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Big Bend - April 26, 2002

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Our annual pilgrimage from Dallas/Fort Worth to the Big Bend region of Texas. We left DFW at 8:00am on Friday, April 26, 2002. From southwest Fort Worth to the Gage Hotel in Marathon took about 10 hours of riding. We had a mix of weather, some rain and fog, and higher temperatures as we went west and south. We had a great dinner at the Gage on Friday night and all turned in early for the expected long ride the next day.


On Saturday morning we headed for the Big Bend National Park, a great ride on some high-speed sweepers through the hills and valleys. We stopped briefly in Terlingua, rode past Study Butte, and headed straight for Lajitas and the River Road. This year we did not do either the Basin or Costolon (Santa Elena Canyon) in the park because we had so much ground to cover that day. We did not stop in Lajitas, but headed on to the start of FM170, the famed River Road. Your experience as a rider/motorcyclist/biker/whatever in this part of the country is not complete unless you have ridden the River Road! A very intense experience with breathtaking views, soaring grades, blind turns, debris on the road, you name it. A LOT of fun. We ran into several BMW riders at one of the scenic overlooks - they all had big grins on their faces too.


That day (Saturday) was a long day. We finished the River Road and cruised into Presidio for a rest/gas stop and didn't miss a beat before heading for Fort Davis for lunch. A great cheeseburger and chocolate malt lunch was just what we needed for the long ride yet to come that day. After lunch in Fort Davis, we headed up to the Davis Mountains and the McDonald Observatory. The cool breezes at 6500 feet were a welcome relief after so many hours on the road. We then took the rest of TX 118 through some great hills and high-speed sweepers up to Kent at the intersection of 118 and I-10. From there we ran the interstate to Pecos, Texas, where Gary bid us a fond farewell and headed back to Weatherford. Joe had been having some problems with his Valkyrie, but bravely decided to press on. He spent some time riding Glen's K1200LT and Mike's new GoldWing - much better than taking a test ride at a dealer. I think he was leaning towards buying an LT, but we shall see...


We then took the most boring road possible all the way up to Carlsbad, New Mexico to stay Saturday night. If you take a look at a map, draw a line from Marathon to Terlingua, then to Lajitas, on to Presidio, then Fort Davis, on to Pecos, then finally to Carlsbad. A whole lotta miles of mostly superb riding.


On Sunday morning we got up early, leaving Carlsbad for Cloudcroft (lunch), Sunspot, Almagordo (pistachio ice cream), and finally to Ruidoso, arriving about 5:00pm. We had a great dinner at the Cattle Baron in Ruidoso, again hitting the sack early because we planned to ride all the way to DFW the next day. Leaving Ruidoso early Monday morning the temperature in the mountains was a brisk 36 degrees (love those heated grips!) and as we headed down into the desert and east the temperatures climbed all day. By time I got home 11 hours later, it was about 95 or so in Dallas.


All together, we rode about 1900 miles in four long, but great days. With the exception of Joe's Valk using some oil and getting less than 30mpg, we had no mechanical problems. As usual, I ate too much, spent too much time in the saddle, got dehydrated, have sore neck and back muscles, but really enjoyed myself. Now I'm back on my diet - till the next trip, anyway...


Pictures at http://www.pbase.com/bill750/big_bend_april_2002



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Yeeha! Stephen


I know those miles and I've made them last at least a day or two longer than you did. One of these days I'll be able to keep up with you guys and then maybe I'll ask for an invite along. I really like the Ft Davis area and think I even posted so on your last Big Bend report! .....Ruidoso to DFW in one long shot...Wahoo!!!!


Some really great photos too. Really love the kind of shots like "Sunrise in Carlsbad"

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Hmmm... I think that pretty much sums it up... Some random thoughts...


- Big Bend area is just "this side" of the end of the world

- 118 north of Fort Davis is a fine, fine road even with a wicked crosswind

- road to Sunspot is another fine, fine road

- unplanned bird sacrifice -- high rate of speed ensures minimal suffering for the bird and maximum pucker for the rider

- much cooler in the mountains -- elevation is a good thing

- looks like they farm dirt in west Texas

- gotta luv a group that is ready to ride at 8am central time even when we are in a mountain time zone

- wanna feel bad about your food choices? bring a cardiologist on the ride... i showed tremendous restraint and limited myself to one ladle of cream gravy on my chicken fried steak...



Dallas, TX

Charter Member - Pie Town Crew

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