexico on the other side of the border.
Left: Richard Right: Uncle Roger. Looking toward the border station.
Looking into the Texas state interior from the border crossing.
As Rich and Roger disappear into the depths of the border crossing, I find that my escort duties to Mexico have ended.
What else is there to do on Saturday the18th.? One might surmise that this poor crippled guy might just go home and go to bed. There is nothing for him to do may say someone else. Oh how contraire mi amigos! How contraire! NO One can say there is nothing to do in this country; ESPECIALLY if you are on 2 wheels; MOST DEFINATELY if you are on a DS bike!
However today, and the coming days, I must be careful riding the dirt roads because of my knee.
Did I mention that we drove to Presidio Texas in the early morning on State route 170? Highway 170 is a MUST to ride. It is by far one of the premier motorcycle roads in the State. If ever that way DO NOT miss it. I am lucky today, because later I get to ride it a second time to go back to camp.
I decide to go to the North toward Marfa on Highway 67. This route will take me through the old ghost town of Shafter. This was an industrious silver and mercury-mining town in the early part of last century, but most of the silver dried up and the town slowly died. Less than 50 people live there today.
Part of the old ghost town of Shafter.
Historical marker at the old ghost town.
Several miles south of Shafter is a historical marker. You will see it going north, and it is at the top of a hill right off of the north bound side. If you stop and look out on the range over the fence, you may see the large one hump camel that grazes there.
This land is so vast and different, that one finds oneself always wanting to see what is on the other side of the hills or mountains. A person could live in this region for several years, and never ride all of the dirt roads and trails in the area. A good do-it-all dirt/street bike like the KLR pictured above is the absolute ticket to this type of adventure. That’s one reason why I love this lifestyle so much.
Leaving Shafter, I decided to go back south towards Presidio and explore the town and area a little more in detail. Before I could get there though, I took a side trip to the town of Ruidoso, north and west of Presidio on Highway 170. Ruidoso is a store, a ghost church in ruin, and the remnants of an old bar; the later of which I do not know of its present day use. Here I turned around and went back to Presidio, 30 something miles the way I came. This part of 170 is really a kick! It travels mostly up and down in small rises and falls, much like the fast run up and downs of a roller coaster. A couple of times at a high speed that I will not admit to, I was able to get air! Like I said, it was fun!
I had been noticing a buzzing noise on the KLR, but did not give it much mind for a while. When I arrived to Presidio, I decided to take a look and see what the noise was.
Always remember that these large singles are strong and powerful, but will tend to vibrate themselves loose in some areas, and can be a hassle if one does not pull AT LEAST a visual and audio check on the machine daily, and a good tightening every other day or so. I do not like to be caught in the middle of nowhere with a problem that cannot be fixed because I did not do my maintenance or I did not have the right tool to perform a certain job. More on this later.
After inspection, I found that a bolt on my "add on" armor had broken near the steering head, and the piece was vibrating terribly on the frame. Luckily, there was a hardware store in Presidio, and with a little bit of patience and skill, coupled with a large amount of luck, I was on my way fully repaired in no time. A little bit of Locktite on many of the nuts and bolts of these machines goes a long way.
Colorado Canyon looking west along the Rio Grande river.
Colorado Canyon looking east and south along the Rio Grande river.
After looking around Presidio and trying to become familiar with the area for future reference, I decided it was time to get on back to the Terlingua area. Do you know what that means? It means I get to ride Highway 170 AGAIN! That’s right. Once in a day is wonderful. Twice is gravy, breeze! Above are a couple of shots of one of the canyons on this road. Below are more photos.
Looking west on the Rio road near the top of a mountain pass. Shadows are thrown from the Mexican mountains in the background.
Looking east toward the mountain pass.
Well, I suppose I have written enough for day one, so I’ll just mosey off and take a break for now. There will be more to come, and more pics as I explain each day of my stay. Total miles for today were 252.
12-15-2006, 02:57 PM
Big Bend Loop Day 3
Got on the road late this morning, somewhere around 11:30. The day started off early enough, but I got up feeling like I was out of gas. I can imagine what Richard felt like. All day, day before yesterday, and yesterday, we had it in hyper drive to get here on time, get the bikes and gear ready, and now our bodies want to yawn and drag around all day.
Started around 07:30, got up, cleaned up, checked the machine, loaded some different gear on the KLR, and then went down to eat some more Kosmic Kowgirl K-food. Mmmm, Mmmm good!
By the time I had got the cobwebs out of my head and inhaled enough wood smoke from the fire, and eaten, it was about midday.
I was in a position of NOT having to push myself, and I figured that a nice day riding roads would be nice and enjoyable. I had always heard of the Terlingua ranch and wanting to go there for my own personal inspection, and decided to ask some of the locals where this place could be.
“About 15 miles north of Study Butte” smiled the young waitress. “Then turn right and continue on 8 miles of paved road. The last 8 miles of the road are dirt, and that is where the ranch is.” I gave her my polite smile, said thanks, threw my leg over the bike and took off to where I had been guided. This was starting to be fun!
I wanted to take my time and see the ranch. I’ve heard that it has cabins, a resturaunt, an RV park, and horse stables just to name a few items. I also heard that there are a thousand miles of dirt road all over the ranch property, and that I might be able to ride a little out there. I did not want to get into anything too technical, but I did want to have a little fun. When I arrived, would you believe that I ran into 3 other dual sport riders?
That’s right! These guys were from Kerrville, good friends with each other, and were spending a few days living in BB National park down at the Campgrounds near the river.
They were Gary, 60, Jim, 73, and Leroy, 80. You need to understand that the youngest in the group is 4 years older than me. All of these guys were riding Yamaha XT 350’s. It was apparent that they all enjoyed dual sport riding tremendously, and all showed a great reverence for the area. They had arrived from the east on a dirt road from the north tip of BB Nat’l Park. They said it was really sandy on the ride into TR from that direction.
We all went into the restaurant, had coffee and chewed the fat for a while. Also a couple of us had ice cream. When it was time to go, they invited me to come riding with them on the ranch in the Christmas Mountains on some of the various dirt roads in the immediate area. Of course!! Says I. We started up and took off and man did we do some DS’ing.
It was enjoyable to come here and do this with these people, but I was terrified I was going to tear my knee to pieces. My knee did have some bad popping (3 times), but I survived, and so did my bike.
Left: Jim Middle: Leroy Right: Gary. All in the Christmas Mountains.
Jim and Leroy with me.
We rode around for a while, and we were having a grand time, but we decided to get to the road going to Study Butte, because Jim was having trouble with the carburetor on his XT, and he wanted to get back and fix it. As we got to the highway, Jim took the lead and blasted off towards the great metropolis of Study Butte. I was next, and to my great astonishment, those little XT’s could really scream! 300cc’s smaller than mine, and I had to make an effort to get up to their speed as quick as they did. My bike has PLENTY of power, but these smaller ones took me by surprise.
All of a sudden Jim (about 100 yards in front), started to fishtail wildly in front of me. It seemed the little 350 had so much power, that it was literally burning rubber from side to side as he changed gears!! Such was not the case. Jim was lucky or skilful or both, to keep his machine up. His rear tire went dead flat at around 60 miles per hour. After he safely pulled the bike over, he and Gary started attacking the chore of dismounting the tire, while Leroy pulled out a tube from his bike pack, and I pulled out the electric air pump from my pack. In about 20 minutes we were back on the road again, and headed to BB Park.
We did not make it all of the way to their camp when I noticed that the shadows were getting long, and the atmosphere cooler. I figured it was time to turn around and head home. I waved goodbye and turned around. On the way back I started to notice a dull buzzing sound. Total miles today: 95
12-15-2006, 03:02 PM
BB Loop Day 4
On Monday the 20th, I went to eat at KKKK at about 09:30 in the morning, and then went west on 170 towards Presidio. My goal in today’s ride was to get to Marfa and just relax into some easy road riding. I am somewhat familiar with Marfa, because my Grand mother was born in Ft. Davis and raised in Marfa. She was born in the old soldier fort when the U.S. Army was still wearing blue field uniforms. In some ways, it seems to me like I am coming home when I go there. That part of my family has a long history in this area.
Anyway, being November in West Texas, it was rather cool, so I left dressed appropriately. Even as the day wore on, I stayed dressed for cool weather. Sometimes, even in summer months, it pays to take a little extra “hawk” gear. The weather here can change 3 or even 4 times a day.
On the way up to Marfa, I noticed quite a few Tarantulas on the road, and sometimes I needed to perform some sharp maneuvers to keep from using them to grease my axles, but I survived.
I wonder what tarantulas are good for. Are they an important part of the eco-system or what? Can man profit from these large hairy spidery beasts? I suppose that one of these days, an enterprising young soul will figure out a way to profit from them and start a new industry of Tarantula Ranching. Oh well…
I turned north on highway 67, and lazily strolled with the KLR up and through Shafter and onward to Marfa. I saw a wreck about 7 miles south of Marfa in the southbound lane, where it seemed that the driver went to sleep, ran off of the road, and took out about 250 yards of barb wire on his side of the road. Barb wire was wrapped all around the maroon pick up truck, and one could see where the fire department had cut the barb wire with wire cutters to get the person out of the cab. I hope his insurance was up to date!
The KLR is great slow or fast. It’s a great bike no question about it, but when that infernal buzzing trips your switch, its time to say whoa!
When I got to Marfa to the first fuel station, I fueled, and then pushed the bike to the side of the building to fix it. I had already determined that the same bolt I had replaced a couple of days earlier, had snapped off again. I am glad that I bought 2 extra bolts on that morning and put them in my spare parts pouch. This time when I re-assembled the left nerf-bar back to the frame of the steering head with the new bolt, I placed the bolt in from the opposite direction. I am glad to report that to this day, the bolt is still there, and I have had no further problem with it.
I drove around Marfa for a little while to re-establish my sense of direction around the town. Big city people would be surprised how quaint, pretty, and clean the town is. I was starting to get a little bit tired, and decided that what I needed was a good shot of excellent coffee. The Marfa bookstore is the place to go. They serve all types of “made on the spot” coffee products which are excellent, and of course they have a bookstore.
Additionally, they have a cyber table with 2 computers for folks away from home to check their cyber interests. The Marfa bookstore is located just 1 block north of the intersection oh highway 67 and US 90 on the east side of the road. One can see the town square with the courthouse, from the bookstore, just another block to the north.
My initial plans for the day was to include a ride going southbound on 2810 to Ruidosa, commonly called the Pinto Canyon road. However, I lingered too long in Marfa enjoying my stay, so I decided it would be prudent to wait until another day to do this ride. I had plenty of time in my overall plan of things.
I ended up going back to Terlingua using the back route of the way I came. Just understand, Highway 170 NEVER gets boring, no matter which way you ride it. On the way back to camp, I had to slow down on 170 for 2 wild horses that had gotten near the road. Total miles today: 280.
12-15-2006, 03:04 PM
Oh boy! Another Big Bend report. :clap: :clap: :mrgreen: I can't wait to go again. Been several times on 4 wheels and 2 feet. Not yet on 2 wheels.
12-15-2006, 03:18 PM
Big Bend Loop Day 5
Tuesday the 21st started out at sunrise about the same as all the other days…gorgeous!!! Today was going to be an easy day, with me and the Kawi going to the National Park for a little exploration. On the way out I stopped to get some fasteners at Archies auto and auto service store in Study Butte. He has a full service auto repair shop complete with lifts and paid mechanics. I wanted to supplement my spare parts and nut/bolt stash for the possibility of future problems.
Going into the park, almost immediately a right turn looms and heads south towards Santa Elena canyon, and most of the road is unpaved. I turned here to go there, but after about 12 miles turned around to go back to the main east-west paved road into the park. When I arrived back, I headed east and then toward the Chisos mountain basin. In the basin, there is a camping site, lodge, and a parks service store. Also there is a walking trail system that leads all over the Chisos.
My main objective today was to go to the hot springs near the Park service Rio Grande Village in the far eastern reaches of the park. I did notice that there were many, many people in the park on the main road, and way too many at the Chisos basin. Why were there so many people out and about during midweek I thought? DOH!!! This is Thanksgiving week and weekend upcoming!http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c178/rgibbens/Copper%20Canyon%20and%20Big%20Bend%202006/IdahoJennKappaDeltaPiTerlinguaBi-22.jpg
As I left to go to the village, a terrible thought occurred to me…What if the hot springs are full? Oh well, worse things have happened to me. I went to the village and found most of the camping spaces were full up, and all of the RV spaces were taken. I did remember that there was a pic-nic area down by the river at the end of the Cul-de-sac.
I went there and looked at the little adobe house that was there, and at the mountains in the distance. Then I went over to one of the trees and sat down for a while. The next thing I remember is waking up! I guess I am getting old, or I have really just been tired lately. Anyway, the nap felt good and I felt refreshed.http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c178/rgibbens/Copper%20Canyon%20and%20Big%20Bend%202006/IdahoJennKappaDeltaPiTerlinguaBi-31.jpg
From here I drove not too far, and turned into the gravel drive which led to the hot springs. As many cars that were leaving I thought there may be a problem with some thing down at the spring, and I was right. When I got to the cul-de-sac at the spring it was completely full of cars. There were 2 park rangers making people at the spring move their cars, because people that had parked earlier could not get out. There was nowhere for me to park without a lot of confusion, and going through a lot of changes, so I just turned around and left. My beach towel and swim suit were saved for another day.
Driving through and walking through the areas of your choice in the Big Bend can be a rewarding experience. The feeling one gets here is of how vast the place is. It is truly a magnificent place full of splendor. Riding the bike here is wonderful. Even though I did not get too far off the beaten path today, I know there is hundreds of miles of dirt roads and trails inside the park alone; which need my most undivided attention, and the grip of my DS tires stroking the rocky and dusty surface of these improved and unimproved dirt roads. Everywhere one goes in this land brings another awe inspiring and jaw dropping view of the magnificent land. I would love to have AT LEAST a year to explore on the KLR in and around the Park on all of the adventure roads I could find, and then, maybe even that might not be enough time.
Ohhhh dark thirty was swiftly arriving, and I wanted to get back to Terlingua, to explore some of the night life and some its places to drink some cervesa!
There are several places in Terlingua to “cut the dust off the top.” Forgive me if I miss a place or 2, but starting out, there is the El Dorado bar and grill. Then there is the Boat House, then further up the road is the old starlight theatre.
The starlight theatre is attached to the Terlingua Mercantile, and is a fun little place to shop and have fun. It is a tourist spot, and on weekends you will find a lot of people here. The Boat House is a nice little cantina, and is more home to just the local players. The El Dorado is fun and has a great menu. It hosts the equal amount of locals and tourists, and is probably the most recently built of the three. Also in the location of Terlingua, just a few miles to the west is a great little pizza house. Pizza and beer is a great staple, but one does not want to make a steady diet of it. Total miles today: 123
12-15-2006, 03:37 PM
Big Bend Loop Day 6
I remember talking to Rich the night before he left, and going over with him where he was going to come out of Mexico, etc., etc. We decided that he and his uncle would come out of Mexico at Juarez Mexico, and into El Paso Texas, USA on day five of the journey, Thursday. As such, He and his uncle needed to have a place to holdover for rest and repacking (R&R), to do the Indian Springs loop south of Sierra Blanca once they crossed, so we figured on a rest stop in Sierra Blanca, Texas.
So, it was settled. On Thursday, day seven, We needed a motel room, for all of us to get ready for all 3 of us to enjoy group riding on the USA side of the border.
I loaded up and took off for Sierra Blanca Texas. This is the place where we would all meet.http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c178/rgibbens/Copper%20Canyon%20and%20Big%20Bend%202006/IdahoJennKappaDeltaPiTerlinguaBi-36.jpg
I saddled up all of my gear, and left for Sierra Blanca at about 09:00 Wednesday morning. It was a rather windy morning, so I made sure I had my “hawk” gear on, and some lip balm in the tank bag. It was going to be all slab time today, and I wanted to get to Sierra Blanca to set up shop and see the sights of the small town before it got dark.
Well, as it stands, I had not too much to worry about… seeing the small town before it got dark that is! A person can see all there is to see of the place in about 20 minutes. But there are a couple of points of interest to speak of.
There is a small museum in the town, and there are a couple of OUTSTANDING places to eat. More on this later.
It took me about 5 hours to get to Sierra Blanca. When I arrived in town, I noticed that there were 2 motels in town. The first one plumb full, and I was fixin to have my doubts about the 2nd one, but as I pulled into the parking lot of the “Lodge”, I noticed that there were only 2 cars parked. I went in to see an amiable young lady by the name of Dana, and she said there was vacancy. After explaining that 2 other riders would join me later, she told me I was in luck, because this was the only motel in Sierra Blanca that had a room with 3 beds in it!
After agreeing to the room, I moved over to it and unloaded the bike. The hot shower sure felt good, and I was ready to see the sights. When I came outside, I noticed a Sheriffs patrol SUV with K-9 patrol marked on it. Apparently he and Dana were friends. On this note I might add that Sierra Blanca is one of the best-protected towns in the good ol’ USA. There are several police agencies from the federal, state, and local agencies that take root here. Out of necessity they co-exist here peacefully…. all in a town about the size of Blanco, Texas!
I was getting hungry, so I decided to get some food down the way, and found a place called Curly’s BBQ. I have eaten BBQ in all large cities and many towns of Texas. I have eaten BBQ in Okalahoma, New Mexico, and even a watered down attempt at real BBQ in Washington State. Out of all of my remembrances, I cannot say that I have ever tasted any BBQ quite as tasty as I did at Curly’s in Sierra Blanca.
Teresa and her husband have worked hard to make this the best BBQ in the state as far as I was concerned. Tomorrow would be Thanksgiving, and I knew where I would be eating!
I took note of this place, and reminded myself that Rich and Roger needed to taste this good stuff!
I also noted where there was a good restaurant / truck stop, and this place looked good. I asked some locals, and they told me that “Michaels” restaurant made wonderful omelet’s for breakfast. I knew where I would spend my time for breakfast. Total miles to Sierra Blanca from Terlingua: 240. Total miles today: 265
12-15-2006, 04:02 PM
Big Bend Loop Day 7
On Thanksgiving morning, I found myself worrying about Rich and Roger. Would they make it out of Mexico OK? Would Roger make it out of customs? Would they be safe on the wild-*** El Paso super-slab called I-10? I don’t know why I was so nervous. I quickly gave them a call on Richards cell #. No one answered, but I did leave a message. As I was cleaning up, the phone rang, and it was Richard. He explained that they were east of El Paso, and headed toward my location. He also said they had breakfast and would arrive ready to do the Indian Hot Springs loop we had planned today. 10-4, out!
This meant I would have time to eat breakfast at Michaels. I had one of the best omelets I have eaten. It was good, and good for me! I guess you know by now that I like food!
When I left the eatery, I saw Rich and Roger approach from under the overpass. I directed them to our room and we all began to get ready for the ride. After repacking our stuff, we took off on 1111 south of Sierra Blanca. This would take us down to and along the Rio Grande, and loop back up to Sierra Blanca. It would turn out to be 90% dirt road. One thing we learned is that there is a very active American Border Patrol agency earnestly in the pursuit of job excellence.
At one time, we had ridden up on a patrol checkpoint. We were told to leave the area immediately, and that we were not allowed near the checkpoint. All we could say was yes sir and move out smartly!
The dirt road we were on was in most of the areas in good repair. The desert areas that we passed through were an interesting mix of landscape. As we moved and came down into the river valley, and the closer we got to the river, the more swamp we encountered. There are a lot of marshes around this area, and it was definitely a lot greener there.
Also, being that we were near a large source of water, we were eventually to come face to face with some of the wildlife.
A javelina runs wildly away from us down the road.
As we moved along the road, we came in contact with a few ranch pickups. There are ranchers and farmers next to the Rio Grande on both sides of the border, but it seems the USA side is predominantly more active with police in the intervention mode, trying to stop illegal activities, while I am sure the Mexican side is busy trying to find new ways to cross with its people and products. Hey guys! I am just here to ride my “cickle” and have me some fun! Leave me out of your little war! I’ve been to enough of them in my time.
As we moved along the river and its marshes, we saw little old ranch homes and corals where people lived long ago, and gave their animals shelter from the blazing summer sun. These were mixed with wide spread modern and active ranch and home buildings, with barns and stables.
Soon, we came upon what looked like a monument, with rocks that had been cemented together and made into a wall. The wall was painted white, and surrounded a group of flags. This was the beginning of Indian Hot Springs. I am not for sure, but I think the hot springs are like a far-from-anywhere-outback resort. There seemed to be guest buildings and a small gymnasium. There are also 2 pool areas that must be used to fill up with the hot spring water for groups of people to use. They were empty and so seemed the resort when we went by it.
When we left from there the road did a sharp left turn to the north, and started to climb out of the Rio Valley. Soon we found ourselves on top of a really cool and long ridgeline. We had climbed up in the mountains on the road, which had afforded us many switchbacks to get on top. We found it a great climb up, and a fascinating run along the ridge for miles. As Rich would say: “This is good stuff man!”
We found the ride back very exhilarating and fun. Again, in several places, we found the border patrol being vigilant and performing their duties with off road vehicles. This part of the road seemed to be used more, because it seemed that in the corners, the dirt had been ground into deep dust more often than on the other side where we entered. It also may be like that because it could be less maintained on this side of the mountains. This part of the road also gave us wide-open spectacular desert views after we came down off of the ridgeline.
Wide big country views like this look magnificent.
Shortly, after the above photo was taken, we came to another turn in the road, about 10 miles further on up towards Sierra Blanca. I noticed and felt a large sway to the motorcycle after exiting the turn. I knew what it was…a flat! Oh well, all part of the adventure.
Luckily, Roger was behind me, and he helped me to prop up the bike and get to work on it. Richard was way out in front of us, apparently on a road recon, and it took him a little while to get back. I am glad he did come back, because all I had packed was a front tire tube…the ONE I didn’t need!
It always happens like that.
Pack and prepare, pack and prepare…but something always seems to be left out. When people travel as a group, usually between them all something can be accomplished. Roger was a great help, and without his help I would have probably been there another hour working on the rear tire. Without Richards help, I would have had to use the front tire spare tube. That should be done only in a solidified, double barrel emergency. I have known several people to do this, and 2 of them had blowouts again, not long after the initial flat tire
All this was attributed to a long piece of steel the length and shape of a welding rod. After repairs were made, we could not get the tire to seat correctly. So I made a high speed run down the bumpy road to seat it. Voala!!! No prob Bob! Tire seated. Felt like an MX racer.
Soon we arrived back at Sierra Blanca. We were all hungry, so I took the boys over to Curley’s for a great Thanksgiving dinner. It was REALLY good, and Teresa was glad we made it. Even if we did mess up the sink in the rest room washing off all of the dust! After a great, hearty and delicious meal, we all said our goodbyes and headed to the motel room. When we had all showered, Richard and Roger had walked to the little store down the street to get some drinks. I finished packing for the next day then went to the office, where I found Rich and Roger watching TV with the motel clerk Dana. We all sat around watching the new version of “The Manchurian Candidate”, and swigging on a beer. It was a great way to relax after today’s ride. Total miles today: 75.5
12-15-2006, 04:04 PM
I merged all the reports into one and moved it to the "After the Ride" section of the Dual Sport forum. Is there a different title other than "Big Bend Loop" that you would prefer?
12-15-2006, 04:22 PM
Big Bend Loop Day 8
Well, the next day came early. I can’t remember who was the first to get up, but we all just seemed to get up, pack our stuff, turn in our room keys, say goodbye to Dana and leave.
Before we left, we went to Michael’s restaurant, and we all ate great omelets.
We got on the big trail early, and started our move to Marfa. Our goal today was to get on 2810 southwest of Marfa, and do the Pinto Canyon trail to Ruidoso, then pick up highway 170, and take it back to camp in Terlingua.
But first we had to get to Marfa, which can be a boring drive on US 90. Starting off, Roger and I saw 2 coyotes trotting along the highway before we got to Van Horn.
Then later on down the road on 90, somewhere between Valentine and Marfa, we saw a large herd of Antelope to the north.
After arrival in Marfa, we fueled and took a break at a convenience store and had some snack food. Now it was time to go again, so we back- tracked to the intersection of FM 2810, and took off for Ruidoso. The road starts off as a paved road, but about 20 miles into the trip it turns into a good gravel road. This road meanders through some beautiful country. It is a beautiful area, and before we reached gravel, I saw 2 eagles and 1 red tailed hawk. They are very magnificent creatures.
We stopped at the top of Pinto Canyon to take pictures and ratchet jaw for a while. Rich told me that the best cheese sandwich he ever ate was here at the top overlooking the Canyon.
I like Richard’s enthusiasm and love for this place and Dual Sporting in general,
But I’d rather have roast beef with my cheese, thank you!! It is a beautiful place Richard.
After a while we got back on the trail, and I must caution you not to go too fast. Save that for the long boring straight of ways. Those are things you will not find here. Here you will find turn, after turn, after turn. Some are decreasing radius turns, so be careful. This all leads down hill, and eventually to the rolling hills and straights of the desert basin. The beauty is tremendous. We even got to roll next to a stream bed in the Valley that had rows of deciduous trees growing in the middle, and all of their leaves were turning yellow, gold, or red.
Later, in the desert, we found streambeds that were fast water cuts in the desert floor. You know, 15 feet wide, 40 feet deep. It was really pretty.
Later on down the road we came to Ruidoso, and stopped at the store (Closed), rearranged our packs, and drank some water. While we were there, we met a couple that had arrived on highway 170 on a Honda Gold wing. The lady on back was a teacher at Tomball College in Tomball, and knew my daughter from when she attended the school. Small World!
Soon we were back on the road and headed to Presidio. When we got there, Richard and his uncle went to the duty store, and I went to wash and clean up the KLR. After the wash, I was amazed to find several bolts missing. As I said earlier, I carry a spare bolts bag, and I was able to cover all of the missing bolts. That and a liberal helping of locktite saved the day. One note: I find that most of the bolts that come up missing are of the 8 and 10 mm variety. Also, the small screws for the side panels and radiator wind vents. It is a good idea to carry plenty of these if you put a lot of miles on these bikes. Always carry locktite of the blue variety. That way you can unscrew the bolt or screw in the future if necessary.
After we linked back up, Richard said that his uncle was going to take a while longer to take care of business in Presidio, so he and I took off for Terlingua. It wasn’t much later that we were there at camp, and we took showers, then prepared to move back home, and loaded up the bikes on the trailer.
After Roger arrived and cleaned up a bit, we all jumped in his truck and headed out to have some pizza. It was great and we had fun. We then went to the Terlingua Mercantile, and shopped around. The t-shirt I had promised Rich was all sold out, so I will need to wait for another time to fulfill my promise (We traded T-shirts earlier). Also we got to watch a young Britt change a tire on a KTM 950 adventure that he was traveling on. Apparently he was in a hurry, because he made short work of his task, and left quickly. Of course it was already dark, and that meant something to him I am sure. This wild country is no place to be traveling at night. There are too many animals out there (some very large), that can cause injury or death if hit by a motorcyclist.
From the Mercantile, we left and went to the El Dorado bar and grill. That is where the celebration at journeys end came into play!! Of course I had to deny getting tipsy, because I was the designated driver for early tomorrow morning, and we would be heading to San Antonio, and then Austin. From there I had to drive to Spring Branch by Canyon Lake, and then back to San Antonio, so my work was cut out for me. After 2 beers, I decided to drink Iced Tea for the rest of the party.
It was fun to watch Roger and Richard celebrate their homecoming. We had fun, and so did the rest of the people in the place!
Later on in the early morning, we went back to Rogers place and crashed. The next day went off without a hitch, and we were back home before we knew it. One word of caution though: If you are ever hungry for BBQ, do not eat it at Coopers BBQ in Junction. I really did not like it. It tasted bland, and the price they charged me ($15.00) for the plate was way too extravagant, which subtracted from any taste it might have had.
With all said and done, it was a memorable trip, and one that will stay with my psyche for a long time to come.
Have a fun and safe time dual sporting!
12-15-2006, 04:39 PM
Thanks Tourmeister. No, it is all "The Loop". The only thing that will change, is the day by day coverage. Rich and Roger will be writing and placing their days in Mexico, and they will call their piece something else. Thanks for the help! RRM
12-15-2006, 07:48 PM
Good job, Top. Glad you have been able to get your story and pics up. Looking forward to the rest of it.
12-15-2006, 08:46 PM
That should be done only in a solidified, double barrel emergency. I have known several people to do this, and 2 of them had blowouts again, not long after the initial flat tire
I've heard lots of baby power and keep it under 40mph and it will get you home...
BTW...VERY nice report and pics...
12-15-2006, 10:12 PM
If that 950 had Texas tags and an orange windshield it was Ant Ware . ran into him in Nevada last summer ,,,,, Changing a tire ,,,, As hard as he rides he has plenty of practice . Great riding and good read , I think I will head there in a couple of weeks . SEYA
12-16-2006, 09:20 AM
Thanks for taking the time to post your report. Well done.
Reports like this have inspired a group of us from the north to explore Big Bend in middle January.
Thanks much for the effort of this great report and photos, fabulous!:clap:
Join us if you can,