I rode Old Ore Road, north to south, three days ago, Friday, 5/18. 28 miles, including Dagger Flats Rd and it took me three hours. I rode a heavily loaded KLR with Shinko 705s (50/50) tires. I never felt the tires were an issue but the weight of the bike was. I was an IDIOT to take that path solo. Do NOT do that! I dropped it only once but had several close misses. There are no soft places out there.
The most difficult section was not the mudhole where I fell early on, it was the hill south of Ernst Tinaja. Loose rock with treacherous ruts. You can not relax on that ride. Thankfully, a park ranger named Susan, at the Persimmon Gap gate, where I entered the park had the smarts, after I asked about Old Ore, to tell me she did not know of anyone else heading that way that day, and gave me her name and phone number on a slip of paper with instructions to call her when I got out, or she would send someone looking for me. I can't tell you how much comfort that gave me as I scrabbled through that hilly, rocky, loose, sharp rock trail. When I called her from the store at the Village, I told her I have not looked forward to calling a young lady as much as I looked forward to calling her in a long time.
Bottom line- DO NOT go off-road in the Big Bend by yourself. I was lucky to make it through relatively unscathed. I could have been hurt. I could have had a mechanical problem. I thanked Jesus, Kawasaki engineers, and Ben Franklin (for bifocal glasses), among others, for my safe passage. and take several quarts of water.
If I had been on a 250cc with knobbies, with another rider, it probably would have been fun, but, by myself, I was just thinking, "Man, you are stupid" and scared most of the time.
Learn from my mistake.
Yeah but aint it a GREAT ROAD