Big Bend 2018. The Last Texas Frontier

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Motoman66, Jan 28, 2020.

  1. Motoman66

    Motoman66 Green Rider

    Joined:
    May 2, 2016
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    39
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    Houston
    Thank you for your comments. Yes totally agree with you. Big Bend is a little gem away from congested areas. Should be kept that way.
    #21
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  2. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    SE Wisconsin
    Enjoying your Big Bend report. Thank you!
    #22
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  3. Motoman66

    Motoman66 Green Rider

    Joined:
    May 2, 2016
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Houston
    Continuing with Day 3 ...

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    Ross Maxwell Road

    I arrive at the Santa Elena Canyon. It is a beautiful place with people on the river kayaking while exiting the canyon. There are more tourist than previous places but it is not at all crowded or pack like other National parks during peak summer season. Here at Big Bend the lady at the bar of Chisos Mountain lodge told me that peak season starts from now (Mid February) until the end of April.

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    Santa Elena Canyon


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    The peaceful Border !


    I stopped several time on my way in to the Canyon to take pictures again and it is already getting late and sun is going down as I climb on my Motorcycle. I see a Suburban that just took the gravel road to Terlingua. It is a 40 miles short cut from main road to go back to my Campground.

    I think : “Well lets try it and if after 1 mile it is ok and I can handle the slides of back tires I will follow on (I guess so many years of mountain biking help to control tire in loose surface !).

    This calls for a very nice short adventure but I will recommend to check that others are also taking the road at same time as any mechanical issue and you are screwed. Nightfall is in less than 2 hours and I am making good time to Terlingua. I know the place from previous trip with family to BB so I won't stop in Terlingua this time.

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    Shortcut Desert Road to Terlingua

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    Now come the stress part (at that time !) of my BB trip : do not forget that all day I have been riding within the National Park Boundary and due to speed limit you cannot rev the bike much or do some high speed curves. Even less on the15 miles last gravel road I am now on.

    Right after leaving the Gravel Road, there is a sign towards the Park Entrance. As soon as I get on the paved road, I see no sign of Park Ranger so I decide to push the bike for a couple of hundred meters.

    Full right Twist turned down and ….hu hu “Houston I have a problem !”

    The Bike does not answer to the throttle twist. Above 6000 revs’ the motor just want to die. Well well stress time just started. What should I do ? go to Park entrance and look for a mechanic in Terlingua 1 mile back or try to make it to camp site in Chisos mountain and ask advice to the experienced Canadian rider traveler I met yesterday. He seemed knowledgeable and have been riding all over the continent.
    Well I shoot for Chisos campground option and I cross my fingers. On the way to Chisos, the Bike is getting worse. Now the motor wants to die above 4500/ 5000 revs. Night is falling in the distance and the weather look stormy after so much heat today. Well well I double cross my fingers now and just think that there are much worst situations. At least there are a few cars on the road every 10 to 15 mn.

    Last km to Chisos Mountain Lodge . I made it ! No bikers close by for help or advise. Well lets go the Tent site and check with the Canadian. Well no Canadian and I remember now he told me he was going to leave today. Arrive to the Tent "pas fier" (in French)

    I Start chit chatting (done a lot of this in this trip) with couple of retired Canadians (Should names this trip “Winter Canadian migration to Texas”) from Calgary and explain them my situation. I turn off and on my bike again. I Push the throttle to over 10 000 Revs and everything looks goods. Revs is steady up. The bike looks ok. I suspect the issue is with my air filter because of the dust on the road and it was last changed over 6000 miles ago. It might also be some dust in the gas tank. Well Best choice now is lets go back tomorrow to Houston as planned and hopefully I will make it from the park exit and to Marathon and then reach I10 in Fort Stockton. If the Bike fails on the way, I can call the insurance from Fort Stockton and find a way to get back to Houston.

    Other alternative I discover later that night searching on the internet is going to Alpine where apparently there is the only motorcycle repair shop for hundreds of milles around. If it is Air Filter, I do not want to change it myself as I am not good on motorcycles mechanic (my only area of mechanic expertise are my bicycles) and despite the Kawasaki Versys being really a great bike, the Air Filter is not easily accessible.

    At the same time I like my Versys: no electronic, my right fist is my traction control. even no ABS !

    Well lets try to get stress out and relax. I think : worst case scenario, I will leave the bike here at Chisos Lodge restaurant in a garage and hitch hike with somebody to Fort Stockton and try to find a way there on how to go back to Houston with the Bike.

    I have dinner for second consecutive night at the restaurant Lodge. I order again an other loaded Potato as I have been on an empty stomach since this morning. XX Lager test great as I watch the winter Olympics on the Bar TV. Giant Slalom is great. It has always been my favorite Ski Discipline : Speed and Technical. Bobsleigh serie is impressive. I Should try for a run someday if I have the chance.

    As I go back to the campground from the Lodge, I can see a storm developing in the distance behind the mountain. Strikes are illuminating sky but there is no rain. Weather should be OK anyway for tomorrow ride back to Houston. I check in with family. I Let them know my mechanical issue with the Bike and confirm I will update my status as I will be heading back Home.

    Lets sleep and rest. End of day 3 (before return Trip:hmmmmm)

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    Dusted Bike for last night at Chisos Mountain

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    #23
  4. Motoman66

    Motoman66 Green Rider

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    Houston
    Yes, Thank you for the encouragement. I have been reading RR since I found Advrider when arriving in the US and being inspired by some of you. It is when writing and publishing a RR that you then really see the work it requires. So my respect and applause to all of you publishing a RR.
    #24
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  5. Motoman66

    Motoman66 Green Rider

    Joined:
    May 2, 2016
    Oddometer:
    39
    Location:
    Houston
    Day 4 : I woke up before sunrise. I Pack everything in silenced Campground. Some Coyotes are making noises in the surrounding area and I can see the shadow of Chisos Mountain appearing. This makes for a great movie scenery.

    Cross my fingers and here I go, back to town. I Stop by the gas station. As I am filling the tank, I notice a little bit of dust on the side of the tank filling mouth. I Check my tire pressure and start moving to next stop : Marathon .

    What a lovely morning ride . It is quite fresh, almost cold and there is smog coming out of the dloor in some area of the desert which make it very inspirational. I take my last picture between Panther Junction and Marathon

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    Last Picture before leaving BB (but will post a picture that tells it all at the end of this RR)

    I am m running the bike conservatively below 6000 revs. The Speed limit is 45 mph. The Desert is beautiful. There are no cars this morning. I will see less than 20 vehicles between Panther junction and Fort Stockton on I10.

    I Check in by Whattspp with family in Marathon. So far so good. The landscape is changing after Marathon. Just few milles before arriving Marathon, I passed border security and document check control point. There is a signs which indicates “Stop when flasing”. No flash,So No stop :).:rayof

    I arrive in Fort Stockton. I Start accelerating the Bike and so far so good. The speed limit is now 80 mph and adding to this some tolerance make for a nice pace. After a few miles on I 10, the wind I had in my back from Panther Junction now starts to pick up and moves to crosswind. It Will only slow down for about 1 hour between now and Houston when I will be crossing the Hill Country.

    Now comes the Hard part as time is flying : after 3 days of riding full days plus the worries of my motorcycle issue, I start to get tired.

    I stop for filling gas in Ozona, Junction, San Antonio, Columbus and now I am almost home. I had a nice coffee in Ozona but in Junction I got issue at the Shell gas station. The handle automatic release was blocked and I had some gas spilling all over my tank. I should have noticed that I was not the only one to which it had happened. There was sand on the floor and it was slippery when I stopped the bike to fill.

    This is what happens when you start to get tired, you underestimate details. :permazot

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    On the way back Home


    #25
  6. Motoman66

    Motoman66 Green Rider

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    39
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    Houston
    After this event I was back on the road and more focus than ever. Traffic is really picking up before and during crossing of San Antonio. Between San Antonio and Houston, the crosswind is picking up and i have my head down over the tank like motorcycle racer in aerodynamic position.:muutt

    As I have no music in my helmet, did not want to use my Iphone to save on Battery, it is just the sound of the wind and a nice conversation with Me, Myself and I :strum. To keep me motivated I just think of a warm shower. There was no shower at Chisos Mountain so I need a bath and to clean those now greasy hairs.:hair

    18:15 : night is falling, wind is picking and after 10 hours and 15 mn, I made it from Chisos mountain to Houston. Glad to be home. I have a good warm bath and shower. As I reflect back on my trip, I know I will have many memories from this trip to the last free spirit frontier between Mexico and Texas.

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    Odo read at the end of my 4 days trip (In miles)

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    End of my RR and last picture below to sum up my Ride !

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    Great Ride BB (Big Bend) :gyro








    #26
  7. Motoman66

    Motoman66 Green Rider

    Joined:
    May 2, 2016
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    Houston
    Thank You
    #27
  8. Erod

    Erod Been here awhile

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    Jan 1, 2011
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    Location:
    Prescott, Az. / Key Largo Fl.
    Awesome trip, Thank you.
    #28
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  9. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    Edmonton, Alberta
    Great report! Big Bend is terrific.
    #29
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  10. pitbull

    pitbull Long timer

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    Aug 24, 2004
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    6,440
    Great report, great pics, great read...…..thanks for posting it.
    #30
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  11. Marbleminer

    Marbleminer Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    294
    Thanks for your report! I have ridden in the Big Bend area several times. One of my favorite areas to ride! Love the solitude of River Road. I hope to maybe get back out there this year sometime.
    #31
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  12. Old Codger

    Old Codger Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    Oddometer:
    110
    Location:
    Ventura County Ca.
    Thanks for taking me along on your trip. Great pictures and report...:clap
    #32
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  13. Motoman66

    Motoman66 Green Rider

    Joined:
    May 2, 2016
    Oddometer:
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    Houston
    Yes. So do I. Planning in the making. Maybe reason why I published my trip only recently :)
    #33
  14. scfrank

    scfrank Old farts riding club. Supporter

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    Upstate SC
    Nice report! Went there last May. Stayed At Terlingua Ranch. Great place. Pictures great reminders.

    Thanks!
    #34
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  15. taosgsr

    taosgsr Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
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    Just south of 37, La Plata, NM
    Thank you for the report, i have been wanting to do a BB trip. This gives more motivation!
    #35
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  16. slammer218

    slammer218 Slammer

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    Great read. My daughter lives in Azle and hope to get back there to ride down to Big bend national park some day. Thanks for a great report
    #36
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  17. CanadianRocky

    CanadianRocky No Bucket List... a Bucket full of Lists

    Joined:
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    Great report and pictures! I have wanted to visit Big Bend for quite a while now... I am targeting May/June this year... it would be a 2/3 week rounder for me...

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    #37
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  18. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Faking it/Making it

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    Big Bend is always worth the trip.

    John
    #38
  19. Black Rhino

    Black Rhino Closer to Dairy Queen than Steve McQueen.

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    Nice RR. Thanks for sharing.
    #39
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  20. c_m_shooter

    c_m_shooter Ninja Warrior Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
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    Location:
    Paradise, TX
    Funny, I will be doing the reverse of your route in June with a slight detour west to Vancouver Island.
    #40
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