Posted by: Beemer Bob | March 1, 2011

‘Round the Bend – Feb., 2011


A new trip! I have not broken any bones since October, so it’s about damn time for an adventure (even though it may be a small one). This last winter has been too cold and now that spring is in the air, I’m glad to get back on the road. Readers of this blog still digging out of the snow – eat your heart out.

For this trip, I head out to the Texas Big Bend area. There is an official unofficial gathering of the Two Wheeled Texans (TWT) group that I am proud to participate with.

I headed out solo first thing in the morning and will meet up with Hap Hazard and Whiskey Smith in the old ghost town of Terlingua. We are sharing a cabin there and touring the mountains, canyons and deserts during the day and then return to Terlingua by evening to swap lies about our adventures of the day.

If you have never seen this part of the world, I’m not going to try and describe it at this point, but rather will let pictures do the talking.

Even though it is still in Texas and I’m located in Central Texas, it is a long haul to do in one day. Texas is a big nation. It’s about a 10+ hour monkey-butt sore ride, but hey, that’s part of the fun.

If you don’t have a life and want to follow my tracking, select the “Where’s Waldo” icon on the right side of the website (www.BeemerBob.com) and it will show you my current location and my path.

Trip begins in the morning. G’nite y’all

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‘Round the Bend – 2011 (Day 1)

I get an early start.

There was a light drizzle when I left, but according to the weather channel, all was clear to the west of me. So I changed my route slightly and headed due west before I started going southwest.

Light drizzle for a motorcycle is actually worse than a full rain. In a full rain, at least the oil and slime are washed off the road, but with a drizzle the roads are actually slicker. The is not a major deal, just one requiring extra care as you ride.

The drizzle last a few hours but then I was finally out of it and began heading southwest towards Big Bend.

The weather was great, the roads were clear and I was having fun heading down the road. Until ….

A state trouper wanted to have a conversation with me concerning my speed. He seemed to think that the speed limit signs applied to me too. Silly boy, doesn’t he know I’m Beemer Bob?

Eventually he does realize the error of his ways and tells me he is only going to give me a warning. As he enters my info into his computer, I step back and discreetly snap this picture.

I promise to slow down, he gives me some paper to add to the collection of warning tickets and I proceed with my journey. Why, you may ask “why do I seem to always get warning tickets and not regular tickets”. Because, I am Beemer Bob!

I kept my promise to slow down for at least an hour. West Texas is interesting but after several hours of seeing nothing but sage brush it gets old. As is normal for this part of the state, the wind gust can be severe almost blowing me over. I leaned forward over the tank trying to reduce my profile. For someone my size, maintaining a low profile is not easy.

As I get closer to the big bend area, the winds calmed making the remainder of the trip pleasant.

Nearing the bend, I came upon this interesting place. Got dirty weeds?

I stop for gas at the town on Marathon and as chance would have it, here comes Hap Hazard and our friend Whisky Smith. After fueling we head to the White Buffalo Bar at the famous Gage Hotel for a cool one.

Blues Brothers?

We cut through Big Bend National Park

I have ridden the green Appalachian Mountains. I have seen the majestic Rocky Mountains, but the rugged mountains in the desert of Big Bend have a beauty of their own.



We make it to our destination of Terlingua and get checked into our cabin. The place is called Easter Egg Valley because each of the cabins are painted different colors. We get the yellow cabin.

The day is done, the sun sets. G’nite Y’all

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‘Round the Bend – 2011 (Day 2)

Rider’s morning meet at Kathy’s Kosmic Kowgirl Kafe

Then about 50+ of my closest friends show up.

After the meet, we find other riders that want to go the same place. We want to go see Peguis Canyon, so we find others to join us on the venture. We agree to meet up at Lajitas later that morning.

We’s ready to go!

BTW: Lajitas is a small town (now a resort), where the duly elected mayor was a goat by the name of Clay Henry that loved to drink large quantities of Lone Star beer. Actually I think he would drink any kind of beer but it was considered sacrilege to offer clay anything but Lone Star – I mean, this is Texas after all. Where else but Texas would the citizens elect an alcoholic goat to be their mayor? More info at: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2227

So, on to Peguis Canyon we go!

So, where is Peguis Canyon you say?

OMG, are you crazy!!!!

Say it ain’t so. Let’s take a closer look. Surely you’re not going into …

Yep. Peguis Canyon is in Mexico. Not to worry, our riding jackets are bullet proof.

We cross the border without incident, get through the border town and head through the mountains to the canyon. The roads were well paved, curvy, twisty with magnificent views to enjoy. We arrive at the summit of the canyon for some photo opps.








Another interesting tidbit of info about this area is that it seems that in 1975, a UFO crash landed in this area (if you want more info on this, Ms. Google is your friend). We searched, but did not find any UFO remains. A small village we passed through on the return trip had, however, had a Dolly Parton sighting and had a few signs along the road attesting to this event.

We attempted to find a good place for lunch in the border town of Ojinaga, Mex. It was hectic so a few of us decided that the folks on the American side of the border in Presídio probably also knew how to make good Mexican food. So back across the border we go while humming “Born in the USA”.

We make out way back to Terlingua, find our little yeller cabin and rest for a bit. Now rested, we head to an interesting bar and grill called La Kiva. It’s an odd place (normal for the Terlingua area) that is part adobe and part cave.

Here is Hap Hazard, Wallace and Whiskey Smith at the entrance to the cave.

It’s time for some refreshment. Wallace may be a small bear, but he can put it away. Clay Henry ain’t got nothing on Wallace. Lajitas may have a beer drinking goat, but we have a beer drinking green Irish bear.

We then attend a TWT education event that evening on GPS usage (aka: where the f**k am I). After this event we get some food to go, some beer, a bottle wine and of course Whisky (for Whisky Smith) and sit at our table outside our yeller cabin, eat, drink, tell lies and admire the stars.

Star viewing in the Big Bend area is different than star viewing anywhere else I have ever been in my life and I would consider myself well traveled (thanks to the US Airforce and US Army). Giving that the McDonald Observatories are just down the road a piece, attest that this is star viewing country. If I told you why, I would be lying, but I think it has to do with being so remote there is little artificial surface lighting to interfere. You can see the milky way and more stars then you ever knew were in the sky. My iPhone does not have the ability to capture this beauty so the following picture was “borrowed” from the internet but was a picture taken in the Big Bend area.

End of day, the sun sets. G’Nite Y’all

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‘Round the Bend – 2011 (Day 3)

There is a forecast of extremely high winds tomorrow (Sunday), Gust of 65 mph are predicted which would make traveling on two wheels unsafe. Whisky Smith (still a young working man with a family of motorcycles to support, cannot risk being stuck in Big Bend for an extra day, so he heads back home this morning.

So it’s just Hap Hazard and I today and we decide to ride “Pinto Canyon”. This canyon is, at least, on this side of the border. The “Pinto Canyon Road” is classified as a class 2 road. Off road (off pavement) roads are classified into 4 categories. Class 1 being improved dirt, gravel, etc. passable by any motorcycle capable of off-pavement travel. Class 4 requires a death wish to attempt. So we are on the lower end of off-road adventures which is just fine with me.

To get to the beginning of the Pinto Canyon we must travel about 100 miles down Texas Highway 170. Hwy 170 is one of the most scenic routes in Texas as it follows the winds and curves thru the mountains on a path that parallels the Rio Grand River.

So, off we go. As we head down 170, we may have been going a tad faster then we outa. I happened to be in front, Hazard in the back. As I crest a hill, I see a police vehicle and I immediately roll off the throttle. Hap being in back, does not see what I see and continues to catch up with me. The LEO turns on his lights and turns around. We both pull over, Hap parks past me. The LEO stops, gets out and walks right past me to Hap’s bike; the conversation goes something like this.
Officer: “You were going a little fast there”
Hap Hazard: “But officer, I was the second bike”
Officer: “Yeah, but I clocked you going faster”
Hap Hazard: “But officer, I’m with Beemer Bob”
Officer: “Oh sorry to have bothered you. Be on your way sir, and have a nice day”

Well OK, the conversation didn’t go exactly like that, but after checking our license, insurance and safety inspections he did let us off with a warning and told us to slow down.

On the road again…

Heading along the route, we stop at a place known as Contrabando Village. This is an abandoned movie set right next to the Rio Grand used in movies such as ‘Streets of Laredo’ and ‘Rio Diablo’. As you walk though the area, you feel the need to be tote’n your six shooter watching for gun slingers.






The temperature has crept up to the low to mid 80’s even though it’s still February. Damn I love the desert!

As a matter of fact, these cacti plants were just tickled pink that winter is over.

We reach the beginning of the Pinto Canyon Road. Goodbye pavement.







We eventually find pavement at the other end of this road (yippie! I have survived and no part of me is broken!) We continue north to Marfa for a late lunch. We are now a long way from Terlingua and there is a banquet tonight as part of the TWT event, so we gas up and head back by way of hard top as a brisk pace (don’t want to be late for our dinner).

We arrive at the banquet location in the town of Study Butte (pronounced Stoodee). I don’t know why. Probably just because Texans talk funny.

At the site was this decked out sidecar.

This is rig belong to Ara and his sidekick Spirit (a pit bull). These two are famous in the world of motorcycling. They travel all over the place in their sidecar rig. They have no home other then this rig. They just travel. Some very interesting reading can be found at: http://theoasisofmysoul.com

We fill our bellies with good food, visit with friends and finally head back to our yellow submarine (err cabin), and call it a day.

End of day. The sun sets, G’nite Y’all

**********************************************************************

‘Round the Bend – 2011 (Day 3)

Day of the Wind!

At daybreak, the wind is calm. This is the time to make our get-a-way before the wind gods awake and begin their havoc. Hap Hazard packs up and heads to Ol’ San Anton. I, on the other hand, diddle around. I want to sit and finish a cup of coffee or two before I head out.

But I finally get my butt in gear and start to head home when a friend stops by. I seldom pass an opportunity to gab, so we visit for a while, but finally I’m on my way. The wind gods are awake now, but not feeling very mean just yet.

Time to go home. I drop the keys to our little yeller cabin off at the front office and head north. By time I make it to the next town (Alpine), about 85 miles up the road the winds are howling. It is hard enough with the wind blowing you from lane to lane (gust of 65 mph) but having to dodge uprooted sage bushes blowing across the road makes it even more challenging. This is not good. I decide to head back to Terlingua and stay another day and try to escape the next day. So I headed back to Terlingua, but the wind gods said NO! The winds were now too great to allow me to return to Terlingua. I did not want to stay in Alpine (boring), unless I had to. So I decided to head north towards Ft. Stockton to see if I could get north of the high winds. This seemed to have been a good choice because the further north I went the calmer the winds were. Not to say the winds were calm, they were still wicked, but at least manageable. I forged ahead about another 100 miles or so towards the hose and the winds became a nice manageable breeze. The temperatures crept up to the mid 90’s. It still February and it’s above 90! Damn I love the desert.

As I passed though the town of San Saba, I came upon an interesting place. I didn’t even know Russians ate tacos! Who woulda thought!

I make it home about 7pm. My butt is sore. But it was fun

************************************************************************

Epilog

This event is over, but not the memory. This was a great trip for a lot of reasons.

I’ve been on the injured players list for so long, I was seriously becoming depressed. Riding and my adventure/misadventure trips have become my therapy for issues I choose not to discuss. But because of my injuries, I was slipping back into depression. This trip to Big Bend was, just what the doctor ordered. I am back!

The trip was great, the rides were fantastic but the comradeship with fellow riders was awesome. I have been to Harley events – never again, ugg. My pipes were not loud enough, I don’t have any tattoos and I can’t consume THAT much beer. I have also attended BMW Rider events, much more to my liking, but still lacking. This unofficial brotherhood of Two Wheeled Texans (TWT) is a collection of motorcycle enthusiasts that just love to ride. It consists of every kind of rider from the largest of Harley bikes to the smallest of street legal dirt bikes. We just love to ride and share our stories. I am, by nature, somewhat reclusive and this is why many of my “adventures” are done solo. Unlike many, I am very comfortable with and sometime prefer my own company, but to be in the company of TWTers is very comforting. They are all great people and I know I could always count on any of them if I were to need help as any of them could count on me. Perhaps it is because good people are drawn to motorcycling. I don’t know, but I feel fortunate to be amongst this group of fine folks.

Motorcycling has also been the catalyst to a bonding with my brother (Hap Hazard). We did not dislike each other in our younger years, but we did not like each other. We simply tolerated the other’s existence for the obligatory family gathering every year or so, but that was about it. Now with us being in our mid 60’s, we have become each other’s best friend. Hap has gone from whom I had perceived to be a “better-than-me snob” to my best friend and Hap, after consuming large quantities of alcoholic beverages, would admit that I have gone from the family misfit to his best friend as well. Why did we wait until we are in our mid 60’s to make this realization, I don’t know. I do know that now that both of my parents have passed on, I still have a close tie with my family roots through my new best friend. I realize that this sounds odd, but this friendship was built though motorcycling.

Motorcycling and the related adventures(misadventures) has also improved my marriage. It may seem odd to say that my taking adventure trips would improve my marriage, but I believe it to me true. My sweet wife knows how much the therapy of my trips means to me, so she is very supportive. Because of her support, I want to do more for her. The more I do for her, the more she wants to do for me – and the cycle continues. Love is more than a feeling, it is an action verb.

Depressed – get a motorcycle. Estranged from a sibling – get a motorcycle.Want some close friends – get a motorcycle. Want to improve your relationship – get a motorcycle. Want to break your ankle in two places that will never fully heal (oops, never mind).

This trip was great. It lifted my spirits.

I AM BACK !!

Let the adventures continue.

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Responses

  1. thanks for sharing this ride. been following along on your adventures/misadventures since the Baja trip. I also have to say “thanks” for helping me attempt to cope with winter and all its’ blahs. the last four paragraphs of this RR pretty much say it all for a lot of us out here. cheers BeemerBob. hope to get down to the Lone Star state soon and meet Wallace and his riding buddies.

    • Hi there Dave. When are you and Mr. Happy planning to make another run to Baja? I’ve been upset with you folks lately for sending all that Canadian cold air down here, boy I’m glad that is over. Our winter was almost 3 weeks long this year Brrrrrrrrrrrr

      Come August when it stays over 100 degrees here, I may make a run to Canada to get a relief from the Texas heat.

      • Hi Bob,
        has been a psycho winter for sure. month #4. grrrrr….. BTW. blame it on western Canada. my crap in Ontario comes from your midwest. I’m sure they are nice people though. lol.
        Mr.Happy and I and my big brother, Timo, are planning on a Baja run next January. that is if Timo doesn’t spend too much on his daughters upcoming June wedding. if all else fails, I may just have to come and spend January in Tejas and ride with you folks.
        so glad to hear you are back! had a rough go of it the past months but you seem to have survived reasonably well.

  2. Bob,

    I definitely enjoy your stories of the road and camaraderie.
    Although I’m not 60 just yet. I have been riding in earnest for
    5 years and have racked up over 150K miles in that time. I’ve
    missed a lot. Now I make up for lost time when I can. Again,
    thanks for the stories.

    Jack

    • I know what you mean about maiking up for lost time. I had a mid-life crisis at age 60 when I saw a shinny Road King at a Harley shop and said to myself “hey that looks like fun” , took a MSF class and bought that Harley. I was right, it was fun. BTW: One can have a mid life crisis at 60 if you plan to live to be 120 – Bob

  3. Hi again Bob,
    just reread the entire RR. this RR even has a happier tone to it. we can tell you are back. Glad you and HapHazard have rediscovered your kinship. my brother and I grew up on dirtbikes and streetbikes. did a lot of enduro racing back in our teens and early 20’s which let us spend many hours together. Timo took a step away from bikes to do the family thing and I moved a few hours away but kept riding. went our own ways for almost 20 years. I to am a solitary rider most of the time but do like to ride with a few select friends when I can. known those characters since grade 7. done the rally thing and club thing but it just didn’t work for me. 2 years ago timo and his son Steven bought bikes. Did Baja with steven and had a blast. Steven is away serving with the Canadian army in a land far far away fighting the Taliban and we miss him immensely. thing is, timo and I have rediscovered our friendship and have been best buds for the past 2 years. I thank that damn KLR of his for helping with that. he is a Geocaching maniac and uses his bike all the time. I just follow along. the places we have been and the rides we have done the past 2 summers have been fantastic and I look forward to them more than he knows. motorcycling helped us growup together and now has brought us back together to share many more memories and adventures. and yes, my marriage is even better. my wife now understands my passion for motorcycling is at the same level as hers with horses. my riding life has been rejuvenated.
    cheers to you and HapHazard!

  4. Awesome story dad – keep it up!


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