A CannonRide Around the Bend (Big Bend Region)

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

  1. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Thanks! Much more to discover along the way.

    Thanks Tom! Lots of great rides around the area. Lots to see.

    Hi Brad! There will be a test on this afterward.
    #61
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  2. Drif10

    Drif10 Accredited Jackass

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    Always educational. :kbasa
    #62
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  3. Tn. Walrus

    Tn. Walrus Knuckle Dragger

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    You said you were using Garmin Topo maps. Would that be the 24K or 100K map? I'm thinking about buying the 100K for my own trip planning. Fantastic report as usual.:freaky
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  4. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Hi Driffy! Glad you enjoy the history.

    Thanks. I use the 100K topo and 100K is what is pre-installed on the Oregon. It works fine for most of what we do. Of course, the topo isn't updated with highway changes like the City Nav is, but it still works fine.
    #64
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  5. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    I guess I should have carried a spanish-english dictionary so I could translate some of the signs I came across.
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    This Food Shark operation looked interesting. They have a bunch of old cars (60s-70s) associated with their enterprise as well.
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    Pretty nice court house in Marfa.
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    Although I didn't, you can take an elevator up into the dome for a view of the downtown. (Wiki photo)
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    The old opera house.
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    Old jail. Pretty good size for such a small population.
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    Wayside for the Marfa Lights.
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    Viewing area.
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    The viewing area at night.
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    This is another of those mystery light attractions. As always, the sightings seem to have some relationship with vehicle traffic.
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    They do like to promote it though.
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    This poster was at the wayside. The changes described are pretty evident as you travel around the area.
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    But what I was really looking for at the site was the old Marfa Army Airfield which was adjacent to the wayside.
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    No buildings left. Many had been relocated for other purposes. The buildings at the campground in Fort Davis came from here.
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    The old gate leading onto the airfield.
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    #65
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  6. Powershouse

    Powershouse Flower Sniffer Supporter

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    WWCP.
    #66
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  7. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    #67
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  8. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    The railroad came though in the early 1880s. This was a big step in helping the area develop (to the extent that it did anyway).
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    Marfa was a water stop on the line.
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    Before Alpine had a jail, the Sheriff got permission to lock up two characters in a box car here on a siding. During the night an efficient railroad employee answered a call for more box cars and hauled the car away along with the two prisoners. It took a little shuffling to get them back.
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    21 people were recently arrested in the Big Bend region for being part of a cocaine trafficking ring. The cops seized a bunch of guns, vehicles, and cocaine in the process. The managers of this RV park in Alpine have been charged with knowingly allowing drugs to be distributed on their property. They could get up to 20 years in the federal big house for maintaining a drug involved premises if they are convicted.
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    The 1928 Holland Hotel is doing well.
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    Kind of elegant inside.
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    There is a museum for the Big bend region on this campus.
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    Federal Courthouse in Alpine.
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    This unmarked building next to the courthouse had a lot of security. Not sure what it was. Maybe part of it was a federal lock-up or marshals and FBI people.
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    Taking the scenic route back to Fort Davis.
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    Open range road hazard.
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    In 1881, they built a rural school at this spot. It was a good location because the Texas Rangers had an outpost nearby that afforded some protection.
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    A bunch of movies were shot (in part at least) on the movie sets on this ranch.
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    Tbese adobe buildings were built by a guy who tried to settle here in 1854. Indian raids drove him out. The Texas Rangers used these buildings as an outpost for a couple of years around 1880.
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    A woman from the school had to make a midnight ride from the school to this outpost to warn the rangers that the apaches were coming.
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    This thing is a garden industries facility. They grow a bunch of stuff that ends up at garden centers and then in your yard.
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    And so the loop ends. About 170 miles that can be ridden on a street bike. If you make the stops along the way it is an all day trip.
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    Off for a Saturday night steak dinner . . .
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    With heart shaped baked potato.
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    #68
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  9. Streeter

    Streeter Has Coping Skills

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    #69
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  10. =[BAD]=TEX

    =[BAD]=TEX Adventurer

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    :lurkNICE! VERY NICE!
    #70
  11. Pantah

    Pantah Jiggy Dog Fan Supporter

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    What a great report Cannonshot! Thanks!

    You know I've been through Texas a lot and I guess I never even saw it. In fact I did my primary flight training at Fort Wolters. I flew all over and buzzed the Brazos regularly, but none of it looked like the country around Ft. Davis!

    When MotoGP comes to Austin, I'll ride there and take in the Big Bend country while I'm at it.

    In 2010 I rode to Scottsdale from Beantown. I stopped off at Mineral Wells to find Fort Wolters was turned into an industrial park and a prison. The flight line was nothing but broken tarmac. Such a shame. Only a small memorial marked what it once was:

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    Thanks for the report and keep her coming!

    -P
    #71
  12. freeflow

    freeflow get in or go in

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    Indeed...good food...:tb

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    friendly / fun waitstaff.....looks like they remodeled in the last 7 years...(my gosh, it's been 7 years already)..looks like we were standing in the same spot...:lol3
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    :lurk...fun report bryan :thumb
    #72
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  13. Abenteuerfahrer

    Abenteuerfahrer Deaf on Wheels

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    Fantastic Cannonshot. Don't miss the Guadalupe Mountains if so headed by there. > El Paso!

    Embedded your CDT ride into my GPS and hope you'll let us steal your Big Bend ride too :D.

    Now a noob question: how do you post/frame/size the topo maps with tracks so well?? You move them to 'Paint' then transfer to Smugmug or whatever before posting em' in ADV?

    Thanks and cheers...
    #73
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  14. mbabc

    mbabc Curmudgeon trainee

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    Great report as usual CS. I was there in Feb. 2010. Magical place, kind of hard to describe for a Kentucky boy, but the place draws you. I'll be going back of course.


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    #74
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  15. BayWindow

    BayWindow Adventurer

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    Ive been looking forward to this RR.
    Thanks Cannon!
    #75
  16. No False Enthusiasm

    No False Enthusiasm a quiet adventurer Supporter

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    Saw your RR map of more than 100 years ago that had the location, Metz.

    It was a water point for the old steam engines and was a cattle shipping point. A set of scales was built there to weigh outgoing cattle. We always call that place "Metz Scales".

    When running cattle in Winkler County, we carried one cow per 100 acres. It was a tough life out there, especially for the cows.

    NFE
    #76
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  17. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Indeed! :lol3

    Thanks! Glad you are enjoying it.

    Thanks! Glad to have you along again! Neat that you got to check out an old station. Too many are gone now.

    Hi Jeff. The reporting isn't near as much fun as the ride. :lol3

    Thanks! I'll be cleaning up the GPS file as I work through the report and will post it for others to download and use for their own rides or ride planning just as I did with the Great Divide Ride.

    The maps are screenshots that are edited with a photo editor. I like to post maps as we go so that people can better follow the ride and the story.

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    Thank you! I'm with you my friend. The region is a lot different from home and has a special attraction.

    Hi Frank! Big Bend looks a little different than Ontario?

    It is hard for me to imagine ranching in the Big Bend region. It is a little different than our Wisconsin dairy farming operations.

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    #77
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  18. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Moved down to Big Bend Ranch State Park. Lots to take in along the way. Somewhere around a 130 mile run.
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    Remember that hydroponic tomato growing facility out in the middle of the desert? Too huge to get a picture to wrap around it.
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    What the heck?
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    To get the sunlight (which is why this thing is here in the first place) we need to keep the windows on the roof clean.
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    Lots of windows. I wonder how they hold up in a hail storm. A ranch house I visited had rebar supporting hardware cloth over the windows to protect them from hail.
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    Here is another grow facility just down the road.
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    After riding some ranch roads I tried to imagine what this wagon would be like on them. I don't know how many readers remember vehicles from this time, but this one had leaf springs in the front and although it was durable, it wasn't anywhere close to what we have engineered today.
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    Marfa hosts the Big Bend regional headquarters for the Border Patrol.
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    Within the region are a bunch of other substations like this local station also based in Marfa.
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    Some of the stuff in the motor pool.
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    Quite a few tow trucks. :D
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    Also in town are the remains of what once was Fort D.A. Russell (Camp Marfa). The place started out in 1911 as a supply post for the Army patrolling the border. In the 1930s the post housed artillery units. During WWII it was a training camp and was home to a chemical warfare battalion. German POWs from Rommel's Afrika Corps stayed here as well. It closed up in 1946. Appropriate climate for those Afrika Corps troops . . . :D

    Some buildings have been nicely repurposed.
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    Others . . . not so much.
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    Some of the tracks run on pavement. Those tires really sing and this is the reason why.
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    I mean really sing.
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    There are border patrol inspection stations at various places along the highways coming from the border area. So, even though it might be easy to smuggle 25 lbs of something across the narrow Rio Grande, one would still have to get it through the depth of the patrolled area. I noticed cameras recording southbound vehicles as well. And of course, those talented detector dogs . . .
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    A routine inspection station like this one picked off Willie Nelson with a possession charge a few months ago. I think they got Snoop and Armie Hammer as well, along with thousands of others. I really don't think they are concentrating on looking for six ounces of weed, but once the door to the bus swings open and the smoke rolls out . . . "Hello Walls". :D
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    I went looking for the San Esteban lake and dam. Didn't work out.
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    Back in about 1910 someone decided to build a dam to support a development of irrigated land. The developer thought he could get 500-800 families to work small irrigated farms of 10-40 acres each using water from the impoundment. The development would have been in part on this land.
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    By about 1928 the lake was found to be filling in with silt which limited the capacity to irrigate. People pulled out and the whole thing kind of went to heck. Not much there today.
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    Nice dam though. Oh yeah, in 1824 indians massacred a company of Mexican soldiers in a canyon just upstream.
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    I ran into peccaries (javelinas) about every day.
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    They are kind of shy and tend to move away from you. Seems like sometimes they are a little less shy than others depending on the situation. These guys operate in a small herd. What is of interest to the dual sporter is that if you inadvertently run into a herd and it seems like you are after the young ones, the whole herd may go after you to protect the young'uns and drive you off. [​IMG]

    They have a few notable teeth that are a couple of inches long. Just something to be aware of I guess.
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    They are omnivores. One of their favorite foods is prickly pear cactus. Any animal that eats prickly pear cactus (needles and all) is bad-ass enough for me. :D
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    #78
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  19. Zaboo65

    Zaboo65 Been here awhile

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    :clap:clap:clap A new Cannonshot ride report!!! Subscribed!

    I'm pretty new to dual-sport riding and am hoping to do some of your rides up in the UP this year and follow your Pony Express route this fall. I always enjoy reading your reports, the history is great as are the photos. Thanks for sharing! :clap

    I hope to meet you sometime at a Madison Meet & Greet to talk to you about that ride and your KLR (I have one also).
    #79
  20. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    This luxury resort used to be Milt Faver's ranch. Milt used to run a store in Presidio during the course of which he learned from indians about some springs on some nearby land. He decided to go into the ranching business. He was very successful eventually having a herd of about 20,000 longhorns as well as sheep and goat operations. Faver provided beef (and peach brandy) to troops at Fort Davis. His ranch was used as a supply point for Army elments that were chasing indians around the region. This explains how Faver came to "borrow" an Army cannon to help defend his ranch. Faver was also a leader in the great Texas cattle drives. Some believe that he was the inspiration for the character Gil Faver on the Rawhide television series.
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    The problem for Faver was indian attacks by the apaches and commanches. To manage this problem, Faver built three private forts on his ranch. Each had gunports and thick walls.
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    Much of this has been restored into the Cibolo Creek Ranch. This is an aerial of the principal fort and ranch headquarters. Check out the link for pix of the facilities.
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    Faver did his share of defending the ranch. He had a fine armory to help support that effort. During one attack an indian got between the tin roof and the ceiling while trying to penetrate the defenses. A defender detected him and pinned him to the roof by sticking a sword through the ceiling. Must have been interesting times.
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    If you stop at the cemetery in Shafter, they have a display with some information about the ranch. As elegant as the place is and as fine as the facilities are (airstrip, etc) I was surprised to read some unflattering reviews when I was webbing around looking for more information about the place.
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    Ever wonder what one of those big power line cables looks like up close?
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    "Go ahead, touch it . . . I dare you!"
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    #80
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