Author Topic: Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park  (Read 7193 times)

Offline mjptexas

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Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park
« on: March 09, 2015, 03:51:38 PM »
Last Wednesday six of us took off from Austin, Texas to Terlingua, Texas which sits just outside of Big Bend National Park.  As you can see on the map it's literally in the middle of nowhere:



We left at about 5:30 am to miss the weather coming towards Austin and ended up driving in some pretty thick fog all the way to Del Rio.  If you are ever in Del Rio make sure you stop at Chinto's Mexican Restaurant.  Great tacos.  They actually make the tortillas when you order your food.


This was the first time we stopped in full daylight so I was able to get a picture of all six bikes.  It's a pretty eclectic group:



We had the following:

BMW R nineT
2004 Moto Guzzi California
2014 Moto Guzzi California 1400
Kawasaki Concours
Triumph Scrambler
Vespa 300 (yes, that is correct, a Vespa)

The roads were pretty messy.  I don't know if I'll ever get all the road grime off of my Cali:


Just past Del Rio we crossed the Pecos River, which was about the halfway point:




We pulled into Terlingua late in the afternoon.  There's not a lot of places to stay so don't expect 5 star accommodations:


The day's ride was just over 500 miles:


The next day started out a little cooler than we had expected:

Thank God for heated gloves.  Fortunately it did warm up into the low 50s by mid-afternoon.

On the first day we rode hwy 170, which is referred to as the River Road.  There was some spectacular scenery on the road.  Bluebonnets were in full bloom:


We were right down on the Rio Grande.  Here Mexico is on right, USA on the left:


And here Mexico is on the left and USA is on the right:


There were a number of steep grades on the road including this one that was over 10%:


We rode on through Presidio to the very end of Hwy 170 in Candelaria.  Candelaria is a spot on the map that is arguably the end of the world in the lower 48 states.  The paved road ends and you can take a dirt road through the mountains 65 miles to Marfa should you be so inclined:


At the end of the world in Candelaria:


So by the end of the day we had ridden 245 miles:


Sitting on the porch watching the sunset:


We spent Friday in Big Bend National Park.  On the road to Santa Elena Canyon I came over the rise to see this vista:


Santa Elena Canyon is pretty spectacular.  The Rio Grande runs through this very narrow canyon separating Mexico and the U.S:




Here's a view from near the top of the canyon looking back into the park:


There were so many things to see, including these horses on the Mexico side of the Rio Grande:


Some more shots from inside the park:








I ended the day at 125 miles:


The next morning I rose early to see this:


The ride back to Austin was 571 miles, so we covered 1,441 miles in the 4 days.  Big Bend is a destination point which is well worth experiencing if you have the time.


Mike

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dilligaf

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Re: Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2015, 04:01:53 PM »
I have ben to Big Bend on several occasions and you pictures brought back some memories.  You didn't mention the Cosmic Cowgirl on the west side of the park.  Hope she is still there.
 
Honor system.  Mexico is only 100 feet or so but you are breaking the law if you cross the river at this point.

It's about 60 miles to the nearest legal border crossing.  One of the park rangers told me she collects the money.  Could be.  I didn't see anyone.

 :BEER:
Matt
« Last Edit: March 09, 2015, 04:23:17 PM by dilligaf »

eric2186

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Re: Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2015, 04:02:42 PM »
Beautiful pictures. Hoping to visit that corner of the country myself next year.

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Re: Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2015, 04:04:58 PM »
nice trip Mike, I see you took the Cali and not the Griso   :bike
John L 
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Re: Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2015, 04:04:58 PM »

Offline Mike Harper

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Re: Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2015, 04:11:22 PM »
Does the bar still have the beer drinking Goat??

dilligaf

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Re: Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2015, 04:25:55 PM »
What bar?   :BEER:
Matt

oldbike54

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Re: Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2015, 04:35:24 PM »
 Viva Terlingua ! 30 years since visiting that area , great place to ride and find solitude .

  Dusty

Offline mjptexas

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Re: Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2015, 04:35:53 PM »
I have ben to Big Bend on several occasions and you pictures brought back some memories.  You didn't mention the Cosmic Cowgirl on the west side of the park.  Hope she is still there...
 
Matt

Didn't see the Cosmic Cowgirl, but we had a pretty full two days.  I'll look for it when I go back.
Mike

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Offline mjptexas

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Re: Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2015, 04:37:50 PM »
nice trip Mike, I see you took the Cali and not the Griso   :bike

I was looking for the comfort and bag space.  The Cali didn't let me down in either category.  Electronic cruise control is a godsend on those long stretches of road in West Texas.
Mike

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Re: Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2015, 04:40:10 PM »
ooh yeah.....
John L 
When life gets you down remember it's one down and the rest are up.  (1-N-23456)

Offline mjptexas

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Re: Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2015, 04:41:32 PM »
Does the bar still have the beer drinking Goat??

You may find this hard to believe but I never made it into the bar.  We'd buy our beer by the six-pack and drink it on the 'front porch' and talk with the locals.  Ate every night at the Starlight Theater.  Great food.
Mike

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Offline mjptexas

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Re: Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2015, 04:43:11 PM »
Viva Terlingua ! 30 years since visiting that area , great place to ride and find solitude .

  Dusty

Dusty, that is so true.  Pretty laid back and down to earth people too.
Mike

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Offline Mike Harper

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Re: Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2015, 04:44:12 PM »
When I was there several years ago there was only a very few buildings and the bar had a pen next to it with a big Goat.  The main attraction was to buy the Goat a beer and watch him drink it.

When you held out the beer bottle he would slide the beer bottle into his mouth and tip his head up and drain it non stop. He drank quite a few while we were there.  

I don't remember  what year that was except that it was a long time ago and I was ready for a beer myself after 40 odd miles of 35 and 45 mph speed limits thru the desert that was heavily patrolled by Park Rangers.






Online Travlr

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Re: Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2015, 04:57:56 PM »
I see a couple of Californias on the ride.  V11 and 1400.
Care to comment on the differences?

Mike
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Offline Lannis

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Re: Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2015, 05:03:12 PM »
Thanks for that!   Looks like a pretty corner of the country (literally!)

Lannis
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Offline rocker59

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Re: Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park
« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2015, 05:17:20 PM »
RIDE REPORT!  Yay!   ;-T

I'd sure like to get down to Terlingua and Marfa, sometime...

 :bike
Michael T.
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oldbike54

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Re: Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park
« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2015, 05:28:19 PM »
RIDE REPORT!  Yay!   ;-T

I'd sure like to get down to Terlingua and Marfa, sometime...

 :bike

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Offline Cross-tie Walker

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Re: Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park
« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2015, 05:36:02 PM »
Great pics and ride synopsis Mike. Thanks for posting!
Kevin in Seattle
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dilligaf

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Re: Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park
« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2015, 05:46:53 PM »
This book is a very good history of the people of the area.
http://www.amazon.com/The-River-Has-Never-Divided/dp/0292702833
 :BEER:
Matt

lucydad

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Re: Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park
« Reply #19 on: March 09, 2015, 05:51:55 PM »
MJP,

Wow, just spectacular trip and report.  The little scooter impresses me most.  Been to Big Bend and area twice.  First time was 1977 on a Gulf Oil field geology trip. The place is renown for geological diversity, outcrop exposures and of course the Rio Grand canyons.  Second time was around 1987 on a church singles camping trip where we floated the river and camped.  Its a hell of a long way from Houston, so I have never made it back.  Big Bend is a gem of a park.  Side note I had a friend from Midland, TX die of heat stroke April, 1988 while visiting with his family.  It is not an area to approach without some caution when the heat builds.

Fantastic pictures! 

Offline mjptexas

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Re: Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park
« Reply #20 on: March 09, 2015, 06:47:37 PM »
I see a couple of Californias on the ride.  V11 and 1400.
Care to comment on the differences?

Mike

I didn't swap rides with Josh so I can't comment from a riding perspective.  Josh was perfectly happy with the trip.  We ran a long stretch of hwy 90 at 90+ mph.  No issues with either Guzzi.
Mike

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Offline blackbuell

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Re: Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park
« Reply #21 on: March 09, 2015, 07:30:33 PM »
I've spent many summer months in the National Park doing research between 1999-2005. Few people visit the Park during the summer months, which is very cool in one respect--we had most of the Park to ourselves. However, even in May, it can be extremely hot, especially at the lower elevations down by the river; during one week the ambient temp reached 114 degrees F every day, and we, as biologists, worked in the heat because we were studying desert animals. Dry heat you say....try working in full sun when it is 114.

The place is very unique; quite spectacular in a rugged sort of way. I envy you guys, having visited the place during a good riding season. Now that I am semi-retired, I might have time to ride there during some time other than the summer months.

Your pics were excellent! They did a good job of capturing to rugged beauty of the Park. Nice work, ;-T

Jon
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Offline boxermoose

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Re: Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park
« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2015, 09:35:56 AM »
Sadly Kathy's Kosmic Kowgirl Kafe is no longer there

Offline Mike Harper

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Re: Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park
« Reply #23 on: March 10, 2015, 12:18:07 PM »
When I was there several years ago there was only a very few buildings and the bar had a pen next to it with a big Goat.  The main attraction was to buy the Goat a beer and watch him drink it.

When you held out the beer bottle he would slide the beer bottle into his mouth and tip his head up and drain it non stop. He drank quite a few while we were there.  

I don't remember  what year that was except that it was a long time ago and I was ready for a beer myself after 40 odd miles of 35 and 45 mph speed limits thru the desert that was heavily patrolled by Park Rangers




Here is the story on the goat

http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/1281

dilligaf

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Re: Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park
« Reply #24 on: March 10, 2015, 03:27:10 PM »
Sadly Kathy's Kosmic Kowgirl Kafe is no longer there

She will be missed.  Wasn't Kathy from Canada?  :BEER:
Matt

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Re: Spring Ride to Big Bend National Park
« Reply #25 on: March 10, 2015, 07:23:01 PM »
Thanks for the report..  ;-T
Chuck in (Elwood) Indiana/sometimes SoCal

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