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Old 11-29-2009, 02:32 PM   #1
scarysharkface OP
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Big Bend, Thanksgiving week 2009

I had been strategerizing a trip to for a couple of months, thinking I would go solo in the Jeep (sleeping inside) with a bike on the hitch rack and check out the dirt roads in the park. Seemed like a solid concept that would, most importantly, be simple and easy.

Dethraz works down the hall from me and sometimes isn't immune to my enthusiasm as I bounce hare-brained ideas such as this one off of him from day to day. After several good laughs about all that could go wrong, he asked if I'd mind his company for the week. I thought it over and figured it would be fun to have another perspective along.

A third party (whom I'll simply refer to as "Shark") expressed an interest as well, once the looming date of departure drew near. He'd need a bike though.

So, Dethraz and I would drive the Jeep with three bikes on a trailer (yes, I know, I am less than a man) and meet Shark at the park (sounds like a parlor game) with our two light bikes (WR250R and DR350) and the big pig (KLR650).

As it would happen, we didn't do much riding for a variety of reasons. We did do SOME riding though (and we did sleep in tents, some of us), and I tried to take a bunch of pictures.

Of course, Texas is a land of extremes. West Texas is a land of extremes, but with less water. And straight roads.

And camels, apparently..





And windmills..



And places I once worked as a TV Weatherman..



And exciting linguistic deployments..



And did I mention the roads?



John
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Old 11-29-2009, 03:01 PM   #2
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Wildlife is always a factor, whether being it or simply being aware of it. Picnic tables make excellent sign posts.



We finally got around to unloading the bikes and making some minor adjustments before heading out..



The Old Ore Road looked like something we'd like to ride. Twenty-seven miles of unimprovement..



These:



Wanting to avoid this:



Shark checks out my "screwdriver across the starter solenoid" setup and shakes his head..



Heading out...

















John
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Old 11-29-2009, 03:17 PM   #3
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At this point the road is still, well, a road. Pretty nice and the neophyte dirt-biker in me is enjoying being able to take in the views without needing to devote all that much attention to not crashing..





Shark in the Park..



Shark decides he's going to give bump-starting a go..





And again, we are off!

John
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Old 11-29-2009, 03:52 PM   #4
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So at one point Dethraz and I stop to help right a sleeping F800GS, and find that Shark isn't with us anymore. Last check was a few miles back and we don't even hear any engine noise. We get the GS back upright and the driver (I was negligent in not getting his name) agrees to wait until we find Shark. A couple of minutes pass and we hear tweety coming up the hill some distance off. Shark finally reaches us and has had a biff in one of the draws, the KLR ejecting him in deep gravel and rocks, and impressing him with sizeable mass after the landing. He's also got a flat rear tire that he's been riding on since at least the getoff. I have Cheng Shin C858's on it, and the stiff sidewalls saved the day and didn't let the valve stem rip out. We made with the tools and did a trail-side patch while some folks in a Taco watched and waited for us to clear the trail. I figure it was nice to have a truck handy just in case, but the patch held and we were once again on our way after a quick cheese for the camera..



None of us had any interest in spending the night on the trail..



















So here, in the middle of nowhere, my cell phone rings...

John
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Old 11-29-2009, 04:03 PM   #5
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Hi John! I was recently there (about a month ago) and I didn't have time to spend on the trails (a shame). I want to go back to Big Bend real soon and I have a couple questions...

Did you encounter any deep sand? I mean stuff more than 2 inches deep.

Did you know why the F8 crashed (I ride an F8 too)?

And most importantly would you recommend hot dogging it around the wonderful dirt trails and remote sites in Big Bend? I only had the chance to camp in a remote site about 2 miles off the main road while I was there for one night and I loved it!!!!

Thanks,
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Old 11-29-2009, 04:14 PM   #6
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Ender,

Yes, there was some deep sand. Not much, but some and lots of not very deep (but deep enough for me) sand. Slow is bad on much of that road (and I like to ride slow! ). The River Road is supposed to be very sandy for at least a 20-mile stretch, and the Paint-somethingorother Road is alleged to have lots of baby-head rocks according to other riders we met.

The F8 hit a big rock that was obscured in shade, if memory serves. He was also loaded-up pretty fully, which would certainly have not helped the situation any. Nice bike.

I wouldn't be inclined to do any of those roads by myself. There isn't much traffic and I would guess none at all as sunset approaches. It would really suck to have to camp in the boonies on short notice, if you know what I mean..

I would love to ride all the trails, but at a slow pace and with plenty of time to take pictures. As it happened, we didn't start early enough in the short day to have enough light to do that. As it was, the sun was below the horizon by the time we got back to the Rio Grande Village campground.

Also, for being their busy time, it wasn't all that busy..

I want to go back. I really want to go back.

John
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Old 11-29-2009, 04:21 PM   #7
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John
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Old 11-29-2009, 04:38 PM   #8
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Good to see a Big Bend report! Great ride and pics, thanks for posting
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Old 11-29-2009, 04:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget Boy
Good to see a Big Bend report! Great ride and pics, thanks for posting
As they say in the Ronco ads, "but wait, there's more!"

John
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Old 11-29-2009, 05:03 PM   #10
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After a night of locating and removing the smallest of small tiny little bits of cacti from my right knee and elbow, I found it in my heart of hearts to go along with Shark's suggestion that we have a real breakfast at the lodge some 30-ish miles away, and we did some exploring on-foot after...



















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Old 11-29-2009, 05:18 PM   #11
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Shark headed off to the Visitors Center while Jerry and I made for Boquillas Canyon. I know I must surely have misspelled that.

The overlook...



Moon over Mexico..



















Then off to the canyon trail...





A window into Mexico..







John
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Old 11-29-2009, 05:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scarysharkface
The F8 hit a big rock that was obscured in shade, if memory serves. He was also loaded-up pretty fully, which would certainly have not helped the situation any. Nice bike.
John
Hey John! That was me on the 800GS. Thanks again for the lift. I had literally just 'assumed the position' and was getting ready to heft the pig when I heard you guys coming. I thought I was hearing things, surely there couldn't be another bike coming at this exact time, here in the middle of nowhere....
Sorry about the flat on the KLR. I would have hung around and helped if I saw it.

Here's a picture of the offending boulder. Thanks for the weasel room, but it wasn't all that obscured in the shade . I could of gone around it or stopped, but chose to stare it down and levitate it (didn't work). And yes, the west third of River Road has a lot of deep gravel washes. Some go on for a few hundred yards.

Your pictures are great! Big Bend's beautiful this time of year.

Mike

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Old 11-29-2009, 05:43 PM   #13
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My wife and I were there Thanksgiving 6 years ago. We did a lot of riding on the KLR and a lot of hiking. It's a beautiful and different country. Thanks for bringing back some good memories.
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Old 11-29-2009, 05:51 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by MikeinSA
Hi Mike! It was great to see you on the trail, and great that you weren't full of cactus spines!

We didn't have any problems fixing the flat on the KLR. We had all the tools, patch kit and an air compressor, so it didn't take too long. I thought it was going to be a real drag when it happened though, so I'm glad it wasn't.

John
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Old 11-29-2009, 05:57 PM   #15
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Big Bend National Park

Your Photographs are remarkable your window into Mexico is a great shot. Mine was a dusty wind blown day in March of this year

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