Not biting… but eating the dust!

Friday, December 29th, 2006

Again we are up early… it has become a must for a day long ride. The distances covered are not great but they are time consuming… many stops for many pictures, speed limits, and yes, better obey them around here as you stand out like a sore thumb on these mostly deserted roads! The days are still short, making in hard to get anything special on the stove… exchanging stories will take for ever!… you know that.

Mike, Byron and Felipe are ready, they are going to ride the West River road today as I understand challenging in some parts. I have not ridden it yet, this would have been my chance not to do it alone, but my swaybar, which makes my rig’s handling on the blacktop awesome has to go when riding off road, I have lost too much clearance and U turns sometime if not planned properly are a project… even with the winch!

And there they go… Anna , Spirit and I are left… remember? We finally are going to the Big Bend State Park… It is a 45 mile ride on the paved river road going East and right before Presidio turn north on the non paved entrance road, a gate, which you will get the combo when you buy your pass at the Station, and then it is back East again as the Park’s road is parallel to the river road. If one looks on the map you will see that it is as long as the road getting there, but there is no exit, you just have to backtrack the ride. I wanted to show Anna this river crossing with a Mexican Village a couple hundred feet away… the daily passage for the local workers at the Lajitas Resort… and yes… again… Mr Spirit is well taken care off… There goes the expression… “The lucky dog!”.

I let her lead… I have done these roads… taken many pictures… I give her the opportunity to stop whenever she wants to for her shots, not that there is nothing left to photograph! Like this rock formation that maybe I did not even have a chance to look at with their shapes and my vivid imagination. Right in the middle, the first formation, it looks to me as it is in the shape of a fist! Might be hard to see, but the first is definitely closed with even the thumb on the left… can you see it? Another stop and as we walk a bit into a trail I noticed a carved cactus… The letters “E’, “I” and “L” with a Cross… Obviously someone’s initials?… the Cross?… in memory maybe?

By now we are not quite riding together. We know where we are going… Anna’s fuel tank is small and even with her 1.25G fuel reserve jug she wants to push on to Presidio, fuel up and then do the Park… another extra 20 miles… maybe a stop, again, at the little local Mexican bakery just so my waist line can again increase by another inch… I have plenty of fuel as I always leave with about 7.5G… I would be happy to fill her tank… but she will not have it any other way… Do you see that little dot way way far… that’s Anna from about a mile away on one of the most picturesque pass on our way. Another stop at the tepees… this time we start munching on last night’s Pizza we brought… and a beautiful new BMW RT pulls a bit behind us… the rider walking toward goes “you are Ara… right?”… which I reply… “bad situation if someone right here, so far, recognizes me…”. Turns out to be “Lobby” from the AdvRider Forum… we met a couple years ago in Ouray!… and of course… chat… chat… chat… You

understand now why the going gets to be so slow! We have to go… Lobby is also going our way to Presidio, from there he is going to head north to Marfa and then East to Alpine where he is staying. Another couple, Texas Pete and his girl friend Leona have joined the caravan… a truck driver comedian actually from Florida… And now we see a KLR 650 fully loaded… yes, you guessed it, we pull over again… and, another familiar name, Big Ben 55, on also his way to Presidio to meet about 14 other riders on their way to Mexico… This turns out to be a well traveled road! You will never know what he looks like… helmet on, this is the best shot I got from him!!! Anna has taken off ahead… probably to stop on her leisure for more photos… okay, so we talk some more, I have to go I am thinking or we will never make it today! A few curves later the sky has darkened, it does seem to me as bad weather, not a rainy situation as it is just not that kind of skies… and gradually the wind picks up, stronger and stronger, no worries, not my first time around, I can work out my upper body muscles some more today… but it is picking up… more and more… I am thinking about my conversation with Kathy, not too long ago the wind overturned her Pop Up camper and the top was not even up! I am looking in my rear view mirror… everyone has slowed down, I can see right behind me Pete and Leona struggling, weaving, he is even putting his leg down at times trying to counter balance the motions. I stop, let Big Ben 55 and Lobby pass me, they did not have much of a choice but to go forward to Presidio, Pete and Leona decide to turn around… I would have to, but… no sign of Anna… A 200lb bike within this turmoil, sand is blowing everywhere, I am myself all over the road… and Spirit… he is just looking at me laying down well protected! I have to go on, she is an accomplished rider, but… moral obligation… There is work construction a bit further down, I stop again asking if they have seen a woman riding by… yes… little bike, little woman dressed in black… she has just gone by! And I am thinking as to why she has not stopped!… we are after all group riding… loose group, but still… Finally I catch up with her… pass and pull over signaling to stop… we are just a few miles now from Presidio, she is all over the road, a car behind her even has a hard time passing here… but no go… she is going! We finally make it to the first gas station… should I even ask why she did not stop?… turn around?… Did you guess?… Mother Nature’s call!!! And I will leave it at that! We take a very short brake, I never removed my helmet… we never went to the Bakery… we never saw anything… we started to head back, I let her lead again thinking that this time I will not loose sight of her… and regardless of the sand blowing it was a breeze! The wind now was behind us… it was actually nice… must have used half of the fuel coming back compared to going in! Getting closer and closer again to Big Bend things have cleared up a bit… not much… but enough to take this shot… it looks to me like a classic painting… the scenery just does not and will never cease to amaze me… And we decide to also stop again in Lajitas, we have to find the Mayor! No joke… read the sign…                                                                             the Mayor is a beer drinking goat… of course we cannot find the animal, we stop at the Town Hall asking, they think we are crazy… it must be the outsiders that call him the Mayor… I think he is doing a fine job… with a big, huge I should say belly… good looking Mayor! And sorry… we did not have any beer to give him, I was told he drinks mainly Lone Star long necks… If the weather clears up, well, I might just go and buy him one… where else am I going to see not just a beer drinking goat, but a beer drinking goat Mayor! You would like to see that… right??? The guys are back when we arrive, Mike has had a spill, he is fine, and they had a great time… If I am still here when things dry up, river road might be my next ride… well, one of my next ride. Now you are going to ask… what about the State Park?… Well… we never made it… we passed its entrance going north… going south… visibility about none… Still on my list!

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