My Big Bend Trip

Don and I left on a Tuesday morning about 8:00. There were numerous other people that were going on the same trip, but everybody was leaving at different times. Everybody would meet in the Terlingua, Study Butte area. The bunch that I ride with doesn’t follow many rules. You see, we’re all just a little independent. We all like to ride in our individual styles, but enjoy meeting and talking about the day’s events. Everybody just comes-and-goes as they please. So we set a general “gameplan” and meeting point, but if you show or don’t show that’s just fine. Bubba was bringing an RV and trailer full of bikes. Dan and Barry were both coming in the pick-up with a scooter in the back. There were an additional pick-up truck and trailer coming down with Bubba.

Row Boat Don and I had left on Tuesday because the forecast for Wednesday was looking bad (a great excuse to leave early). We headed west on 380 (a four-lane, rock-hauler infested speedway) to Bridgeport. Don introduced me to some new roads going out toward Strawn where we stopped for gas. He also taught me a new way to fuel. A way in which you could: visit at the pumps, go in to pay; and visit with the attendant, get a cold drink and maybe something to eat, and just visit some more. You see Don and I had just returned from our Saddlesore 1000 and BunBurner 1500 to Key West. When you’re on an Iron Butt ride there is no stopping to visit, you just ride. When you stop it’s to get fuel, preferably, pay-at-the-pump, then you ride some more.

When we left Strawn, we meandered down 16 (I recommend it) toward Brady to have some BBQ. This is one of those BBQ places where you walk by the pit and pick out your meat. This is definitely the way to do BBQ. Once we left there (fat and sassy), we rode west on 190.

Our stop for the night was going to be Fort Stockton. Don’s mother and sister both live in Fort Stockton. They have both welcomed me into their homes several times before. When we arrive they spend hours visiting about all aspects of life while I just listen. Don’s sister, Cindi, is well-traveled and can tell great stories about going places. I could spend hours listening to Cindi. Just one of her recent stories was about attending the iditarod in Alaska. Can you imagine! They took us to eat Mexican Food. It’s always great in Texas, but the closer to Mexico the better, and we’re getting closer.

Don's Oil LeakWe got up the next morning to discover the “bad” weather that was predicted had arrived. Although it was close to freezing, Don made me ride anyway? The cold wouldn’t have been so bad if it hadn’t been drizzling rain also (insanity). I’m a good sport, so I carry on. We rode out west to Balmorhea, and then headed south to Fort Davis. We stop in Fort Davis to warm our hands on the hot chocolate cup at the most quaint little soda shop and drug store. Don had been concerned about an oil leak that had developed on his BMW. We had hoped that it was something that he’d picked up along the way and was not coming from his scoot. We stopped in Alpine to further investigate after washing the bike, but it didn’t seem to be much of a problem at that time. We continued on south towards Study Butte. When we were only a few miles south of Alpine the clouds broke open and a beautiful day was upon us. After riding to Study Butte, getting a motel and then sitting down to a hamburger, Bubba and his gang drove up. They had left Sanger around 4:00 that morning. They laughed as they described the bad roads, icy conditions, and the wild drivers that they had survived on their trip down. We finished up the day by riding to Lajitas for refreshment that afternoon. Lajitas is a small tourist town that capitalizes on the outback lifestyle of Big Bend country. The waitress in the local tavern showed us a newspaper article where a new owner of the community had just purchased it for 4.25 million.His intention is to build it up as a “very exclusive” resort for people all over the world. I hate to see a desolate hide-away turn into an international destination, but progress continues.

The Crew at Boquillas CafeThe next morning while eating Breakfast, Dan and Barry drove up and found us at the café. Don and I decided to relocate to a motel further south in Study Butte and evade as much weather as possible, although the weather was bearable. As usual, the group ended up going different directions during the day. Don and I ended up in Boquillas, Mexico. It is our kind of place. From Big Bend State Park headquarters you drive east through a tunnel (we call it a time tunnel—there is no time in Boquillas) to the eastern edge of the Park. We parked our scoots in a state park parking lot and paid $2 for a round trip on a rowboat. From there, we took a burro to town ($3 round trip). There’s not much in town but a café/bar/gift shop, a bed and breakfast, and another bar. The atmosphere is great though. You can sit out on the porch and view the river and canyons. Upon returning to our motel, we told the others about our “find”. Everyone agreed they would try it out the next day. That evening, we enjoyed dinner in a sunken, dark, “cave-like” restaurant in Terlinqua. The furniture was made from tree trunks. A little different environment from your local Chili’s who also holds some Terlingua history.

The following day we took a few short excursions up the river road between Study Butte and Presidio, some of the best riding in Texas. After that, Don and I eased back over to Boquillas. Upon arriving, Bubba and his group were leaving. They had arrived several hours earlier and absorbed the benefits of Boquillas. Don and I hung around for about an hour before Dan and Barry showed up. We enjoyed the view and intoxicating conversation with the locals and a small college group from Sul Ross. As the evening fell, we eased over to the local Bed and Breakfast to register. We stayed in the bunk room (others were available). It seemed appropriate for our mode of travel. After checking in our local tour guide took us back up the river for a "hot springs" bath. This is their only means of personal wash. I was not impressed, but when in Rome?

Bunk House The evening brought very few surprises. Our B & B hostess advised us to use the lawn to go to the bathroom unless it was "serious", then we could go across the street to the outhouse. Other than that, it was a typical bunk house stay. I enjoyed it thoroughly as did everyone else. She fed us breakfast the next morning and we were off to the border. We met Bubba's group going back into the park as we went out. Dan and Barry went north from Study Butte toward Alpine, while Don and I chose the river road one more time. We ran across Dan and Barry in Marfa as they were catching a quick bite. We made another brief stop in Fort Davis, then on to Fort Stockton to spend another evening with Don's family. Barry and Dan stayed with sister Cindy, while Don and I stayed with mother Dorothy. They took us uptown to a feed trough for the local fare.

The next morning brought better weather yet, although none of it was excellent. We took the long way back home and made a brief stop in Christoval, Tx. This is the home of one of TV's "Survivors". I noticed a couple of signs wishing Colby good luck. Don had to nurse the BMW all the way home, because the oil leak had flared-up again. It seems the high speed affects it even more. We were home by late afternoon on a Sunday. A good ride with good folks.

The Man