|04-29-2005, 07:46 PM||#1|
Joined: Sep 2001
The Road to Big Bend.
My trip started well, with a ride from New Orleans, LA to Austin, TX, done in one day. The ride out of Austin on Sunday morning was beautiful, from the weather to the roads to the traffic. Just great. I took off from Austin and worked my way south-west to the town of Bracketville, where I picked up highway 90. A little ways outside the town of Del Rio, I stopped beside the road to take a picture. It was here, I think, that I picked up a thorn or two in the rear tire.
Slime and Fix-a-flat didn't help, I had two holes about 12" apart in the rear tube, and couldn't locate them till I pulled the tube from the tire. The Boarder Patrol came to my rescue that Sunday night, with one of their guys showing up where I was preparing to camp. He had a trailer and toted my bike 60 miles back to the town of Del Rio. I got a room and some food, and the next day set out to fix the rear tire. The repairs didn't take all day, but they took most of it and I ended up staying and extra night. Patches weren't holding because of all the slime I had tried. It was easy to rinse from the rim and tire, but inside the tube was a mess. A local Honda dealer had a tube, but not the right tube. Tuesday morning I took off on what would be a long day, 470 miles through west Texas at 65 mph, worrying all the way with a 110/17 tube in my 150/18 tire. Texas is big country.
So I made it to Phoenix a day late, but intact. As a result of the delay, the exploring I planned to do along the way got post-poned. The trip home would include time for exploring. And I would have the correct tube in the rear tire.
I left Phoenix on Monday morning, around 8 AM. It didn't take long to get out of town and I quickly found my way to a dirt road that went straight up and over the mountains, instead of winding between them like the freeways do. I was having a great time, really enjoying myself, when I realized that I had been riding for about 6 hours and was barely 150 miles from Phoenix. Opps! Too many dirt roads, too much sight-seeing. I tried one last road though, a neat path up through the mountains that would drop down into Rodeo, New Mexico, and conect with highway 9 that I would take east to El Paso.
At the foot of this road was a ranger station and the nice ranger lady told me the road was closed and probably snowed in, and the pass was at 8000 feet. My GPS said I was at about 4500 feet while talking to her. I gave the road a try anyway. About 6 miles up the road I passed a road-closed sign. About a mile past that, with the GPS showing 6000 feet, the road was suddenly about 70% covered with that packed snow/ice combination. I stopped there to give it some consideration: I still had 9 miles to go to my highway junction, and 2000 feet to climb, and was within an hour of sunset. Suddenly, I felt very alone. I turned the bike around and headed back down. The detour would add many miles but I felt okay about it. That night I made it to Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Tuesday morning I took the long way around the White Sands missel test range. I wanted to cut across to save time, and I told them I was test firing a LONER (Large Orange Near Earth Rocket) but they didn't buy it. I did ride a nice dirt road for about 75 miles, desolate, lonely, and exactly what I was hoping to find. I got stuck once, not too bad, and otherwise had a great day. I ended up in the town of Van Horn for the night.
highly recommended lunch stop in Dell City
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