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Catching up: Big bend

Joined
Apr 2, 2004
Messages
478
Location
Smack dab in the middle of TX
Its been a long year, made longer because I haven't embarked on any long trips. Sure, there's always the multi hundred Smile SMR romps to reflect on, but few overnight forays.

Friends invited me to Big bend a week or so back. I've been there before with them but time and other logistics prevented us riding out there together. It would be a quick trip.

Best laid plans were tested by mother nature, thursday and friday were washouts (I'm not one to take off on day long wet rides) Things were supposed to clear up by saturday but didn't. Radar showed clear weather out west, so I took off into the muck @ 0930 that morning. Only 500 miles to go.

The drizzle and fog were starting to annoy me so I elected to take what seemed to be the most direct route; hamilton pool road.


Oops........



Closer inspection proved the water wasn't too deep but swift. Seeing the
tree branches in the mix nixed my efforts. Back into the rain and fog i had just escaped.



I back tracked to fitzhugh road, and hoped the water was lower there at its Xing. Just as I arrived at the east side of it, a group of bmws arrived at the west side; I think they might have been from bmwst.com. None were GS's though so there was no backing down this time. The water was swift but I made it across OK. Their group wasn't as brave (or stupid) and turned around.



Just to give you and idea how deep it was, a truck followed a few minutes after me.






Emboldened, I pushed on..........
 
Joined
Apr 2, 2004
Messages
478
Location
Smack dab in the middle of TX
Dude, that is a slick crossing and that deep......at the beginning of a trip.....:thumb: gutsy.
Thanks. Well since its been dry for a couple years so it wasn't slick yet. I think I did go through it the last time it rained significantly in '07. Definitely required some course correction to battle the current both times.: eek2:
 
Joined
Apr 2, 2004
Messages
478
Location
Smack dab in the middle of TX
The weather was only slightly better by the time I got to Johnson city, but by the time I stopped at the dutchmans market The sun was starting to poke holes in the clouds. Along with the meats and beef jerky, they sell pork loin jerky at a very good price (~$7 per loin). Its not that I didn't know I needed to make some time up, I just hate being rushed.

Had to stop in harper for gas, and a cool beverage before lighting out for the territories as they say. Soon enough I was on I 10.......not a bad ride going west actually. Soon as I hit the slab, a mid '60s red mustang with a large 2 passed me. Heck I'm doing 85, so i just let him fade into the distance.

A few dozen miles past Junction, I passed him back as a DPS trooper had him stopped. Good thing I didn't race him.

A pit stop in Sonora should have included gas, because when I attempted to get to sanderson via sheffield it was determined that the stations were all closed and no 24x7 pumps. About then my low fuel light/countdown went on so i had to get back on I 10 and pray for gas in bakersfield 36 miles out of my accurate 40 miles left of petrol countdown.

Made it with 7 miles to spare and set my sights on ft stockton, then marathon. I filled up again there and a quick trip through town resulted in finding my riding buddies there at the watering hole. By the time we got to the park light was getting scarce. So the last hour or so was spent riding in the dark to RGV

 
Joined
Apr 2, 2004
Messages
478
Location
Smack dab in the middle of TX
This was working better than it seemed at the beginning. The weather had cleared and I had made it safely to RGV. We cruised the camping area in the dark until our other friends spotted us, then commenced to drinking all the beer at hand. The temp started to plummet so we huddled by the smoker stoked with cedar. The park is still in drought conditions so outdoor wood burning was banned, but we were able to slide under the radar with the fully enclosed smoker. It wasn't long until we ran afoul of the rules again, this time it was quiet time after 10 pm, so we were forced to retire early. Next morning we were serenaded by a nearby boy scout troup's bugler with the most botched edition of reveille I've heard; I don't think one correct note was struck, but it still garnered variuos applause and "heck yes" responses.

Breakfast appeared like magic and was taken care of swiftly.



The park ranger had already stopped by multiple times to remind us to check in and pay, so we took care of that. Our friends went to ride bicycles down from chisos basin, so we took in the sights before leaving for santa elena canyon. This road runner was doing some weird dances before checking us out. As mentioned elsewhere, I made an attempt at a bird call and it ran right up to me before realizing I had no food for him and it moved on to higher vantage points.

 
Joined
Apr 2, 2004
Messages
478
Location
Smack dab in the middle of TX
santa elena canyon

I don't have an excuse for not visiting this on my other trips to BB, but this time I finally made it. Wow is all i can say, not only the canyon, but the roads leading there are fantastic. My riding buddy took his light truck down maverick road some time back and broke all his fairing mounts. His buddy's honda had the calipers vibrate off. So we didn't try it this time, unfortunately, but it is the quick way there. The paved road is much fun though, it and the road to chisos basin are the best in the park.

We waited until the weather warmed up, loaded up on beer and gas at panther junction and made our way west. Upon arrival we hiked until trails end into the gaping maw carved over eons of time.



I was so eager, I kept my overpants on for the hike, which got me over-warm
but i didn't care, i was ready for some form of exercise after the previous 500 mile day.

Viewing out from within




Its a bit of a hike, but no big deal



painted wall reflections




Trails end




I would hate to be there when any of those rocks came down




Parting shot




If you do go, this, and the chisos basin are the must see BB sights. Darn near got busted for speeding right before exiting the park doin about 70. Guess we caught the shift end at the west side going back in, but they didn't stop. Gas and mexican food in terlingua\study butte, then off into the gathering twilight.
 

JMZ

Joined
Nov 15, 2005
Messages
6,097
Location
Gonzales , TX
First Name
John M.
Last Name
Zavadil
Nice reading and very nice pics. The Canyon is the only place we did not see last spring break. :doh::doh::doh::doh:
 
Joined
Apr 2, 2004
Messages
478
Location
Smack dab in the middle of TX
Thanks, i should have visited the canyon before, but time or weather prevented it in the past. Next time i go, prolly in the spring; i'm gonna shoot for a week to spend there. Back to the story........

As the second day of my trip wound down i realized that any time spent there is quality time. we gassed up in study butte and ate mexican food at the chili pepper, basic food that was plentiful, and the salsa rocked, that stuff had some genuine fire in it. We headed north towards alpine where some fellow twtxers allowed us to pitch a tent for which we were all deeply grateful.

It was just a few miles out of terlingua i noticed a problem with the GS, i had just filled up with gas but the gauge was only reading half-full, must be one heck of a leak going on, but I couldn't see or smell anything, it acted up the next day too but since then seems to be back to its normal self. My only bike related issue of the trip.

A place to retire to, to look out on the sunrise/sunsets without traffic and sirens, someplace where you can see all the stars, away from the city's bright lights glare. Thats where we spent our last evening. We bench raced with the finest, drank a bunch of beer and watched the day fade away.






Left our marks on the fridge of fame



Next morning, we were up early, only 500 miles back to austin



My trusty steed was set to go



We said our goodbyes, and right when we were pulling out on the highway we heard the roar of a jet. Sure enough, this would be the 3rd out of 4 visits to BB where we were overflown by B1 bombers. He headed straight for the outcropping above my bike and banked hard to the north. I get goosebumps thinking about it. Just like in the past, i forgot that where there's one B1, another is close by in pursuit, chasing each other through the canyons. So always remember if you see one, its too late for a pic, but the second one will be by shortly so pull out that camera anyway.

We went the wrong way on a street in alpine to get gas and got on 90 east.
marathon led us to sanderson and more gas, a few miles out I could see clouds in the distance, by the time we were in langtry it had grown overcast and cold, only to clear out again by the time we got to del rio. I got pulled over outside del rio for 73 in a 65, but only received a warning. By the time I got to austin I was pretty tired and got pulled over for 81 in a 65. No warning this time. Oh well, it's been a year so i was due anyway, i may just pay for it and regard it as the price of admission and slap on the wrist, considering some of the speeds I had achieved and maintained for most of the day. Thanks for riding along.....
 
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