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Against the Wind . . . . .

Joined
Aug 31, 2007
Messages
1,021
Location
Beaumont, Texas
Several songs come to mind from Bob Seger, Christopher Cross, etc. My first thought was to report a failure of sorts but I decided instead to call it a learning experience and file it under the definition of adventure. The first day out, December 28, I intended to document my first Iron Butt ride to San Simon Arizona on I-10, 1,022 miles. To increase the old Bandit's range, I installed a larger front sprocket - big mistake. When my overloaded, over-geared 599cc bike hit 45mph headwinds west of San Antonio, the mileage plummeted. I actually ran out of gas at 90 miles! Dejected around the 600 mile mark, still clinging to the will to continue, I called the end witness I had arranged, a Cochise County deputy Sheriff only to find her off duty and unavailable. DANG! I was so amped about making the ride I didn't even notice how extreme the wind was. I had made good time to that point but I had to face the fact that my Saddlesore 1000 would not happen this day on this motorcycle in this wind. The second day was to be a date with US191, The Devil's Spine ascending to Alpine, Az at 9,000 feet with four point something turns per mile all the way. The 3rd day, weather permitting, would have been to the Grand Canyon. You get the idea. In that instant my trip plan was cut in half. I turned south to Davis Mountains State park and set camp.

The next morning I rode to the lodge for breakfast.

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Still feeling down, a lady ranger greeted me saying, "You know you're in motorcycle heaven here." She flipped my paper place mat over and drew me a map of all the roads I had to ride. Changed my whole outlook, made my day, she did. I took her advice.

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I paused for lunch in Marfa. Here's the courthouse.

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Having completed my prescribed route, and then some, I returned to Indian Lodge the next morning to give my report to the ranger.
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Time to break camp and fight the wind again, south this time.
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Southwest Texas is vast. The west wind was so strong I felt like I was riding on the chicken strips going straight.
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Then I came upon a welcomed sight. There in the middle of nowhere I spotted the Adobe with that red water tank where two great riders reside.
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I had a very enjoyable visit with Paul and Voni and was given the privilege of signing the fridge - in red of course.
 
Joined
Aug 31, 2007
Messages
1,021
Location
Beaumont, Texas
As evening approached the wind subsided. I made it into Big Bend and then another 30 miles to the campground that wasn't full. Big Bend National Park is huge, bigger than the state of Rhode Island by 25%. I erected the tent just before dusk.
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Here's the view from the tent just before dawn.
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I decided to pull up and try to get a spot in "the good campground" in Chisos Basin. I thought I wanted to be close to the lodge and restaurant. I was early enough. Campsites were becoming available so I went to the restaurant and tried to fill a plate at the somewhat depleted buffet. The waiter smugly said, "Oh we just closed - but since you're here you can eat what you have." French toast and sausage, and I had to beg for a cup of coffee to wash it down. Then I got the bill, $14.86! Yikes! I decided to get a room in Terlingua instead.

Big Bend is as rugged and beautiful as it is immense. I must have ridden 150 miles inside the park.
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-------------------------------------


So it's new year's eve. I secured a room in Terlingua and headed out to ride the river road along the Rio Grande to Presidio. What a pleasant surprise! The terrain is so beautiful and the road is a BLAST! I spent the whole afternoon taking pictures.
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I stopped here to stick a toe in the Rio Grande.
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The River Road, designated FM170 was definitely one of the high points of the trip.

I made it back to Terlingua just as Kathy was closing. DANG! No Kosmic Kowgirl BBQ today!
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That's alright, I'll go back for breakfast. I pulled into this unassuming little Mexican joint. Rio Bravo - best food of the trip!
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Back to the room and the first shower of the trip. AAAAHHHHHH! I rang in the new year watching TV and sleeping.

HAPPY 2011!
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 14, 2007
Messages
2,989
Location
Rhome,TX
Great pics.....I wanna go back already. I like your Bandit set-up....very cool.

You mean this fridge????

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Joined
Apr 20, 2004
Messages
588
Location
Austin
Great pictures! Enticing report!

Is that yellow bag a waterproof "dry bag"?

I spent a day riding in cross winds like that. I swear I was looking over the side of my windscreen the entire day. I ended up with a flat tire with separated treads (plies?). I am not sure if that was a result of riding on the side of the tire all day or a manufacturer defect. A friend told me later, "Should have just turned left." Doing an Iron Butt ride with that kind of tail wind would have made it easy!
 
Joined
Oct 25, 2010
Messages
3,577
Location
HUNT COUNTY
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If this is where I think it is on the river road just to your left from the perspective of the picture is a hill. It's flat on top and with a little hike to the top you have some of THE BEST views on that road.

We actually found a geocache up there where a guy and some of his college buddies had burried a bottle of scotch or tequila or something when they graduated college and came back 5 years later dug it up and sat on top of that hill and drank it. They had left a picture an description in the cache.





On the plus side of all this you got to spend a few days in one of the motorcycling Mecas of Texas :)

Edit-Did you stay long enough in Marfa to go check out the "Marfa Lights"?
 
L

lonestarrider

Great Report Ken. Sorry to read that you had to scrub your SS1K and the rest of your trip to Arizona, but look how well it all turned out. The Big Bend is a magical and mystical place that does wonders for the soul.
 
Joined
Apr 1, 2007
Messages
5,171
Location
Terlingua Tx
That is the big hill, and has the DOM rock from the movie Fandango....

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p.s....the tradition is alive and well too!
 
Joined
Aug 31, 2007
Messages
1,021
Location
Beaumont, Texas
Thanks guys, here's the rest:

New Year's morning. It's 35 degrees. Back to Kathy's for an enormous black bean burrito. I met several like minded (hungry) riders sitting around the fire pit.

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Here's Betty overseeing the festivities.
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And here's a couple of the locals.
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Next stop is the world famous Terlingua Ghost Town. I'm getting my taste buds ready for some good old black eyed peas at the Annual New Year's Day "Pea-off" too. I'll be danged if I'm gonna run outta gas again. ::P:
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I perused the gift shop a little.
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Then I hung out a while at this trendy little coffee shop - they even have wi-fi.
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Well I waited as long as I could to sample some black eyed peas but had to hit the road. I rode through Big Bend one more time and then north to Marathon for a late lunch.
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On to Del Rio picking up farm road signs for the game along the way. I planned to camp one more night at Amistad National Recreation Area but the days are short. Darkness fell - Motel 6 - one more splurge before heading home.
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I made one more scheduled stop for a quick tour and a souvenir here . . . .
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you know, where they make

but they were closed.

Home again. I rode about 1,750 miles, about half what I'd planned but great fun nonetheless. There's always text time. I'll try another Iron Butt ride when there's less wind.

And Chef Ara, I'll catch you next time too. Have a speedy recovery!
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 13, 2008
Messages
4,622
Location
Jennings,La.
Nice report and pictures. I so need to get back down to that part of Tejas again. Been way too long. Just so many roads and so little time. sigh!
 
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