A CannonRide Around the Bend (Big Bend Region)

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Cannonshot, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    CannonRide? Many of you are familiar with the format: maps, waypoints, GPS files to share, lots of photos of the riding and paths, and a heavy dose of history about the people and places along the way.

    I'll cover some (hopefully) entertaining stories about ranching, indian raids, bandits, smugglers, shootouts, customs agents, Texas Rangers, the Army, mining, the modern drug trade, wildlife, and a bunch of other stuff as it comes up.

    I'll share some info about paths to ride, places to visit, places to stay, and other information that might be useful in planning your own visit to this region.

    Overview of some of the places I'll cover.
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    #1
  2. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

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    #2
  3. ROAD DAMAGE

    ROAD DAMAGE Long timer

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    Oh Nice. A Cannonshot RR. :clap

    This is gonna' be a good one!
    #3
  4. TurkeyChicken

    TurkeyChicken Been here awhile

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    Awesome. I've been thinking about taking a trip down to Big Bend soon so hopefully this will help give me a few pointers.
    #4
  5. justlookin

    justlookin Been here awhile

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    I have followed many of your rides and reports. I intend to follow your CDT tracks this year and thank you for sharing them. Looking forward to the remainder of your latest adventure. - Can't wait!:D
    #5
  6. bigdon

    bigdon Long timer

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    I'm in! I want the Cannon view to the stuff I ride quite a bit. I'm sure I will learn some interesting tidbits. Bring it on and thanks.:D
    #6
  7. Wolfgang55

    Wolfgang55 Long timer

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    BB, great riding place, just go w/ another rider.
    #7
  8. ckjj888

    ckjj888 Been here awhile

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    :clap:clap:clap
    #8
  9. freeflow

    freeflow get in or go in

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    looks like one I shouldn't have skipped....you picked a nice time to be gone...on with the show please !
    :lurk
    #9
  10. Abenteuerfahrer

    Abenteuerfahrer Deaf on Wheels

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    Been there on our 1200RT with Unigo trailer in the heat of the a summer.....awesome....Didn't know ADVrider existed then!

    Thanks for the memories Cannonshot..you're the best; narrative, history and photos...

    Don't miss having pizza with the locals at Long Draw Pizza on Highway 170 > Lajitas...after 1700hrs....great camaraderie..lotsa stories to hear!

    Cheers...
    #10
  11. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    Hi Klay, thanks for tuning in.

    I really enjoyed exploring the region. Lots of interesting stuff to share.

    I'll have GPS files you can download and a lot of information to draw from in this report that will likely help you develop an entertaining trip of your own. Hope this proves helpful to you.

    The Great Divide Ride was a wonderful trip and I'm glad you are planning to experience it yourself. Hope you enjoy this one as well.

    I enjoyed researching this trip damn near as much as I did riding it. I was able to dig out a lot of interesting history and stories in the area and it was great being able to visit some of the places or areas involved. I'll share a few along the course of this ride.

    Solid advice . . . but alas, I was solo. Riding alone really changes your risk management profile. I'll cover some precautionary steps I took during the course of the report.

    Thanks for tuning in.

    You would have enjoyed the warm desert temperatures. I came home with a sunburn only to find a fresh covering of snow back here in Wisconsin.

    Thanks for tuning in! There are so many people that have had the chance to enjoy the area. What a great place! I think there are a lot of favorite places with pleasant memories in the area. Hopefully some of this will let people relive some good times. For those that haven't been there yet, maybe this report will serve as some motivation to check things out (and make it a little easier to plan their own trip).
    #11
  12. Powershouse

    Powershouse Flower Sniffer

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    #12
  13. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    Well, where to start?

    When I started planning the trip, I found the region involved a lot of excellent road rides as well as more rugged dual sport routes. Some of the paths I planned to take involved a lot of miles with no services.

    I have three models of motorcycles: a DL1000, a KLR 650, and a DRZ400S. The DL was out as being incompatible with what I intended to ride. The DRZ would have been excellent and would have made for some sporty riding on some of the paths but it lacked range and would have been a lousy ride on the road sections. As usual, the KLR was a compromise that had the required range, made the roads bearable, and was good enough on the trail.

    I hauled the KLR from wintry Wisconsin to Texas on a hitch rack.

    I used the three gallon gas can on one of the routes andwith some planning was able to do the rest without it. The bike was even more top-heavy the way I had it configured which made for some interesting handling characteristics on some of the trails.
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    A fresh set of D606s worked fine as a durable tire on the rocky paths. They took a beating on some hot Texas pavement though.
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    Don't forget the extra air filters. I say bring extra because in some places you may not have the facilities to clean them.
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    I carried a full array of tools, tubes, and other necessities on the bike. I ran two GPS units (60csx and Oregon 450T) because I was doing some mapping and waypoint work along the way.

    I also carried a SPOT messenger device (satellite). I use it as an enhancement but don't rely on it. My friend 2TrakR checks in on the SPOT when I am away and keeps a set of my intended GPS tracks. Even if I can't get a help message out, at least someone would know where I last was "seen" and could take it from there. I also leave a map of my route and the URL of the tracker page under my wiper back at camp with a note explaining my plans. In one area, I was able to talk with local rangers about my plans.

    And of course, WATER. It is quite hot in the desert and dehydration can set in quickly. Nothing to fool around with. Might be good to take a filter along in the event you get in trouble and need to score some water from a cattle tank or some surface water.
    #13
  14. bash3r

    bash3r I ain't no DingWeed

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    Another epic RR from Cannonshot!
    #14
  15. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    My first base camp was to be in Fort Davis. I came in from the north via Balmorhea. Although this route was not intended as part of the ride report (gotta draw the geographic line somehwere), the route through the mountains from Balmorhea to Fort Davis was quite scenic and would be a great ride on a road bike.

    On the way you will pass the Civilian Conservation Corps built Balmorhea State Park which features a 3.5M gallon swimming pool fed by a 72-76 degree flow of 22-28 million gallons of water each day. People use the pool for SCUBA instruction.

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    The town of Fort Davis isn't very big. Only about 1,000 people live there, but it is the county seat. It initially formed around the fort when it was established here in 1854.
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    The fort was put in to protect commerce and travelers along this road. Several other forts and their satellite installations were established throughout the region.
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    Much of this fort has been restored and it is worth the visit.
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    The fort was built right along the road. It was named for Jefferson Davis who was the US Secretary of War at the time. Jeff Davis later took a job as the President of the Confederate States of America.
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    These were some of the lines of communication (travel and trade routes) in the area that the series of forts was intended to protect. The Chihuahua Trail was a very old Mexican trade route that also became important to US trade.
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    There were still problems with indians during this time. Chief Victorio of the Apaches was one problem. For a while his band agreed to live on a reservation in New Mexico. Things were OK until they moved them to a new reservation that turned out to be a real dump. Victorio was not happy and when one of his buddies told him how well he and his group had been doing raiding in northern Mexico, Victorio formed a band of about 300 and left the reservation for a three year crime spree in Mexico and the US. The US and Mexican Armies chased him around for a while, including in the Big Bend region.
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    A favorite tactic for everyone was to cover the water sources since eventually people would have to show up. This worked for a few battles. In the end the US Army and the Mexican militia chased Victorio's band down into Mexico where the Chihuahuan militia finally massacred them.
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    Officer's quarters. Nice living on post, but often troops were deployed escorting travelers, manning outposts, or chasing indians.
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    Required artillery picture for the report.
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    Enlisted quarters. By the way, most of the soldiers stationed here were Buffalo Soldiers (black troops).
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    Many of the buildings are nicely restored and even refurnished with period articles. I see they even restored the civil war era fiber optic cable.
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    Bachelor officer quarters. The first black man to graduate from West Point served as an officer on this post. Lieutenant Henry Flipper got a commission in 1877 and then racked up a distinguished record fighting Victorio. In 1881 Flipper was accused of embezzling government funds and conduct unbecoming of an officer. He was acquitted of embezzling but was dishonorably discharged for the other charge. Some say the whole thing involved some significant racial prejudice which was common at the time. Flipper bounced back after getting kicked out of the Army though. He became a prominent civil and mining engineer and later served as Assistant Secretary of the Interior from 1921-1923. In 1976, someone finally acknowledged that his courts-martial was a bum rap and changed his discharge to honorable.
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    If you read a little about the practice of medicine during this period, you might think that this was not a good place to visit.
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    Nice exhibit of medical instruments and cures.
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    #15
  16. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface 30-125

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    #16
  17. eric_the_bald

    eric_the_bald Gnome

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    This is on my to-do list.
    I'm afraid I lost out this year to a messed up ankle. How late in the spring can you really ride there?
    #17
  18. bigdon

    bigdon Long timer

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    It starts getting HOT about April 1!
    #18
  19. rboett

    rboett posser noob 205

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    #19
  20. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

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    YES!
    Another Cannonshot Ride Report. :clap

    Big Bend is a place I have always wanted to visit, but never got all the way down to.

    Ready! :lurk
    Q~
    #20