Friday, April 13, 2012
Nice trip to the Terlingua/Big Bend area....
Well now as the weather warms up and the winds slow down a bit, my traveling juices start flowing.
Nine days ago, friends Jon B and Paul C headed on the bikes down the old highway with breakfast at you know where...yep, Arrey Cafe, then the old highway south until we hit state highway 375 or what is known as the Transmountain route. Effectively doing a nice bypass of the main area of El Paso.
Unfortunately as I travel that way through Fort Bliss, I have been watching the enormous buildup of equipment and what appears to be a hundred or more huge dorm buildings...I won't go into my fears on here but there is something very ominous about this enormous outpouring of money and energy when we are actually supposed to be downsizing the military and winding down a couple wars....go figure...I did hear a guy from the War College being interviewed about where the next US war will be. He was asked whether Iran or Korea and he volunteered: Mexico! Your guess is as good as mine though. We only know there WILL be one.
So, off east on I-10 til we hit Van Horn, TX and the delightful KOA there. They gave us a good deal on tent space and have their own little restaurant right in the campground....nice folks and the nice German lady half of the owner couple graciously stored our big bag of bratwurst in her freezer so they would make it to Doug C's camp on the Terlingua Ranch properties in good shape.
We spent a hour or two at Doug's and then on to my favorite Big Bend National Park campground, Cottonwood in the Castolon area....for a night. We needed to go in to Doug's on the next night for the grilling of the brats and get together and so we explored along the way. We stopped at each sign and pullout and took a side trip or two and then on to Terlingua Ranch and party time...
The folks who showed up were Paul and Voni Glaves of BMW fame...Paul, a retired city planner writes the Bench Wrenching column for the monthly magazine of the BMW Motorcycle Owners Association....and Voni, a retired school teacher and recipient this year of the Million Mile Award by the MOA usually rides....a lot.
A nice neighbor, Jim Nays, showed up on a little thumper and Ara Gureghian and Spirit the dog showed up. Ara is well known also amongst the BMW crowd, the sidecar crowd and those who follow his blog "The Oasis of my Soul", in which he writes his personal journal and displays thousands of his beautiful photos. Ara showed up in his Honda Element since he and Paul had his sidecar rig apart for repairs....
Apparently Ara is also a traveling chef and will cook for you or your friends for some recompense....all on his site.
Great evening with Voni's homemade salsa for dipping the chips, grilled brats and the Key Lime Pie Ara made with Voni's limes brought back from Key West. Wow...heaven on earth...
We spent another night or two at Cottonwood and then rode to Rio Grande Village with a lunch stop up at the Chiso's Mountain Lodge....pretty good eats and the view was stunning.
We camped another couple of nights at Rio Grande Village campground and the first day took a little jaunt out to the Boquillas del Carmen area and back.
We had trouble getting much of the story about the re-opening of the border so there could be traffic between the US and Mexico at Boquillas del Carmen so we parked the bikes at the entry to the old crossing road and took a hike to see what progress has been made if any. To our amazed eyes there stood a brand spanking new customs house and gate compound completely done and waiting for the way to be granted.
Earlier as we stopped at the Boquillas Overlook to see the sights and look at the highly illegal handcrafts and minerals laid out there waiting for purchasers, Jon and I each made a personal contribution to the people of Boquillas del Carmen. We walked to the other end of the turnout and when we turned around, lo and behold there was a gent from Mexico and his horse....highly illegal you understand, after all there IS a border....well, a river actually, with not very much water in it since most of the water is dammed up in New Mexico. But I digress.....after a chat with him in his perfect English, we found that the Mexican side also has built a nice customs and gate house and that mostly the wait is until after the Mexican elections since somehow that has an affect on it.
So, to make a long story even longer......it looks like maybe, just maybe, by spending a few million dollars on what used to be a sleepy little river crossing that only awaited you to holler across for the boat guy, will now be a highly effective station for the Homeland Security agents to check your passport and grill you as to what you were doing over in a little town of about a dozen buildings that has a couple restaurants and a bar or two and the other half of a pretty damn beautiful National Park. Oh yeah, and there will have to be some housing in the park somewhere for these agents to bunk in. The kind of housing we had in my parky days will guarantee to give us a few highly irritable and cranky agents to guard us from an incursion of rabid terrorists. That will be good....
Back to Terlingua to help Doug move his Transalp out to the "lodge at Mount Crow" for the summer and dinner at the Starlight Theater in old Terlingua. Excellent food, nice folks and good old timey music on the "porch" there....
We had earlier made a reservation for a campsite along the river in Lajitas canyon so we camped there our last night and it was delightful.
All and all, good trip...some rain and wind but the Tent Cot worked wonderfully for me and I was able to sort out my gear and camp for my summer travels....and the company was great...three olde phartz traveling together and enjoying life....
Happy trails to you...get out and ride!
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- Brian Many Wheels
- well, I am a 68 year old married man with a couple of sons and 4 grand kids and am currently wending my way around the planet in any way that I find interests me. I am a retired mechanic, certified motorcycle nut, ride a sidecar rig and practice living in the moment. I am a 30 year friend of Bill and Bob and have lived a life beyond my wildest dreams.