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Old 03-12-2012, 08:21 PM   #136
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More Riding on the East Side of BBRSP Pt 1

More riding on the east side of BBRSP.


Taking a trip into the Solitario.






Still grazing cattle. It would be fun to put a game camera on one of these troughs.


Desert plumbing.














This is the middle turn off to the McGuirks Tanks sub-loop. It is hard to find. I only located it by seeing the two-track further on in the distance.


Not very visible from the road.


A ranger built this rock cairn to mark it.


This is the easternmost entrance to McGuirks. Also indistinct as it is in a wash.


I understand that a couple of 4WDs got stuck in there. Doesn't look like it gets much use.


Old range shack.


Some people took the good road out here in a pick-up for a picnic lunch.


They just got the water running here again.




Continuing south.


More washes, more rugged.






Motorized access ends here, but the non-motorized goes all the way to Lajitas.
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Old 03-12-2012, 08:38 PM   #137
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Holy Cow!

CS,

That aerial view of the Solatario was absolutely amazing! I've never seen it before.

The BB area is a "little extra special" for me because I was educated as a geologist. The first time I went there was in the 70s on a U of Ark. Geol. Dept. Spring Break field trip. I was, and still am, bowled over by the place.

Thanks again Cannon for all the voodoo that you do. I certainly enjoy it.
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:32 AM   #138
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East Side of BBRSP Part II

Heading north. I skipped the green track on the NE corner since I was on a blown shock. The ranger told me that DSers had told him it was pretty rugged.


Javelina herds use these waterways as travel corridors as it is easy walking.


Hoof prints.


I took a couple of side trips on old mining paths. This is on the east side of the trail and doesn't go very far, but the view is nice.


It ends in some brush.




Nice view from up there.


There is another old mining track on the west side of the road as well. This one snakes around the back side of a mountain.




Fun path.


End of the trail.












Ancient indian trail sign . . . warning 4WDs that the trail is giving way.










The ranger told me there are some caves here and some marks in the rocks from where indians used to grind grain.










Odd rock formations.








Hard rock trail.


They just fixed up this old ranch house. One of the park employees will live there.


I met a guy in a car close to this gate. He wondered how much further it was to get out of the park. I pointed out that the gate was closed and that he had to drive an hour back out of the park before he could start to get where he wanted to go.


One way in, one way out.




Heading back to the headquarters.








Back a little earlier today.
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:35 AM   #139
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CS,

That aerial view of the Solatario was absolutely amazing! I've never seen it before.

The BB area is a "little extra special" for me because I was educated as a geologist. The first time I went there was in the 70s on a U of Ark. Geol. Dept. Spring Break field trip. I was, and still am, bowled over by the place.

Thanks again Cannon for all the voodoo that you do. I certainly enjoy it.
As you know, the geology is interesting in the area judging from how extensively it is covered in some of the books and the interpretive signs. I think the Solitario is some old volcano action.
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Old 03-13-2012, 08:15 AM   #140
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"Professor"....excellent report as usual!
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Old 03-13-2012, 03:56 PM   #141
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Lodging at BBRSP

I pretty much covered the bunk house set-up at the park. You can also camp in the desert campsites. Some of the them aren't very developed.

Or you can stay in the elegant ranch house at the headquarters.

This charming park employee was doing the cooking while I was there. She was a great ambassador for the park. Very nice.


Ranch apartments.




I think the superintendent lives here.


As I mentioned, some group may want to rent the Big House (not big house as in prison though) for your stay. I think a group of DSers will be doing so in January if I understand correctly. Three bedrooms, three baths, up to eight people.




Screened in porch.


Lots of tile around. The floors are tiled.


Living room.


Built in 1908. Remodeled in the 1940s.


Cowhide rug.



Dining room.




Kitchen.






Fireplaces in the bedrooms.












This old water tank in the yard is now a patio of sorts. Nice place to have a fire and sit out of the wind.


They had to stop watering these pecan trees in the back yard. The moisture in the soil was deteriorating the adobe house.
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Old 03-13-2012, 03:57 PM   #142
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"Professor"....excellent report as usual!

Thanks Bob! Glad to see you along for the ride.
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Old 03-13-2012, 04:41 PM   #143
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Absolutely fantastic Cannonshot! Got to do this ride after you contribute your tracks to us here??

Do you think that an 1200GS and enduro sidecar can make it around and about?

Like this:
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:19 PM   #144
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I added this entry to the post with the description of the Chisa-Pinto Loop. Thought some would find it interesting to think about when they rode along the river there.

Let me add that the Lomas de Arena crossing is just off this path as well. It was a well used crossing for smuggling drugs into the US and guns into Mexico by vehicle. I don't know the current status of this crossing but imagine it is under the watchful eye of the border patrol. A couple of smugglers ran a truck load of marihuana into a ditch on the American side one time. A few days later other smugglers had to go find and recover the load all the while prepared to shoot it out with US authorities in the event a police ambush had been set around the abandoned truck.


It used to be just a quiet crossing for drugs to go out. In fact, the enterprise in Ojinaga had someone keep fuel barrels near here to refuel vehicles. When the barrels were empty they were replenished in Ojinaga. The ranch on the US side had locked gates, but the drug people had keys so they could run the ranch roads to the nearby interstate highway where they used to be able to just disappear. The guns thing started after a shoot out at the crossing between Presidio and Ojinaga. No one used to check for guns coming into Mexico at Ojinaga - some say because of government protection. Then a drunk and boisterous runner got into a point blank shootout with a young Mexican customs agent after the runner drew down on the the agent who wanted to inspect his vehicle. The US border folks then figured they needed to start checking vehicles going into Mexico for guns themselves. Hence, the illicit gun importing for the Ojinaga folks moved to this crossing.
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:31 PM   #145
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abenteuerfahrer View Post
Absolutely fantastic Cannonshot! Got to do this ride after you contribute your tracks to us here??

Do you think that an 1200GS and enduro sidecar can make it around and about?

Like this:
I think it would be fine for nearly everything but the most extreme stuff. I wouldn't think it would be a very fast ride on some of it though. I'd watch for the soft stuff in some of the wash/water crossings and weight/traction issues might be something to think about in some places. But I don't ride a rig like that so I am only speculating.

And yes, I will post a GPX for people to download to use for a ride or in planning their own trip. It will likely be posted on this page but I'll post a direct link once I get the file done.
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:31 PM   #146
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Cannonshot, I'm in awe of your license plate.......

Mine isn't nearly as cool.
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:36 PM   #147
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Cannonshot, I'm in awe of your license plate.......

Mine isn't nearly as cool.
My license number seems to change a lot . . . James Bond style.
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:43 PM   #148
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ROFLMAO !!!!!!! hilarious. GOOD JOB.
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Old 03-13-2012, 08:12 PM   #149
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Awesome report once again. Looking forward to riding some of your tracks this summer in Wisconsin. Maybe I'll get lucky and run into you!!!
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Old 03-13-2012, 11:33 PM   #150
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BBRSP to Chisos Basin

I am moving base camp from BBRSP to the Chisos Basin. Along the way we'll take in Farm to Market Road 170, Lajitas, Terlingua, Study Butte, and enter the national park. It is about a 119 mile run with much of the route being incredibly scenic along the Rio Grande.


Starting out.


It was a nice cool morning and I was in no hurry. I got behind a federal plated truck that was running four tracking dogs down the road. Two of the dogs had tracking collars. Eventually I got a signal to pass. It looked that they were trying to run a bear to collar as I know there is some interest in some kind of mexican bear species in the park. I guess they could have been trying to run a lion, I didn't ask.

I did see some javelinas out doing their thing though.




Stopped to look at some old indian art work in the park.








Along Farm to Market Road 170. When I mention crossings along the river, often I am referring to low water spots where vehicles can get across. Some crossings had bridges or ferries.


Lots of cover to make the approach to a crossing. A big drug lord had the concession in Ojinaga some years ago. It cost money (payoffs) to gain the protection you needed from the government (army, police, etc) to operate. The guy in power lost much of his power when he lost too many loads to seizures in the US. When you lose a load, you still have to pay for it. Lose too many loads, you may not be able to recover. This led to someone else who had money to pay for the concession taking over. The new guy invited the old guy to help him deliver a truck load of marihuana to the river near Redford. Since the old guy no longer had the concession, he was vulnerable to someone making a move and catching up on old grievances. Sure enough, people were waiting for him at the river so he ran for his life. He got shot in the spine as he fled. As he crawled on the ground pleading for his life, the others drew gasoline from a truck and poured it in a circular trench they scratched around the guy. After piling brush on top of him (still alive) they touched it off and watched him burn while they drank beer. What a business.




There were a lot of drug business related killings in Ojinaga when things were more in the open about 25 years ago. Stolen vehicles and weapons were brought to Ojinaga from the US to trade for drugs. By the way, airplanes by specific type were sometimes ordered to be stolen and brought to Mexico for smuggling - often paid for in drugs. Authorities were paid off, some drug lords and their people carried police credentials, and many in the business were openly armed with assault rifles. Gunfights in town could be heard in Presidio. No one wanted that violence in the US. A border patrol agent was seriously wounded near Redford and in a separate incident two narcotics agents were sprayed with automatic weapons fire as they waited for a load of drugs to cross at Redford.


In the end some criminals in Mexico figured out that they were best not to start killing police in the US. One drug lord put the word out to just drop the load and run if they were about to be arrested while smuggling. The county sheriff here in Texas sent an envoy to talk to the drug lord in Ojinaga to tell him he didn't want bodies showing up in his county.


I need to point out that the terrible criminal element that operated in this area is not representive of the many fine people you meet along the way - then or now. There have also been some reforms, at least at the highest levels of government, though it is widely thought that corruption is still widespread. Prior to some reforms it was estimated that at one time about 1/3 of all tax money was lost to corruption contibuting to chronic poverty for too many people. Some believe that it is too deep of a culture from the past and there is too much money involved to overcome some of these challenges to the extent that is needed - even today. One estimate I read is that the drug trade pumps $30-$50 billion dollars of foreign currency a year into the Mexican economy - second only to oil.


Redford school.




One Ojinaga drug lord kept a drug warehouse in the city across from an elementary school where the teachers held drills to teach the children to get down on the floor if there was a shootout at the facility across the street. He also kept a warehouse out in the country just across the river along the road to El Mulato. Marihuana was cured, processed, and stored in these facilities. Although not processed here, herion was handled as well. As a side note, when the South Florida Task Force really squeezed down the cocaine smugglers over there, Ojinaga became the largest cocaine depot in North America. Twin turboprops brought in plane loads of cocaine from South America to ranch airstrips and even to the municipal airport in Ojinaga.


Not so much was smuggled across the border here. Most was redistributed to other drug lords (as part of a business agreement) to smuggle all along the Mexican border with the US. Cocaine was typically flown in 1,800 pound loads and then off-loaded to underground steel tanks that were sealed and covered over. A 1,500 gallon tanker at the ranch airstrip would refuel the smuggler's plane and off they went. Later the stuff was dug up as it needed to be distributed. For a while as much as 5 tons of cocaine a month (1/3 of US demand at the time) was coming through Ojinaga. Just for warehousing, the local drug lord got $1,000 - $1,500 per kilo fee. Sounds like a lot but it costs a lot to buy the government protection needed, maintain your own enterprise, and provide money to people in need. Many drug lords understood the value of doing what the government could not by taking care of people in need. It was also useful to help out some ranchers with their water systems, etc, so that they wouldn't notice when someone was smuggling across their ranch. All this was happening right around Ojinaga.

Looking across to El Mulato. Note the agriculture in the river bottoms.


The connection to cocaine smuggling through Ojinaga came about when a state trooper was doing routine checks along a highway. Back during that time there were high gas prices so it was popular for trucks to convert to propane. Smugglers filled the truck's propane tank with cocaine and simply drove the trucks into the US. Many of these went through the Lomas de Arena crossing I mentioned earlier. Anyway, the trooper had just converted his own truck to propane so when the 19 year old smuggler's truck stalled as he pulled up to the checkpoint, the trooper looked things over a little. Even though a small tank was installed inside the big one to connect to the pressure gauges and vent gas if someone checked, the trooper figured out it was a smuggle job. After getting a warrant the cops found 246 pounds of coke with a street value of $50M. From there, good police work over time started to unravel things as far as the scale of the Ojinaga operation at that time. By the way, the cops also found a similar truck parked in front of the kid's apartment with 263 pounds in it. Neighbors reported a lot of trucks like that being around regularly. An informant reported he observed one planeload of cocaine being subdivided into seven of those propane tank loads for smuggling into the US.

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