LoneStar's 4th o' July in Terlingua
Finally having a 3 day weekend to ride, I got the urge to head south to the border - Big Bend and Terlingua that is - to see what July the 4th would bring...
Checking the weather Thursday, I was surprised to see relatively mild temperatures listed for the recent days.
Friday morning in Kerrville dawned grey and muggy, and allergies were kicking my tail to say the least.
Pre launch flight inspection
With watering eyes, I headed down 16 for I-10, gassing up at the Shell station in Kerrville.
Another rider was fueling up and I had the feeling we were heading the same direction.
Expecting scalding heat, I suited up in my mesh Fieldsheer Titanium pants and Joe Rocket Phoenix 4. Also decided to wear my new MX helmet since I hadn't had a chance to try it out yet. The temps were chillier than I expected and I was praying for the sun to come out after a few minutes on the road. I finally got on the highway about 7:30 am, just as the clouds began to break. The air was still chilly but the sun came out for sure about halfway between Kerrville and Junction.
Clouds beginning to break
Luuuuke... I am your faaather...
Sun at last - woohoo!
Fog bank ahead
About 15 miles from Junction I entered a huge fog bank which lasted until I hit Junction. The visibility was bad - about 75 - 100 yards max . The fog condensed on my glasses so heavily I had to constantly turn my head to let the water run off. To make matters worse, I was feeling REALLY sick and didn't know whether to turn around and head back home. Deciding I'd rather be sick with allergies in Big Bend than at home, I pushed on. The chill was pretty strong, even after the sun had come out. I'd been expecting to be sweating by 9 or 10 am, but their was definitely unseasonal cool in the breeze.
Breaking out the other side of the fog
About halfway to Sonora. the rider who'd filled up next to me in Kerrville passed me going about 90 in the 80 mph speed zone. Eventually he slowed and we both exited for gas in Sonora. Turns out he was heading for Roswell from Houston. I didn't get his name, but he was originally from Paris, France and was riding a Honda 919. He asked if I knew where the gas stations were along the way, since his range was about 120 miles. I told him not to worry - I had spare fuel cannisters on the GS and if he was out on the side of the road, I'd gas him up. He laughed and headed on.
Passing Ozona and Bakersfield, the terrain changed to the large plateaus and vistas, including a few wind generators.
Texas seems to be becoming a little like Holland - only not.
I could tell the weather was a little different, as the air was quite cool when riding, and I almost had to stop and put a jacket liner in. Weird.
I reached Ft. Stockton about 10:30 and gassed up, my first tank of $4.50 gasoline.
Still feeling crappy, I hit the local Walmart to get some Sudafed red. No luck.
The pharmacy was closed so I headed on to check out the town before going south to Marathon. A run through the old downtown and surrounding neighborhood was interesting. Some really old adobe house remains are there.
After getting a shot of "Pete", the giant roadrunner, I headed down 385. A couple of blocks later, a guy on a bike pulled in front wearing a US flag shirt. I followed him for a ways, miles actually, wondering if he was going to Marathon as well. We reached a stop sign and chatted for a sec before heading on. After a ways, I got the feeling I wasn't going the right direction and stopped on the shoulder. He pulled over and informed me I was NOT on the road to Marathon but on the way to a prison. Aaaaaaaaaaaargh. Told him thanks and headed back into town, where I found the turn sign to Marathon covered by an untrimmed tree limb. Argh.
Uncle Sam rides a Honda
My "slight detour" had been about 20 miles or more, so I topped off the tank again in case the stations in Marathon were closed on the 4th. Having lost almost an hour in Ft. Stockton, it felt good to finally be zooming south.
The road was nice and easy, with only oilfield trucks on the way. I arrived in Marathon about 1pm, and gassed up to $4.70 a gallon. Deciding to get lunch, I found my voice had disappeared to a whisper and had trouble ordering the burger. A glass of tea helped and I talked with a lady and her little baby boy for a while. She had recently moved to Marathon and was strolling the baby around for the 4th. The burger appeared and was delicious, despite my allergy hangover. Several folks talked with me and I was asked to come back Saturday for the "post" dance and barbecue.
Locals catch up on news while I catch up on fat
Jalapeno & grilled onion cheeseburger - mmmmm
Sounded good to me. I ran down the "post road" to check it out before heading south for the park.
The ride into Big Bend National is always so nice, just beautiful and amazing scenery. At the park entrance, the gal informed me that the road to Luna's Jacal was impassable from recent rains and that the Rio Grande had been up, possibly filling the hot springs with mud.
I stopped at Panther Junction for gas, and refueled with a chocolate ice cream sandwich. Woohoo! After hours in the sun and wind, the cold creamy goodness was awesome. The temperature had gone up noticeably in the park and I was now sweating. My poor little sweat glands were exhausted, their tiny tongues hanging out to cool.
mmmmmmmmmMississippiiiiiiiiiiiMuuuuuuddddd!!!!!!!! ! a-haw-haw-haw
Don't hate me because I'm beautiful...
I rode on west to Study Butte and Terlingua, enjoying the views and stunning scenery. Rain was sporadic under the billowy clouds, and I enjoyed the occasional cool drops that hit my face.
Rain in the desert - a beautiful sight to see
I rode on through Study Butte and Terlingua, checking prices on motels and looped through the Ghost Town, swinging by World Famous Uncle Roger's place.
Sho' nuff he wasn't there, as I expected, but the place looked good.
His gazebo was almost finished it looked like... either that or he was building a cedar version of Stonehenge.
I finally ended up at the Chisos Mining Company motel next to Kathy's Kosmic Kowgirl Kafe. The gal there informed me that there was to be a parade that evening, starting in Study Butte and ending up at Kathy's about 7pm. The shindig was to benefit the EMS for the Terlingua area and there would be free food - donations accepted.
I checked in and cooled down, finishing up with a shower before heading out to watch the parade.
Locals had begun to gather at Kathy's, and you could see the parade a mile away in Study Butte forming up.
The pre-parade tension was palpable
After a while, the show arrived - a panoply of decorated IH Scouts, horses and riders, four wheelers, trucks, fire trucks, law enforcement and whoever else wandered in. The floats tossed candy to the crowd. Unfortunately we were across the road and the candy splattered on the hot asphalt. Woohoo! It was still a hoot!
Kathy leads the parade
"Los Diablos" - a brush fire team from BBNP - received the biggest cheers by far!
The crowd thickened and food was served to the sounds of Texas music. I gorged on a combo of health food - hot dogs and chili - pretty representative of the locals. I donated for the dinner and then bought a Terlingua EMS shirt to help the fund. Kathy came over, busy running the show and told me it was actually the 2nd Annual 4th of July Parade and Party to benefit the EMS.
All I can say is YOU NEED TO BE HERE ON THE 4TH!
I left the party for a ride down to the ghost town at sunset, wandering the old cemetery and around the buildings for a few photos.
The porch was dead since the party was at Kathy's, save a coupla tipsy locals who welcomed me to Terlingua with voluminous beer breath.
From there I headed back to Kathy's where the shindig continued until late. I headed to the hacienda for some sleep, exhausted from the ride in the heat and the hellacious allergies. Still, it was wonderful.
More tomorra... adios amigos
Fantastic pics!! thanks for the detailed report too :thumb
Dang! I'm sweating here just thinking of being in the Big Bend area this late in the year. Thanks for the pictures and information. Love that area.
Dang Joseph...that was an odd weather pattern you started out in. Great pics on the trip. You're bolder than me to head to the Big Bend area in summer. I love that area...in the spring, fall, or even winter. I sure do miss the Texas state circuit enduro race they used to have there in February.
I never said I was smart :lol3... but it has been a lot of fun and not as hot as I expected
July da 5th!
I woke up feeling a little weak but better than yesterday. The morning sun had that hot sting to it and I could tell today was gonna be hot and miserable.
Breaking tradition, I headed for the Ghost Town Cafe for breakfast. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
When I sat down at the table, I noticed a grizzled character across the way. As I studied him, I began to recognize the face. I got up and approached the table, introducing myself and asking if he was a photographer by any chance. Turns out he was Blair Pittman, a National Geographic photographer I'd met in Big Bend in 1981. My first trip to the region was on a college class trip, and Blair had been the guest speaker and guide to remote places. Blair had specialized in the Big Bend area, doing many books and articles on the region.
We chatted over breakfast and caught up on 36 years of history. Turns out he was heading to the barbecue and dance in Marathon a little later and I told him we might bump heads again if I headed that way.
National Geographic photog and Big Bend expert Blair Pittman
I headed up to "the porch" after breakfast, to find a couple of locals already following tradition... Lone Star beer and coolers, enjoying the shade and watching the touristas wander past. I sat on the bench to upload my ride report before heading into the park for a late morning ride.
Three hours later, I was still engrossed in the hilarious conversations and local gossip on the porch. Of course I felt like a dweeb in all my riding gear with a laptop while the locals drank beer in shorts and t-shirts. It didn't go unnoticed and I got my share of ribbing. The sheriff showed up with a dog he'd found on the road, delivering to it's owner who was quite happy. He had run off during all the fireworks last night. The sheriff sat down next to me and we all talked for an hour or two. Topics ranged from oppressive government to high fuel prices to the sexual persuasion of the "artists" in Marfa... whom they call "Marfadites"... Pretty much everything else was covered in the conversations.
The local outlaw radio host "Uh Clem" wandered in and sat with ubiquitous "Doug" on the porch. He and Doug further explained that the radio antennae needed fixing and they tried to get me to climb the wooden radio tower and install something. I told them no, as I knew they only wanted to see a dumb tourist fall off a tower. Then Clem tried to rope me into taking over the radio station since he was having to deal with glaucoma issues now. The thought intrigued me and I envisioned myself late at night, keeping the locals entertained and informed with my wit and wisdom between songs from George Jones and Led Zeppelin... somehow "Wolfman Joe" just doesn't fit me... so I declined.
Having passed the initiation test, I was officially commissioned and made part of the Terligua SWAT team... Doug handed me a flyswatter and told me to do my part.
God it is sooooooo refreshing to be around folks who don't care what people think about them. I get tired of the cookie cutter society we have that produces Abercrombie Kens and B*tch Barbies. But enough about that.
By the way, at this point I must interject that my trip was inspired by a last minute email from my wonderful friend Helen (you know who you are) who foolishly forwarded the video "I've been everywhere man" by our honored TWT'er who did the great video. I also must mention that her husband is my best friend and a great man, as is their daughter (but not a man) who I happen to work for - it's an honor too! I leave your names off since I care about your reputations, but you know who you are :D Enough brown-nosing...
Where was I? Oh yeah... By now it was dead hot and I was getting sleepy in the cool breeze on the porch. If I didn't leave now I'd never leave. I got on the bike to well wishes from my new friends - except for one who told me to take chances, ride dangerously and do foolish things. I laughed and headed out.
I passed Passing Wind, and sure enough Jimmy had finished the submarine. For those who don't know, Jimmy was a retired Navy sailor from Brooklyn who fell in love with Terlingua and began building a fleet. He also built a propane powered volcano and tiki bar to complete the south seas feel of "Passing Wind". Somehow I had expected more than just a conning tower, but at the same time I really didn't expect much either, so it was fine. I felt all warm and fuzzy and patriotic after seeing our Navy protecting Big Bend.
The first dangerous and wild thing I did was stop at the Study Butte store for a root beer to cool off before entering the park. The second foolish thing I did was sit down by a wild and dangerous dog.
Here's the pic in case you don't believe me.
Surviving the dangerous encounter, I hit the road for Big Bend National Park.
The park was absolutely spectacular today. The rains had cleared the air and greened up the place. I was feeling hugely better than yesterday and just rode slowly, taking in the colors and smells. The clouds were gorgeous and every direction was a photo op. The skies really were magnificent.
Needless to say, there were very few visitors and even fewer bikes. I saw maybe 12 in total on this trip. I think there is a fear of the heat in summer, but don't be afraid - it ain't that bad and there's plenty of excuses to go cool off somewhere.
I headed on up to the basin, enjoying the cool air and winding road. In the gift shop (no, I didn't buy you a gift), I bumped into an 80 year old man who'd been on the porch for a while. He and I gabbed while his 40 year old girlfriend bought out the place. He shared a few stories and advice on a couple of roads to take. Figured I'd avoid marriage advice from him tho.
Heading back down from the basin, I was engaged by the scale of the valley ahead. That's one thing that always amazes me out here... the scale is so large it's like having a bit of Wyoming and Utah to ride through.
Rio Grande Village called my name and I headed east from the basin, watching the gigantic valley ahead. The heat grew more intense as I dropped lower and I sucked my Camelbak dry in short order. The temperature difference from the east side to the west side of the park got my attention. The west was hot, but having a few showers obviously kept the temps a little cooler. I've been in 120 degree heat a few times, and ridden through desert in 110 heat but I went through some patches of heat that absolutely took my breath away. I have no idea how hot it was in spots, but it was hooooooooootttttt. My sweat glands developed sweat glands.
I gassed up at the Village and ate lunch about 4 pm. Mmmmm mmmmm. Not.
The attendant told me the old river crossing was no longer accessible since the terror ban, which is a shame since it was fun to float over on the barrel boat and ride a donkey up for Mexican food. Oh well, at least I have the memories.
Village food... un-mmmmmmmmm
Heading towards Boquillas Canyon
At the river overlook, I could see the old Mexican town of Boquillas and a good view of the river. Probably why they call it a river overlook.
Those darn illegal aliens. They'll do anything to get across. Here, 2, dressed as a cow try to graze their way over.
However, next to my bike and taped to a rock was a hand written sign with "Walking sticks for sale, Scorpions $5" and a little jar of money on the ground by the rock. The sign also mentioned donations for the orphans or something. I desperately wanted to buy a scorpion, and waited but there was no one around. I called "hey scorpion man", but he must not have understood English or was just plain invisible. The longer I stood there, my instincts began to come alive and I figured it was probably a highly sophisticated multi-miilion dollar government sting operation and I was being watched by snipers, satellites and the Terlingua SWAT team. I decided not to wait for a scorpion and instead rode on.
In case you don't believe me...
By now it was really hot and I was having paranoid delusions induced by the heat and lack of root beer in my system. Also, I had planned to ride to Marathon and spend the night, having planned on going to the "Post Dance" this evening.
Realizing I still had to go all the way through the park and up to Thon, I raced out at the mind-numbing park speed of 45 mph. It was now so frickin hot I thought I was gonna die or the Feds were gonna catch me for interfering with their multi-million dollar sting operation.
It seemed like hours before I finally got out of the park, heading north and into somewhat cooler temps. Woohoo!
Ooops, the Feds were waiting a coupla miles south of Marathon at the border checkpoint. (thank God I hadn't bought that scorpion). The officer began asking me questions, but I couldn't hear with my ear plugs in so I shouted "Wait, I gotta take my ear plugs out" and started trying to undo my helmet, finally getting one plug out of my ear. The officer said "Take it easy, I just need to ask a few questions."
Maybe it was my sunburned face, maybe it was me talking louder than normal since I had earplugs in, but I have no idea why he thought I was NOT taking it easy... anyway, he asked me if I had come from the "Legion"? ... frantic thoughts raced through my head "The French Foreign Legion?", the demon Jesus talked to in the Bible named "legion"?
I had no idea what he was talking about and said "What are you talking about?" Then he said something about the Legion meeting down south. I said "No, I didn't know anything about that. I was in Terlingua and just rode through the park." I didn't mention the scorpion set-up. He looked at me a bit and then said "Ok, be safe" and waved me through. Weird.
The last coupl'a miles to Marathon were nice, but it was gettin' late and I had a feeling I was gonna have trouble finding a room. My fears were confirmed when I saw all the cars on the street outside the Gage Hotel. I rode down to the Marathon Motel, and the attendant was kind enough to call all the hotels for me, but said nothing was available in town, the Post Dance was going on, and somebody died the day before so the whole town was full.
I headed out for Sanderson, and on a whim pulled in at the Gage. They had one room left - woohoo x 2!
It was kinda shee-shee and I felt awkward in my smelly shirt and helmet hair. Lots of guests were all duded up for the dance. Unfortunately I had left my tux in Kerrville.
Here's the lobby
My room is up those stairs
I woulda taken a pic of the room, but it was so small I couldn't raise my arms to take the pic. All for $106 bucks as well. Well Biff and Muffy, at least they have quail's tongue brazed in kitten's milk on the menu.
Took a quick shower (in my room of course) and changed into my least smelly clothes, then wandered around the hotel - very cool place - and finally flopped in a chair across the room from a stuffed mountain lion. I have to say it is the most realistic one I've seen and it has stared at me the entire time I've written this report. Creepy real. No, really. Creepy.
About dusk I hopped on the GehllandStrasse and rode down the road to "the Post". The air was actually quite cool and chilly in my t-shirt. About 100 yards from the park entrance, the local trucks had begun parking on the side of the road. I pulled on in and parked next to a Harley, just as I heard the band singing the National Anthem. I paused with the crowd and put my hand over my heart, surrounded by cowboys and country boys, proud of our flag.
Upon further reading, I discovered what the "Post" was all about, it being an original U.S. Cavalry post to fight the Commanche raiding parties. The large spring at the location had been used by the Indians for ages as they traveled south to raid Mexico, and the post was established to block access. Turns out Robert E. Lee was stationed as commander there for a while. Hmm.
The local ranchers and others were dressed up for the dance, in pressed Wranglers and starched western shirts, cowboy hats centered perfectly. The folks were bringing chairs and coolers and a constant stream were arriving. There were about 150 already and as it got dark, the number was close to 500 I'd guess.
As the western music played, the boot scootin started on the sand covered concrete pad. i wandered around the little park, as the crowd grew and the crescent moon rose over the hills. It was fascinating watching the families and folks enjoying themselves.
As I watched the dance under the tall trees, a cool night breeze blowing and fireworks exploding overhead, I was swept back many years to a time in America's past. The families, the cowboys and their wives and girlfriends, the young teen boys dressed up hopefully, it all came rushing in. For a second, I started to tear up... America still exists in hidden places.
This has been one heck of a 4th of July!
More tomorrow my friends...
Wish I was there!
My you set out against some odds with the weather and not feeling well...
but what a wonderful experiences in having made the journey....
Loved so many pictures.....just great shots!
I loved the old cemetery....wow....you'd have to drag me away....
no doubt digging a trench as I dug in my heels...
Once again, I find myself dying with laughter....:rofl ... throughout your ride report.
The thoughts and words that flash through your mind.....amaze me...
Your humor is so enjoyable ....refreshingly funny...my brain is still reflecting/reliving....
"Darth,Holland,Uncle Sam,Stonehenge,"Marfadites",....Wolfman Joe...Terlingua Swat team"...
Was all that on one report...(scratching my head)
Oh, oh, oh....the baby sweat glands, they endured the challenge, overcame great obstacles, met the heat head on, fought the good fight and won....
The shot of Blair Pittman was great....
Anyone tell you that you have a gift for shooting...(wink)
Wonderful ride report, babe...
Can't wait to see you...:shog :raabia
See ya! :norton
Howdy folks - Ah'm feelin a might Texan after the fandango last nat!
Actually it was a great evening and I had a great time hanging around the dance. I make a great wallflower :tears
The Post Dance lasted officially til 1 am, but I left about 11pm and headed back to the hotel for some down time. I was a bit hungry, and let me tell you there ain't even a vending machine in Marathon after 10 pm.
I came into the lobby of the Gage to sit down and finish the ride report, the only place they have wifi in the hotel, and asked the desk clerk if she knew of any place I could find a vending machine since I hadn't had supper. I tried to look emaciated but it just doesn't work since I'm not. She said "hang on a sec..." and in a couple of minutes appeared from the Quail Tongue kitchen with two goodies for me. She dropped them in my helmet and gave a belly laugh, saying "They'll never miss 'em!"
I thanked her profusely and upon inspection found one to be a chocolate muffin and the other a small pecan pie (personal travel size). Woohoo! Nothing like a late night sugar rush when you need to sleep.
Figuring the pecan pie had too much sugar, I scarfed the chocolate muffin down and washed it down with a complimentary bottle of water on my nightstand. It was right next to the complimentary earplugs. More on that later.
Well, the chocolate muffin had it's revenge. I had a horrible nightmare in which I was sitting on a couch next to Tommy Lee Jones. He sat at the end and stared at me with an angry look. It was one huge eternity of silence while he looked at me over his folded newspaper and I couldn't think of anything to say to him. This went on forever it seemed like. I realize Tommy always looks angry, but he just was not a conversationalist. Maybe I had a near-death experience and went to hades for a moment. Shudder.
Anyway, I actually do like the Gage Hotel - it's a beautiful place and decorated nicely. You should stay there at least once if you get the chance. One word of caution, the floors squeak like you wouldn't believe, and the walls and doors are paper thin. Toilet paper thin. About 1 am, when I finally made it to the room, I was painfully aware of all the folks sleeping and tried to be quiet. Of course I had to go from the bed to the potty right before sleeping, and I blanched, thinking of all the noise my footsteps would make. I tried to tiptoe quietly, but each step sounded like 2000 sweaty thighs sliding on naugahyde and vinyl. My God it was noisy. It seemed to take an eternity to make it to the bathroom and back.
I thought maybe the earplugs were for the squeaky floors, but later realized they were for many things, including the trains across the road.
The bed felt for a while, until I realized my 6'4 frame was in a 6' bed frame. When I finally woke up and sat up, I heard the person in the room next door putting on jeans and could hear the zipper zipping. Yikes! God only knows what he thought when I put my boots on... hearing huge patches of velcro ripping and the snapping of many buckles...
I carried my gear through the shee-shee lobby, my big ziplock bags of clothes stuffed proudly under each arm and one held between my teeth (my arms were full). Outside it was threatening rain and cool, and my instincts told me to eat breakfast. I stuffed my gear in the side cases and headed into the Quail Lips Cafe for breakfast. The menu featured very little exotic breakfast fare - much to my disappointment, but I ordered the Biscuits and Wild Sage Sausage Gravy with fruit side.
All I gotta say is "You can't fool momma's little biscuit eater"... beneath the free range sage gravy lay two Sam's pre-made biscuits. Oh well, I scarfed them down anyway. I still had the pecan pie from last night for later. Woohoo!
All foolishness and drama aside, the Gage is a cool hotel and a fun place to stay...
I filled up at the Shell station in the drizzle and cool wind. The horizon was ominous and threatening rain.
Heading out for Sanderson, there was a chill in the air and spats of rain. I didn't see a single car for miles, instead enjoying the fantastic scenes made by light and shadow on the hills around me. I really felt like I was in New Mexico or Wyoming. A very surreal ride but really great also.
Somebody tell me I'm in Texas...
The thing about rain is it has a tendency to suck you in until it's too late. It sprinkles then stops, sprinkles then stops, sprinkles then stops until you are drawn into the "maybe I don't need to stop and put on my rain gear cause it might not last" syndrome. Miles later you are shivering from hypothermia, finally stop and put on your gear, only for the rain to stop. Guess what...
I finally suited up and was glad I did. The rain came in spurts and stops, stinging my face at 75 mph in the open face MX helmet. The ride to Sanderson continued the surreal atmosphere, surrounded by billowy grey clouds just above ground level.
Gassed up in Sanderson, where fuel prices were a bit better than further west. That's a busy little town for a small place.
The obligatory shot of someone taking the obligatory shot
I had decided to cut up to Sheffield and see Ft. Lancaster from Sanderson, so I headed north on 285. About a mile out, the rain got a lot stronger and lasted for miles until I reached FM 2400 to cut east towards for Sheffield.
Nothing warms my heart more than seeing a sign like this when it's raining and you've got 39 miles to go on a road you've never ridden...
Each of the dips and wash crossings were fresh with signs of recent flooding - piles of rock, dirt and brush that had been pushed off by road crews. Apparently they'd had some serious flooding earlier in the week. I stayed on my toes for the ride, since it continued to rain and it's easy to hit unseen standing water in the dips. After about 30 miles, the sporadic rain stopped and it dried out a little.
The road is a nice winding road with zero traffic - might be a good alternative as a cut down to Big Bend for someone wanting a back road trip.
All I gotta say is out there is a whole lotta nada, a whole lotta notta lotta...
I caught up to my first car as I turned north on 349 for Sheffield.
As I slowly caught up to the car and made a pass on a long straight, I saw a single buzzard sitting on the yellow line nibbling on something (ancho crusted quail probably). The stare down began, since my speed was high from just passing the car and I couldn't hit the brakes hard. I watched in slo-mo as his brainless nasty red head tried to track me. Sure enough, 20 feet from me he launched - directly at my front fender. I dove against the tank bag and felt his wings brush over me. Good gawd I can't believe he didn't hit me... I'm sure the car behind me was enjoying the show but I wasn't. Last summer I had a pigeon hit my dead center on my face shield and it almost knocked me out. I hate to think what buzzard breath would have done.
Thankfully, I carry spare shorts for just such occasions, and now wide awake I rode on for Sheffield.
Sheffield was a simple, old oil field type town with not much there. I headed west on 290 for Fort Lancaster.
I had only ridden a short time before my next test appeared.
Multiple Choice Question...
A. Swerve left to avoid the cow with horns on the right?
B. Swerve right to avoid the cow with horns on the left?
C. Stay straight and challenge the hyper acting cow with horns standing in the roadway.
D. Curse Mr. Buzzard for his horned friends?
E. Begin to suspect another government operation to get you?
The answer is: I don't know.
Anyway, I got slowed quickly and the squirrelly cattle began acting squirrelly. The ones on the side bolted away, but the crazy one in the middle ran right then immediately made a huge loop back onto the road in front of me where he then ran for a ways before going right into the ditch and running alongside me for a good 100 yards. Before heading off into a driveway. Sheesh.
By this time I was ready to get off the bike and Ft. Lancaster came up soon after.
I was the only person at the Fort, and the lady working there wasn't too friendly. I wandered through the exhibit, snapping the following pics for a history lesson:
Now known as riding a KTM...
For BMW riders, this is like wearing non-BMW branded gear...
An old Boy Scout trick...
Now they just make you look at a picture of Hillary...
I thought you'd find that as interesting and informative as I did. From there, I wandered out onto the old fort's parade grounds, then wandered alongside the ruins. It's cool to see the old remains, but it ain't exactly an exciting place to wander.
This centipede and I were the only visitors
This reminds me of that motel I stayed in in Cody...
The time seemed right to eat a snack and tank up on water. It just so happened that I had a travel size pecan pie from Marathon riding shotgun. Poor guy.
I know what you're thinking... it looks suspiciously like a "Little Debbie" pecan pie.
I thought so too, but considering it came from the frig of the Quail Lips Cafe at the Gage, it has to be made by hand by a world famous chef, using only the finest quail's milk and pecan crusted pecan crust? Right? I bet this puppy was worth $15 in the restaurant. It did taste good however, the perfect balance of sugariness and pecaniness, with just a hint of quail...
From there I headed for I-10, stopping at the overlook at the top of the hill for a snapshot. Nice view of the area.
The sun came out just as I eased onto I-10 and hammered the throttle for home. The weather was definitely weird though - clouds and spattering rain alternated with bright sunshine from Sheffield all the way to Ozona, where I whipped in for gas.
After topping off, I headed downtown to see the place, circling the square and eventually pulling up to a statue of Davy Crockett. His quote of "Make sure you're right then go ahead" carved along the bottom. I stopped and pulled out the camera for a shot, still wearing my Darth Vader helmet. As I turned back straight, I was shocked to see the Sheriff sitting right alongside me with his window rolled down, saying something to me. I yanked my helmet off to get my earplugs out, forgetting I had my sunglasses on, launching them to the ground between us. He laughed and apologized for making me lose my glasses, then asked me if I'd noticed the dark area on the statue. He then told me some teens had napalmed Davy Crockett's crotch and burned that area of the statue black last year but now it was mostly gone.
He asked where I was from and where I was heading. I told him I'd never seen Ozona before and had swung off the freeway. We ended up talking a long time - he gave me the history of the town, which isn't really a town as it was never incorporated, pointed out the old jail with it's hanging pole still intact, etc. He said the county was 3000 square miles and a very interesting place. I enjoyed talking with him, and he told me some routes to ride in the future. He genuinely told me to be careful and try to stay off I-10 if possible. I wished him well and offered the same blessing to be safe, and I hoped to meet up with him again.
The old jail and current Sheriff's HQ
The view from the old water well site where the town grew up around
Back on the freeway, I burned my premium towards Sonora and then on towards Junction. The bizarre weather continued, with gusts of severe winds from the south.
About 30 miles outside Junction, two ominous black storm clouds lay ahead with pouring rain. As I hit the rain, I pulled off the highway under a tree to suit up in full rain gear. Not safe but no exits where anywhere close...
After riding in the rain a few minutes, the sun came out (of course) and I sweltered until Junction and a gas stop where I could get out of the rain gear. Gas even cheaper here woohoo! Like it really makes any difference when over $4 a gallon...
For the dual sporters here - Richard's launch pad for the DS ride - had a blast
From Junction on to Kerrville, there was no more drama (Thank God) other than high winds and the realization that the weekend was done.
I rolled into the Shell station where I'd gassed up Friday morning, just as the odometer rolled over to 1002 miles.
What a great weekend ride!
Thanks for reading and stay safe my friends...
Let me guess, did your room look like this?
Makes me want to head down there immediately :clap
Ha ha! I shoulda known the rooms had been documented :lol3
It was place to sleep for $60 - I paid extra for TV service and of course never turned it on. It adds to the "ambiance of Terlingua"
Maybe we'll bump into each down there sometime :freaky
Sorry... couldn't help myself
Thanks for the report. You had me hooked. Been down there twice in last 3 yrs on way to Mexico. I remember the hotel on hill in Presidio. The managers daughter's name was Itsah. 2 yrs. old cute. The things you learn that keep you yearning to travel to yet another destination. But the destination is only the excuse.
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