We awoke to a nice warm sunny morning at the Cottonwood campground on day 5 of our trip. We took our time making coffee, some oatmeal, and finally packing up. Kerry ran off for some photo ops whilst I prepared the morning brew. She brought home this great morning shot overlooking the Rio Grande.
We noticed a couple of odd things around the campground that morning. First off, there was this really old guy who had spent the night sleeping in the drivers seat of his red Ford Focus. The other three seats were jammed with boxes and stuff. Pretty odd. He would occasionally get out of the car, walk around to grab something from the stuff at one of the other doors, walk back around to the drivers side and sit back down again. He was there when we arrived the previous afternoon and was still there just hanging out when we left. It's like his whole life was in this car.
As we were packing up our stuff we noticed another vehicle drive over and park and the far end of the campground just past our spot. This person never exited the car, they just sat they as if they were waiting for us to leave. We decided that since we had taken the primo spot that he was definitely waiting for us to leave.
Soon enough we were on the road heading towards the Santa Elena Canyon as we heard this was a good spot to be in the morning. The road there was nice and schwoopty. Things started out nicely on this day.
A rare shot of me.
Some paved goodness to start off the day.
Our bikes were beginning to get pretty dirty. Notice the mild case of desert pin stripping setting in on the boxes.
A shot of Santa Elena Canyon.
As soon as we left this trail head parking lot the road turned to dirt as we headed for the western boundary of the park. We came across this sign that was fitting for what we were about to encounter.
I really liked this section, mostly because of the giant flowering Yucca's.
The views from the road.
We passed the Louissiannan dude we met at the campground the night before. I dig his 4WC camper.
After exiting the park we drove around Terlingua, the ghost town, and Lajitas for a while trying to find a good place for lunch. We also tried to figure out where we'd stay if we were to stay another night but frankly mid-day nothing looked all that appealing which was probably a mistake as I have heard great things about the night life in Terlingua. Anyway, we grabbed some tasty Mexican food and then headed up the river road from Lajitas to Presidio. What a gem.
Miles and miles and miles of twisty goodness. Up and down and around, with views of the Rio Grande to the left and Big Bend Ranch State Park to the right. And I believe those are Texas Blue Bells along the roadside in this second image.
After rolling through Presidio we continued in a northwesterly direction towards Ruidosa. The road was empty and desolate. There is absolutely nothing out here.
Upon reaching Ruidosa we stopped briefly to examine the maps. We were looking for the 2810 road which would take us back over to Marfa. We chatted up a local who was out working on his diesel (the tractor-trailer kind, not the F350 kind). It was getting late in the day so we were getting a bit concerned about taking on what we expected to be a 50 mile section of dirt road after 5:00 p.m. with only an hour or so of daylight remaining. Never know what you will run into. We asked him about the Chinati Hot Springs but he didn't know much about them except how to get there. He thought it would take us about an hour to ride out the 2810 road to Marfa. We decided against the hot springs for the evening despite a good recommendation from someone on this forum. Turns out this might have been the right decision since after doing a little further research it seems they require reservations.
Leaving Ruidosa we were soon treated to grand views of sinuous dirt roads winding up into the hills.
We climbed up and up for maybe 30 minutes. The road never became too difficult and was actually quite pleasant, especially with the changing light this late in the day.
To our amazement after cresting the summit on dirt the road became paved. The views were grand and the riding was swift. I know I broke the speed limit just a little letting the big Tiger run free along this wonderful stretch of highway.
We made Marfa before dark bringing to a close another fantastic day of riding.