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Old 04-24-2013, 08:16 PM   #172
Aarrff OP
Gravel Grinder
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Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Ol' Smokie
Oddometer: 1,626
Monday 4-22-13

Left Fort Stockton and headed south on 385 to Marathon, fueled up again as it is going to be a long day. I did not realize that they did have a small gas station in the park, expensive, but there is fuel. If you go, verify first that this station is open. Whether you go in from Marathon or Alpine, its a long way and exploring the park takes some fuel if that is your plan. I used to have a GS and traded it for this GSA. If I had been on the GS with a 175 mile range ( that is about all I ever got) then I would definitely have needed park fuel. This bike has about a 300 mile range but in strong headwinds out here and running 70+, economy is not so good.

Ok, a few shots of the trip out there on 385. In this first one, there are areas of these old rough pine poles that still have the glass insulators from the telegraph days.

I explored some of the Old Alpine Highway and would have taken it down toward Marathon but it turns to dirt and I just do not have time to do that so back on 385 to maximize my time in Big Bend.

Photos do not describe the incredible expanse of what you see. I would watch mountain peaks on the horizon often for 30 miles or more.

Topped up at this shell near Marathon. Did some checking around while here and found out there is a neat hotel in Marathon that I will try next time called the Gage Hotel.

Back on the road south, you can see Santiago Peak far in the distance.

The Santiago Peak is 6,521 feet high which is dramatic from this elevation.

Camel Experiment by US Army

Entrance to the park. Still about 40 miles I think it was to Grand Junction visitor center.

Persimmon Gap entrance but no attendant so I offered to pay later at Grand Junction but it was free due to my Old Geezer National Park Card

The Chisos Basin is way up in them thar hills and the visitor center is at the north base of the mountains.

Explored a few dirt tracks but I would have liked to stay here for about a week. They actually have an entire book on the dirt roads that you can travel in the park.

Yes its hot as it looks.

Lots of deer in here

On the road up to Chisos Basin...very fun ride. Restaurant up there was open near the campground but I had food and did not take time for that.

Did not see a bear so I took a picture of a picture of a bear

View of the basin campground about 1/2 mile away

Wish had some days to stay here and see sunsets and the clear night sky...NO FIRES allowed.

Headed back down to the main park road then on to the Ross Maxwell Scenic drive to the river and views of Mexico across the river.

See that dark ridge in the distance about 20 miles away. That is my destination today at Castalon Ranger Station on the River and those cliffs are in Mexico and border the river. You can find this on google earth and get a feel for the awesome size of those cliffs. I was near the end of the paved road in some of the following photos at a dirt turn off to the river.

Back side or South side of Chisos Basin Mountains

A real fun road for about 23 miles

Down on the river

Learning to use the time lapse on my camera and my "hood ornament pose" showing you how the border lays There was a picnic table here and nobody around ( I think) so I stretched out in the shade to rest my back and drink plenty of water....woke up about 30 minutes later...still had all my stuff

Wandering around the area some looking for snakes or whatever

The border patrol guys stopped to say howdy Wanted to know where I was headed and I told them I was thinking about making a loop and taking the od dirt track back up toward Alpine.....They did not seem to think that I should since I was alone and all and so I just back tracked out soz I would not be worrying them.

You can figure out where I was on the river if you study Google earth and look for a river access near the end of the paved road

found the ruins of an old farm while I was down on the river...guessthey called the the gran canyon or something but its not the one up in Utah.

Wood just never rots here

Kitchen window

3 room house built with home made bricks then looks like they got tired of fooling with that and just started using rocks

My horse is well trained and waited patiently

Of course its hot...look at that thermometer...100!!

Need to roll as its getting late in the day and the road back to Fort Stockton is heavily populated with deer and I have well over a hundred miles to my room.

Ok, back to my room and I am whipped with this heat and a loooong day and 387 miles. I forgot to take this photo of the trip meter when I got is so this is actually at 9:44 the next morning as I was starting up to leave Fort Stockton. It is 38 degrees and the wind is howling! What a difference a day makes in this country!

I woke up to find 38 degrees and 30 mile per hour winds out of the north. I had planned to be on the road earlier but I slept late as I was very tired. Also, I did not bring my heated gear so I put on fleece underware, and put my rain suit on over my riding suit to hold in the heat. I had planned to go north from here into New Mexico but the weather north is freezing rain and 30 degrees, strong winds, and will not improve for days so its the end of my journey and I am headed the only direction I can survive in theses conditions...EAST. Even then I am headed toward a big system that I hope outruns me as it is very stormy. Tonight I am in Beaumont Texas and have managed about 600 miles with the north by-pass around San Antonio to avoid traffic congestion this morning and the whole way, the temps were in the lower 40's at best and 30-50mile per hour cross winds. It has actually made me feel rather beaten up so far but now the temps are warm and winds will be less so maybe I wont get too wet headed back to the hills. No photos the past two days as it was just interstate and I did not feel like trying anything with a camera....

edit: Note that I did not see a lot of people in there. The off season starts April 15 through Nov 15 due to the heat so I was pushing it about as late as is tolerable I guess at least for me. Campground this time of year is first come-first serve.

**Aarrffin' Around**
Born with nothin'.... still got most of it.

R1200GSA, R 80 RT ( adv project )
Honda XR 70 R

Aarrff screwed with this post 04-24-2013 at 08:23 PM
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