Sunday morning was nice. We stopped for some obligatory pics at the town sign. Our horses are way cooler
And then we headed south on 17 towards the park and our destination for the day. We rolled right on through Balmorhea and then I heard a comment in my headset stating we’d better go back and take pictures because the little town we’d just been through looked interesting. So we spun it around and when back to check out the locals.
Most were cowboy types
A few were packing heat.
But there was one hot chic!
and she roped our bikes....
We continued south on 17 which was a fabulous road with nice twists and turns and good scenery to boot.
We didn’t linger too much even in Ft. Davis. The winds were starting to kick up and we were anxious to get into the park. We grabbed a quick lunch in Alpine and then rolled through Marathon to pick up 385 which would get us to the park headquarters at Panther Junction. Looks like Marathon might have had a few more interesting options for lunch – next time.
The roads continued to be fun with great scenery.
Notice the twists and turns going over the hills in the distance. Good stuff
Eventually Kerry decided it was getting too warm and she needed to shed a layer or two. It was pushing past 80 F at this point. Just what we'd come for.
And finally we made it to the park entrance so we stopped for the obligatory sign pic.
While sitting there I noticed something not so good. “Hey Kerry, your front tire looks to be a bit square on the bottom, no?”
I had heard the Tiger required an odd-ball tool to get the front wheel off but decided not to worry about getting one since front flats are so rare (this is her second one in 3 trips). We tried stuffing an assortment of objects into the 17 mm Allen head bolt on axle but nothing would give us enough purchase to break it loose. Without another choice I decided to patch the tube while it stayed on the bike.
This worked – the fourth time. What a pain. Seriously considering a product like Ride-on. I switched to tubeless tires on my mountain bike years ago and now only have problems when I rip a tire open. Motorcycle tires obviously require a bit more work.
Anyway, got it fixed and we were finally on our way once again. A few shots as we approached the Chisos Mountains.
We stopped in at park headquarters to inquire about back country camping options. My last visit to the park had been back in the early 90’s and I vaguely remember camping along the river road somewhere in some random spot.
Things have changed in 20 years – they now have lots of rules. I don’t much care for rules but I gave them the courtesy of at least listening as my wife was giving me that “quit being such an
Rules for backcountry camping in the park
you must camp in a designated spot
you must reserve the spot ahead of time
you must put all food in the bear box
you must pack out all trash
you must not burn anything
you must not pee on the cactus
you must not bring your guns
you must not shoot at the animals
you must not ride cross country
if you managed to stuff you pet dog in your pannier box you cannot bring him into the park
and probably 10 others I can’t remember.
I prefer to select my spot from the open landscape of the national forests and wilderness areas throughout the mountain states but in this instance I conceded to just play along. A trusted friend had suggested we camp down at Glen Springs since we could get water from the spring there. The parks people didn’t really like that idea
and insisted we fill up from their spigot and haul what we’d need in with us. Fine.
We selected a spot, paid our $10, filled our water containers and headed out. Glen Springs road up to the camp was a mostly boring gravel road with a few twists and turns. We passed one other camper in the first spot and headed on up to the 4th
spot. We were finally there.
Spot 2 looked great and 3 was OK. Spot 4 kinda sucked as it was slopped through its’ entirety and the bed surface was gravel. Not my idea of good camping. We were centered in the mouth of a large wind tunnel rolling off the eastern slopes of the Chisos. The view was nice.
We set up camp and darkness soon set in. We cooked dinner and then sat around for a bit when the winds started to blow – hard. We crawled into the tent and cocooned ourselves in our down 0-degree bags. The winds got stronger, and stronger, and stronger. The winds were so strong that I became nervous that the bikes would blow over as the roof of the tent was about an inch above my face. I said, “hey Kerry, you awake?” She replied, “Uh, yeah”. And so went the rest of the night. We’ve camped out hundreds of nights in our lives and this is the worst night in a tent I have ever had. I seriously was too scared to get out to check on the bikes for fear of the tent blowing away without me in it. I thought for sure that the winds would die as the sun came up but no such luck. We finally crawled out of bed and braved the winds. They had died down some but were still at the severe nuisance level. Packing up the tent was an exercise in futility as it blew every which way as I tried to tame it. I attempted to roll it up and stuff it into its' sack bu it wouldn't fit in such a state. We then worked together and managed to get it somewhat folded. I suppose the only positive thing about the sand was that it was easy to clean the half inch of sand out by just holding it up in the air. Same for the sleeping bags.
Guess it was a good thing we hadn't opted to visit the Texas panhandle as I understand this wind was from the same storm that blew through there in late February.