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Old 11-26-2017, 05:20 PM   #1
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Expedition Big Bend

One of the rides I've always wanted to do but just hadn't gotten around to is riding to Big Bend via northeast Mexico. Start in Del Rio, cross into Mexico at Acuna, ride west across the Chihuahuan desert and Sierra del Carmen mountains to Ojinaga, re-enter Texas at Presidio and then ride east to Terlingua.



I'm not the first person to think of doing this. Other groups have actually completed this ride, most recently JT and Milton in 2011. You can read their Wrong Way 'Round the Bend ride report here.

The primary challenge with this route is gas - it is about 400 miles from Del Rio to Ojinaga and there are no gas stations anywhere along the route. Previous groups doing this route have been able to purchase a few liters of gas from locals at the tiny village of Morelos. However, I was with a group that rode the first half of the route in 2007 and my group was unable to locate gas in Morelos or anywhere else in the area. So, finding gas has not been a given.

However, things have recently changed. The unofficial border crossing from Big Bend National Park into the small village of Boquillas Mexico, closed after the 911 attacks, has been re-opened as an official crossing site. Boquillas nearly died when the border closed in 2001. Today, with tourists once again crossing the Rio Grande into Boquillas and providing a source of income for locals, new services are now available, including gas (via a 55 gallon drum). If we really can get fuel in Boquillas, then it solves the gas issue with this route.

I did some checking around with Big Bend locals and was assured I would be able to buy gas in Boquillas. It would set me back a whopping $7 a gallon but it was there. With fuel seemingly available, it was time for me to mark this route off my bucket list. I called my buddy JT and we headed west the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Expedition Big Bend, here we come.
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Last edited by Trail Boss; 11-27-2017 at 08:13 AM.
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Old 11-26-2017, 05:23 PM   #2
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Re: Expedition Big Bend

How was it?
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Old 11-26-2017, 06:47 PM   #3
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Re: Expedition Big Bend

Sounds fantastic. Look forward to the report.
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Old 11-26-2017, 07:07 PM   #4
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Re: Expedition Big Bend

dont stop now
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Old 11-26-2017, 10:15 PM   #5
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Re: Expedition Big Bend

In...
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Old 11-26-2017, 11:40 PM   #6
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Re: Expedition Big Bend



When does the show start?
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Old 11-26-2017, 11:50 PM   #7
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Re: Expedition Big Bend

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Old 11-27-2017, 01:59 AM   #8
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Re: Expedition Big Bend

Cool!

Isn't the first part of the route up to the sharp turn to the West part of the route we did with Uncle and some others back in 2007? We went past that big volcano, I got a flat, and then we found cold coke in that ghost town... before eventually ending a LONG day in Musquiz.
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Old 11-27-2017, 08:08 AM   #9
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Re: Expedition Big Bend

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Originally Posted by Tourmeister View Post
Cool!

Isn't the first part of the route up to the sharp turn to the West part of the route we did with Uncle and some others back in 2007? We went past that big volcano, I got a flat, and then we found cold coke in that ghost town... before eventually ending a LONG day in Musquiz.
Yes, your memory is correct. We did the first half of this route in 2007.
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Old 11-27-2017, 10:46 AM   #10
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Re: Expedition Big Bend

In
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Old 11-27-2017, 03:17 PM   #11
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Re: Expedition Big Bend

In & very interested to hear how it went. Boquillas was a fun destination many years ago & I recently went back via the new official crossing. I’d always wondered about the journey to Boquillas from the other side, so I’m eager to read the rest of your ride report....


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Old 11-28-2017, 12:50 PM   #12
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Re: Expedition Big Bend

Subscribed!
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Old 11-28-2017, 01:06 PM   #13
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Re: Expedition Big Bend

Subscribed, and impatiently awaiting more info...
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Old 11-28-2017, 06:23 PM   #14
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Re: Expedition Big Bend

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Subscribed, and impatiently awaiting more info...


My apologies. I’m traveling on business this week...


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Old 11-28-2017, 09:27 PM   #15
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Re: Expedition Big Bend

Such a tease...
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Old 11-28-2017, 09:33 PM   #16
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Re: Expedition Big Bend

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Such a tease...
YUP
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Old 11-29-2017, 08:12 AM   #17
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Re: Expedition Big Bend

JT and I have done a lot of trips together. Even more important, we’ve done multiple rides in Mexico, so this wasn’t our first rodeo. For this trip we were most concerned about fuel, camping, and food – in that order.

If we couldn’t find gas in Boquillas then we were going to have problems. Sure, we could likely cross the border into Big Bend National Park, get gas, and then cross back into Mexico, but at best it would be expensive, a big hassle, and very time consuming. The more likely scenario if we were forced to try and transport gas across the border is that the customs folks at the border would not be happy with us since what we would be trying to do would be out of the norm. If they decided we couldn’t cross back into Mexico carrying gas, then our problems would be magnified.

Additionally, the gas tank on JT’s XR650R wasn’t large enough for him to make it to Boquillas on one tank. The XRR isn’t known for exceptional fuel economy, so the 4.9 gallon aftermarket tank wasn’t going to do the trick. He would have to carry spare fuel. Luckily he had a 1.8 gallon fuel bladder he could strap on to the back of his bike which would provide the additional gas needed for him to make it to Boquillas. Probably.


For me, the stock fuel tank on my Husqvarna 701 is only 3.4 gallons; good for a max of 170 miles. Not bad except it was 235 miles to Boquillas. I needed more fuel capacity. I had ordered an aftermarket Rade tank more than a month earlier, which at 1.6 additional gallons would push my total capacity to five gallons. I get 50 mpg on the Husky so five total gallons would theoretically be enough.

I say theoretically because I was still waiting for the tank to show up at my house. I told JT the week before we left that knowing how these things usually go, the tank would show up on Saturday. Which it did. And since I was leaving on Sunday morning, it meant I had enough time to install the tank but not enough time to give it a good test. If I screwed up the installation (not hard for me to do) or if there were quality issues with the tank and it leaked (a possibility) I wouldn’t find out until we were already in Mexico and likely too late to do anything about it.


In short, gas was the wild card in this entire scenario. We could go without food for a few days and not die. We could sleep on the ground if we needed to and not die. But if we ran out of gas before we made it to Boquillas then we would be up the proverbial creek without a paddle.
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Old 11-29-2017, 09:08 AM   #18
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Re: Expedition Big Bend

Oh, this is off to a good start!!!
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Old 11-29-2017, 03:16 PM   #19
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Re: Expedition Big Bend

No way!!!! I've been mapping out this exact idea for the last few weeks on GoogleEarth between jobs. Got the idea after running into a fellow on a DRZ in Boquillas on my last trip. Get on with it
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Old 11-29-2017, 03:46 PM   #20
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Re: Expedition Big Bend

This is good stuff
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