Saturday, April 17, 2010
Big Bend Trip, Day 1
Last Summer, I was invited to attend the Big Dog Ride, a select group of Adventure Motorcycle Riders.... riding large bikes in the far reaches of the Colorado mountains. At that event, I met several men who had accomplished amazing things on motorcycles. There were guys that had circumnavigated the globe a couple of times and guys that had ridden from Alaska to the tip of South American and guys the had raced in the Baja 1000, etc. Stories were in abundance and I was in awe of the accomplishments. One of the stories that totally captivated me was a ride report about a trip to Copper Canyon, Mexico. I WAS IN!!!!!
Over the past 6 months, I studied maps and interviewed guys over lunch who had made the trip and I built a plan. Unfortunately, the Mexican Government can't control the drug trade and the gang activity, so after a couple of recent murders of American Citizens and my nephew who works for the FBI, telling me not to go.... Audra and I made the decision for me NOT TO GO to Mexico. So I went to plan "B".
Big Bend National Park
The planning took about a month. I wanted to make sure that I could experience both the new and the old. I wanted to explore new destinations and I wanted to revisit old memories.
Additionally, since I was tackling a 2,000+ mile trip, I needed to make sure the bike was "ship-shape" for the abuse that I would throw at it.
Sunday morning, April the 11th, I left for Amarillo and Palo Duro State Park, where I would spend my first night.
Look closely, but you can see Pike's Peak in my rear, view mirror.
As a part of my trip, I worked in some dirt riding. I found some county roads in southern Colorado that would prove to be fun riding and very remote. The dirt riding in Big Bend National Park was also excellent.
At the end of one of my dirt road adventures, I found this old, steel span bridge.
Never having viewed a good portion of the country in southern Colorado, I zig-zagged the road system and saw the sights, including a 20 mile segment of the Apache National Grasslands.
From the time I left the house, I was riding directly into a 15-30 mph headwind. That resistance did a number on my gas mileage and I was stuck just south of Branson, CO, with an empty tank. Fortunately, I found a very helpful Cowboy. (By the way, getting to Branson would have proven fruitless, as the little town does not have a gas pump!)
The gallon and a half out of the red plastic jug got me to Des Moines, NM. My tank holds about 5.65 gallons of fuel and I pumped in 5.5 gallons!
I arrive in Texas.
These storms passed over Palo Duro Canyon and Amarillo. Not only did they provide a beautiful Rainbow, but they also made for wonderful riding fragrances... the smell of rain in West Texas.
My plan was to spend the night in Palo Duro State Park in my tent, but I failed to adjust for an early closure on Sunday evening at 8pm. They are normally open until 10pm. Fortunate for me, I have a very good friend in Amarillo, Terry Davis, who kindly allowed me to throw a tent on his grass and share his home... including breakfast the next morning.