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Old 11-29-2010, 03:53 PM   #16
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So I'm happily plowing-along through the desert and suddenly the road becomes this..



I stop long enough to take a picture, but then get going again quickly. In a land of mountain lions and not much cover, I'm confident that there are creatures in the grasses and bushes here and confident I don't want them to eat me.

Soon I'm back up away from the river and don't feel so trapped..



Even comfortable enough to get off the bike, drink some Gatorade and enjoy the view..





I've seen asphalt parking lots with more vegetation..



Some distance on, the road turns Northward and I get a nice view of the backside of Mule Ears Peak(s) while also wondering why the road doesn't agree with what Topo 2008 is showing me on the Garmin..

I think this is just a little more than a third of the way to the other side, and I really don't want to get lost out here..





John
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:18 PM   #17
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Considering the topo data is at least a decade old, there is a reasonable chance that it's simply wrong. I follow for a bit to see if it joins back up with the route on my screen. I've got an extra gallon of fuel and plenty of water, so I can afford to explore a little..

After a comfortingly short distance the road turns back toward the river.. It's been back-filled at the bottom of a shallow wash, which implies that it doesn't take a whole lot of rain to destroy the often-soft base of these tracks..



According to Garmin, that greenery to the right of the road is in Mexico..





Figuring I've seen about all the types of topography the River Road has to offer by now, I don't stop very often to take pictures. In fact, at some point I completely blew past the Marsical Mine, figuring there are plenty of pictures and info available to those who are interested..



Things flatten-out a bit and the road is generally in much better shape the farther East one goes..







Proof I was there..





Soon enough I'm back in (relative) civilization. Just past the Glenn Springs Road junction, I meet an SUV and eventually pass a Chevy pickup that has a big Harley tied-down in the bed. He was running the road at about 20 mph and that thing was really bouncing around. I'm impressed that the straps held. Whatever..

Once off River Road East and onto the pavement, a right turn leads to the fuel pumps at Rio Grande Village to top things off. My odo is right at 98 miles for the day thus far, and I didn't have to touch the fuel in the can..

Fifty or so miles later I'm back out in the desert North of Terlingua..





Ed shows up almost as soon as I'm parked and de-geared, and proceeds to fire up the grill..



The moon rises..



Food prep..



The bike is happy and fed..



And soon I will be as well. That's Ed's sweet WR250R in the foreground..





John
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:41 PM   #18
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After sleeping in the Jeep with the windows down again, I'm up early but Ed is up earlier. We both were up before the sun though, so it's all good..



The moon is still up..



There's a great deal to be said for modern DSLRs and a good tripod..







Big doin's at El Punto Coyote..











I spend way too much time on this one plant and the moon..





The sun finally peeks up over the mountains..



While we drink coffee.. in the quiet solitude of the desert..





We head into Terlingua to grab grub at Kathy's Kosmic Kowgirl Kafe and shoot the breeze over the firepit with an eclectic group and strategerize our day.. Fun times in Terlingua!

John
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:59 PM   #19
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Ed and I spend much of the day touring the area in the Jeep. I rode Old Ore Road last Thanksgiving week and want to ride it again, so Rio Grande Village is tonight's destination. The plan that's developing in my head is to hit the Hot Springs, catch a shower and then tent-camp at Rio Grande Village so I can get an early start on Old Ore Road in the morning..

The view before sunrise..





It's still early and I'm on the road..



I love this road..



And detour to take a hike before the sun gets too high and hot..



John
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Old 11-29-2010, 05:24 PM   #20
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Old 11-29-2010, 05:47 PM   #21
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Texas Shadow recommended I pay a visit to the Ernst Tinaja spring, so, motorcycle gear and all, I did..

It's about a mile hike from the parking area off Old Ore Road..



Pretty. Dry creekbed with lots of interesting details..



Look up and the cactus contrasts the deep blue sky..



I appreciate the shade, being in full-moto-gear, pressure suit and all..





Checkout the twisty layers of rock...



There are a couple of pools of water. Amazing in this desert heat..







Time to hike back out before the sun gets too high..



On the hike back out, I lay down in the dry creekbed and work on capturing this clump of grass with the camera. It occurs to me at some point that the few other visitors to the area might panic and worry if they see me laying flat on the sand, in the sun in full moto-regalia. If anyone did notice me, they surely didn't show any alarm..



John
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Old 12-01-2010, 06:32 AM   #22
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Nice pix John. You are really getting handy with those night shots.
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Old 12-01-2010, 10:49 AM   #23
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Back on the road..





Of course, I'm running this South to North instead of the guidebook-recommended North to South. I figure the sun over my shoulder is more desireable than fighting the glare on my faceshield..

Sandy...



As I ride, I wonder what it must have been like to travel this area at the time this track was established. There would have been significantly more vegetation at that time, prior to the over-grazing that occurred throughout the region..



It's tempting to suggest that at some places it's almost like riding pavement, but I won't...



And of course there are strange cambers everywhere.. This must have been exciting in a wagon with steel-banded wood wheels..







John
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Old 12-01-2010, 11:16 AM   #24
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Really just a fantastic day for a ride..









It pleases me that my riding has at least improved to the point where this kind of mix of obstacles strikes me as interesting and fun now, instead of scary and intimidating..



I actually dropped the bike here. Put it on the kickstand then managed to push it forward and it fell over. Oops.



John
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Old 12-01-2010, 04:17 PM   #25
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And the road goes ever onward..







This is a little more remote than anything we've got back home..





Way off in the distance is Panther Junction..



It's there, but it ain't close..



And the wiggly road is calling..



John
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Old 12-01-2010, 04:17 PM   #26
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John...a few questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by scarysharkface View Post
I hauled the DR350 on the Jeep and took a couple of day rides over the week of Thanksgiving 2010.



I slept in the back of the Jeep with the windows down. Nice.



John
...but first let me compliment you as other inmates have on the quality of your photos. Too bad some people think that the desert is an ugly place. I've lived in the AZ desert for three years, thanks to the USAF, and found it to be awesome.

You appear to be a 'good-sized' person, I'd say about 6'. How in the world did you manage to sleep in the back of your Unlimited? I mean, I've tried it in my 2000 XJ Cherokee before. Most uncomfortable nights of [un]rest ever! I'm 6'/220 lbs. I walked like a hunched over, saddlesore cowboy for an hour trying to get my leg muscles to limber up so I could hop aboard my DRZ400.

I like to ride alone too, but I've always been leery of leaving my vehicle unattended in a desolate, remote place whilst I am out enjoying my ride. [Of course] no one in that part of Texas ("the green stuff on the other side of the road is Mexico...according to my GPS") would even think of hi-jacking your deer-struck Jeep. Did you not have concerns about arriving back where you parked it only to find where 4x4 Jeep tracks sped off to some unknown chop shop?

I am planning a spring trip to BB myself and would like to bring my '08 Versys and '89 NX250 Honda along. I ride at a slower, more relaxed pace now, being 62 years old and a charter member of the "Been there, broke that club". Would you consider that the sandy and rock strewn roads in the park would play nice with my 80/20 [gravel road/street] Versys? I'll have Shinko 705's on it by then.

I've always enjoyed your RR's and accompanying photos. They are both very inspiring! Sorry to hi-jack your thread...better than hi-jacking your Jeep though.

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Old 12-01-2010, 04:37 PM   #27
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Old Ore Road spills out onto Dagger Flats Road a few miles East of the main highway and 12-ish miles North of Panther Junction.

A few miles South and East of Panther Junction, Glenn Springs Road branches off to the West.

Just before reaching that point I pass a road grader coming the other direction. It seems that the baby-head-sized rocks of Glenn Springs Road are now just a memory, at least until it gets some traffic to sort things out into their natural state of bumpy...



It's soft and I'm just flying..



It's soft and it just goes and goes..



You can see where another motorcycle has passed just ahead of my tracks..



And it's soft all the way out to the edge..





And then suddenly, what's this? Hard surface?





The surface modulates between soft, deep sand that's been graded flat with baby-head rocks under the surface, to stretches where the grader blade was up and you get what you get..







The last probably 5 miles before Glenn Springs Road meets up with River Road East were so much fun I didn't stop for pictures. 40-ish mph on the pegs and it is just absolutely a blast..

Even though I only spent a couple of days on the bike, I think I got to know it a lot better than I had before. The DR350 is, for me, perfect in this environment. And to ride amidst the grand vistas of Big Bend was certainly a bonus and something I wouldn't hesitate to do again and again..

John
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Old 12-01-2010, 05:44 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThunderDog View Post
...but first let me compliment you as other inmates have on the quality of your photos. Too bad some people think that the desert is an ugly place. I've lived in the AZ desert for three years, thanks to the USAF, and found it to be awesome.

You appear to be a 'good-sized' person, I'd say about 6'. How in the world did you manage to sleep in the back of your Unlimited? I mean, I've tried it in my 2000 XJ Cherokee before. Most uncomfortable nights of [un]rest ever! I'm 6'/220 lbs. I walked like a hunched over, saddlesore cowboy for an hour trying to get my leg muscles to limber up so I could hop aboard my DRZ400.

I like to ride alone too, but I've always been leery of leaving my vehicle unattended in a desolate, remote place whilst I am out enjoying my ride. [Of course] no one in that part of Texas ("the green stuff on the other side of the road is Mexico...according to my GPS") would even think of hi-jacking your deer-struck Jeep. Did you not have concerns about arriving back where you parked it only to find where 4x4 Jeep tracks sped off to some unknown chop shop?

I am planning a spring trip to BB myself and would like to bring my '08 Versys and '89 NX250 Honda along. I ride at a slower, more relaxed pace now, being 62 years old and a charter member of the "Been there, broke that club". Would you consider that the sandy and rock strewn roads in the park would play nice with my 80/20 [gravel road/street] Versys? I'll have Shinko 705's on it by then.

I've always enjoyed your RR's and accompanying photos. They are both very inspiring! Sorry to hi-jack your thread...better than hi-jacking your Jeep though.

ThunderDog
Thanks greatly. I'm glad you like the photos. It's hard to take a bad picture, as long as the exposure is somewhat close. And yes, there is lots of beauty in the desert and yes, it's full of life.

I'm just under 5'8" and don't have a problem sleeping in the back. With the rear seats folded-forward and the front passenger seat forward a bit I can comfortably sleep slightly-diagonal in the back. Not a ton of extra room, but enough for me. Being exhausted at the end of the day seems to help.

I parked the Jeep out in the desert about 10 miles North of Terlingua while I rode the River Road. There aren't many folks around and the folks who are around know each other well enough that it's probably a lot safer than my driveway in Indiana. When I rode Old Ore and Glenn Springs I parked at the store at Rio Grande Village. There's enough family/camper traffic that I probably didn't even need to lock it (but I did). There are three roads out of the entire Big Bend area, so I don't think that makes it very attractive to a thief either.

Really, I can't emphasize enough that my worries were with wildlife only. I spent a bit of one evening in the Hot Springs with some Germans, and we exchanged pleasantries with a couple of guys sitting on the opposite bank of the river in Mexico. It is an exceptionally low-key environment, largely because it's even farther out in the boonies on the Mexican side of the border than it is on the American side. This is an area of few inhabitants and closing the border split families in half, so they are us and we are them to some extent. When I was there last New Year's, the volunteers knew the names of all the guys on the other side of the river and told me about their families. The guy who works the store in Rio Grande Village is married to a girl from across the river, and she works there as well. It's such a close-knit family environment that you have to experience to appreciate.

I don't know that I would take a Versys on the primitive roads, but keep in mind that I'm not an experienced dirt rider. There are places where that small front wheel would surely be a liability. FM170 West out of Lajitas, on the other hand, is a road you need to ride on that bike!

Go into it with an open mind and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at what a completely wonderful, laid-back and friendly part of the world Big Bend is.

And take lots of pictures. There are never going to be enough pictures in the world of that area.

John
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Old 12-01-2010, 05:59 PM   #29
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I should add that more than a few people in the park and out actually remembered me from last year, some even remembered my name. That just doesn't happen anywhere else I've ever been..

John
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:34 PM   #30
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Hey John,
Great pictures and info. I think I met you last year out there, you helped me scrape up my 800 . I think I'm going to spend next week at BB if the weather holds. Sorry I missed you guys.
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