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Old 01-04-2012, 11:08 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2011
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Year End In The Bend

The lovely MCBelle and I took a little ride around the block, stopping in Sonora, Study Butte, Alpine and San Angelo along the way. We left on Christmas day, delaying the planned departure by a day due to the cold and wet weather. It was a brisk ride, on her first trip with the heated jacket and gloves. Which did an admirable job of keeping the icicles from accumulating. Thanks also go out to the parts gal at Lone Star for helping us pick out some Rev-it all-weather pants for her.

After a couple of hours in the saddle we made it to Boerne, fed our trusty steeds and then found a warm booth at Denny's to soak up some heat and enjoy a meal.

Originally planning to avoid the slab and take in the Twisted Sisters and come into Sonora the back way, we decided that the combination of late time of day, available facilities on Christmas, and the weather dictated that we take I-10 instead.

Let me say right off that the eighty mile per hour speed limit can affect logistics. The light came on for fuel on my bike about thirty miles from Sonora, and her bike went on reserve a few miles later. We knocked it down to 60-65, keeping a close eye on the rear view for approaching traffic, as we limped into our destination with little fuel to spare. My 5.8 gallon tank took 5.6 gallons. I believe that put my fuel "efficiency" at something like 25mpg.

For reference, the only place to eat on Christmas Day in Sonora is one of the several Stripes convenience stores. Fortunately, they actually had food to order from the grill. We dined in our room on grilled chicken and a hamburger.

The next day we woke up to temps below freezing outside, frost on the bike covers, and Comfort Inn waffles for breakfast. Then we were off. Destination, Study Butte.

After a mandatory stop in Ozona for fuel, we peeled off I-10 on old 290 down to Sheffield, RR2400 across to 285, then South to Sanderson for more fuel. Then we followed the railroad on Highway 90 to Marathon, where we stopped to eat and feed the faithful steeds, before heading South on 385 into the park.

Which was an oversight on my part, as I had forgotten that the speed limit in the park was an excruciatingly painful 45mph, and when just passing through to get to your motel room at the end of a ride, it can be tedious. (Note to self; even though it is a little further, going through Alpine would likely be quicker. "It hurts my motor to go so slow ...")

We arrive in Study Butte and my lovely Belle is beat. After unloading and a brief respite I head out to forage for sustenance and took this photo of the Starlight in Terlingua ghost town.

Then I decided to head to La Kiva, knowing they would have the baked potato I had been tasked with procuring. After a wait of well over an hour (they had been slammed, unexpectedly for a Monday eve) I left with the last baked tater in the place, along with BBQ Ribs, Brisket and Chicken, arriving just in time to prevent my Belle from expiring.

Here's the view from our lodging there,

Tuesday we are prodded into motion by a call from friends staying at Uncle's who are breaking their fast next door at the Chili Pepper. We stumble over to join them, tell lies, and talk about our plans for the day. They are headed up to ride the scenic loop in the Davis Mountains, while we are going to tour Big Bend National Park. The breakfast and the company were just what we needed to get our day started and we made plans to find them at Uncle's later that evening.

Belle and I doubled up on my bike and headed for the border, at Santa Elena canyon. Here's a few shots I took while we were there.

This caballero was tending his herd along the Rio Bravo.

Santa Elena Canyon Rocks

MotorcycleBelle contemplating a run across the border.

A view up river

Plant life near the trailhead

After visiting the canyon we went up to PJ to visit headquarters and see the exhibits there. We were getting tired and so did a quick dash up to the Basin, and headed to Terlingua. Here we ran into more familiar faces, finding some CenTex TWT'ers on the porch at the Terlingua Store after their dash through Ojinaga and points South earlier in the day.

After all that excitement MCB needed a nap, and I was hurtin' for some "dirt therapy," so I took off to explore for a couple of hours while she rested.

My intention was to head North on 118, and take the County road back down to Terlingua. However, my Zumo doesn't know those roads and I ended up doing an out and back on what was signed Ocotillo Mesa Road, going West off 118.

This is a ruin I shot, just after turning back toward 118

118 South

Next, I was off to ride Maverick Road and Terlingua Abajo Campground Road as the sun set over the Mesa de Anguilla.

Old Maverick Road at speed

Leaving the Park at the West Entrance

It was a thrilling ride across some unique country as twilight encroached upon the desert.

With my therapy session concluded I swung back by the Big Bend Resort's Mission Lodge (fancy name, simple abode) and picked up my lovely MCBelle so we could go find the elusive Uncle's Ranch and Motorcycle Theme Park. After only one wrong turn we spotted Steve waving a flashlight at us and soon were settled into comfy chairs, hanging out with the gang at the heated Terlingua Recreational Pavilion at Uncle's to tell more lies, spread gossip, and plan mayhem. A perfect end to a splendid day.

The following day it was my treat to lead my sweetie up River Road to Presidio.

Checking out the landmarks along the way

We then rode up to Marfa and took a break on the courthouse square after getting fuel. We saw the Shark, but weren't hungry at the time, so we headed on to Alpine and checked in to the Oak Tree Inn. That night we dined at La Tratorria and were treated to a very nice Italian meal.

After a good night's sleep I was ready to continue my job as tour guide, but alas my dear Belle was feeling a little under the weather. We took it slow and in the late afternoon I took off for a little solo ride around the block.

Now, out there the blocks are kinda big, and this one included the Davis Mountain Scenic Loop and a stop at a place I used to live.

It wasn't exactly the way I intended my visit to Mount Locke to go, but once you tear the valve out of a tube there isn't much choice but to take a break and swap tubes.

A half hour later I was on the road again. Funny thing, while stopped I had three cars pull over to ask if I needed any help, but two guys on bikes blew past without a wave. Fortunately I had everything I needed to effect repairs and was back on the loop, ... with a planned detour ahead.

My dear had mentioned wanting to see the Prada Marfa art exhibit, which I was unaware of, and we had found that it was on Highway 90, just a mile or so past Valentine on the Van Horn side. So I peeled off the scenic loop to go find it.

Not sure that I fully understand this high art,
but here it is in all it's glory ...

I did get to do a little window shopping,

Then it was back to Alpine for another quiet night. The Oak Tree Inn contracts lodging to railroad crews, so has soundproof rooms with light seals on the windows to insure a good sleep at any time of day. The room comes with meal vouchers for Penny's Diner on site (a $7.45 meal credit for each guest). The room was very nice, spacious, clean and well-appointed.

The following day we were on the road again to San Angelo, where, after many miles of laser-straight roads, we got a room, visited a motorcycle store, then went to Zentner's Daugher's Steakhouse for supper. The steaks were good, and we were done for the day.

Now it was the long road home. Once we got to Llano we were back in familiar country. We ventured through Georgetown, Taylor and Elgin before finding ourselves home again. Tired from the trip, we turned in early and slept through New Year's Eve.

Happy New Year to all!
“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new end.”

CURRENT BIKES: '00 Suzuki DRZ400E-Plated; '13 Triumph Tiger 800XC; '04 KTM 950 Adventure
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Old 01-06-2012, 07:34 PM   #2
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Re: Year End In The Bend

Nice report.
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:24 PM   #3
Robert K
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Re: Year End In The Bend

Nice ride ride report and nice KTM. What was your Sweetie riding?
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Old 01-06-2012, 09:14 PM   #4
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Re: Year End In The Bend

Thanks for sharing the trip and pics. Reminds me of how great the Big Bend region is, and that I need to get back out there ASAP....
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Old 01-06-2012, 09:39 PM   #5
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Re: Year End In The Bend

Hey neighbor, Glad to hear you are back. Looks like you had a good trip. BTW Marfa is the center of high art since the death of the Santa Fe style.

Y'all go ahead. I'll catch up to you at the crash site.
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Old 01-06-2012, 11:13 PM   #6
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Re: Year End In The Bend

Originally Posted by Robert K View Post
Nice ride ride report and nice KTM. What was your Sweetie riding?
Thumper's ol' 97 F650 Funduro that she traded for at your place. It performed flawlessly.
“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new end.”

CURRENT BIKES: '00 Suzuki DRZ400E-Plated; '13 Triumph Tiger 800XC; '04 KTM 950 Adventure
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Old 01-06-2012, 11:45 PM   #7
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Re: Year End In The Bend

That last picture with the reflecrion of the bike in the Prada wjndow may be the best picture I've seen of that place!
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Old 02-16-2012, 07:58 PM   #8
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Talking Re: Year End In The Bend

Nice ride report. Back in 2005 or 2006 , the wife and I, plus my sis and her hubby rode Valkyrie Interstates thru Big Bend. We saw those 45 mph signs, too. Fortunately, we both suffered from double vison and cut our travel time in half! If all the other Art Meccas were as well stocked as the one at Prado, I could be more interested.

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Old 02-16-2012, 08:12 PM   #9
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Re: Year End In The Bend

Sigh.... I want a bike again.

Great report!


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"Sleep doesn't help if it's your soul that's tired" - Unknown

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