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Old 04-02-2008, 06:49 PM   #1
reed523 OP
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Location: Perkins, Oklahoma
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First Ride Report. Big Bend & a Birthday Bike

Back during Christmas Dad made mention of riding down to Big Bend at some point. He had done the ride before but until Advrider came along, I had no idea it was such a destination point. We talked about it a few times and things worked out, so we made the trip. Now that Iím back home trying to piece together a report, I realize just how poor my photography skills are. Oh well, reason enough to head out again soon and practice those pics!

The last week of February seemed pretty early for me to leave Oklahoma and head southwest, knowing what kind of weather could await us on the return trip. We often get some of our last winter snows (sometimes our only winter snows) about this time of year. The forcast looked pretty good so we went for it although it was a little cool for a KLR with a stock windscreen. Hereís what all it took to keep a lightweight like me warm for a long ride at 40 degrees. Note to self- Pee at least twice before you put all this crap on. No, Clive wan't part of the outfit.


My plan was to ride from Perkins Oklahoma out to the southern Texas panhandle (Hart) where dad would join me. Things worked out so my friend John could join us. Itís a good thing too, since Johnís Harley was 2 years old and still didnít have enough miles on it for his second oil change.


You might say we took the indirect route to Dadís. By the way, if you should ever find yourself in the Texas panhandle, make sure you hit all the highways going north and east out of Silverton. Beautiful country.




Included in this area is Turkey Texas, home of Bob Wills. Hereís the only photo op in town.


I did manage to get one nice photo of John just outside Kress.


Rolled into Hart just after dark right in time for a nice big steak.

We left Dadís (Bob, by the way) headed south on US385 hoping to get ahead of a big wind dayÖ.we didnít make it. Major crosswinds a good part of the day. At Seminole, we decided to make this a 3 state tour and ran over to Hobbs before continuing on south. By this point, the wind was sustained 40mph with gusts up over 50! I must confess the half ton Harley looked pretty good a few times as I was blowing around like clothes on a line on my KLR.


Funny how a little good food kinda made the wind seem a little more bearable. Danís in Hobbs. Outstanding.




Back in Texas now, we had one tense moment as the wind really took itís toll on the Shadowís fuel mileage and Dad ran out of gas just outside of Mentone. Laying it down once by the side of the road and we were able to get enough fuel moved around to get us into town.

We rolled into Balmorhea State Park just after they were closing the office for the day. The great staff gave us a room key and told us to settle up the next day.




Balmorhea pool was originally built back in the 30ís. I believe it holds aprox. 4 million gallons of water and is spring fed to the tune of 1,000,000 gallons per hour! Water temp is 72 degrees year around. Neat place.

Next pic is of a lovely 20 something couple just getting out of the pool for the afternoon. Wait,... make that should have been the next pic. What an idiot, I left my camera on the motorcycle back at the room. Anyway, her little red bikini was a nice surprise for a cool February day. All you get to see is John and I. This is as close as Iíll ever get to walking on water.




Day 3 began with this gorgeous sunrise.


We dropped down to Fort Davis for breakfast. Dad and John went with trashcan burrito. Just plain donuts for me, thank you maíam. Then out to McDonald Observatory for the morning. Even if this isnít your cup of tea, itís worth a trip out to the observatory just for the great road and incredible view.










We finished the day by riding on in to Presidio. Very briefly considered going into Mexico (actually Dad considered it). Little too much adventure for me. Maybe next time. I probably wouldnít have slept a wink here had I seen No Country For Old Men before the trip. Side note: I really only endured half the movie. Hard to find any redeeming value for my entertainment 4.00.


Day 4 began with John getting called home early. He rode into the park with us then headed for home. A couple of last shots of the big lug.




Dad and I spent the balance of the day running around inside Big Bend National Park. Beautiful. Another one of those places you just have to experience because you wonít believe what people who have been there try to tell you. Commentary: Riding along the Rio Grande river for miles and miles down here kind of makes a little border fence in Arizona look pretty foolish.

My O State stickers paid off as we met a couple guys with Oklahoma ties, Larry and Bill. They had just come down from a 3 day rim hike. Bill is the author of ďRiding With the Blue MothĒ. It tells the story of his cross- country bicycle odyssey as a way to begin the healing process of loosing his son Will. Will died with 9 others in the Oklahoma State basketball team plane crash in 2001. I had read Billís book shortly after it was published and as I sit here and think back, I can say it probably played some small part in my doing some road trips like this one with Dad. It was also part of the inspiration for a cross state bicycle ride last summer. Read it if you get a chance.


We arrived at the Chisos Basin Lodge just in time to grab the last room for the night. Enjoyed a nice little 5 mile hike down to ďthe WindowĒ before another great meal.









As we prepare to start back north on day 5, Dad decides he wants to stop in Odessa and look at bikes on the way home. I guess I didnít fall too far from the tree. Fine with me. Leaving Big Bend, the temps were once again right at 40, same as every morning of the trip. The high temperature for the trip turned out to be 86 degrees.
Hereís a few more random shots of Big Bend.












The ride back to Marathon was pretty uneventful, for a while. Then my KLR started missing a little bit. I managed to get some water in the gas tank I while back and still have to stop and drain the carb every once in a while. I did that a time or two but the problem didnít seem to go away like it usually does. At Fort Stockton, I added a little fuel additive and drained the carb again, still to no avail. The problem was getting worse and starting to cause some concern. Fort Stockton to Odessa is not exactly the best place in the world to find roadside assistance. My mind was working overtime trying to figure things out. I checked everything I knew to check. Speed didnít seem to make any difference so I just hammered away at 80 hoping getting to Odessa quicker would somehow make things better. In the deep, dark, recesses of my mind, I remember my old 2 stroke 100cc bikes acting like this when we would flog them down the highway for hours as a kid. What is going on? When we got to the dealership, I was so relieved to be in town under my own power that I just told the dealer to check it out and fix it. (Being the tight wad that I am, this was very uncharacteristic of me). Youíve probably figured out by now that my drive chain was simply shot. I noticed it looking pretty loose but had dismissed it as being too simple to be the problem. The chain appeared to be in good shape when we started, or so I thought.

The Kawasaki dealer (Golden) also happened to be the Honda dealer where Dad wanted to stop. The birthday mentioned in the trip title was Dadís. His 72nd was coming up in a few days. Hereís what he got himself.




Pretty nice upgrade from a 750 Shadow! Rides a little differently from my KLR too! Needless to say, it was a struggle to keep up with him as we rolled on in to Hart. Update: Heís having a ball with the ST. No speeding tickets yet that heís admitted to.

I finished the ride back to Okahoma with a few stops to see some family in Gage Oklahoma. Just a tick over 2000 miles for the trip. We had a great time and are looking forward to the next one.

Special thanks to all those on this site who helped me suffer through my computer illiteracy.
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Old 04-02-2008, 07:46 PM   #2
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Nice ride, report and pics .. your dad looks good on his new toy.. and your cat's the cutest!
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Old 04-03-2008, 05:59 AM   #3
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Good first report.. Always good to be able to ride with Dad. Mine sold his GOld Wing last year but I'm helping him look for something else now

This was one of my first...

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=144882


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Old 04-04-2008, 03:34 AM   #4
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good report

thanks for posting it

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Old 04-06-2008, 03:07 PM   #5
reed523 OP
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Birthday bike update. Dad came up to visit this weekend and already has 2000 miles on the new bike and all is well. A few close calls but not even any speeding tickets yet.
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Old 04-06-2008, 04:54 PM   #6
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Nice report and make sure dad gets over to ST-Owners.com
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Old 04-06-2008, 07:46 PM   #7
reed523 OP
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Originally Posted by FXRBILL
Nice report and make sure dad gets over to ST-Owners.com
Thanks! I'll make sure he checks it out.
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Old 04-06-2008, 07:48 PM   #8
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Good job

Great ride report and very nice pictures. It's always good to see a father and son doing things together.
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Old 09-11-2008, 07:54 PM   #9
reed523 OP
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I dug this old thread out to send it to a friend. I should probably report that the "no ticket honeymoon" for dad is over. He got nailed for 90 the other day. His first comment was, "i'm glad i got slowed down a little bit". Such are the hazards of living in the wide open spaces of the Texas panhandle.
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Old 09-12-2008, 07:57 PM   #10
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Old 09-12-2008, 09:09 PM   #11
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Old 09-12-2008, 09:43 PM   #12
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Fun Report! Never been down to the Big Bend area.

(I'm in Edmond, OK)
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Old 12-28-2014, 08:34 AM   #13
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Great ride report! Wish I'd seen it a long time ago......,.
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Old 12-28-2014, 11:31 AM   #14
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Thanks

Good job on ride report. BIG BEND is the best
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