Sunday, December 31, 2006

Going back home: day 1

Woke up to a dark and cold morning. My tent was covered in frost and it was all muddy so I tossed in the truck without even folding it.

Byron left and shortly after I left. My first dirt riding trip was over and it was time to go home. I was crashing for the night at my friend Tracy’s house again in Oklahoma City. After driving all day, upon my arrival, I found him wrenching on his car. Since it was New Year’s Eve we decided to hit downtown for dinner and check out the New Year’s Eve ball hoist ... not ball drop… and fireworks. It was a big celebration this year, 100th year of Oklahoma being a state.

Dinner at Crabtown in Oklahoma City

After driving 700+ miles a nice glass of wine hits the spot

Stuffed crab, one of my favorites

Happy New Year!!!!!

Fireworks were great!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Big Bend N.P. day 7

My last day at Big Bend. It was chilly and cloudy when I woke up. The clouds were hanging low.

Dave and Mike were planning on riding Pinto Canyon south of Marfa, kind of far of a ride for my little bike but it was my last day and I really wanted to go after they described the road, it seemed really amazing. Byron also wanted to go but he was going to tow his bike to Presidio, his tires weren’t that great for riding on pavement.

In Presidio, Byron unloaded his bike, we all gassed up and proceeded to Pinto Canyon Road. My plan was to just take my time and ride the road at my pace. The guys were going to ride to the top and I’d turn around and ride back down with them.

First water crossing

Second water crossing, this one gave me some trouble heading back

That is snow up there in the mountains

Byron and Mike

Byron and Dave

This was my favorite road of the whole week. Not only was it a very scenic road, but the changing conditions from small gravel, to large gravel, to dirt and rock were good practice for me. By the time I road back down I was riding with confidence and having a lot of fun, I even got in to 4th gear.

On the way back we stop for some beverages at the La Junta local store, really cute

We were starved at this point, it never got rally warm either, so we headed back to Presidio for a late lunch - early dinner at the El Patio. Food was good but I‘d imagine it had to be, we were just a few years from the Mexican border.

The ride back to Terlingua was a chilly one. Mike helped me load the bike in to the pick up truck so I was ready to leave bright and early. Later on Dave, Mike, Byron, Ara and myself walked over to the Big Bend restaurant for a late dinner and some more Texas pie.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Big Bend N.P. day 6

The outer portion of my sleeping was moist when I woke up this morning, at least it was warmer this morning. It was still raining off and on, but the forecast was calling for a clearing skies in the afternoon. Mike packed up and was ready to leave, Felipe was leaving this afternoon as well.

There was no riding in this mud today, it was too sticky, so I decided to take the truck in to Big Bend and go muddin' instead.

Snow in the mountains on the way to Santa Elena Canyon

I drove to the Santa Elena canyon, the mountains were covered in snow and it was pretty foggy at the higher elevations. Had I known that there was actual snow in the basin, enough that they had to plow the road this morning, I would have gone there instead, but I just figured all the snow fell way up high in the mountains.

Rio Grande

I walked around the river but it was kind of muddy, the rain was still falling on and off, it didn’t look like the sun was going to show it’s face today, and even if it did stop raining, any riding would have to be done on the pavement, the mud was just too slick and sticky.

On Old Maverick Road

Sticky mud

This truck is a rental :)

Old Maverick Road

The road was fun although the truck’s suspension was not as soft as I expected. I got back to the camp in the early afternoon just in time to catch a picture of this amazing rainbow.

Near Terlingua

Then I realized that the whole time I was bouncing with the truck on the dirt road, I had a 12 pack of Chicago’s best Goose Island Christmas Ale in the back of the bed. As I suspected, the bottles shook and spewed all over. Now that the beer has been compromised it had to be disposed, as in, we had a lot of beer to drink tonight.

There was a truck and trailer parked over by Ara’s camper. On my way from the bathroom, Ara (Beemer Chef) said that he was cooking dinner for two guys that just arrived today from Houston, Byron and I were also invited.

And then the two guy pulled up, Dave on a KTM Adventure 950 and Mike on a Triumph Tiger. The guy on the Tiger looked very familiar, so I asked him why he looked so familiar to me.

Apparently I ran in to him in Utah at an overlook just this fall, on my tour of the southwest. It’s a small world.

Ara (FL), Dave (TX), Byron (OH) and Mike (TX)

Ara made chicken, mixed vegetables and rice, all very good. Then Dave whipped out his big propane heater and we pretended it was a camp fire.

After dinner we all walked over to the Big Bend restaurant for some pie and I tried a slice of the Texas pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, it was delicious. I actually don’t like pie that much, but this pie was very yummy.

When I went to bed my outter portion of the sleeping bag was still a bit damp. Just as I was about to doze off , I heard light rain falling on my tent.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Big Bend N.P. day 5

The boys were riding out to Big Bend National Park and doing the gravel “River Road” which from all I’ve heard, seemed too advanced for me.

Mike, Felipe and Byron leaving camp

I rode with Ara (BeemerChef) and Spirit to check out Big Bend State Park 70 miles away near Presidio. This couple on a HD joined us, they were heading to Presidio as well. It started out a beautiful day, in the 70's and sunny, but it didn't stay that way for long.

Rio Grande near Lajitas

170 is one amazing road, even on a dirt bike

The wind started to pick up, this white stuff in the sky is not clouds, but sand

Towards Presidio the winds were blowing 40-50MPH, I got pushed off the road several times with my 250 lbs. bike. I can take a lot of wind, but today I was worried that I was going to ride straight off some cliff.

Debris on the road, not a lot of wind around this corner, otherwise I would not have been able to pull over

We got to Presidio and turned back around, the main road though the state park is dirt/gravel, too windy to ride in the dirt, too much dust in the air. The wind continued with us all the way back to the camp but not as bad as on the way to Presidio.

Ara and Spirit

We stopped at Lajitas at the famous Trading Post. It was kind of hard to find, tucked in off 170. That's where the mayor of Lajitas lives, he a beer drinking goat.

With the high winds today, all the tents collapsed, mine almost blew away

Felipe, Byron, Mike and myself went to the High Sierra Bar & Grill for dinner since Mike and I liked it there so much over there two days ago.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Big Bend N.P. day 4

What great day today, I think it hit 80 degrees. We started our day with a ride though a dry river bed just behind our camp site off Indian Head Road. It was first gear all the time and I saved the bike from falling like 20-30 times. It was very good practice for me maneuvering over rocks, sand and some mud.

Even found some mud in this dry place

Road block

After doing the dry river bed we rode Indian Head Road, that's where I had my little spill. This road is short but amazing, not all gravel like the roads in the park, and very scenic.

The sand made me crash, I was fine and a little smarter now

Indian Head Road

In the afternoon we rode out to the Big Bend basin

When we got back Byron from Ohio was already there, his tent was already set up

Myself, Mike, Byron, Felipe and Ara went out to Long Draw Pizza on Hwy 170 1 mile west of the Ghostown in Terlingua. The pizza was very good, we got three different ones.