I'm a self employed carpenter who does the interior woodwork in new homes. Between houses, I try to sneak in a camping trip from my WeeStrom. 2011 was the slowest year I've ever experienced in 40 years of carpentry and 2012 started the same way. I've gone into survival mode with no frivolous spending... which puts a damper on motorcycle touring. My son has been urging me to move to Arkansas and has even found several woodworking jobs for me there. He bought some land and we'll start me a live in shop or 'barndominium' this summer. Last spring, I was looking for a place to camp from my motorcycle within 300 miles of home. The whole state of Texas was under a fire ban, so I decided to check out Guadalupe Mountain NP. I'd never stayed there, mainly because they don't allow campfires ever. I was intrigued by the beauty of the desert mountains and not having a campfire literally opened my eyes to a star filled sky I'd almost forgotten existed to that extent. I began to wonder about Big Bend NP, another remote place I'd never visited. I live 380 miles from Big Bend NP, but I plan to move to Arkansas this summer, so if I'm going to do it... My immediate concern was all the border unrest you hear about on the news. I was pleasantly surprised to find out Presidio (nearest border crossing to the BBNP) hasn't had any murders since 1999! The Big Bend area has only 2 roads out with a strong presence of Border Patrol agents, so it's not a good choice for the Mexican Drug Czars. They're what's causing all the havoc in Mexico. Another consideration is weather... tent camping in February is iffy at best, even in the Rio Grande valley. The extended forecast shows a week of Indian Summer at river level in the BBNP with brilliant sunshine, highs in the 70's, lows in the 40's, beginning on Valentine's Day. I don't have a valentine, unless you're allowed to call your touring motorcycle your valentine? Gotta' get past my conscience, now. The last time I had Jessie in Arkansas, my son, Brad, did a long list of overdue maintenance and wouldn't accept a dime... even gave me a rear Michelin Anakee with at least 2/3 left! I sent an email to feel him out. His reaction was, "DO IT! It's Now'r Nev'r, right?" Hence, the title of this story. The Shinko 705 rear tire is beginning to show the wear markers after 8400 miles. Not bad for a $90.00 tire! I only got 11,300 miles from a $140 Michelin Anakee and couldn't tell any difference in handling. Taking the rear wheel off gets easier each time I do it and prevents having to leave the bike at the shop, not to mention the cost savings. Wildfire does the switch for me for a Jackson if I bring the wheel and tire. If you live near Lubbock, I highly recommend these guys! I get everything packed the night before, much to my cat's dismay. She gets anxious anytime she sees my dry bag come out! When I overfill 2 bowls with food, she really gets agitated. She always does fine, although she won't leave me alone when I get home. The Sunday before my Valentine's Day departure comes a 3" snow. 40 mph southwest winds the next day dispatches the snow by early afternoon. Every time I embark on a new motorcycle trip, I try to find paved backroads I've never been on, but there aren't that many alternate routes in this direction without adding mucho miles. I take the fastest choice... 4 lane to Seminole. This guy passes me doing 80... must've disabled the govenor?!! At Seminole, I take 181 South to avoid the traffic on 385. A bunch of pasture land full of nothing, but little to no traffic. When I reach 115, I turn right and head Southwest to Kermit for gas. After filling up with gas and eating a sandwich at the City park, I take 118 south. Here's a pic of Jessie, my Valentine! I ride through the Sand Hills that stretch east to west for over 100 miles! There's a State Park east of Monahans. Note to self: STAY ON PAVEMENT IN THE SAND HILLS!!! Just before Monahans, I turn right on 1217 south to 1776 and follow it southwest. I pull off at the Pecos River to check it out. I'm somewhat surprised to see any water, as dry as this part of the world is right now... they've had no measurable rainfall in over 2 years in the Big Bend region! Looks like they had some rain here when we got snow a couple days ago? Probably not enough to measure. A whole bunch of nothing this direction... I suppose another reason I've never been to Big Bend? 1776 dead ends into 1450 and I take it west a couple of miles, then due south on 1776 again. The terrain starts to change and distant mountains begin to appear to the south and west. When 1776 crosses Interstate 10 west of Ft. Stockton, it turns into 67 and angles Southwest to Alpine. The closer you get to Big Bend, the longer the stretches between towns become. But the winds are light, the traffic almost non-existant and the road is smooth with a 75mph speed limit. Almost to Alpine. Time for a fillup and check everything on the bike twice. 90 miles of desert to Study Butte! Not just flat, boring desert like I expected! Lots of arroyos and gullies! Gotta' go for now. Next up... Study Butte.