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Life is Good in the Desert

Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
3,978
Location
Austin
The rally isn't over until the ride report is written and the pictures are posted. So here is my story of the 2011 Around the Bend. It's a tale of riding, drinking, eatin', taking pictures, hanging out on the front porch, and listening to Tricepilot's lies about Salma. Not necessarily in that order either :-P

Mrs. Trail Boss (aka Connie), her police-trained attack dog Max, and I headed west from Austin on Wednesday afternoon, expecting to arrive at Uncle's place about midnight. Not much to tell about this part of the trip - 8.5 hours and 500 miles of boring slab delivered us to Terlingua.

Thursday I slept a bit late and then Roger and I went riding for a few hours on the backroads of Terlingua Ranch. Upon our return, we all headed up to the front porch for a little drinking, eating, and story telling. A number of riders had already arrived and were holding court before we got there.

The "front porch" is the porch that joins the Terlingua Trading Company and the Starlight Theater Restaurant. It is Terlingua's version of Grand Central Station - everyone gathers here. The main activities are drinking, visiting, and telling lies.


Dogs are not technically allowed on the porch but Max is so vicious everyone was too afraid to say anything to Connie about the rules.


Well, the truth is there is a sign that says no dogs on the porch but no one really pays any attention to it. There always seems to be a dog or three hanging around the front porch.

You will see some interesting things hanging around the front porch. Stuff like a KLR with a 17 inch back tire for a front tire.


It's not unusual for local musicians to have an impromptu session on the front porch.


In full swing...


Motorcyclist seek each other out to talk motorcycles and riding, while admiring other's bikes.








The bench is almost always occupied.


You're taking your life into your own hands, trying to pet that dog...


Make sure you bring your pet chicken when you head out for the front porch...


Even chickens get thirsty.


His story was so interesting it woke up the dog. :lol2:


Technology marches on, even in Terlingua. They finally got cell service about 5 years ago.


The Starlight Theatre Restaurant is an excellent place to eat.


Mmmm, Shiner Bock.


Okay, so Zero Day wasn't much - a little riding, a little drinking, but mostly just getting on Terlingua time. Tomorrow would include lots more of everything.
 
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
3,978
Location
Austin
Okay, it's Day 1 and time to get serious. There's riding out there that needs to be done.

...

but first, we've got to have breakfast at Kathy's, check in the registered riders, late register those who missed early registration, chat with the county deputies about trespassing, and have a riders meeting. Then we can go ride.

The inner workings of Kathy's Kosmic Kowgirl Kafe. This is what it looks like on the other side of the window where you order your food from Kathy.



Kathy's is a great place to enjoy a cowboy breakfast.


After all the preliminaries were done, six of us - Kevin, Big A, Jeff, Mark, Chris, and I - saddled up and headed to Big Bend Ranch State Park to ride the Rancherias Loop, home of the infamous King Kong Hill. Rancherias Loop is a tough class 3 route. It is a sweet dessert to be savored and King Kong Hill is the bonus cherry on top. King Kong hill is steep, curved, and covered in loose rocks - a description that doesn't quite do it justice.

Big Bend Ranch State Park - home of excellent dual sport adventure



The easiest road in the park is the main road. It's an easy road, sort of like a warm up before a hard workout.



The main road is also a good way to get your bike really, really dusty.


After checking in at the ranch headquarters, known as Saucedo, and paying our $3 entry fee, we headed south on Madrid Road. It is a nice class 2 with some loose gravel, a few ruts, and some nice elevation changes.

Big A on his KTM 690


Chris shows that the venerable XR650L can get the job done. Venerable? Accorded a great deal of respect, especially because of age, wisdom, or character.



Jeff on his Mad Max black KTM 690.



Kevin made his new model KLR earn its pay today.



A few miles south on Madrid and it was time to make a right turn onto Javelin road (which is also Javelin trail). The road took a decided turn for the worse here. A sign indicated only 4 wheel drives beyond this point, while another sign informed us that the road was unmaintained. Which, of course, is just what we like.

Twin KTM 690s. "What's the dang hold up? Put that camera away and let's ride.
 
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
3,978
Location
Austin
Javelin Road is the best part of this route. It's a wonderful class 3 with lots of the good stuff - ruts, rocks, elevation changes, sand, gravel, cactus, and other spiny things. Just the kind of things that put a big 'ol smile on a dual sport rider's face.

Life is good in the desert. I don't believe that either Mark or Big A will argue with that claim.



Jeff doesn't appear inclined to disagree either.



This is one of the easier sections of Javelin Road.



Fairly typical example of the road surface on Javelin Road.


You'll enjoy several miles of this stuff on Javelin Road.



Just when you think it can't get any better, you arrive at King Kong Hill.
 
Joined
Dec 9, 2008
Messages
501
Location
Houston
Oh, no fair! A cliff hanger stop!

Great pics. Looking forward to everyone's stories.

I really really wanted to join this ride. But work and life got in the way. I am very jelous of all of you!
 
Joined
Aug 9, 2009
Messages
383
Location
Austin, TX
Very cool! Love the BBRSP pics. Now that BBRSP is getting more ridership, its getting more flair "King Kong Hill" so, who coined that? Lets give some credit where due! :clap::clap::clap:
Glad to see y'all having a blast out there.
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2007
Messages
537
Location
houston
People pics from Kosmic Kathy's. Enjoy!

Big Jim.
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Chris chillin'.
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Mmmm that was good.
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Trice + dog. Dog wins!
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Joined
Apr 1, 2007
Messages
5,171
Location
Terlingua Tx
Here are a few shots from my trip... I was fortunate enough to be able to go there a week early and stay through the event.

KLRs turned out to be good steeds for Old Ore Rd.

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Sunsets and sunrises are unique each day.

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The bikes were as happy to be there as the riders were.

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Linked up with a group known as The Lost Boys for a day ride. They have a regular ride here every year too and are a friendly bunch of people.

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A ride to La Linda was a day well spent and included some time visiting the Hallie Stillwell museum.

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Switched to the small bike to ride sweep on River Road and Black Gap with a great group of riders.

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That run had some interesting highlights.

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The camera was put away at the turn north on Black Gap. Rumor has it that my WR got suicidal and tried to run off of the road where there is a steep drop off, only to be planted hard on its left side with the front wheel over the edge. Nobody got a pic, so I guess it didn't happen! :rider:

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Local deputies paid a morning visit.

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My last day of riding ended with a gettoff in one of the silt traps on Old Marathon Rd. That stuff will hide rocks and ruts on a windy day by blowing the silt almost smooth over them.

Note, a chinbar makes a good kitty litter scoop when it hits the ground at about 40 miles per hour.

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When the tumbling stopped I had silt packed in my helmet so that I could not see out at all. I had to open the chin bar before I could even breathe. Silt was everywhere in my gear and all over my bike.

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Except for the ride back to camp my riding was done for the trip. The bars had to be pointed right to go straight. No permanent damage was done, just tweaked the forks in the clamps and bent the front rack. Both are fixed. My bruised muscles are healing as well.
 
Joined
Sep 18, 2006
Messages
7
Location
Grapevine, Tx
Since we are in a sharing mode today... here are some iPhone vids captured on King Kong Hill. I was riding the R1100GS and was just getting ready to go when Richard's group caught up. After I made it up, captured these vids of others. Sorry, don't know the names of who these are besides Richard, but have a black KTM and a Kawasaki.

Not sure how to embed a YouTube video within the thread so here are links.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tI0v5NOPxw8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Le3AO5ryg3k
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OaqGnNlwRA
 
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Messages
3,789
Location
Santa Fe, TX
Man, this is great. :clap:

Not sure where this King Kong Hill is. My buddy and I rode back to Chorro Vista last year on our GSs. We did a couple knarly hills but don't know if this was one of them.

Me be headed that way in the morning. :trust:
 
Joined
Sep 18, 2006
Messages
7
Location
Grapevine, Tx
Images from pics and vids are totally deceiving. It was tough to walk, let alone ride. Hill rightly deserves its name, toughest climb I have encountered on the GS.
 
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Messages
3,789
Location
Santa Fe, TX
500 Internal Server Error

Sorry, something went wrong.

A team of highly trained monkeys has been dispatched to deal with this situation.
If you see them, show them this information:

:lol2:
 

Tourmeister

Keeper of the Asylum
Admin
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
45,700
Location
Huntsville
:tab The steep climbs is where having a 14 tooth front sprocket on the KLR's REALLY makes a big difference! King Kong Hill reminds me of some of the hills we were going up and down out in the Arizona desert a few years ago, long, loose, and STEEP. Unfortunately, at that time I had the 15 tooth sprocket on the KLR and it killed me! :doh: I was glad to have the 14 on again last fall for the Colorado Mountain Pass Adventure. Some of those climbs were really loose, long and steep as well, with long drop offs on one side... :shock: _RG_ was able to do it on his KLR with the 15 on the front, but he was definitely working harder than me to get it done!
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
2,302
Location
Bryan-sort of-Texas
Oh...heck yeah! That'll work! Nice ridin boys. Great pix and videos. THANKS! :thumb:

Let's see...Javelin rd - King Kong Hill. Hmmm...yep, on the list. :drool:


Images from pics and vids are totally deceiving. It was tough to walk, let alone ride. Hill rightly deserves its name, toughest climb I have encountered on the GS.
 

izz

Joined
Oct 2, 2009
Messages
131
Location
Dublin, Tx
For trips to Big Bend/Mexico Step 1 Get Gas.

Trailer.jpg


Step 2 add more bikes.

TrailerLoaded.jpg


Step 3 find a place to park.

MudMissle says " you can't park there" Izz says "but this way I won't need a kickstand to work on my bike."

Underwater.jpg


Once your in BBRSP find a place for Michael to fix his rock knocked hole in the case, with the Quicksteel putty. Stingray, Terranaut and MudMissle give moral support.

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Quicksteel sets up under water in 20 minutes!

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Michael at the top of Deer Poop Mountain.

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What kind of mushrooms did they put in my eggs at breakfast?

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I reccommend that you always use Slime, unless you have Norbit along...he is a machine when it comes to changing a flat!

Norbit.jpg


We stopped in at a local spot to eat and they offer us some work moving furniture and what not. Scott seems to think we might need gas money later...that was an orange gas tank joke...

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Next stop South of the border, 20 miles north of Ojinaga along the river then up into the mountains:

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This border cat comes to us while we wait at the crossing for the MudMissle to get his insurance.

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Which way to go?

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I know, let's get some green chili tacos!

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As the road starts to get steep, we find this lowrider in a place you can barely ride a bike to...go figure.

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Then we come up on this landing pad and my mind is going like Zettas and hot lz's....

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When along comes a mule rider herding goats and he tells us that a plane had crashed some time back and they landed helicopters here for the extraction. He had lived in these mountains for 58 years according to our translator Edwin.

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Godzilla Hill, my buddies Scott and Edwin scout it on foot before we go up, cause I was kind of scared...for real.

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From the top of Godzilla looking back down, that wasn't that hard, please excuse me while I pass out.

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See that MudMissle blood, it might be the most interesting in the world.

MudMissle.jpg


Once we make it over the mountain range to the solar powered village of El Murcielago, we are home free just another 120 miles through river washes and military check points and we make it to the banquet for dinner.

Bats.jpg
 
Joined
Jan 21, 2007
Messages
366
Location
Austin, Tx
Next stop South of the border, 20 miles north of Ojinaga along the river then up into the mountains:

Godzilla Hill, my buddies Scott and Edwin scout it on foot before we go up, cause I was kind of scared...for real.

Godzilla.jpg
Here's some supporting video to Godzilla Hill:

 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 14, 2005
Messages
835
Location
Leander
What a great picture! A bunch of Shady Characters in a Shady Place! Sure wish I could have been there.
 
Joined
Apr 1, 2007
Messages
5,171
Location
Terlingua Tx
That copyright thing is sad. I mean, if we like the song we might go buy a copy on I-Tunes or something. If we can't hear it though, we won't even consider the purchase! DOH!
 

izz

Joined
Oct 2, 2009
Messages
131
Location
Dublin, Tx
Maybe this will work, watch how Scott makes it look like so easy...not only did I not see him go down, but I don't even think he put his feet on the ground all weekend!

th_Godzilla-1.jpg
 
Joined
Sep 18, 2006
Messages
7
Location
Grapevine, Tx
Yes, life is good in the desert. Really loved the riding out there and meeting up with many of you. Thanks Richard for doing such a great job of organizing the event! Looking forward to doing it again! Here are a few pics of me and my pops bashin around the desert.

Obligatory beverage stop while in town.
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Rider meetup on day 1. Coffee and company was good!
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The White Buffalo in its native habitat.
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Me and dad, riding together for over 40 years.
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Coming out of BBSP
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GS Pilot's view
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Where the pavement ends and the *** kickin begins!
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Deep sand on North County road was a handful on the White Buffalo.
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Hot Springs and dip in the river felt great.
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These two bikes have seen a lot together.
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Hotel in Lajitas was great, will be back.
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Breakfast view wasn't too bad.
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Crappy iPhone photo doesn't do it justice, but sunrise/sunset in the desert are unfreakin believable. Can't even begin to talk about the stars...
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Joined
Jan 21, 2007
Messages
366
Location
Austin, Tx
Step 3 find a place to park.

MudMissle says " you can't park there" Izz says "but this way I won't need a kickstand to work on my bike."

Underwater.jpg
Here's some supporting video for Izz's water crossing. It's got a bit of a dirty ending...:rofl:

 
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
3,978
Location
Austin
Life is Good in the Desert - King Kong Hill

"Just when you think it can't get any better you arrive at King Kong Hill."

In our last episode the Magnificent Six had just successfully traversed the dangerous and challenging Javelin Road only to be confronted with the horror of King Kong Hill.

Completely uninspiring, not awesome in any way photograph of the start of King Kong Hill. It's always much steeper and harder than any photograph shows. Yes, I hiked to the top to get this picture. Yes, I was winded when I got up there.


King Kong Hill? What's that, you ask? Here's the story. There is another road in the Big Bend region known as Chispa Road. The first riders to ride that particular road reported that it had a very steep, difficult hill that they dubbed Gorilla Hill. That's the rule - if you ride it first, you get to name it.

In March 2009 Big Bend Ranch State Park (aka The Ranch) finally opened the roads in the park to motorcyclists. About 20 minutes later Uncle, my buddy Shawn, and I jumped on our bikes and headed toward The Ranch as fast as we could, intent on riding those roads. To my knowledge we are the first motorcyclists to legally ride the Rancherias Loop. Of course, we had no idea at the time that the then unnamed King Kong Hill was patiently waiting for us.

Since Shawn was a dual sport newbie and was on a borrowed bike, we sent him up the hill first. With a lot of wheel spinning and cursing, he made it over the top.


Before anxiety got the best of him, Uncle dumped the clutch and took off after Shawn like a scalded monkey.


But, alas, Uncle doesn't weigh enough. He lost traction and then lost momentum, never to regain it. Down went the bike and Uncle.


Eventually, Shawn walked down the hill and between the two of them they managed to get the bike up and over the hill. It was ugly but they got it done.


Once all 3 of us were over the top of the hill, Uncle claimed naming rights (since he was the one who fell). He said that if the hill on Chispa Rd was Gorilla Hill then this hill must be King Kong Hill. And so it is, to this day.

Hey, Shawn. How do you feel about King Kong Hill?
 
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
3,978
Location
Austin
Now the Magnificent Six were at the base of King Kong Hill ready to bend it to our will.

But first, we had to get the stuck rider off the hill. GollyGwiz's dad's White Buffalo (BWM GS) was stuck on the steepest part of the hill.


With me pushing and him riding, we managed to get the buffalo moving and, eventually, over the top. Now it was Big A's turn. Make that 690 show what it can do, Big A.




And, just like that, he was over the top. Made it look easy too. Good job, Big A.

Mark was up next on the Kawsuki KR-Z400.


He had to deploy his outriggers but he made it.


Mad Max Jeff was ready for his turn.


Luckily, he had fully functional outriggers too that he was able to deploy in his quest for the apex.


Go, Jeff, Go!
 
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
3,978
Location
Austin
Three down (or up, in this case), three to go. Chris started his valiant run for the top.





But, alas, he doesn't weigh enough either, lost traction, and down he went.




The other riders quickly came to his aid and in short order he and the bike were over the top.




Not to be outdone, the mighty KLR was up next, ridden by Kevin P.


He was doing quite well until he lost traction and momentum.


Kevin came up with a different strategy to conquer the hill. He got his bike turned around, rode back to the bottom of the hill, executed a u-turn, and nailed the throttle for a 2nd attempt.








With a little work he successfully made it over the top.

That left one - the Italian Supermodel Husky TE610. Don't be fooled though - it's only a Supermodel on the outside. On the inside beats the heart of a true dual sport champion motorcycle. With style and aplomb, I sprinted up the hill on my mighty steed. Of course, in a sense of fairness I handed off my camera to one of the riders hanging around the top of the hill in order to immortalize this moment.






And over the top I went. Thank God for outriggers. :)


Veni, Vidi, Vici. We came. We saw. We conquered. The Magnificent Six plus 2 standing on the top of King Kong Hill.



And that, my friends, is how we spent Day 1 of the Around the Bend rally.
 
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
3,978
Location
Austin
Richard those are some awesome pictures, I think I may have to borrow a couple of them.:clap::clap::clap:
Thank you for the compliment. Help yourself to any of the pics. It was my pleasure to take them.

Here's the link to all the pics I took during this year's Around the Bend - http://www.richgibbensphotography.com/Motorcycle-Adventure/aroundthebend/16006585_KyNAz#1200793195_DEmmN

Any and all are welcome to the pictures. You can order prints directly from that site or you can download them to your computer.
 
Joined
May 8, 2007
Messages
924
Location
Belton Texas
Also what most people don't know is to what extent Richard goes to get the great shots that he takes. After the close up shot of me coming up King Kong hill, he had to scramble for his life, because I almost ran over him coming up over the top. So thank you Richard for risking life and limb to get these great shots, They are appreciated!!!!:clap::clap::clap::clap:
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2007
Messages
2,225
Location
Ten Sleep, WY
Muy bueno! Great photography, great writing, and dirty movies! Now that the RR is going I've gotta get off my butt and clean up some shots. I have video of the White and Red Buffalos as well...
 
Joined
Aug 9, 2009
Messages
383
Location
Austin, TX
Very cool shots of King Kong hill and a lot of determined efforts to make the top! I think the line on the right is a bit more difficult now! Very cool to hear the story of how it was dubbed King Kong hill!
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2007
Messages
537
Location
houston
Trusty Steed
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Jim takes target practice
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Charles in Charge?
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Visualizing King Kong Hill
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Ooooh that feels good!
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Wheres my rider?
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