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Old 02-26-2012, 11:50 AM   #31
sandsman
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You are making me want to go

I camped in the Chisos Basin campgrounds. I had wild javelina, a red fox (at night), deer, a friendly skunk, and roadrunners at my camp and there were rumors of bears in the region. I hope that you went to Terlingua on the western edge of the park. It is a destination not to miss if you go. Here is another couple of teaser pics.



At my campsite, I woke up to this!!!!!!



This was at the " Window" formation, a 2 mile hike to get there, wished it was open for you, a nice hike.



This is what I called "Mexico anyone?" pic......enjoyed all of your pics, don't want to hijack your thread.
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Old 02-26-2012, 12:19 PM   #32
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Not a hijack, sandsman

The mods may consider it a hijack, but I think it just adds to the story the way you're doing it just a few pics at a time! And your 'Window' pic is as good as any I've seen. Wish I could've hiked to it, but it just wasn't in the cards.
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Old 02-26-2012, 02:42 PM   #33
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Window pic

That rock I was standing on was so slick......in the pic it looks polished. The drop off just behind me, about 300 feet. It scared me, I'm telling you.
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Old 02-26-2012, 03:16 PM   #34
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Herky jerky

I've learned not to get that close to killer drops... last time I did, I did the herky jerky all night long... barely doze off, then get that feeling of falling and jerk awake!

I've seen pictures of that spot from that exact camera angle, except no one was in it for scale. Your's adds dimension! The rocks should certainly be polished from years of dumping all the precip that lands in the Basin. I'd love to see it after a heavy rain!
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Old 02-26-2012, 04:03 PM   #35
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One last shot

I have decided that I am gonna sort thru my pics and put some up later. You never said if you made it to Terlingua?

I'll just call this one "Reflections", I didnt do it on purpose, just noticed later.



Glad you made the trip there, I plan a return trip this year.
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Old 02-26-2012, 04:41 PM   #36
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Chronological order

Patience, grasshoppa... I'm still a couple days away from Terlingua in the story line. Once all my pics are uploaded, I sort them into the order in which they are taken. I then let them refresh my memory and pace the story.

I recommend everyone do a ride report or 2. It's the next best thing to going again... very rewarding and there are always a large number of inmates just waiting for a new rr. Especially in winter when their bikes are parked! Don't worry about being flamed... ADVrider realizes the ride reports are the prized jewel in their crown and will ban those who get mean or malicious.
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Old 02-26-2012, 07:09 PM   #37
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Leaving the madrone zone

I finally snap the euphoria and decide to head back down to desert level... after a couple more pics from the Basin Road.










I hit the Maverick Road and turn east to Panther Junction for gas. OUCH!!! I filled up in Lubbock on 2/12 and gas was $3.02 per gallon!



One of the back country sites I'd considered was on Croton Springs Road. After gassing up, I decide to check it out because... because curious minds want to know.



I pulled over and struck up a conversation with the old guy in the station wagon. There's room for several campsites, but only one bear proof storage and the old dude makes it clear he isn't interested in sharing it. Once he finds out I'm already set up in Cottonwood, he loosens up... even shares some info. He uses the bear proof box like a table and even uses his propane cookstove inside it to block the wind.



The road in is like Old Maverick... easy as pie when dry... slicker'n cat snot when wet! It has a good view of the Chisos Mountains.



I hadn't thought of using the bear proof storage as a table! And I'm afraid I may run out of isopropane... it takes twice as long to boil water if the wind is blowing the flame around... the box would help for that, too.

So I start my backtrack to camp. I usually try to avoid backtracking... but this is one time I don't mind at all. Lookit... that looks like Casa Grande in the distance through the gap ahead?







Many of the jaw dropping views don't have pullouts. I still have a hard time getting no look, left handed shots framed properly.



This should be called the Rooster Comb, although the pullout doesn't give a broadside view, the angle that most looks like a rooster comb.



At the next pullout, it disappears into the peak behind it, almost looking like a cave in the side of the hill.











Mother Nature is a pretty good sculptor... she's turning this rock into a Sphinx.



And that one into... jungle titty!!!



This road would be SO much fun if I didn't have to worry about Barney and his radar gun! Speaking of which, this morning after I turned onto Maverick Highway on my way to the Basin Road, I was lost in thought when something in my mirror catches my eye. It's Barney with his lights flashing... and I'm doing 52. Crabapples... no tickets, please! He continues on without even a backwards glance or finger wag! Must've gotten a report of someone 'free hiking'! I see him for a few hills, using his red flashers to speed. Cheater!!! Ok... vent off.



Turns out jungle titty is sheep shelter... on Homer Wilson's ranch.










I was a little let down with the views from the Homer Wilson pulloff. There'd been too many cars to stop this morning, and several again this afternoon. I realize on Day 5 that this is a cell phone hot spot when I ride by and it's crowded again! Then I notice everyone is talking on a cell phone. I get 3 bars on Day 6 when I REALLY need to call Brad.



800,000 acres SOUNDS big. But until you experience the vastness, it's just a number.





The side road to Burro Mesa Pouroff



I'd spotted that cool horizontal band from Sotol Vista this morning.





I didn't take the time to do this short hike, thinking I'd get back to it... whoops!





One of the friendly, retired gents at Cottonwood stopped for a visit later in the trip and let me know Burro Mesa Pouroff was one of his favorite spots and he'd been coming here for 23 years. He had lots of cool stories!



Dick (the old gent) said there's a more strenuous hike to the top of the pouroff, but it's well worth the effort. You could stay here a month and not even scratch the surface!



It's a shame mtb's aren't allowed off road... you could see so much more!







The Santa Elena gap is visible for miles.



My eyes aren't focusing, so I'll call it quits for now. Coming up... River Road West and some dirty, rocky fun!
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:40 AM   #38
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River Road West

is a backroad that generally follows the Rio Grande from Ross Maxwell/ Cerro Castellan to Rio Grande Village. It's 51 miles and has become a rite of passage for off-roaders. I've seen lots of inticing pics of Mariscal Canyon and the only way to get there is by the River Road.



Since the trails I'd planned to hike this afternoon were still closed, I've decided to check out River Road. The NP ranger I asked at the visitor center this morning said Old Maverick and Croton Springs roads are risky for big bikes and doesn't recommend it. I didn't ask about the River Road and I didn't tell him I'd already done Old Maverick fully loaded with camping gear.



This location is just north of Cerro Castellan and is full of contrast and photo ops, but no pullouts.



I try a couple of no look, left handed shots...



and get a couple of pics with more sky than subject matter. My son can just grab his Lumix and shoot without looking while riding... most of his shots come out well framed, even over the shoulder shots!



Cerro Castellan has a pullout... I've seen lots of the shot above on the internet, some beautifully tinted by a cloudy sunset. (or photoshop?)



I've been seeing thornless prickly pear... there's some beside this pullout. I bet the javelinas like these best! Prickly pear is their main source of hydration during droughts and this is the first time I've seen any that's not covered in sharp thorns. I read somewhere that there are 62 different kinds of cactus in Big Bend.



Just south of here is River Road west entrance. There's a sign saying "Don't even think about proceeding without first talking to a Ranger!" I decide to go to Castolon and talk to a Ranger and take some ice back to camp first... don't want to risk spoiling my food... and Dr. Morgan's are much better on the rocks. The Ranger glances out the window at Jessie and says he doesn't recommend it on that bike. There is, however, a Ranger coming east to west on the road if I decide to try it and have trouble.

The road looks about like Croton Springs road and starts out with a short climb.



I don't plan to go that far... I hope to get to the first place it's close to the river, about 5 miles in. At the first sign of deep sand, I plan to turn around. Jessie turns into a pig in deep sand and wants to wallow around in it! And this is, after all, my ride home.



It's a little sandy, but the two track shallows are solid. This is what vStroms are made for! I shore wished you were there, BBB. We'd a done the whole thing!



I come to a creek and it's a little sandy. I decide to walk it a ways... I'm in a good spot to turn around, if necessary.



Right after this picture, a Hummer pulls up from the east. He says it gets pretty rough right around the corner with some 8-10" ledges and deep sand! He said the magic word and I turn around. Discretion is the better part of valor and all that crap... I'm kinda' wishing I'd brought my van with my DRZ400 on the motojack. I was diggin' this dirt play! The 45 mph speed limit EVERYWHERE in the park is taking most of the fun out of the paved riding.



It is warm and calm this afternoon, quite beautiful here... and beautifully quiet!



I'm not sure what kind of plant this is, but it's trying to bloom. This place would burst into colorful blooms with just a little rain! I've read that the blue bonnets reach 5' tall here some years! Wouldn't that be a fine sight!?!!



We have these cat claw bushes all along the mtb trails at Buffalo Springs near Lubbock. Our version only gets about knee high. This version has shoots reaching over 6' and the thorns are curved like cat claws.



The air here is so clean smelling... it takes me back to the way it smelled waiting for the bus just before school let out for summer. Funny how some scents will spur long forgotten memories. Along with the fond memory comes the sweet euphoria that only happens when you're not expected anywhere and there are no agendas to fill.



When I arrive back at camp, it smells like rain! They've been watering the cottonwoods and it smells so good!



The campsites are raised about 6-10 inches, so they just flood the campground area to water the trees. I start water boiling for tonight's meal... stir fryed chicken and peppers on a bed of rice.



It seems like everytime I light the isopropane stove, the wind picks up? I wish they had bear proof storage boxes here, also, but Cottonwood CG is too far from bear country, I suppose . I try to use my drybag for a windblock, but the wind is swirling and it takes forever to bring the water to a boil.



I just love the smell of peppers and onions cooking outside!



Yummy... the canned chicken is quite tasty and the soy sauce brings it all to life! Tortillas make a good bread substitute when camping. A loaf of bread would've been flat as a pancake by now! Something about camping improves my appetite and I devour the entire double serving! No room for dessert.



After eating, I kick back and watch the sky come to life! The stars are so vivid without all the light pollution from civilization! This area is one of the most light pollution free zones in the United States! I leave the tent's rainfly vestibule doors unzipped. This tent's design only has about 18" of rainfly over you this way and you can see the night skies well. I doze off, looking forward to a repeat performance of the owl's mating songs. I'd described the calls to the ranger at the visitor center and he said their mating season was just beginning. I'd guessed right about their sexes... he said the purring sound on the end of the 4th hoot is his way of saying "Let's get it on!"
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Old 02-27-2012, 01:07 PM   #39
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Excellent RR going on.......

I am so wanting to get out there. I am loving your pics.....and so true about cooking the food outside. I am installing a sidecar on my fat bike.......due to a very weak leg, I broke at work in June of 2010. I can ride ok (have to be careful) but if it ever starts over on the left side, I couldnt catch it. I just don't want to chance it with a heavy bike. Here's another pic that you'll like. This is another at the "Window" pic. I got all puckered up over this one if you know what I mean.

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Old 02-27-2012, 03:03 PM   #40
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Sidecars

Wow... another good Window pic, sandsman! I hope you had a photog with you and this isn't a self portrait! Otherwise, this really gets scary!

Too cool... a Harley with a sidecar! BeemerChef has a GS with a sidecar... and a pit bull named Ara that goes with him everywhere he goes... with helmet and goggles, no less! If you haven't read any of his stuff, you should! His reason for going on the road 6 years ago makes grown men cry. He's an excellent photographer, too! Just do an ADV search for Ara and Spirit... you're sure to find him. He winters in Big Bend and is probably the main reason I went there!?
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Old 02-27-2012, 04:52 PM   #41
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Nice report........ Big Bend is always a good ride......
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Old 02-27-2012, 05:54 PM   #42
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SE canyon

Hello again Phread,

Nice Job on the RR. Enjoying it.


Did you get to walk up alongside the river into the mouth of Santa Elena Canyon? If not, you should try to check it out.


It is one of my favorite natural illusions.


The rock strata is tilted at a slight angle and there are places where you'd swear that the river is running uphill!
Very Cool. I tried to capture the illusion with a camera and it just didn't quite look the same.

Last spring I stayed in Rio Grande Campground to the east. ( I think it was Rio Grande) They had a lot of the metal food storage containers there. Some folk just didn't have a clue (maybe it was kids) and you could hear people slamming those things all night and morning. Probably would have been quieter with the bears and boars rummaging through people's stuff! Of course, if you're being serenaded by the owls .... that would just be background music to you.

Thanks again for posting. Ride safe.

Rob
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Old 02-27-2012, 08:25 PM   #43
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Still waters run deep... not here!

Thanks, Ensey and Road Damage.

I didn't notice the illusion... the river is way low and was more like a still pool this year.



You can kind of see it in this pic. The river flows from right to left... the sediment line slopes the opposite direction. Good eye, Rob!

Does anyone else see the rock that looks like a cat's nose peeking out from behind the rocks in the right foreground?

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Old 02-27-2012, 09:45 PM   #44
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Good Pics

I didn't get down in the area where you have been. I can't wait to get back there. First I have to do my West Coast trip. Plan is to hit the 20 western states and maybe up to Alaska if all is going good when I get to Washington state.
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Old 02-28-2012, 06:07 AM   #45
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That's a zook!

Was admiring your ride, sandsman, and realized... that's not a Harley. It's a big Suzuki! I hope I din't offend you!? Is that a Boulevard?
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