We awoke bright and early with intentions of boiling up some water using our camp stove to make coffee and oatmeal. While waiting for the water to boil I started thumbing through the info booklet in the room to see if there was information about booking campsites and I stumbled across a menu for the restaurant. Turns out they have a breakfast buffet.
I am a total sucker for breakfast buffets so we threw some clothes on and ran up the hill.
After filling our bellies we packed up all our gear and got on the road. There were a couple of other ADVers on site but they must have departed while we were at breakfast as they left us a note on Kerry’s bike. Turns out they were a couple of inmates from Temple, TX, BoulderF and his friend. We ran into them shortly after leaving the lodge parking lot so we chatted a bit. They too had camped out in the same wonderful wind storm on Sunday night so we commiserated over our fond memories of eating tent roof all night long.
At least our tent had survived the ordeal but it sounds like BoulderF had a broken pole!
We left the basin with the plan of riding out to the Rio Grande Village, out and back through Boquillas Canyon, up Old Ore Rd, back down on the highway to Panther Junction, and then west to pick up Ross Maxwell Drive down to Castalon and the Cottonwood campground.
Being somewhat unthrilled about the gravel-clad back country camp spots we decided we’d give one of the established campgrounds a shot. After rolling down out of the Basin we stopped at Panther Junction to see about booking a camp site for the night so we wouldn’t have to deal with it later on. Turns out you cannot book these spots ahead of time, you have to go there and put a tag on a stake. Live and learn.
As we were saddling up La Jefita stated we should ride up to Old Ore Road and ride it north to south instead of the other way I had been planning. Didn’t make much difference to me so we headed up towards Persimmon Gap and cut out onto Dagger Flat Rd which would take us to Old Ore Rd.
Once heading south on Old Ore Rd I grew a bit concerned as the road was rockier than I was expecting. I squared off on a large rock early on with a troublesome loud bang. I stopped to check my rim and saw that it was fine, but by this time Kerry was leaving me in her dust so sucked it up and kept riding. I had my tire pressures at about 25 psi front, and 30 rear. These pressures served me well in this terrain.
I shot a bunch of video throughout this trip but bottom line is that I have no idea what I was doing so the video really sucks. It is so bad that it actually makes you nauseous watching it. None will be shown.
I have however been consulting with a videography expert, Ride Freak, and will in the near future produce some worthwhile video for your viewing pleasure. In the meantime my stills will have to suffice. The really bad news is that I shot almost no stills along the Old Ore Rd as I was filming. Too bad because there was one cool section where we dropped into a drainage going down several switchbacks to the bottom and then a few more going up and out the other side. Kerry rode it like a champ and I managed to keep her in my sites. T’was a thrill. I believe it is advantage 800XC in this terrain.
Here's a couple more from along the way. Had we been a bit later in the season more flora would have been flowering.
Even looked like there was some nice camping out this way.
We stopped to gas up at Panther Junction. Kerry noticed one of these Javellinas out back and managed to get a shot. He's kinda cute I think.
We briefly headed west towards Study Butte and soon turned south on Ross Maxwell Drive. Here too I shot a long stream of video but I managed to get in a fair number of stills as well.
This drive is really quite scenic and I encourage anyone visiting the area to take the drive. There are also several hiking trails along the way but so far we have not figured out how to leave our bikes and riding gear behind to get in a decent hike. Things to work on.
We soon arrived at the Cottonwood campground. We did the obligatory lap scoping the place out and then settled on a nice grassy section near the end.
Turned out to be a great spot as the grass was deep and soft and we had a great view of what I believe is Castolon Peak just to the east of the campground.
We met one fella from Louisiana out travelling in his 4WC truck camper. He rides a Vespa back home and was quite enthralled with our Tigers. Shortly before that amazing reflected sunset a nice older couple pulled in across the street from us. We helped them move their picnic table out of the way so they could park their camper with their rear window looking up at the peak. Must have been a perfect view for them.
We scored some adult beverages at the store just around the corner and had a merry evening. We took a fair number of “selfies”. Here are a couple I am willing to share.
It was a pleasant night, probably in the 40's, NO WIND
, and NO SAND!
There was an owl hanging around as I kept hearing him hoohooing away throughout the night. Nice campspot.