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Thread: Big Bend Report

  1. #1
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    Default Big Bend Report

    I returned yesterday from a memorable journey to one of my favorite places, Big Bend. This was a trip planned rather quickly last month when I realized I had a week of vacation that would evaporate at year end unless I took it. Having not been to Big Bend in more than a year, I knew that this is where I wanted to spend the time. This was the only time frame that would work, and as my kids are in school I took the trip alone.

    I planned on doing a camping/hiking trip sans bike as my BMW was not yet ready and I am not all that crazy about the paved roads in that area with the exception of River Road, but having done that numerous times I decided to leave the bike and just stick with some hiking. I purchased a book on Big Bend trails and made tentative plans on which ones I wanted to do, leaving the option of an overnighter if I felt up to it.

    I was packing up Saturday and decided to give the shop that has the BMW, MPH Cycles, a call on the off chance it might be ready. As they had the bike for about 6 months and were perplexed at what the ailment was I was not hopeful. Much to my delighted surprise they said it was fixed and they were in the process of putting it back together and it would be ready later that day or Monday. I told them about my plans for the trip to Big Bend and that I would gladly delay my departure until Sunday if they could have the bike ready for me by the end of the day. They called back, said to come pick it up and off I went.

    This greatly changed the plans for the trip. No longer would I be hiking only, but could now explore the dirt roads that I had so often wanted to venture down but lacked the appropriate vehicle. I did not lack my lack of ANY experience in riding on dirt trails hinder my plans, though I was feeling a bit apprehensive about this, especially since I would be going alone.

    In any case I headed out Sunday morning for BBNP with all my camping gear and the Beemer loaded in the truck. I had to boogie as I wanted to get camp set up by nightfall. I set up camp in the Basin and had a dinner of Ramen noodles and coffee and looked forward to the next day's adventure.

    Monday morning I decided that I would start the trip with a hike, something exhilarating but not exhausting and settled on a relatively new trail called the Hot Springs Canyon Rim trail. About 9 miles round trip from the Rio Grande Village Store.

    Before heading out:





    The hike was beautiful, a climb of about 400 ft to the rim,



    and then down into the desert



    a bit to get around a deep stream, and then back up to the rim and along the canyon to Hot Springs. Due to the recent flooding in the park the spring was not really identifiable, but nonetheless it was a great hike.

    Tuesday I decided to go venture off road along Old Ore Road and then do the short hike to Ernst Tinaja, a small water hole in a canyon surrounded by beautiful Rocks.

    The road was in good condition for the most part


    and provided a good tutorial on dirt riding. There were some fairly steep hills, some very gnarly gravel/rock sections, a couple of slides to keep me alert, but a big confidence booster.

    The hike was short but offered a view of a spectacularly colorful geological wonderland.








    More later...
    =================
    10 R1200GS
    07 WR450F
    I'm on a bus on a psychodelic trip reading murder books and tryin' to stay hip.

  2. #2
    Vee4Rider's Avatar
    Vee4Rider is offline Have Bike, Will Travel. Wire Vee4Rider, Little Elm.
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    Very nice!! My favorite place in Texas, so far....

    BTW......What was wrong with the bike??
    Hank Meyers - KLR650, RC46
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  3. #3
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    Albie



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  4. #4
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    Nice shots Charles! I'm jealous, didn't get to Big Bend this year. Please, continue the report!

    And... a BMW? Had not heard about this one. Still got the XX? Or is this a replacement?
    Gary Stoops
    '01 CBR 929RE
    '06 FJR 1300A

  5. #5
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    Gary, it is Randy Bain's old Beemer. Not a replacement, an addition - still have the XX.

    Hank - the main problem was that the timing chain was out of adjustment by a tad which was causing it to run like crap. All good now.

    cont'd...
    After the ride up Old Ore Road and with my new found confidence in riding in the dirt I decided to head to the deserted Mariscal Mine down River Road. This road was much more challenging with several crossing of small dry streams with plenty of sand and a near vertical 3 foot drop down to one which would cause me problems on the way back.

    In one particularly deep and soft patch of sand I went down doing about 5 MPH- like falling in a sack of marshmallows. This gave me my first experience picking up that beast of a bike. At over 500 pounds, it was a task in all that sand, but I managed and got to do it again as I went over in the same place on the way back.

    The deserted mine is about 30 miles down River Road East. During the whole time getting out there, about 2.5 hours I only saw one other vehicle and that was fairly near the main road.

    The old mercury mine ruins are well preserved, one of the very few structures that the NPS did not demolish when the park was created.




    Of course I had to ignore the sign and go exploring:


    More pics can be found at: http://www1.snapfish.com/thumbnailsh...2/t_=142781422

    So, after walking around the mine for an hour or so it was getting late in the afternoon and I was running a bit low on water so it was time to head back.

    Things were fine until I reached that drop off I encountered on the way out. I went over trying to get up and could not get the bike uprighted because of the angle of the bike and the lack of any ability to get purchase due to the sand. I took a break in some shade provided by the gulley to catch my breath and took a sip of water out of the CamelBak I discovered that I was out of water. Not good.

    At this point I knew this was serious, that I had foolishly not brought enough water and that unless I got this bike up and over this embankment I was in the worst kind of trouble.

    I got a flat rock and started digging away the sand around where I would have to put my feet while picking up the bike and also on the other side of the bike where it would be when uprighted.

    It took a few trys, and a few breaks to catch my breath and adjust my sand clearing, but I got it up. Now it was pointed down stream, perpendicular to the road. Due to the softness of the sand, I could not just manhandle it to put it in the orientation I wanted so I decided to ride it down the stream, turn it around and get it where I wanted it. Bad idea. The sand in the streambed outside the area of the road crossing was even softer and the wheels sunk down several inches and any throttle action just dug it in deeper.

    I got off the bike and after doing some digging and by feathering the throttle while walking the bike I was able to get it moving and turned around.

    I got it back to the stream bed on the road and built a ramp by digging at the drop off and laying down a path of rocks, backed up about 30 feet and did my best impression of Evil K-Nevle and got that beast out of there.

    I made it down the road without any further hazards, headed for Rio Grande Village and sucked down a couple of large bottles of Gator Aide all while experiencing that high that comes from surviving a dangerous encounter.

    Lessons learned: Don't fight the terrain, adapt to it. Get more off road skills. CARRY MORE WATER. As soon as I made it back to camp I strapped a full 6L dromedary bag on to the back of the bike.

    Thursday I decided for a less adventurous day and stayed on the paved roads, heading down the beautiful Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive to Santa Elena Canyon and then out to Terillingua and out River Road as far as the 'moguls' (my name for the straight section of road with the rolling small rises) turned around and paid a visit to the old ghost town, had a late lunch and then hung out on the porch of the gift shop where I met Doug.

    Doug seems to be a fixture on the Terilingua Gift Shop porch, I suspect that you will find him there every afternoon drinking beer, catching up with the locals and telling lies. You can't miss him, about 55 though he looks about 65, leathery skin (and probably a leathery liver as well), cain, long gray beard, and about 140 lbs of pure Texas bull ****.

    As I sat on a bench cooling my heels he entertained me with stories of his sexual prowess and *** kicking ability. After asking me where I was from and learning I was from Houston he went on to tell me that he grew up in Pasadena, which was according to him, not a place to be in the 70's if you wanted to do drugs, of which he told me hid did plenty and then went on to tell me of his past and current use of various drugs in quite some detail.

    About this time he asks me, "By the way, what do you do for a living in Houston." To which I deadpanned, "I'm a DEA agent."

    He spewed beer all over me, dropped his cane, and I thought he was having a heart attack! His buddies were rolling, I told I was only kidding, though I still think he is sure I'm a cop!

    Anyway, headed back to camp for my final night in Big Bend until next time.
    =================
    10 R1200GS
    07 WR450F
    I'm on a bus on a psychodelic trip reading murder books and tryin' to stay hip.

  6. #6
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    oops
    =================
    10 R1200GS
    07 WR450F
    I'm on a bus on a psychodelic trip reading murder books and tryin' to stay hip.

  7. #7
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    Real nice adventure Charles!!!!
    Schreck

  8. #8
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    Default YEP

    Now that is vacation time well spent!

    Yo soy EL Vice' Presidente 2010...2011....going fishing..

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  9. #9
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    Very nice. There is nothing like a dangerous adventure. I don't think I would go solo out there. If you get hurt it might be a long time until you are found. I did some primitive camping out of the truck there a few years ago and really enjoyed it. Dual sporting would be ideal if I had a dual sport

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by CalamariKid View Post
    Gary, it is Randy Bain's old Beemer.
    I thought it looked familiar. Glad it's still getting good use!
    Gary Stoops
    '01 CBR 929RE
    '06 FJR 1300A

  11. #11
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    Charles, Charles, Charles -- still quite the adventurous one!

    Based on the time you ran out of gas at a Fall IBI, I would hazard a guess that even if someone came upon you trying to right your bike, you still wouldn't wave 'em down to seek help!!
    Tommy

  12. #12
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    great write up sounds like alot of fun I am envious...so naturally you suck
    Marc
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  13. #13
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    Very cool report Chaz, sounds like a great trip to be taken in pairs though!

  14. #14
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    We all knew he was going and I think he did send some of us his GPS cordinance... He's got his flare gun and Boy's Scout merit badges. Happy to hear you made it home safe son!
    Schreck

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harvey Mushman View Post
    Very nice. There is nothing like a dangerous adventure. I don't think I would go solo out there. If you get hurt it might be a long time until you are found. I did some primitive camping out of the truck there a few years ago and really enjoyed it. Dual sporting would be ideal if I had a dual sport
    Bah! Just stay away from the sand and you'll be fine..

  16. #16
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    Now thats a D/S trip if I ever saw one! Mkes me wanna by one now so I can go and do it!
    Truman BA Campbell
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  17. #17
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    gotta plan to ride there this coming year!
    Mase Molina
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  18. #18
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    Nice trip bud

    Carlos Muriel
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  19. #19
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    Wish I could have been there

  20. #20
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    Sweet! I did a trip out to Moab Utah this past weekend and those rock pictures look like that area. I was on the mountain bike though. Fun stuff in a cool part of the country!
    Pete

  21. #21
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    Exclamation trail riding alone...

    Glad your adventure ended up OK ,and no rattler stories either !.
    Scotty

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