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Old 06-16-2014, 10:26 PM   #1
AdventureDallas OP
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Location: Dallas, TX
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Big Bend & West Texas Adventure

I had been contemplating a Big Bend trip on my V-Strom 650 since last fall and was ready to go in March but rainy weather and a few other small things added up to keep me from going. So by June I was ready. I had to get to Big Bend to ride some of the dirt roads before I wear out the Heidenau K60s I put on this spring for just that purpose.



Day 1:

The plan was to ride from Dallas to Big Bend National Park and camp in the Chisos Mountain Basin. It's nearly 600 miles and I wanted to get there before dark, so l left at 5:30 am. Then promptly ran into this line of thunder storms sitting right on top of my projected path through Hamilton, San Saba, Brady. I wanted to hit US190 West to Marathon and on the way back ride US67. I wanted to avoid the interstates as much as possible.



Monitoring the radar I thought I'd be able to run before the storm front and stay dry. Alas, mother nature had other plans. Half an hour out and I was soaking wet. The rain liner of my Olympia jacket and pants was safely stowed for "just in case" deep in a pannier. I had to stop at a gas station for a couple of hours to wait out the front and then drove for several hours through the lingering rain. The jacket rain liner worked for about 1/2 hour, the pants liner did a little better, but the Cycle Gear cheap Chinese water proof gloves got soaked within few minutes. The issue, once wet, was temperature management. To put it simply, I was freezing going down the highway at 60 mph totally wet. The only dry and warm parts were my feet, comfortably ensconced in my Alpinestar Toucan goretex boots.

I learned a major lesson about rain gear: I should have taken the bulkier rain gear that goes on top of my riding jacket and not relied on the more compact supposedly water-proof liner of the jacket and pants. Also, it would be easier to stop and put rain gear on top of the riding gear than stop and take off your riding gear to put on the liners (as I did a few days later in the Davis Mountains).

12 hours later I filled up in Marathon, TX at the intersection of US90 and US385 and headed south to Big Bend NP.



On the hour-long drive between Marathon and the park entrance I came across just one truck. I made it to the park before sunset.



Day 2

The plan was to camp at the Chisos Basin campground without getting eaten by bears or mountain lions. I was carrying enough food to last me for the trip and all if it had to be stowed in the bear-proof boxes next to each campsite.



Having survived the first night I headed to the restrooms in the morning and instead of "employees must wash hands" placard I see this:



I like cats, even big ones, but this one in the pic didn't look friendly. And the ranger put me at ease when he said that it had been a week since a bear came into the campsite.

Back to riding: The plan for the day was Dagger Flat Auto Trail (nice, relatively level gravel road) and then Old Ore Rd. End the day in Rio Grande village and camp there. The following day I was planning to ride the River Road between Rio Grande and Castalon and camp there.

The friendly park ranger at Panther Junction said that the River Road is closed due to recent rains but that the Old Ore should be okay, if slightly wet in some southern portions. But on a dual sport bike I should be okay. Hm... I ride a V-Strom, which I have some experience taking off road (it really hates mud) but 'dual sport' is a vague term and the ranger seemed confident that I should have no issues.

I told her I was planning to ride the Old Ore Road alone and asked how likely is it that I might encounter anyone on that road. "Don't worry," she said "there won't be anyone else out there in the desert. No traffic." Well, what if I have an issue I cannot fix myself, and I'd like some traffic, when might a ranger or border patrol drive by? "Maybe a few days... up to a week." Hm...

I had food for a few days and water & Gatorade to last me 2 days in the desert. I'll be riding with all my gear on the bike, so tent, clothes, etc. My tires are quite new, about 1,500 miles on them at that point, with Ride On goo inside, I carry the obligatory plugs, air compressor, even inner tubes of the right size for both front and rear and tire irons and the special hex key for the front. A quart of oil, a pint of brake fluid... epoxy to fix a cylinder block, rescue tape to fix a water hose... Two separate GPS units, the park map (though what would be most useful of all navigational tools would be caching the Google Maps for the park on my iPhone, which showed me that I was still on the Old Ore Rd later when i thought I might have taken a wrong turn up a creek bed).

I have read others' reports about rangers being concerned about them traveling alone. The ranger I talked to was very friendly and helpful but didn't seem concerned about my making it. Perhaps her confidence boosted my confidence and I jumped on the bike and headed North to the Dagger Flat Auto Trail and Old Ore Road.

I figured the Dagger Flat road would warm me up for the Old Ore. The scenery was nice in a Chihuahua desert kind of way and the forest of giant dagger yuccas at the end of the Dagger Flat Auto Trail was like something out of this world.



The road was fairly easy, mostly level, mostly wide, graded gravel road. There were a couple of tight turns and a few areas covered with what looked like very coarse black sand but nothing too deep or challenging. Perhaps I drove slowly, too, but it was an easy road to travel. The worst part was the sections of washboard. Oh, well.

Then back nearly to the main park road to catch the northern end of the Old Ore Road. The calm confidence in this picture clearly shows that I don't know what awaits me the next 26 miles.



I had dropped tire pressure to 23 psi both front and rear to help with the gravel / rocky sections. I could tell the difference between the street pressure and the lower pressure as the tires were less bouncy on the gravel/rocks and travel was more planted and comfortable.




The first few miles heading south on Old Ore Rd were fairly easy, still mostly gravel, though clearly not graded and maintained like Dagger Flat. The views were, again, out of this world, and I got to maybe McKinney Spring area feeling that the road was quite easy.

Then it got a bit more technical: the road descended steeply with narrow and sharp turns and the gravel turned more to rocks. At the beginning of Old Ore road I stood up on the pegs because I wanted to, now I felt I needed to in order to have good control of the bike.

Approaching the Telephone Canyon area I felt I was getting thirsty and tired. The scenery was dominated by these sharp rust-colored rocks and, just like the ranger said, I saw not one human being. I stopped in this area to take a break, replace the memory card in my go pro, have some V8 juice, Gatorade, water, some food, to re-wet my cooling towel and my helmet liner. I could feel I was getting tired, though I didn't think I had worked particularly hard... Hm... could it be the heat? I had started on Old Ore at 1:00 pm with the sun right overhead..



The break and re hydrating felt nice, though I could tell that I wasn't completely recovered with a few minutes' break in the sun.

But the scenery was majestic and worth the effort:



At some point after Ernst Basin campsite and before Ernst Tinaja the road started getting wet and a bit slippery, which made sense given that it wont through some low lying areas and it had rained a couple of days earlier. But now it was getting to be more effort to keep the bike upright as I started to feeling it slipping in the muddy areas. I realized I was tensing up, that my abs were tensing up to the point of hurting, and I had to remind myself to stay relaxed and to stay loose on the bike, not to tense.

Somehow, and i don't know if it was the heat and the exhaustion, I had it in my head that the road was supposed to be 22 miles long and I had already gone 22 miles and still wasn't at the end of it. And the going was getting tougher on what seemed to be a creek bed, very slippery, and I should have seen the Ernst Tinaja sign long time ago but hadn't seen it yet... and had perhaps taken a wrong turn somewhere (there were many turns) where the road and the dried creek bed it was crossing may have looked very similar and I had gone up the creek bed instead of following the road and that means that I would have to backtrack through all the slippery stuff but it was so slippery that the though of turning around the bike was quite unpleasant, and then how would I be able to identify the Old Ore road once I got back to it if I hadn't been able to see which way it went when I had left it and oh, ****! Am I lost? In the desert? Not very far off the road, clearly but still... And why am I heading North and West when according to my map i should be heading south and east if I were on the right (Old Ore) road?



Both my GPS units showed me the coordinates but neither had a detailed map showing Old Ore Rd. So what I had long and lat but I was in the middle of a green space on the nav screen. My location needed to be precise to within a mile or so, I hadn't lost the road more than a mile or two back, it was just treacherous going which I didn't want to have to repeat.

I stopped, climbed off the bike and went up a hill to get a better view. I should be seeing and facing Sierra del Carmen, no the Chisos. Again, the rough estimation of my location which I could do visually was not what I needed to know if I'm on the road or one hill over on some creek bed leading me farther away from my intended destination.

Then I remembered: I had cached this section of the park on my Google Maps on my iPhone. A couple clicks and the map popped up. The blue dot showed me that I was right on the Old Ore Rd. Phew....

Onward! At that point I was breathing heavily, feeling super tired, and constantly tensing and having to remind myself to relax. I was so tired that I ended up sitting in the saddle many places where I would have rather stood up.

And then came the puddles. 50-100 feet long covering the entire road. I could go around some, though the park rules state that vehicles should not go off road... But some could not be ridden around. So I dismounted at every one, walked through it to determine the higher side of the road (shallower rut and water) and which side was rocky vs muddy. I had to do this maybe half a dozen times. The deepest water I had to go through was no more than a foot deep and maybe 150 feet long. Having practiced water crossing during the 1st Annual Texas Strom-a-Thon in Lano a few weeks ago with some experienced riders, I had gained a little bit of experience crossing water. But it was a work out to get off the bike and check each and every puddle. After awhile I felt I got a sense of the geology of the puddles and rode through the last couple without dismounting and checking them out.

Then, the last mile or so got really rocky, big rocks, steep hills, big drop offs, slow turns. I was very tired, and I wanted to be careful, so I was going really slowly, perhaps too slow until a bigger rock knocked me off balance and I dropped the bike.

Had I been going a bit faster and not crawling at 1 mph I would likely have had the inertia to stay up. But I was going so slowly that the bike simply dropped on its left side. Fortunately it was in a deep rut and it came to rest on its pannier leaning against the side of the rut at about 45 degrees. Had the bike gone down flat I would have had to unload it completely to lighten it in order to be able to raise it. That might have added an hour under the desert sun...

I have the soft Nelson Rigg dry panniers and I was a little worried how would they do in a fall. Riding for hours in the rain on Day 1 has proved that they really stay dry but dropping the bike on them? This was a very gentle drop at almost 0 forward speed on a rocky slope and there was no damage to the bag. If you drop a bike with these panniers at 20 mph... who knows. I suspect they may not fare as well.

One personal lesson about the desert: If I had to spend time in the desert doing repairs or unloading my bike to pick it up after a drop, the first thing I would do is setup shade. Setting up the tent might be excessive, but I carry a tarp and would tie it to the bike or the shrubs to create some shade. If I had to do a longer repair I would create shade, rest for awhile, drink plenty of water, eat, rest, think about the best way to approach to task and THEN start the work. I would not rush to fix things because the brain is overheating, the adrenaline is pumping and it's easy to make mistakes. Most major mishaps are not the result of a single big failure but the cumulative effect of a series of small, seemingly insignificant errors that accumulate.

Trying to pick up the bike I realized that the panniers were covering the side racks and I had no convenient way to grab the rear of the bike. I didn't think much about it, I was perhaps a bit upset at myself that I dropped it for going too slow. I just grabbed the rolled top of the pannier and pulled it up. No issues, it worked. Again, I was raising the bike from a 45 degree angle, not laying horizontally.

A few minutes later I saw the strip of asphalt I had been waiting to see for an hour. I had never loved asphalt so much in my life before. The pose in the picture at the end of Old Ore Rd is my unconscious reaction to surviving that road. Only later did I realize how I had posed. The sense of accomplishment is indescribable.

I took on the Old Ore Road alone on my V-Strom 650 loaded with maybe 60 lbs of gear and provisions, in the middle of a hot summer day with temps (in the shade) of 106 F. I was lucky that everything worked as intended. And I made it.



The clerk at the Rio Grande Village store/gas station looked at me and asked if I was ok. Yes, I said. "No projectile vomiting?" he continued to evaluate me. No, just really hot but no heat stroke. "Would you like to use my walk-in cooler to cool off a bit?" No thanks. Later I change my mind and finished my ice cream and cold water inside his cooler.

The previous night, when I had shared with the camp host at the Chisos basin my plan to camp in Rio Grand village the following night smiled and said he was going to see me again at the basin campground. He was right, sort of.

The Rio Grand village campsite was so hot, there was only one elderly gentlemen sitting in the shade of his pickup truck at the campsite and I didn't want to spend a night alone by the river. (Maybe another time, but this was my first time. I'm still learning the ropes). I remembered what the park host at the basin campground had told me and heading back up to the basin.

I had some time to think on the ride back and though of a few lessons from my Old Ore Adventure:

1. Don't start a trek through the desert at 1:00pm. It took me about 3.25 hours to complete and the only serious challenge I faced was really the heat.

2. I had water and I drank some (including Gatorade and salty V8 juice) but I probably should have drunk more.

3. I should have taken more breaks and taken off to re-wet my helmet liner. The cooling towel worked really well and my body didn't feel as hot, but my head felt hot. I wouldn't want to fry the brain. Ultimately, it's the one that drives the bike.

4. I wanted to have all my gear with me but when I got home and took the bike for a spin around the block it felt very light and nimble. Everything I carried clearly made the bike harder to ride. On the other hand I wasn't going for speed and it was comforting to know I had tools and supplies to do repairs and survive some time in the desert if need be.

5. Enduro Guardian's bash plate came in really handy as I heard at least 2 or 3 big clunks when rocks got flung into it.

6. I was pleasantly surprised not to have any flat tires after reading all the reports about tire issues. But I also realize that this is a very random thing and one has to be prepared for as many eventualities as possible. I realize that I was lucky in that regard.

7. I would still ride primitive roads with all my gear as I never felt I was going too slow and needed to go faster. I wasn't racing, I was adventure touring.

8. I had brought about 1.5 gallons of extra gas but I didn't need it. The gas stations at Panther Junction and Rio grand village are open during normal business hours and gas was around $4.05 / gallon. That's just 10% more expensive than what I pay for it at home. I can go 200 miles on a full tank of gas and I didn't need the weight of the extra fuel.

Back in the basin I decide that although I have food and my tent I'd rather eat a restaurant-prepared meal and experience a bit of air-conditioning and civilization. And perhaps I'd ask (knowing the unfavorable odds) if they might have just one last room available at the lodge where I can take a shower and spend one comfortable night not worrying about lions and bears while I recover. Luckily, they had one room. It blows my budget for the trip but I feel I can indulge a bit after the Old Ore Road.

At the lodge restaurant I have the most delicious chicken fried stake ever and enjoy the magnificent sunset through the Window.



I am glad that the River Road is closed as it is twice the length of Old Ore and I've heard that is even more challenging and I'm glad not to have the temptation to ride it on this trip.

Instead, I decide to take the Ross Maxwell scenic drive the next day and to visit the Santa Elena canyon, and maybe ride the Old Maverick road, which is only 14 miles of quite level, graded, gravel road.

Day 3

I'm glad I have a chance to ride some of the lovely paved road of the park, which would have missed had I followed the original plan to go Old Ore to Rio Grand Village, River Road to Castolon, and then Old Maverick out of the park toward Terlingua.

Castolon's small historical exhibit is pleasant and I find it worthwhile, so is the conversation with the store clerk and the cold ice cream and soda.

The escarpment, though which the Rio Grande has cut the Santa Elena canyon is visible for miles. The canyon is big:



Really big:



And the short trail up the US side of the canyon wall reveal magnificent views of the Rio Grande, the desert, and the mountains:



I take it all in, rest in the little bit of shade I can find near the parking lot at noon, drink plenty of water, soak my cooling vest and helmet liner, and after a brief conversation with a couple of park rangers am assured that if I managed the Old Ore road the day before Old Maverick would be a breeze.

The biggest challenge there is the washboard and my OEM V-Strom suspension is working hard but the washboard is beyond its abilities to manage. By the way, I found that in my style of driving the suspension did just fine on the Old Ore road the day before. Again, maybe I was going slowly and not asking too much of it but not once did I feel that it didn't serve me well. Except on washboard but I have no idea how better suspension would feel there.

This is also my assessment of the tires: gravel, big rocks, sand, sandy mud - they slip in the mud, maybe not as much as the OEMs, and seem to do really well in the gravel and rocks. But I find it really hard to compare the tires to my original tires... maybe if it's a side by side comparison I could tell the difference.

By the way, I did not encounter deep sandy sections anywhere. Yes, there were a few short sandy areas and I felt the bike wobble in the sand a bit but nothing too deep and too long.

There was only one time on Old Maverick road that the bike tried to do a tank slapper. I gave it a bit of gas, pushed forward on both handlebars simultaneously to dampen the osculation and the front wheel straightened out its path again.



The third night in Big Bend was again in the Basin campground. I had given myself a shorter, easier Day 3, having learned my lessons from the Old Ore Road. The pork tenderloin at the Lodge restaurant was a delicious, the views... the same as they had been for millennia from that vantage point, and the afternoon lecture by a ranger on the black bears and mountain lions of Big Bend made me feel equipped with the knowledge I would need to be comfortable in their world.



I setup the tent without the rain fly, looking forward to enjoying the beautiful night sky over the Chisos. Around midnight strong winds, thunder, and lightning suggested that the rain fly should be installed securely (which meant anchoring it also to heavy rocks) for the upcoming rain. I wondered how my Mountainsmith tent would handle the rain. It rained really hard for 15 minutes or so and the tent held up nicely - no issues.

Day 4

The plan was to leave BBNP and visit Terlingua Ghost Town and drive FM170 (The River Road - this one is paved, unlike River Road in BBNP, which is not, and which is on the list for my next visit) from Terlingua to Presidio, then head north on US67 to Marfa. Afterward check out Alpine before heading to Ft Davis and the McDonal Observatory in the Davis Mountains. The plan was to spend the night either at Davis Mountains State Park or at Balmorhea State Park 30 miles north. Day 5 would be riding back home.

One realization on this trip is that it takes me too long to pack in the morning and hit the road. By Day 4 I had figured that out so I tried both to consciously force myself to be quicker but also to get up a bit earlier to give myself more time to pack.

I was on the road by 8:30 am. The park road between Panther Junction and Maverick junction was perhaps my favorite stretch of pavement. i loved the long sweepers, gentle changes in elevation, and magnificent views.

Study Butte has a gas station and a general store. (Nice; so fuel in Big Bend National park is available at its headquarters (Panther junctions), at its eastern end (Rio Grand village), and just outside its western entrance in Study Butte. Ok, so maybe the gas stations are 20-30 miles apart and only open during regular business hours unlike the 24-hour, 2 stations at each intersection setup in the big cities. But for a bike that can go 200 miles on a tank of gas fuel is not an issue there.

Terlingua Ghost town was interesting... A fellow rider on a cruiser of some sort (well, actually, on a patio chair at the Espresso Bar & Internet Cafe) waived at me (I waived back, of course). I might want to come back this way for the big Chili cook off at the end of October... and to ride the River Road in the national park...



FM170 - The River Road to Presidio is a fun ride. Rugged canyons, the green valley of the Rio Grande, elevation changes and sweepers - what's not to like! Well, the road is not the smoothest stretch of pavement (that distinction goes to a portion of the main park road in Big Bend NP) but it is a fun ride. And the rest area with the tipis is trippy:



And the vegetation is pretty



And the river is a source of life... hard to think of it as an international border



I ride by the entrance to Big Bend Ranch State Park. No paved roads here at all... This is where I'm coming on my next trip to Big Bend:



A few more miles up the road is Presidio, TX. That's where US67 ends and Mexico begins... or the other way around. I just know that I can ride that same highway to within a few miles of my front door... all the way from the Mexican border.



So I head north on US67. It's a long, long way from home...



I drive through Marfa, then on to Alpine. There at a gas station I see one of the oddest station wagons modifications. It had a catering business sticker on the side... so maybe the kitchen cabinet sticking out of your rear hatch makes sense...



Then a fellow rider chats me up, we talk about adventures, plans, gear, and end up grabbing dinner at Alicia's Mexican Restaurant. It's a few blocks off the main strip in Alpine but the food is delicious and the service is great. Thanks, Cadar!

The dinner in Alpine was an early one but the plan for the day called for visiting Fort Davis and the McDonald observatory. I've accepted that my timing is less than ideal and I won't be able to visit during business hours when the visitor center is open but I still want to make it to the observatory. I've loved astronomy since I was a kid. Something about space and stars and planets...

So I just drive through Fort Davis instead of visiting and lingering but I know that I'll be back. I had had an early dinner in Alpine (as opposed to dinner in Ft Davis) because I had seen the gathering clouds above the Davis Mountains and I was trying to avoid riding into rain.

I couldn't avoid it completely and it rained on me a bit. Just enough to get the gear wet. I stopped and put on the rain liners but that was after the fact so I was just hot in it. The lesson on rain gear, again, for me is to use my baggy rubbery ugly rain gear that goes on top of my riding jacket and pants. Goes on fast, can come off fast so I'm not hot riding with the rain layer on...

Rain makes the mountains feel fresh and pleasant.



I liked FM170 between Terlingua and Presidio but I enjoyed TX118 to the McDonald observatory perhaps even more than the River Road. And then you get to the top... And since it's after visitor center hours the place is practically empty.



The tripod I carry for pics serves me well but for the next shot I had to sprint to be in position within 10 seconds of hitting the shutter button :)



Then I ride over to the other telescope and park just below it (as close as non-authorized vehicles are allowed). A friendly elderly couple walks from one of the small cottages (where, I guess, astronomers live...) and we strike up a conversation. He's a researcher studying the chemical composition of stars and is scheduled to do his observations using the telescope in a couple of nights. He offers to take my picture and makes the telescope building look like the leaning tower of Pizza. The bike is actually parked on a steep incline, not on a level parking lot. I guess in the greater universe the notions of straight up and level have different meaning. :)



This road also happens to be the highest patch of pavement maintained by the Texas Department of Transportation (and yes, this one's a selfie :)



And the view to the valley below is magnificent:



I don't have much more time to linger... The sun will set soon and I need to figure out my camping arrangement for the night. I could stay at Davis Mountain State Park but I could also ride up to Balmorhea, which would cut 45 minutes or so from my long day in the saddle the next day riding home.

I hit the road to Balmorhea through more pretty Texas country:



Somewhere north of Wild Rose Pass on Texas Highway 17 I stop and savor one of the most beautiful sunsets:



Day 5

I pack the tent and hit the road by 5:30 am. I 10 is unavoidable between Balmorhea and Ft Stockton and the 80 mph speed limit is quite a bit faster than my comfortable cruising speed of 70-75 mph. It's early morning in West Texas, so traffic is lite and the landscape is pretty in its West Texas kind of way. I fill up in Ft Stockton, have breakfast at McDonalds and hit US67 north, which will take me home. Between Ft Stockton and San Angelo US67 looks like an oilfield service road as the only traffic seems to be oil company trucks. I still dig the landscape, though.

I pass through a number of small towns, many of which would be worth a weekend day trip to explore. It's a long day in the saddle and the AirHawk seat cushion, which I bought right before and for this trip, topped by a piece of sheepskin is earning its purchase price. It made a huge difference as I never got sore or uncomfortable as I would normally get after about 2 hours in the saddle. The greatest drawback for the V-Strom from my perspective is buffeting and wind management (or lack thereof). I have 3 windscreens and I tried the original one for this long trip. I'll be going to one of the aftermarket ones. I had 15 - 20 mph from the side all day and Richland Rick's fork brace did a great job steadying the front (as it did on the rough Old Ore Road).

After a 12-hour day I was back home with a ton of pictures to sort through and a ride report to write.
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Old 06-17-2014, 05:42 AM   #2
mikegc
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Big Bend & West Texas Adventure

Great ride report! Thanks for taking time to post all the photos. Although I live in NC, I try to get out to Big Bend once a year, usually in late February or early March. I've been fourteen times, I think, and never seem to tire of it. Next time you're in Fort Davis, have breakfast at the drugstore.

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Old 06-17-2014, 07:56 AM   #3
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Thanks, Mike! This was my first trip to Big Bend and I think I'm hooked, too!

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Great ride report! Thanks for taking time to post all the photos. Although I live in NC, I try to get out to Big Bend once a year, usually in late February or early March. I've been fourteen times, I think, and never seem to tire of it. Next time you're in Fort Davis, have breakfast at the drugstore.

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Old 06-17-2014, 12:59 PM   #4
txplants
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Great read!

Enjoyed your report! Also a Big Bend/West Texas junkie. Maybe we should form a support group?
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Old 06-17-2014, 01:37 PM   #5
BigDogAdventures
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Great read Adventure Dallas.

Since your from Texas--you may know the big bend area way better than me.

But you might want to read my ride report there this past winter--might give you some ideas.

Thanks !!!

Link to my ride is here:

http://www.bigdogadventures.com/3Texas.htm

The ore road:

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Old 06-17-2014, 05:09 PM   #6
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Great pics. I need to plan a trip to Big Bend.
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Old 06-17-2014, 06:51 PM   #7
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Yes, txplants! I feel like I need a support group... Big Bend was addictive... I'm already contemplating the next trip! Maybe during the Terlingua Chili Cook Off at the end of October.

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Enjoyed your report! Also a Big Bend/West Texas junkie. Maybe we should form a support group?
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Old 06-17-2014, 07:07 PM   #8
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Thank you for the report; looks like a good time !
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Old 06-17-2014, 07:53 PM   #9
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GREAT ride report! Riding the Big Bend country is on my list, ever since I did it as a wee lad from the pillion of my dad's CB350! I've been there many times over the past 45 years, and you did it well!



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Old 06-17-2014, 08:17 PM   #10
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Hey BigDogAdventures, I read and loved your report! Although it's Texas it can get pretty chilly in February :). And your way is the way to do it - 10, 12 days out there...

Btw, I did the James River crossing with one of the TX Adventure Riders you have pictured eating at the open air BBQ.


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Great read Adventure Dallas.

Since your from Texas--you may know the big bend area way better than me.

But you might want to read my ride report there this past winter--might give you some ideas.

Thanks !!!

Link to my ride is here:

http://www.bigdogadventures.com/3Texas.htm
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Old 06-18-2014, 04:13 AM   #11
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Btw, I did the James River crossing with one of the TX Adventure Riders you have pictured eating at the open air BBQ.
As they say---small world ---those guys were a hoot !!!!

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Old 06-18-2014, 05:49 AM   #12
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Thanks for the report. Loved it. My wife and I were down there about 10 years ago and did many of the roads, but it was in November and we were on a KLR. We did a lot of hiking, too. It's a beautiful area and we plan on going back there soon.
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Old 06-18-2014, 08:39 AM   #13
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Excellent report! Glad to see you're enjoying the good life. If I only had some time off...
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:37 AM   #14
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Thanks, Mudclod. BTW, I think it was you in the pic in BigDogADventure's report that I recognized :).

Also, all that dirt practice and tips with you at the Strom-a-thon was really good practice for Old Ore Rd. Thanks! I look forward to riding with you again sometime!


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Excellent report! Glad to see you're enjoying the good life. If I only had some time off...
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Old 06-20-2014, 11:01 AM   #15
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Great RR, thanks for sharing. I like that you went solo and that you're learning by doing while still being smart and conservative.

I rode BBNP on a KLR about 12 years ago. I loved the solitude and open spaces. It's my understanding that it's one of the least-visited national parks. For me, that was a big part of its charm. Add to that spectacular sunsets, starry nights and interesting locals, and you have one of the best kept secrets in the adventure-tourer world.

Your pictures and writing brought it all back for me. Thanks again...
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