LoneStar: The Chinati Mountains

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by LoneStar, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. MikeMike

    MikeMike Long timer

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    I always say the trick is actually going back...the best part is when you decide to stay, forever. And then one day you wake up and realize that 20 years have gone by, just like that.

    Mexico is a magnet that attracts some and repels others. There is no "neutral", in fact, there is no "no", there is only a visceral and wild abandonment to the whims of the Virgin of Guadalupe, once you understand that, it doesn't matter if you believe in her or not, you're already past the point of no return.
    It is at that precise moment in time that: masked lucha libre, voluptuous buxom weather forecasters, adding chile and lemon to most things, buying beer and gas by the liter, starting a party at midnight, singing when you can't hold a note, celebrating until you lose your shoes and forget where you parked, all make perfect sense!:freaky
    #61
  2. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

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    Indeed and well said. Though I haven't succumbed yet, I've felt that feeling in my short times down there, as if a different plane of life has been entered. I found myself wanting to stay and just take my time basking in it. Funny from one perspective it seems crazy and illogical, and yet from the other it is entirely logical and makes more sense than the lives we live in the U.S... Is that the seduction of which you speak? :evil
    #62
  3. MikeMike

    MikeMike Long timer

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    Yes, Master Luke/Grasshopper:norton

    Seriously, there is no euphoria like that of total surrender to the seduction of what lies south of the border. Come, sit a little closer to the fire, for there are many tales to tell of the wonders one can seek...

    Yield to that magnetic and charismatic pull towards lower latitudes.

    Mexico is like that old review of author Roald Dahl' s style of inviting and enticing his readers to the top of the staircase, the readers are then convinced to take the next step which, deliciously, isn't there!

    The freefall becomes a way of life only when you realize it isn't a fall, just a departure from the enslavement to what passes these days for norms and values.
    #63
  4. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

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    Obe Wan, perfect use of The Force

    :D
    #64
  5. JayElDee

    JayElDee not saying what I mean

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    Hey, LoneStar...great report and pix.
    I was just being tempted to ride that area after an unsatisfying ride in N Ark--don't ask...it wasn't Arkansas's fault. And along comes your report!

    Man, I am more tempted than ever now.
    Does it get too cold in Dec/Jan to do this? I know that's relative, but looking at weather data, it's looks within my tolerances, but wheels on the ground can yield more info than online reports.

    Looks like a lot of off road. Are the roads in decent enough condition to allow a street bike (r1200r) to do it without getting swallowed by sand/dust/rocks?

    How many days was your trip? Or put another way, how many days to satisfyingly do it--knowing this is a personal thing? I get that this is a place that calls you and cuddles you sort of while there, but could a 5 day stay do it and not be rushed?

    You're a coffee drinker. The places you stayed, did they all have coffee in the am?
    Do you ever choose one place and just do day trips out and back and would you have a rec for that?

    Lots of noob questions on the area, sorry, but your report comes at a fortuitous time and I hope you don't mind me picking your brain.
    Again, great writing and story-telling, and pix that make me want to go there!

    John

    PS Used to have a T shirt that said die Yuppie scum
    #65
  6. TaZ9

    TaZ9 Happy Adventurer

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    Lonestar,

    I don't comment much on this site, but I had to say thanks for your exceptional ride report. The vids, photos and your writing style made this one of the best!!

    I am originally from Tejas, and have been out in the Big Bend area many times, but have never actually toured the Big Bend-Terlingua area.

    Your great narritive and beautiful photos have motivated me to put
    Big Bend on my must see list the next time I am down that way.

    Great Job!!

    Ride Safe,

    Taz9
    #66
  7. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

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    Lol you're the first person who's understood the "Die Yuppie Scum" reference. "Nuke the Gay Whales" was another fave. I find the former still appropriate :D

    JLD, winter there isn't too bad and here in Texas it's not uncommon to have a week in the 80's randomly amidst Jan/February/March. I've spent the last two Christmas holidays in Dec/Jan and it's been perfect riding weather - 50's during the day and 30's at night. One never knows however.

    I will warn you that if you plan to be there anywhere 2 weeks before and after Christmas, lodging is impossible to find in the Terlingua/Study Butte area generally. A lot of folks go there for the holidays. Also October and March/April are the busiest months due to good weather and spring break.

    For a first trip down, I'd suggest getting a place in Terlingua/Study Butte, as the National Park is to the left and the river road to Presidio to the right. Terlingua will keep you entertained even if you aren't riding but don't expect much. Marfa less so.

    5 days would be good and you should be ready to scoot after that. I suggest Terlingua/Study Butte area to stay, a couple days in the park if you are into stopping and hiking - beautimous scenery even from the bike and an entire day to ride the whole blacktop roads in the park. Kind of nice to ride the park then go back the next day or two to explore a bit.

    From Terlingua, a day ride will be the fantastico river road to Presidio (170) then north to Marfa and then Alpine back down to Study Butte. Lunch wherever you choose.

    Another long day ride you can do is Terlingua to Marfa and up to Ft. Davis - nice little town with restored Cavalry Fort, and then the loop road out to McDonald Observatory and back around to Marfa. It's a good idea to just spend a night in Ft. Davis and if possible to go to a "star party" where they let folks view the night skies and planets through scopes.

    All of those roads are very nice blacktop and in fact you have to look for dirt roads in the National Park - some of them are very rough but Old Maverick is usually a very well maintained road and doable on a street bike if you have any abilities at all on gravel - unless they've had rain in which case any dirt road in the entire region is a question mark due to desert flash flood damage.

    The State park west of Terlingua is all dirt roads as is Pinto Canyon on the west side of Presidio, and Pinto is always either really bad or really easy for a GS style bike depending on when/whether they graded it. When I was there it was freshly done and could be ridden by a blind monkey on a pogo stick (no smart ass comments please :lol3) I wouldn't recommend it on anything more roadworthy than a GS style bike though.

    Terlingua has a couple campgrounds, a couple of reasonably priced but semi-shabby motels, a couple of $hi-$hi adobe type places that are pretty pricey. Study Butte is a couple miles away and has a large motel/RV park and there are also accommodations north out in the boonies towards Alpine. Alpine has some motels, Marathon limited rooms and Marfa plenty due to the size of the old Paisano hotel. Lajitas is about 12 miles from Terlingua at the beginning of the river road fun, and is now a big golf resort with hotel but also pricey.

    If you get desperate you can pitch a tent amongst the ruins in Terlingua in a non-obnoxious place and people probably wouldn't care.

    Other options are camping in the NP but the two main campgrounds fill easily. If you do stay in Terlingua, there is an old store in the ghost town with a big porch that is the center of the universe. Interesting folks, dogs, random musicians, tourists and drunks - in no particular order and in various combinations. Be there before sunset as everyone hangs out to watch the sun set on the mountains, drink beer and gossip before eating at the Starlight or heading for one of the many bars - La Kiva being a cool underground one between Study Butte and Terlingua.

    Set your expectations way low, and you'll be pleasantly surprised at "the hippie spaceship that crashed in the desert" as the British gal filmmaker recently told me in an email.
    #67
  8. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

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    Many thanks Taz! I lived in Steamboat Springs a couple years ago and miss it... just couldn't take not riding for 8 months out of a year :lol3
    #68
  9. JayElDee

    JayElDee not saying what I mean

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    thanks for the extensive info. Are you saying that many of the roads to be taken in the NP are paved? I had believed that paved were few and dirt was the rule. I would be happy if I were mistaken...And 170 is paved, right? Decent gravel is fine for me, it's that indecent stuff.

    A few years ago I spent some time at the Prude Ranch for a few nights at the Texas Star Party and still talk about it. Beautiful. Did the McDonald Obs road also and visited the site. Very cool.

    Thanks again, and I look forward to your next jaunt. I think I am going to work on this one for late Jan/early Feb.

    John
    #69
  10. dfwscotty

    dfwscotty Long timer

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    Ahhhh....

    Much better! Great photos and great story Lonestar.

    Going to steal a photo for my desktop at work but can't figure out which one, to many awesome ones!
    #70
  11. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

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    JL, the roads in the NP are paved nicely, with the exception of Black Gap, the river road that crosses the park from Santa Elena to Boquillas and a few others. 170 is paved all the way to Candelaria on the west side of Presidio, where it disappears into two track and private ranch land.

    You might be confusing Big Bend Ranch State Park with Big Bend National Park - the State Park is adjoining the National Park and is all dirt roads. BBNP is nicely paved
    #71
  12. JayElDee

    JayElDee not saying what I mean

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    Thanks, that helps a bunch. Coming from New Orleans, I think this requires about 10 days. That's doable!

    Thinking now to stay in Terlingua, and maybe head up toward Ft Davis on way back. Catch US 90 as soon as it's marginally scenic.

    Thanks again

    John
    #72
  13. txplants

    txplants Pastafarian

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    Yep; this one's got me planning a winter trip out there myself. Watched the opening video a second time and I was done for!
    #73
  14. TexRivers

    TexRivers TexRivers

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    Hwy 90 becomes scenic very soon after Del Rio.
    #74
  15. JayElDee

    JayElDee not saying what I mean

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    awreet!
    Thanks...shaping up!!
    #75
  16. roberts

    roberts GS'er

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    Hwy. 90 is wide open and remote and the terrain is interesting, especially between Langtry and Marathon. I always enjoy the long ride because of its remoteness and scenery. Just make sure that you fill up with gas in Del Rio, because it is difficult to find between Del Rio and Sanderson.

    #76
  17. kojack06

    kojack06 Been here awhile

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    Outstanding, insightful daybook. Many thanks! It's making my shoulder heal that much faster and I have that new Giant Loop luggage for the DR. It won't be much longer!
    #77
  18. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

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    :thumb :lol3
    #78