Escaping to Rancho Huero <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o> The votes are in, the experts agree, and I can’t deny the conclusion……. I’m an idiot. <o></o> It all started many many moons ago, when I decided that I would always live either by the ocean or in the mountains. After a short stint with Uncle Sam (who thankfully let me see both in my time with him) I moved on to different things and settled in the Third coast (<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comffice:smarttags" /><st1:State w:st="on"><st1lace w:st="on">Texas</st1lace></st1:State>) near the water to pursue my second love. <o></o> As my handle indicates I get to help folks, and most of the time I truly love my vocation. It really is a calling and I have found my niche. Sometimes however I realize that I should have settled in the mountains, and the daily episodes of Idiots on Parade grind down on my soul. <o></o> In the interest of my sanity (already questionable) and public safety I take a trip a few times a year to recharge my batteries and confirm my place in the universe. <o></o> After considering my options, around ten years ago I took a camping trip to <st1lace w:st="on"><st1laceName w:st="on">Big Bend</st1laceName> <st1laceType w:st="on">National Park</st1laceType></st1lace> and fell in love. <o></o> <o></o> Big <st1:City w:st="on"><st1lace w:st="on">Bend</st1lace></st1:City> National Park has wonderful sights, and lots of dirt track (some insanely fun like black gap road), some decent eating and a couple of hotels. I like it there but in some ways its too refined and not quirky enough. Enter Terlingua ! <o></o> <o></o> Terlingua has an interesting, and in some ways imaginary history, it shows what happens when you get a Lawyer, a drunk, and Carol Shelby (Yep of Shelby Cobra fame R.I.P.) together in the middle of nowhere in <st1:State w:st="on"><st1lace w:st="on">Texas</st1lace></st1:State>. Terlingua had a beer drinking goat for a Mayor (now deceased and forever on display in the general store) the General Store where you drink beer on the porch and solve the worlds problems with an eclectic collection of folks as likely to include a former CIA spook as a blooming pottery artist. <o></o> Attached to all this is the Terlingua Ranch, thousands upon thousands of acres in the hands of a few thousand owners on the ranch. Each owner carving out their little corner of heaven on the ranch. <o></o> More importantly though the ranch has what can loosely be described as “Roads” sometimes single track numbering over 1200 miles that are private and as an owner you have access to all of them ! <o></o> <o></o> To that end I began a twice a year trek to Big Bend country and Terlingua Texas to center myself, and each trip I started looking for land on the ranch. My significant other thought I was crazy and couldn’t understand my fascination with the Ranch, of course the last time she was there was in August 2009 when temps were well over 100 degrees. <o></o> There’s LOTS of land for sale on the Ranch, but I would rather spend my money on gear rather than dirt, (and the search gave me an excuse to come back) so the search took a couple of years and several trips until I found just the right tract. <o></o> Those trips were in or on a variety of rides, most recently (prior to this trip) in my FJ, <o></o> I saw a lot of land, but didn’t find the right piece (read that as CHEAP). A return back home (a paltry 600 miles) and I started anew online. <o></o> Around September this year I started communicating with a realtor in Alpine Texas (some 80 miles north of Terlingua) and gave them my requests for land. The response was immediate and gratifying (they knew they found an idiot) and in short order I was the proud new owner of 5 acres on the Terlingua Ranch. <o></o> I got the taxes worked out ( roughly $35.00 a year) the Ranch association fees (Roughly 165.00 a year) paid and named corner of the ranch “ Rancho Huero” that’s (Whiteboy Ranch) in bastardized Spanish though some say “rancho weto” either way it was mine! <o></o> The only problem was, that I, to that point hadn’t actually put eyes on the land I bought. Aside from some GPS Coordinates, pictures and Sat photos. This just would not do ! <o></o> Add to that the fact that I tried and failed to adopt the cruiser land yacht lifestyle (on a vaquero) and while I looked great dressed as a pirate, I just couldn’t do it. So one trade later I was the proud new owner of a 2013 Super Tenere <o></o> <o></o> Sometimes the stars align and the sun shines on even a dogs ass, because after Thanksgiving the weather looked right, I had use or lose vacation, and I just finished the 600 mile break in period on the bike. <o></o> No better time than now and no better bike to ride, to actually lay eyes on the land I actually owned and get a few of the roads in to boot! <o></o> Unfortunately my skidplate didn’t arrive before 0 hour so the good off roading would have to wait until another trip. <o></o> Day 1 <o></o> <o></o> I started the trip at O dark thirty on the coast near <st1lace w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Corpus Christi</st1:City></st1lace>, I tied myself to the tail end of anything big enough to take care of deer, pigs, and other road critters on the back roads I was taking before the sun came up. <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> After the sun came up it was hammer down through hwy 173 and 90 through Hondo, to Uvalde where I had to stop for a bit to warm up and have some breakfast <o></o> <o></o> Steak and Eggs! <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> After a short break is was onward thru, Brackettville to <st1:City w:st="on"><st1lace w:st="on">Del Rio</st1lace></st1:City>. Then continued on to the <st1lace w:st="on">Pecos</st1lace>, <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> Dryden, Sanderson to <st1lace w:st="on">Marathon</st1lace>. <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> <st1lace w:st="on">Marathon</st1lace> is where you get a choice, you can break South towards the National park or continue on to Alpine. <o></o> I chose to Continue to Alpine because Rancho Huero is located off of Hwy 118 between Study Butte and Alpine. <o></o> Arriving in Alpine Found me with enough daylight (as I figured it) to at least find my dirt on the Ranch, so down 118 I went, following the GPS coordinates to American Legion Road some 50 miles south of Alpine. <o></o> A quick left onto dirt and a couple of turns and there I was…… in the middle of nowhere, but it was MY nowhere. <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> Pictures don’t do it justice, its really beautiful country. <o></o> Shot a couple of pics and planted a sign and I was off to Study Butte. <o></o> After gassing up in Study Butte I continued to the Park <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> . $10 later and a phone call to ensure there was a room and off I went to the Chisos Mountain Lodge. <o></o> <o></o> I arrived as darkness fell and spent a bit more on a room than I probably would have if I still had daylight. But as it was I got the room, had a nice meal at the restaurant (beef medallions in chipotle sauce), and turned it in for the night. <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> Total miles today 623 <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> Day 2 <o></o> Waking up refreshed and ready for more, I walked outside to find the shaded temperature hovering around 38 and the bike ready for more miles. <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> Since offroad was out I decided to focus on the good pavement and after a quick ride out of the park <o></o> <o></o> and a top off at Study Butte, I was ready to go! <o></o> Turning West onto 170, stopped at Terlingua and took the obligatory photo of the bike in front of passing wind. <o></o> <o></o> Yes that is what appears to be a conning tower from a sub and a Masted Schooner in the middle of the dessert. The guy that has it I believe is a retired Marine (at least based on the stickers and sign colors) <o></o> Onward down 170 otherwise known as the river road. Great riding a better views <o></o> <o></o> down to Contrabando where I stopped into the General Store for some supplies <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> Then properly supplied I continued on until I had to get permission to cross Indian country <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> After securing approval to continue, I made it to where it was posted cow crossing……. <o></o> <o></o> Seems like a pretty dangerous curve to let cows cross on, you would think they would move the sign so the cows know to cross at a safer location not so near a curve………………………….;-) <o></o> On through Presidio, where I wasn’t sure what side of the border I was on some of the time, and a shot up 67 to Marfa <o></o> <o></o> once in Marfa I got a pic of the plaza <o></o> <o></o> and continued on to the Mcdonald observatory the road to the observatory is recommended for anyone who likes good twisties <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> Where I grabbed a bit of food at the visitors center <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> on the way out I found a spot here where the leaves actually change color <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> <o></o> The rest of the trip was not as interesting by far, I hit Alpine and decided to see how close to home I could get before I ran out of daylight. <o></o> I made it as far as Hondo before the light gave out, only to realize that I was then in the “Oilfield” circle and there wasn’t a hotel with a room available for miles. <o></o> The only other choice was to tuck in behind an oilfield truck going the same direction I was and hope they got introduced to the local wildlife before I did. <o></o> I made it back home around 1030pm <o></o> Total miles day 2: 814 <o></o> was worthwhile for a two day trip! and now that I’ve got a skid plate a trip back for the black gap and all the roads i now have access to on the ranch is in the works.