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Old 03-12-2013, 09:29 PM   #31
gregdee OP
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Day 4

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.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:48 AM   #32
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Nice report looking forward to the next instalment!
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Old 03-17-2013, 06:32 PM   #33
gregdee OP
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The crash sequence

Let me go back to our run down Old Ore Road. This was a fine dirt road, maybe 30 miles in length. Not too tough on the big bikes but challenging enough that you had to keep your wits about you. Kerry came around a corner to find herself in a patch of sand. She went wide and had to correct.



Swift corrections in the sand are not easy. The reward was a nice lay down of the bike....



and a tumble to the left.



Followed by a swift crawl back to the right.



Nothing was hurt but a bit of pride. Sand makes for nice soft landings. You can see the lines her front and rear tires took in the sand on the left side of the image. That was some soft stuff, no wonder she went down.
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Old 03-17-2013, 07:09 PM   #34
Flinty
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Thanks...

Thanks for posting that on the internet. Divorce papers are on the counter But I'm keeping the bike!

Based on these pictures I obviously need to come up with a more graceful method of reaching the kill switch

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Old 03-17-2013, 08:53 PM   #35
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Great Area, Great Report. That sand takes a little getting used to. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 03-18-2013, 06:30 PM   #36
kingofZroad
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flinty View Post
Thanks for posting that on the internet. Divorce papers are on the counter But I'm keeping the bike!

Based on these pictures I obviously need to come up with a more graceful method of reaching the kill switch
That's funny!!!

Quick question: How did the Jesse's panniers handle the "tip-over"?
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:55 PM   #37
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Jesse's stuff is tough

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Originally Posted by kingofZroad View Post
That's funny!!!

Quick question: How did the Jesse's panniers handle the "tip-over"?
The boxes handled that particular tip over just fine, but after 5 or 6 others (one from me goofing off in a parking lot) the left side box is starting to show a little wear. On the 800XC we both seem to fall only to the left for some reason.

I must have been brushing some brush in some sections as I now have some good desert pin stripping on my black boxes. The pin stripping shows up real well with the dust on them. You may be able to make it out in some of my next shots. I have been thinking about making some sort of plastic/rubber bumpers to put on the corners of these boxes. So far they have survived us just fine but I think in a bigger/harder/faster crash they will succumb to the impact denting nicely.

gregdee screwed with this post 03-18-2013 at 08:38 PM
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:37 PM   #38
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Day 5

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.
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Old 03-19-2013, 06:43 AM   #39
DLOOP
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Great Ride Report!

It just keeps getting better and better. Thanks for great pics and report. I'm planning a trip down there for the Fall right now!
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Old 03-19-2013, 06:24 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by DLOOP View Post
It just keeps getting better and better. Thanks for great pics and report. I'm planning a trip down there for the Fall right now!
For much more detail on the sights, towns, and local history I recommend this thread: Big Bend area

For us half the fun was getting there and then getting home again. We may have left the park but we still have an awful lot of riding to do before we get home. Stay tuned.
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Old 03-19-2013, 06:29 PM   #41
acejones
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FWIW
I've left my bike parked at a trail head while hiking with no problem.
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I got tired of being here, so now I'm there
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:12 AM   #42
DLOOP
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Looking forward to more!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gregdee View Post
For much more detail on the sights, towns, and local history I recommend this thread: Big Bend area

For us half the fun was getting there and then getting home again. We may have left the park but we still have an awful lot of riding to do before we get home. Stay tuned.
Thanks for the tip on thread.
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:33 PM   #43
gregdee OP
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Originally Posted by acejones View Post
FWIW
I've left my bike parked at a trail head while hiking with no problem.
The problem I see isn't so much the bike, it's all that funny looking non-hiking friendly gear we wear. I've thought of running a cable through the jackets and pants, and then stashing boots some place out of sight. Have some ideas for some peak bagging trips up north of the Platoro reservoir in southern Colorado I might try this summer. Figured we'd base camp near the trail head and then just leave all our gear in the tent.
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:19 PM   #44
harley1550
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:21 PM   #45
gregdee OP
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Day 6

The previous evening we had rolled into Marfa off the glorious 2810 road as the shadows were getting long. We stopped to gas up and do a quick search to see what kind of reviews we could find for local places to stay. We were tired and hungry and not in much of a mood to search about. Using Kerry's phone we read a few poor reviews of the local hotels and decided to take the advice we were reading and headed into Alpine, about 20 miles away. This highway cruised at nearly 5000 feet and was really quite cold. The local campgrounds looked like dried up weed patches - not the most inviting places so we decided to camp at the Hampton Inn once again.

Getting out of the area is no small feat as Big Bend is a long way from every where and west Texas is a pretty big place. This would be a day of exploring creative ways to entertain oneself while riding a motorcycle. For starters I drove up next to Kerry and took a few shots from the side. I guess she needed to adjust her mirrors because she didn't see me behind her anymore.


We drove back into Marfa to see what we missed. The Court House was a bit of a beacon.



We parked and walked around a bit. As we walked passed a store she noticed they had scarves so she went in to investigate. I stayed outside to do guy stuff.

I spotted this cool car. Cannonshot posted a picture of it in his RR but I had a slightly different take so I don't feel like I am infringing too much by posting my own shots. I'd say this car gets its' picture taken a lot more than it gets driven since it sure looks like it is in exactly the same spot when Cannonshot took his pictures.


This image on the rear quarter panel was pretty cool.


The statement over the windshield was bold as well.


I then noticed some construction activity going on across the street. The two guys were standing on top of this structure to pull off the 4x8 sheets of plywood after the guys below t would knock them loose. Darwin award?


While waiting for Kerry to finish her shopping I ran into the dude from Louisiana again. We chatted for a bit and he took some shots of our two Tigers. I think he was going to trade in his Vespa for a Tiger when he got home. He was talking about taking a trip to Alaska.


Kerry scored a new scarf and it even matches her bike. Very cool. The collar on her jacket had been rubbing her neck raw and she hoped this soft scarf would help out a bit.


And now for the really long straight boring part - getting back to NM. We saw a blimp, some sort of Air Force thing.



This is what the scenery looked like the rest of the morning.


I was really wishing I had some highway pegs like I have on my KLR. I started looking around to figure out where they might fit and decided to stick my leg out to see if the crash bars would be an appropriate mounting location. Turns out the crash bars work pretty well so I just rested my calves on them for a while and enjoyed the scenery. I managed to twist my camera mount around enough to get this shot.


Now that I was comfortable swiveling the camera every which way, I took some shots of the dried up pecan ranch we were passing. After several miles of this I noticed a crew out in the trees clearing branches. Guess the trees weren't dead after all.


And then came the selfies. While shooting these at highway speeds you have absolutely no indication if the pictures are turning out or not. So I shot several dozen - they're free.


Eventually we got to Van Horn - woohoo. OK, Van Horn sucks! We gassed up and got on I-10. The only good thing I can say about I-10 is that the speed limit is 80 mph. We blasted the ~120 miles into El Paso but while doing so I got bored and decided to figure out what the ratio of truck to non-truck traffic was. I counted 57 trucks and 43 non-trucks... really exciting huh? If you cannot handle this kind of mind numbing boring road for half a day then do not ride your bike to Big Bend.

Once in El Paso we thought we'd grab a late lunch but the traffic on I-10 was horrendous and cars were actually stopped on the on ramp. Had we magically time warped all the way to southern California? This traffic sucks! We did actually get off at one point but couldn't find the Subway we had seen a sign for so we just got back on and kept going. Eventually we came to the next town in Suburbia - I think it was Sunland Park or something like that. We found a sandwich and took a much needed break.

While eating I decided it was a good time to figure out where the heck we were going. We had tentatively thought of getting out to Bisbee, AZ but that was still an entire state away and it was pushing 2:00 p.m. We decided to find highway 9 and cross the bottom part of NM and just figure it out as we went.

Highway 9 was a lot like west Texas, only a bit hillier and there were actually a few turns. I did like this road but the odd thing was that there were at least a million Boarder Patrol officers out. Seriously, our government is broke but we spend billions of dollars to fend off people who want to pick our salad for us?


More creative driving photos.





We rolled into Columbus, NM. Looked like a cool little town. There was a neat looking museum but it was just closing. We didn't need gas so we scored a couple more of those Frappuccino things from the gas station instead.

Didn't appear to be any worthwhile lodging or camping in Columbus so we decided to head on up to Deming. No sense in wasting a few good hours of sunlight when we could be getting a little bit closer to the twisty goodness that awaits us to the north. It was Thursday already and we wanted to be home by Saturday evening to give ourselves one day to reintegrate back into reality before heading back to work Monday. That meant getting to Bisbee was out but we still had some cool roads to the north. Along the road to Deming I saw this crazy rig. That sure looks like a garage door to me.

gregdee screwed with this post 03-24-2013 at 07:42 AM
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