Big Bend beats up Redfish

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Redfish Hunter, Oct 13, 2018.

  1. Redfish Hunter

    Redfish Hunter Long timer Supporter

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    I have been "planning" a Dual Sport ride in Big Bend NP Texas for years. I have only owned a Dual Sport Motorcycle for a few months. You would think I would have it figured out by now. You would be Wrong.

    Starting out with 3 bikes on a 1 lawn mower trailer took some rigging.

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    After burning through a full tank of diesel it was still dark but at least we were in Texas.

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    Two Absolute Facts I have heard about West Texas my entire life:
    Dry.
    Boring.

    So what the %$#& is this?

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    It was raining on Pop's side of the Truck also:

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    There is nothing to see but... mountains? This is supposed to be boring?

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    And the speed limit is 80mph so you don't have to stare at all those boring mountains for very long.

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    There are a few windmills in West Texas:

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    With little short blades. (Try snapping that pic at 80mph)

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    I had rented a small vacation home in Terlingua, Texas for 4 nights. The road into it was awful and we were soooo upset that we were going to be forced to ride in and out on dirt...

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    The driveway was just terrible, parking was horrible and the view sucked...

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    #1
  2. Redfish Hunter

    Redfish Hunter Long timer Supporter

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    Since we had been in The Truck since 3:00am and it was now 7:00pm we went to the closest restaurant, The Chili Pepper Café. The food was incredibly good. I have a weakness for Mexican food (and for Senoritas) so this was perfect for me. We chose to eat on the patio.

    I suppose some introductions are in order. On the left is my friend/co-worker/cousin-in-law JD. He has been riding Honda XRs since he was a child, he bleeds Honda XR red. (I poked him in the arm with my knife a couple times just to make sure!) On the right is my own Dear Old Dad, we'll call him Pop. Pop is 73 years old now and this Dual Sport thing is brand new to him.

    Those are some first class groceries right there folks.

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    #2
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  3. Redfish Hunter

    Redfish Hunter Long timer Supporter

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    Tuesday October 9th

    Our little house had a decently set up kitchen. I am all about eating and I like to cook. This was part of the reason this little house was chosen.

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    Just your standard scrambled eggs with cubed ham and pepper jack cheese with a side of thick sliced bacon.

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    JD with his Big Red Pig. That XR650L had just under 600 miles at this point. He had serviced it about 25 miles early for this trip.

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    I know it looks like we got a Late Start but we had a reason for that. The early desert morning with the wet creosote bushes created a scent and an experience that was completely new and wonderful for us. We sat and sipped our coffee as we watched the sun rise. I cannot describe it, I cannot explain it but the sunrise in the desert is a magical thing. No pics of that.

    At the park entrance:

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    The Star of the Show:

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    Of course it was flat, straight and boring:

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    Big Suzy:

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    The Honda 250 Rally:

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    The Big Red Pig. (I am referring to the XR650!)

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    Apparently wasps are attracted to Red. This was something we would experience several times during our time in the desert. JD was NOT happy about this phenomenon.

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    Here JD is telling Pop, "Redfish's DR650 is probably the most awesome motorcycle I have ever seen!"

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    Notice the road twisting and turning over the ridge line straight ahead:

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    At an overlook I found this Tarantula. As soon as I started taking pics EVERYBODY had to come take a pic so I got away from the crowd.

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    Who knew Big Bend NP had mountains like this? We were at almost 5000 feet elevation here.

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    The Mule Ears are just visible on the left of this pic:

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    Even with all of my research I was not prepared for the beauty of Big Bend.

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    Pop and JD were following along happily:

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    Santa Elena Canyon. The Rio Grande River flows out of that, headed to the Gulf of Mexico. To the left of that notch is Mexico, on the right is the United States.

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    Of course we had to get a closer look. The recent rains had turned the water to a thick muddy paste. That is actually an international border...

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    Yeah, that's me all happy and smiling like always. We had planned on walking up the canyon but with the high water we did not feel like wading over knee deep in muddy water for that privilege.

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    We went back up the road to look at some old adobe buildings and then turned into Cottonwood Campground to find a shaded picnic table so we could eat our lunch.

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    Then we FINALLY got on some Dirt!

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    I had deliberately picked something easy for us to start with. Pop and I are complete novices at this and JD has never ridden anywhere besides Louisiana. Big Bend is NOTHING like Louisiana.

    JD is just a distant red dot:

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    This is nothing like my swampy home:

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    The obligatory stop at Luna's Jacal.

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    I will pause here to Get Serious for a moment. Luna died in 1947(?) at the age of 108. He raised a large family in this little Jacal. He was able to survive and thrive in this Godforsaken and remote area. I cannot imagine how tough a man like that must have been.

    As I looked inside this tiny dwelling I thought about my darling wife at home. What if I told Mrs. Redfish we were going to save some money and Down Size a little? "Honey Bumpers I have decided you don't need all this Stuff. Those granite countertops with the Keurig sitting on top, the stainless appliances, and the under cabinet LED lighting are not necessary. You can do without that nice furniture, the central air and heat. No, there is no room in our new jacal for that king sized bed. Now come over here and lay next to me on this dirt floor so we can make Sweet Love!"

    Yeah, that would work really well...

    Old Maverick is only about 18 miles and it dumped us back on pavement at the entrance station. We rode pavement to Chisos Basin.

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    Yeah, SW Texas is just so boring...

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    I was completely ashamed of the huge chicken strip on my rear tire but with a 35 mph speed limit and that kind of scenery...

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    Inside Chisos Basin we took a short walk to get a decent pic of The Window.

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    Pop pointed out that Every Time I wanted to go walk to look at something the path led downhill. This means that every time we had to climb back up hill to reach the bikes.

    I guess he is right.

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    #3
  4. Redfish Hunter

    Redfish Hunter Long timer Supporter

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    As we left the Chisos Basin on a wonderfully twisty little road the speed limit was 15mph. 15! The sign had a picture of a bear with the 15mph underneath. Pop's voice in the headset told me, "No dummy. That means that bears can only go 15 mph. We can go as fast as we want."

    I stayed pretty close to the speed limit but I did wear my chicken strips into a more acceptable width.

    Since I had been uncertain of what Big Bend would give us I had been very generous with time for The Plan that day. We headed back to our little house to enjoy the evening and get ready for supper.

    The road into La Palome Triste, Willow Mountain to the left:

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    Our back porch:

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    The one huge drawback to this otherwise wonderful little house was the sewer system. NO PAPER of ANY KIND in the TOILET. NONE! Apparently the tail line just empties out into the soil, helping to irrigate the land. I am not sure how I feel about this...

    Willow Mountain with Ocotillo plants in the foreground. For reference, that mountain is 3830 feet, 1000 feet of prominence.

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    The Ocotillo Plant:

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    The Ocotillo Plant looks soft, green and lovely from a distance.

    The Reality:

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    Pop had some decent accommodations:

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    Above his door was what I thought to be a Yucca leaf. Pop insisted it was a tail feather from a Very Large Turkey. He said the turkeys, like everything else, were bigger in Texas.

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    For the record, Pop and JD each had their own individual room with nice comfy beds. I had an air mattress in the living room floor.

    That night we went to La Kiva Restaurant and Bar. JD and I had researched this one pretty heavily and we were both looking forward to this.

    JD was much more excited than I was. He likes his beer and his barrooms more but then he is much younger also.

    Note the door is leaning backwards and there are steps leading down into the place:

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    Somehow, in Texas, they ran out of Shiner Bock on tap. Seriously? I got a full mug of barely cool Shiner but Pop only got a few ounces. The staff seemed completely baffled by this and also seemed completely helpless to find a solution. I offered to get Pop a different beer or let him have mine but he decided to just have some iced tea.

    Ah, yes. Iced tea. I'll have one of those also, it has been a very dry day. OH. MY. GOD. That was the WORST, absolute worst tasting excuse for a beverage I can ever remember tasting. No way I could choke it down. After Pop finished choking and sputtering he said, "Now I see why we can't flush the toilet paper with the shit. They don't want bits of paper in the iced tea!"

    My burger with green peppers was quite tasty:

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    On the wall was this "fossil" of a Penisaurus Erectus:

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    No, mine does not look like that either.

    We called it an early night and went back to La Palome Triste. We sipped some Eagle Rare bourbon and sat under the stars. The night sky is incredible in Big Bend and we saw some of the most spectacular shooting stars any of us could imagine.

    Tomorrow, we change it up and travel to Big Bend Ranch State Park.

    **Note** This post has been edited to reflect the wisdom that @ROAD DAMAGE was nice enough to share with me. I HATE to be wrong but I do appreciate an opportunity to learn. I also appreciate how smooth and tactfully that information was shared.
    #4
  5. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter Supporter

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    Nice story guys-----------I was really surprised how tough some of the riding in Big Bend State Park was when there in January this year ????
    Can't wait to see what you think.
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    #5
  6. Redfish Hunter

    Redfish Hunter Long timer Supporter

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    Wednesday, October 10th

    Once again we took time to enjoy the desert morning. We sipped our coffee and watched the desert transform around us. The creosote bushes don't exactly smell "good" but the scent helps tie in the whole desert experience. Terlingua, Texas is truly unlike anywhere I have ever been.

    I did a repeat of yesterday's breakfast, we cleaned the kitchen and headed out for fuel. Now a word about Fuel. There is one gas station in Terlingua/Study Butte. ONE. GAS. STATION. If anything goes wrong... Anyway, it was crowded and only some of the pumps were functioning.

    We crossed Hwy 118 and headed straight down Hwy 170 toward Lajitas. The Plan: Stop at Barton Warnock Visitor's Center. Get any necessary permits, get a map, some souvenirs, any pertinent road information and then ride 170 almost to Presidio. Turn north, enter the State Park and then ride to the State Park lodge in the middle. Ride back out, enjoy Hwy 170 straight back to Terlingua. I knew that was an ambitious day and was going to require more miles and more time than yesterday but I was confident.

    My confidence was lost when the Park Rangers informed us that the State Park was closed. Closed? WTH? Well there was a scheduled public hunt. If I had done my research properly I would have known this. Dammit.

    No worries, I wanted to ride Hwy 170 anyway. Hwy 170 was supposed to be fantastic. And we could still get on dirt and ride to the park entrance.

    So, Hwy 170...

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    Here JD is expressing his admiration for my DR650:

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    As we rode this Pop and I chatted on the Cardo and we agreed that even when we were not off road the Dual Sports were a better choice for this area than our beloved FJRs. The constant undulations in the pavement, the Surprise! sand in many of the turns and the fact that most of the pull offs were either gravel, very unlevel or both would have made our FJRs a lot of work in the Big Bend area.

    More Hwy 170:

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    The Rio Grande was still very muddy from the recent rainfall.

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    JD was wondering if his Big Red Pig could swim across those rapids:

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    Why have I never heard how wonderful this area really is? I don't personally know anyone who ever rode a motorcycle in this area, most of my information was learned right here on ADVRIDER.

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    We had 3 Javelinas cross the road in front of us. We slowed down because hitting one with the bikes did not seem like a good option. We saw a few road runners but none seemed to be running from a coyote and none of them made that Beep Beep! sound so we did not ask for their autograph.

    Finally we reached Bofecillos Road and we turned north and off the pavement. This was nice but in the bottom of the dry washes was the strangest damned mixture of pea gravel, limestone flakes and dirt. Pop and I were completely unable to deal with this stuff. We would weave and wobble, the front end would go wherever it wanted and we both almost fell several times. JD seemed to be doing okay with it but it was very difficult for Pop and I. I had intended to ride further north past the entrance of the park and then backtrack but after some very close calls and no improvement in our skill set I decided to just turn back south toward Presidio on Casa Piedra Road.

    I had to admit I was feeling pretty uneasy about mine and Pop's inability to deal with the material in the dry washes. Depending on how much moisture it held it would be either dark gray to almost black or a lighter gray. The moisture content seemed to have no effect on how badly it kicked our asses. I was worried about dragging my 73 year old Pop into something that could get him hurt. This really sucked most of the happiness out of my day.

    During a water break JD told us he thought he had seen a bolt fall off of Pop's bike but he was not sure. A quick survey revealed that we had lost one of the four bolts that held the tail rack/top box assembly to the bike. The other 3 were all loose. Of course I had spare metric bolts with allen heads... But they were about 900 miles away in Port Vincent, Louisiana. I had no illusions about finding the correct metric bolt in Terlingua, TX. And we were supposed to ride a lot of off road tomorrow. Dammit.

    I tightened the remaining 3 bolts and we continued our ride.

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    Where the wash had been packed from other vehicles we had no issues.

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    JD and his Big Honda were enjoying things tremendously.

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    Sadly, where the road was straight, flat and boring we did just fine...

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    We got back on Hwy 170 and headed back toward Lajitas. We stopped at the Closed Canyon trailhead for a picnic lunch.

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    I had to "cook" the sandwiches.

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    JD attracted more wasps:

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    Of course we had to walk the Closed Canyon trail:

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    Canyons always make me smile.

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    Pop and I took the time to study this Gray Stuff that had so badly shaken our confidence. It was in the bottom of almost every dry wash and it was even difficult to walk in the stuff. There was a lot of it in Closed Canyon.

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    Back on Hwy 170:

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    It may not look like it but this overlook was on one heck of an incline. Getting back on the bikes and getting back onto the road took some effort. We would never have stopped there with our FJRs.

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    I just love having my picture taken. It always makes me smile.

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    #6
  7. Redfish Hunter

    Redfish Hunter Long timer Supporter

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    We continued on Hwy 170 back to Lajitas where we had to stop and say hello to the Mayor. The Mayor of Lajitas is an alcoholic goat named Clay Henry. Seriously.

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    Yes, that is an ornery old goat but that is NOT Clay Henry. That is Pop.

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    This is Clay Henry. He is a very large goat.

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    No hardware stores in Lajitas, btw.

    There was a tiny hardware store in Terlingua, Bee Mountain Hardware. It did not look like much but I took a chance. SUCCESS!!! Thank you Bee Mountain Hardware! Lots of good stuff in there. I was able to pick up a wire brush for the BBQ pit at our rental house. I bought a replacement bolt and an extra of the two different lengths for that tail rack. This really lifted my spirits for some reason. JD and I did an impromptu drag race up the hill leaving the place. I let him win.

    On every motorcycle ride Pop and I have ever taken at some point he starts asking for some Cold Watermelon. He always points out that I don't care about him and that if I did I would find him a cold watermelon so he could relax and cool off. Unbeknownst to him, there was in fact a watermelon in the ice chest in the back of The Truck. It was truly refreshing after the dryness of our day.

    He stopped complaining. For little while anyway.

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    I want to give a few compliments to the Cottonwood General Store in Terlingua, Texas. That little place had a lot of stuff in a small area. They were nice, friendly, helpful and they had a Shiner Brewery Tour 6 pack.

    Back at La Palome Triste:

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    Pop took charge of Supper:

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    JD supervised:

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    The sun went below the horizon:

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    Dead Cow was scorched over an open flame:

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    JD seemed to like how it was cooked:

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    Another night of watching the stars and sipping a beer or two. Or in JD's case several...

    Tomorrow is our last day to ride Big Bend. Let's make the most of it.
    #7
  8. kojack06

    kojack06 Long timer

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    Hope you have opportunity to ride Old Ore Road and the River Road INSIDE the National Park. Thanks for your ride report. I always enjoy reading ride reports from the first time visits.

    Also there are two petrol stations inside the NP. One is at Panther Junction(park HQ) and the other at Rio Grande Village.

    I'm always sad on my last day of a BB trip. I know the next morning is load up, the 520 mile trip back to central Texas and then back to work.
    #8
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  9. Redfish Hunter

    Redfish Hunter Long timer Supporter

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    Well... all of that plays into the next part of the story. I have more I just have to deal with Other Stuff for a while before I can compile more of this RR.

    Thanks for checking in, I hope to finish this soon.
    #9
  10. ROAD DAMAGE

    ROAD DAMAGE Long timer Supporter

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    Hey There Redfish Hunter,

    Thanks for the latest installment to your ride report. :thumb
    Good stuff to see ........... especially while it's snowing just outside my window. :D (supposed to get down to 9 degrees here tonight)

    I thought I'd point out a couple of things that my gardening/landscaping wife has taught me over the years.

    Here's a picture and a little info on Candelillia or Waxweed:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euphorbia_antisyphilitica
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    Here's a picture and some info on the ocotillo plant.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fouquieria_splendens
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    I'm thinking that you may have them mixed up ............. like I did for years, before my wife straightened me out. :lol3
    Even after 35 years together ........ she still introduces me to her co-workers as: "her second husband ........... out of three." :imaposer

    That interesting black material displayed over the doorway .............. is a piece of whale baleen.
    It really surprised me to see it there! :scratch
    But I figured that a fisherman from the gulf knew that, and was just pulling our legs. :gerg

    Thanks for posting and taking us along.

    RD
    #10
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  11. Redfish Hunter

    Redfish Hunter Long timer Supporter

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    Okay, you appear to be correct. I do have the candelilla confused with the ocotillo. So unusual for me to be Wrong...:doh

    As for the whale baleen I had no clue. I have fished for pleasure, commercially and as a charter captain in one capacity or another for 45 years now and I have never caught a whale.

    Although I will admit to dating a few...:nomystery
    #11
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  12. Redfish Hunter

    Redfish Hunter Long timer Supporter

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    Thursday, October 11th

    As the sun rose and we sipped our coffee we discovered this little fellow who had gotten himself smushed by one of us in the dark.

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    Our final day. I had planned to work up to this day using the first two days to improve our off-road skills and get acclimated to the dirt and gravel of this location. The soil and the surface is so much different from the dirt or mud of our South Louisiana home that I believed we needed a couple days to get used to it.

    Our first issue was which road to actually ride. I wanted to try Old Ore but JD and I had seen so many videos and read so many horror stories that we were both afraid that might be a bit tough for Pop. Everything we had read about River Road indicated that it was a much milder, less challenging route. Of course it was 50 miles long... JD had talked to some Jeep folks who were primitive camping in the park. Those folks highly recommended River Road. I had bought a Big Bend Backcountry/BackRoad book and it gave some pretty detailed information on all the unpaved roads in the park. River Road looked like our best option.

    I wanted to take River Road but I was still thinking about the Gray Stuff in the bottom of the washes that had so completely baffled both myself and Pop. I reasoned that if River Road ran alongside the Rio Grande there had to be a LOT of washes and therefore a LOT of Gray Stuff.

    None of us had come close to using even half of the water we had carried the first two days so we felt confident water would not be an issue. Also, the little ice chest I was carrying our spare water and sandwich supplies in had not leaked a drop in two days. I figured that if things got too bad we could drink the water from the melting ice out of that. Of course that was not going to be necessary anyway.

    Our second issue was that the ONE gas station in Terlingua was shut down. There were folks working on the gas pumps and they were going to be a while. Pop and JD were pretty low on fuel. After some time was lost in search of a possible second station in Terlingua I called the Panther Junction station and verified that they were open and their pumps were working. We easily made that with our remaining fuel and we headed toward Boquillas Canyon.

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    As we passed this sign I made up my mind, we would see Boquillas Canyon and then come back to ride River Road.

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    I was really enjoying my morning even though we had a Very Late Start.

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    We came to the tunnel they call Dead Man's Curve... Apparently when the West was still Wild and there was no tunnel that choke point where the old trail curved around that ridge made an excellent ambush point. A man was ambushed and shot in the back while returning from a criminal investigation. He died the following day. (Thanks @Cannonshot)

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    Now be honest please. Does this DR make my butt look fat?

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    I really enjoyed the little road leading to the Boquillas Canyon Overlook but it was so tight and so bumpy that I took no pics while riding.

    Big Suzy looking over the Rio Grande:

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    I had read about the illegal Mexican trinkets and there was a pile of them at the Boquillas Canyon Overlook. I had also read somewhere about a well trained Mexican dog that would swim the Rio Grande when folks would arrive at that point. As soon as we got off the bikes JD spotted that dog getting into the river and I told him it would be up there with us shortly. At that point three young Mexican men popped out of the brush and greeted us with "Hello! How are you?" and began their routine to draw our attention to the illegal trinkets.

    I was not sure exactly how to feel about this but I was instantly on edge. I was aware that I probably had enough cash in my wallet to make it worthwhile for them to attempt something stupid. I sympathized with their financial situation, I respected them for making an effort to improve it. I was wary of them and made sure that they knew better than to make any move in my direction. I don't speak Spanish but it was clear that they understood that both JD and I were...prepared. They backed away. They probably never realized that the most dangerous person on that plateau was Pop.

    As they were backing away and muttering in Spanish that damned dog arrived. He went to the trinkets and sniffed at the money jar. Then he came over to us. He was soaking wet from his swim in the over full and dangerously swift Rio Grande. I petted him and spoke to him but he did not seem to understand English.

    And since y'all would never believe me without the photograph to back it up...

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    We continued toward Boquillas Canyon and I wanted to walk at least part of the trail to get a decent view. Unusually for me the trail led UP from the parking lot.

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    JD and Pop did not share my enthusiasm for the climb:

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    Climbing in the desert always brings a smile to my face:

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    This was as close as I was willing to go. Those canyon walls are 1300 feet high:

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    They agreed to climb to that point if I would head back down to guard the bikes.

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    It was getting late and we thought we had seen a sign for a picnic area at Hot Springs so we decided to head down there to eat our lunch a little early. The road was interesting although Pop did not care for the drop off with no place to go. There were no picnic tables, no shade and the restroom smelled awful all the way across the parking area. It was hot as hell and we decided we would just find someplace on River Road to eat our lunch.
    #12
  13. Redfish Hunter

    Redfish Hunter Long timer Supporter

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    So we took River Road. At first it was smooth and gentle. It got very scenic and interesting, Pop and I were really enjoying it. I had figured that if it started getting ugly we could detour North on Glenn Springs Road and cut our losses. Things were still going great when we passed Glenn Springs. JD had even taken the Gravel Pit turnoff to see if he could add some interest to the ride.

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    We took a water break and discussed things. It looked like we were going to be done with River Road early, we talked about what we would do once we hit the blacktop on the other end.

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    We took one water crossing and JD had no issues at all so I followed. The Trail Wing rear on my DR would NOT grip that mud. I was spinning like a fool but stayed on the throttle and got across. Pop crossed behind me and never spun at all.

    And then we hit a very long wash with some Gray Stuff. And another and another. And Pop finally went down. Hard. We got him up and across but his confidence was gone. He fell again in the next wash. And again before we got out of it. We looked at the map and we were about 30 miles into a 50 mile ride. When I explained that we were further than halfway through the 50 mile ride JD was astonished. "50 MILES!?!?! Are you Shitting me?" I had told him that. More than once. But that was not the time to start arguing.

    Wash after wash, Pop was falling harder and harder. He was so tired he could no longer control the bike and he was making bad decisions. I continued to encourage him and try to coach him through the Cardo but now he was falling where he would normally have had no issues. I figured it was only a matter of time before he hurt himself very badly or hurt the bike badly enough that it would not be rideable.

    I cannot express the desperation I was feeling. I kept encouraging him. I kept telling him to drink some water. At one point I told him to drink and he told me he had "been out of water". I nearly lost my temper. I refilled his HydroFlask with cold water and we plowed on. The damned Gray Stuff just kept getting thicker and deeper and the stretches kept getting longer.

    We never ate our lunch. The ice melted, the cold cuts and cheese were warm and all of the water leaked out of the ice chest into my top box. It destroyed that stupid Back Road guide, the pages became a paste and it was useless. I had a couple of Dole fruit cups and got Pop to eat one while I ate the other. JD told me he was also Out of Water.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Pop knew he was delaying us and he was bitter about it. I was bitter for getting us into this. JD was bitter about getting us into this. Hell, we had tried to do the Right Thing but we were not as smart as we thought we were.

    I was getting tired from continually picking up that little Honda Rally. JD helped but the heat and the effort was getting to us all. Finally all the water was Gone.

    I kept zooming the Garmin out so I could see the blue trace of our first day's ride, wishing, willing, praying for that blue line to get closer to us. At some points either JD or I would ride the little Honda out of the Gray Stuff and Pop would walk out to it. JD suggested that we leave it and Pop could double up with him but Pop was not ready to quit.

    At one point he lost the front end and rode up an embankment to the left. His tires were about 4 feet above the road bed and he stalled the motor. He tipped over and fell HARD. He just lay there face down in the Gray Stuff and I was afraid he was dead. We stopped for a long time at that point. We were all struggling to get enough breath. We were at about 3500 feet of elevation but we live at about 20 feet above sea level. I am sure that had some effect on our fatigue as well.

    A couple of times I asked JD to ride ahead and scout for us. The report was never good.

    Pop and I had a Serious and Emotional talk. We were both miserable. My beloved father, best friend, riding partner, my hero was taking an ass whipping and it was my fault. We discussed what I thought he was doing wrong. He was so tired he could no longer control the Honda and he could not think straight. We rested a while and tried again.

    The road began to show signs of maintenance. The blue line on the Garmin got closer. Pop's voice through my headset when he saw the asphalt almost made me cry.

    I had decided to ride a few miles in the wrong direction to Castelon hoping that they would at least have a vending machine outside. They did not. I went into the bathroom and was thrilled to find sinks with water! I got us all some water and we drank it happily. And then I went back for more and saw the "DO NOT DRINK. NON-POTABLE" sign. That did not make my two riding buddies happy at all.

    On the plus side, the late evening light made the mountains in the park look beautiful.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Pop was fine on pavement and we actually had a Good Ride back to Terlingua. He was beaten and bruised, he was hurt but he was Not Defeated. He Kept Going. Because that's what heroes do.

    We had a delicious supper at the Chili Pepper Café and decided we would just load the bikes in the morning.
    #13
  14. Royce Cochran

    Royce Cochran was 2bold2getold

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    5,722
    Location:
    Arlington, Texas
    Wow, sorry form your trouble. So much for boring west Texas.
    #14
  15. cyberdos

    cyberdos Easy Bonus Loop ♦♦

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2005
    Oddometer:
    49,463
    Location:
    Queen Creek, AZ
    Oh, you have to put this in the DR650 thread. :rofl

    [​IMG]

    Awesome report. :thumb Big up to Pops!
    #15
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  16. cyberdos

    cyberdos Easy Bonus Loop ♦♦

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2005
    Oddometer:
    49,463
    Location:
    Queen Creek, AZ
    Man, I've been there many times but with my riding buds. I'm usually the instigator of pain but it's never on purpose so I totally understand where your head was at.
    #16
  17. kojack06

    kojack06 Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,267
    Location:
    TX
    I feel badly reading about your experience on River Road particularly after I posted that I hope you had the opportunity to ride it. I'm glad you all are alright.

    The park service, in my opinion, has been doing a good job over the last 5 to 7 years grading the River Road, particularly along the river. The sand and gravel in the sections along the river(toward Santa Elena)use to be much worse. As you descend to the river, the road can be tricky as it winds along the fingers and in and out of the draws. You all were on mid-sized thumpers and they can be a handful on the two-track. The little Honda Rally is also pretty heavy.

    Exploring the park can be dangerous. People die there. The book, Death at Big Bend, is interesting and always makes me think about what I carry there when I ride. On two occasions over the years, I've seen injured riders air lifted out of the park. One rider was on a GS1200 who broke a leg when a metal pannier struck it(I guess when he put a foot down to dab for balance-that's my understanding) and the other on Old Ore Road, not so terribly far from the main paved road and the tunnel.

    Hope you have(had) an uneventful trip home and plan on returning!☺
    #17
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  18. bobw

    bobw Harden the phuck up

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,224
    Location:
    God's country, Western North Carolina
    "When the going gets tough, the tough get going!", Pop could be a poster child for that sentiment. The heat is so parasitic and us old dudes often need a little more recovery time between maximum efforts. Great that you all shared this trip on many levels, you all stuck it out and endured and the memories and lessons learned will far outweigh what can be shared here I'm sure!

    "Prepare for the worst and hope for the best" and I'm looking forward to the following your next adventure!


    Cheers
    #18
  19. HPPants

    HPPants Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2011
    Oddometer:
    357
    Enjoyed this ride report. I'm not a dual sporter, but the Redfishes are among my very best friends.

    "When the going gets tough, the tough get going". Bobw - you have no idea how right you are. Pop is tough as nails.
    #19
    bobw likes this.
  20. JeepDawg

    JeepDawg Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Oddometer:
    2,328
    Location:
    Famous Potatoes
    Cool pics, good story! Thanks for sharing.
    XR650L's rule by the way, i miss mine, but as far as the Big Red Pig name, the XR650R guys think they own that term so i got some flack for using that about my L.
    #20