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Discussion Starter #1
Tomorrow, I head out on a bucket-list ride. I'm taking the 'liner as I'm just starting to break in the SVTC and it would need it's 600-mile service out on the road. Also, I need to get it dialed in. I'm having some Kury longhorn offset mounts powder-coated in satin black right now. Got the Trident dually's to go with 'em. Also need to get the Yammie heel and toe shifter set on.

Anyhow, I promised the 'liner long ago that it would see Biggus Bendus, and so it will. Out to Alpine on Day 1. Day two: Alpine to Marathon, down through the National Park to Terlingua, then on to Presidio through the state park on the famous river road, then up to Marfa for the night. Should be spectacular sight-seeing and relatively mild temps, with highs 88-90 in the desert. Alpine and Marfa will be 60 or so for lows, 80 or so for highs.

Will take a few pics and post 'em up next week.

I do have a concern...over the past 10 years, I have tried to avoid riding in the rain for the most part--probably gonna hit quite a stretch of it from Ft. Stockton to Alpine tomorrow. Time to bite the bullet and get good and wet, I reckon. Wish me luck!
 

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you either spend the $300 and suit up and try to stay dry but get soaked with sweat inside the rain gear anyway
or your ride in the rain and get soaked to your undies, and dry off in 15 minutes at 60mph when it stops

as long as its not cold and your body temp does not drop, its all good either way
 

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I agree with Deeks - the worst part about riding in the rain is the bike gets all dirty. A good rainsuit keeps me dry and it's breathable so sweating ins't a big issue. Got me a Frogg Togg suit for under $100 Canadian, so you don't have to spend a fortune although I'm sure there are better ones out there.
 

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Super Moderator "Loose Nut"
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Have fun and post some pictures. Be careful.
 

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Envy. I'm eaten up with envy. Hope you have a great trip and the weather treats you kindly. It's beautiful country.

Looking forward to hearing about the trip, the weather, the whole thing. Have fun. Be safe.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Well, it was AWESOME! Will post more pics in a couple of days, but here are a few.

This one is a wall cloud I rode on the edge of for quite a while between Ft. Stockton and Alpine. I skirted severe storms to the right and to the left. Highway 67 seemed to turn me in the right direction just in the Knick of time more than once. Barely got wet.

https://www.amazon.com/photos/shared/KTqQy7AORNOHvsJvTqrDLQ.q1no6KXsH_hh2oPT_ex4io


This one is of the Chisos Mountains, with Emory Peak looming in the middle. Big Bend has seen pretty good rain recently. Very unusual. The desert was green as Ireland.


https://www.amazon.com/photos/shared/vtVpvg1uTjGNLgRWwMPfGg.hl887a-Lsd4rK0FCybIcQw

About to descend at a steep grade from the top of a canyon back into the Rio Grande valley on the “river road”—highway 170 through Big Bend Ranch State Park. There was dirt and mud at low points from the recent rains; it was a wee bit harrowing in places.

https://www.amazon.com/photos/shared/HP9ZpukoQ-WjVU98IT752Q.orSaUuwQCqY2g8oc2YWoY4
 

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Super Moderator "Loose Nut"
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Great pictures and glad you had a safe journey. But we do need more pictures and details.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
https://www.amazon.com/photos/shared/iP6JKpFIRpmfnhOTaQtWXA.342Pw9riB3kH9mWsgZB4eD?sort=sortOldestToNewest

So I shared out an Amazon Photos album of the trip. The pictures pretty much tell the story, but I'll tack on a few details below.

Rolled out for Alpine from Belton about 9:30 in the morning--a little later than I'd intended. I spent most of the day on highway 190. I start out from limestone and live oak country, quickly get into the hill country, then hit an extended plain of scrub cedar and mesquite. There's a dead space east of El Dorado that's just flat and ugly and you wonder how anybody could live there--not many seem to. Past El Dorado, nearing Iraan, you realize you've been on a mesa and you drop down into the desert valley. About the time you hit Iraan, you know you've passed into West Texas. All the way to Ft. Stockton, throughout the day, I thought the NOAA had to be wrong about storms in the Alpine area. No sign of any sort of rain.
But as I left Ft. Stockton behind, I could see a dark blue wall and lightning, and oncoming cars all with their lights on. 10 miles more, and as I approached the 67 exit off of I-10, I was getting close to some big weather. I took the wall cloud photo about 15 miles down 67, just after I felt I could safely stop. I could still feel a pretty intense downdraft and some big raindrops from the storm. I had ridden on the edge of it for a while. The temperature had dropped about 25 degrees in an instant. Skirted more thunderstorms all the way into Alpine. You can see from the radar screenshot that 67 seemed to sneak through the surrounding storms. That's how it was. I was lucky, for sure!

I arrived at the the Maverick Inn about 5:30. It's on the eastern side of Alpine, just across the street from Sul Ross State U. Guy in the room next to me was visiting from Scandinavia--thick accent, tattoo-ed, introduced himself as Ralph. He had rented a Dodge Ram truck and had been exploring for a little over a week. Happened to see Ralph little later, a few blocks down at Harry's Tinaja, which is a really cool little beer joint. Bought Ralph and some others a beer. Beer was bought for me. Harry's is obviously that kinda place. No pictures of it...sorry about that. It's got a lot of character.

Thursday's weather shaped up to be *perfect*. The bike was still wet from the overnight rain, and it was dirty from the day before, so I cleaned it up a little. The motel had set out a couple rags in the room with a little note that they could be used to clean your boots and/or your bike. I thought that was nice touch. The Maverick Inn is a cool little place--has a 1950s, route 66 sort of vibe. The bathrooms at the Maverick Inn, however, are engineered for people who are...vertically un-gifted. Not easy to get around in there. Still, a place I'd definitely recommend. Like Harry's, it has character. Alpine itself does, actually.

I certainly noticed that the sun rises quite a bit later so far out West. The sky was just starting to light up as I took a walk around the very hilly Sul Ross campus to get some exercise. I liked the campus quite a bit, but you definitely get the feeling the school could use a little new momentum. There weren't very many kids hustling to get to class at 8 am. It was mostly me and a grounds guy roaming around looking to pick up trash.

Down the hill, back at the motel, a little after nine, I got the bags strapped down and headed into the sun, east on 67, over to Marathon. Passed by the Gage Hotel and got gas on the western edge of town. The gas station had a world map on a wall inside, with a sign to ask for a colored pin to place on the map--stick it where you came from. Lots of pins from Europe! A surprising number from certain areas in southern Africa, as well. Cool idea, and neat to see that people from all over the world had traveled to the area.

With a full tank, I knew I should be good all the way to Terlingua, especially as the speed limit through Big Bend is 45 (which I would mostly respect). I took 385 south out of Marathon and headed straight down to Big Bend National Park.

I stopped and took a photo of the 'liner at the entrance sign. People seem to do that. There's a station a couple of miles in--$25 to enter, whether you're there for two hours or seven days. Fair enough! There is a small stretch of rough road about three miles further in, then the rest of the way is well-maintained. You can see the Chisos from quite a distance. I think it's about 25 miles in to the Panther Junction visitor center, and by the time you get there, you are near the base of the Chisos.

Those mountains are absolutely spectacular! ...and as I said in my initial post above, right now, they're green as Ireland. The way the Chisos peaks gather together in the center of the park--it's almost like a much more grand, real-life Oz. Took photos of Northern, Western, and Southwestern views, as the main road unfolds around them toward Terlingua. It really is a magical place.

I stopped in Terlingua to gas up and get lunch. Ate at the Chili Pepper cafe. Nearly full up just past one in the pm--I sat at the only open table inside. Had some pretty darn good beef enchiladas and a Carta Blanca. Really hit the spot.

Headed for Presidio on highway 170, the "River Road," which skirts the Rio Grande all the way to Presidio. You rise to the top of canyon walls and then dive into the valley repeatedly. Very beautiful, majestic, but harsh country. There were several places where you rise quickly and then descend on a curve, with the road disappearing twenty feet in front of you. At low points, there was often standing water, mud, or dust. I'd guess the average speed on the River Road is about 35-40 mph. Due to the conditions, I didn't push it much.

I hit Presidio just past 3 in the afternoon. Stopped at a Valero to gas up. You could see Ojinaga beyond the Rio Grande, just across the border. Pretty busy little border town. Lotta palm trees lining the main roads. Presidio is a little bit nicer and more lively than I had expected--at least that was my impression from a *very* brief stay.

I headed out of Presidio (2900 ft.) toward Marfa (4800 ft) on highway 67. You wind upward pretty quickly through hills and mountains onto a plain which rises more slowly. Right now, there is green grass in the desert, every direction, horizon to horizon. Got to the Paisano about 4:30. Really nice joint. It reminded me a little--eerily--of the Overlook hotel from the Shining.

Room 256 was probably the nicest hotel room I've ever stayed in. Old, but very clean and VERY well-maintained. Had a tiny balcony which looked down over the courtyard below. I rested a while, then showered up and went down to the restaurant. Jett's Grill. Ordered a "classic" Old Fashioned, which was excellent, and had the chicken-and-cheese-stuffed portobello mushroom with avacado (sprinkled with a little feta cheese), on top of a bed of spinach. This was the best meal I've had in a long time.

Woke up very early to head out to Buns and Roses (cute, eh?), a little cafe on the western outskirts of town which is supposedly well-known for its juevos rancheros. Still dark out when I got there about 7:30 (they supposedly open at 7). "Closed" sign taped to the window. Bummer. Headed back to the Paisano and had a large but pretty average breakfast burrito. FYI, the hot sauce--the red--AIN'T hot.

Strapped my bags to the bike about 8:15 and fired up the 'liner. One thing I did notice, both mornings--both in Alpine and then in Marfa (maybe it was the altitude and/or the chilly mornings)--I did hear a slightly unnerving "clacking" sound at idle upon first firing it up. But I tell you, this bike ran like a champ throughout. It has NEVER once let me down in 10 years, and this trip was no different. It felt good to take the biggest bike trip I've ever taken as a kind of farewell to it. The 'liner will still be around, but it's not #1 any more. For me, this was the ideal way to mark that milestone.

Stops on the way back, in order: Alpine, Ft. Stockton, Iraan, El Dorado, Brady, Lampasas. Back to "civilization" in Central Texas, where it's hotter and drier than the West Texas desert. ...and you really notice when you get back...wow, so many PEOPLE around here!

So there you go...it was a fantastic trip. I highly recommend riding the Big Bend area if you can get out there. The highways are well-maintained. The country is harsh and beautiful, and vast. The mountains are spectacular! Both Alpine and Marfa make for great bases, to end the day and to start it. I'll be thinking about this adventure for months, and it won't be something I will forget. Looking forward to doing it again!
 

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Super Moderator "Loose Nut"
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Excellent write up. Definitely sounds like a bucket list ride. Glad you made it home safe and sound.
 

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So I shared out an Amazon Photos album of the trip. The pictures pretty much tell the story, but I'll tack on a few details below.
What a great trip! Excellent photos, too. Thanks! You're a good travel journalist. Also like the way you travel. Small bag strapped onto a good lookin' road bike.
 
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