April 4th - 5th
The tallest bridge in Texas - Pecos River Bridge.
Judge Roy Bean - Law West of the Pecos.
Santa Elena Canyon - Big Bend National Park, Texas.
Wild mule and horses atop a ridge on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive - Big Bend National Park, Texas.
Local Javelina's in the Rio Grande Village Campground.
Westward it was at 0730 from Comstock, Texas to Big Bend National Park. Stopping first at the Pecos River Bridge (273' in height and 1310' in length) it is the tallest bridge in Texas, and we knew from that point on it was going to be a slow trip. Why? Because the scenery was so beautiful!
We pulled off several places along the way for pics, and we even made a stop at Judge Roy Bean's Visitor Center. What a nice and well maintained center that was. Currently operated by the State of Texas, it had artifacts, museum pieces, short movie clips and even a cactus garden where we snapped away.
Continuing on westward to Sandstone, Texas we stopped for a short breakfast feast at a local mom and pop restaurant called Kountry Kitchen. Sissy opted for the French Toast with Sausage and John had the Spanish Omelet (boy was it hot)! Inside was a divorced real estate agent talking on the cell phone in a loud tone about his lack of luck the night before. Apparently, from what we gathered from his side of the conversation, every time he went to grab this women between the legs she got pissed and walked out. Oh well! Another gentleman (Mexican-American) was eating and minding his own business, and there were two other camper types stopping for breakfast. A woman camper (by herself) was headed in the same direction as us, so we struck up a conversation with her for a while before it was time to head west again.
Marathon, Texas was the farthest west we went before heading south into Big Bend National Park. Folks had told us to make sure we had plenty of fuel, so we stopped at one of the 2 fuel stations there and topped off both the bike and truck before heading south. Both gasoline and diesel were expensive, but they were even more expensive inside the park! We couldn't locate a propane dealer, so we had to make due on our 1 remaining tank that had already been used some.
The Ranger at the park gate told us the full-hookup campground was full, but there were still some remaining sites in the "roughing it" campground at Rio Grande Village. She was right - there were a few remaining sites, but we found one and it was great! John reminded Sissy that this was not really "roughing it" even though we didn't have water, electricity or a sewer. We had our own! And, we were not in a tent although that would've been nice also in this campground. The place was green, clean, level and comfortable temperature wise. Besides, we even had a generator that could recharge the batteries on the laptop and camera. What more could anyone want?
After unhooking the trailer and taking the bike out, we noticed the temperature was 78 degrees, and you know what that meant! Yup, it was scoot time. Before even leaving the campground, Sissy yelled STOP! It was a roadrunner off to the races toward a watering hole nearby. John immediately stopped the bike (as ordered) and Sissy snapped some pics of the little critter as he scooted across the road and into the brush. Then, it was time for a short ride to Rio Grande and Boquillas Canyon Overlooks of the Rio Grande River. It took us about 45 minutes just to get there (7 miles) because of the necessary stops for pics of the mountains, canyons and scenery.
Before our trip, we had never heard of this place, and if it weren't for Dennis and Denise (Dallas) we would've passed it on by. We're sure glad we came, and we will come back in the future on another trip some day. If you ever get to Texas, make sure Big Bend National Park is on your agenda, and plan to stay at least a week here. There is so much to see and do, it is unbelievable!
That afternoon another Harley rider (Jim from Minnesota) came by our campsite to say hello. He had been the owner of a garage, a wrecker service and 3 restaurants before retiring and almost full timing it. He and his wife (Kathy) had been on the road since October, and were returning back home (Minnesota) after the snow melt. That evening, we went to their campsite to check out the electric lift on the back of their motor home which carries their bike. Just think, John told Sissy they didn't make those things (he didn't want to spend the money for a huge motor home). After a few drinks, chatting some and adoring the star lit sky, it was time to head home and catch up on some winks.
The next morning we woke up to a beautiful day after the sun had already risen. It was time for an all day bike ride to visit some of the local places in the park: Panther Junction, Chisos Mountains, Santa Elena Junction, Ross Mountain Scenic Drive, Homer Wilson Ranch, Tuff Canyon, Castleton and the Santa Elena Canyon. We stopped by Jim and Kathy's on the way out of the campground and discovered they were also taking a ride on the bike. We all decided to ride together for the entire day.
The ride to Panther Junction was a little chilly, so we stopped there and put on some more clothes. Jim said "don't worry, it'll get hot before the day was out." And, he was right. Not too long after lunch (a short pit stop at small store in Castleton), John shed his 2nd t-shirt and Sissy shed her sweatshirt! Our ride took all day, and it was a total of 130 miles in the mountains, canyons and valleys of the park. It was absolutely gorgeous!
When we returned from our all day adventure on the bike, the temperature was about 80 degrees. A quick rinse for John in the shower and a change of clothes into shorts and tanks, we headed back to Jim and Kathy's for a few drinks and conversation before dinner. John had promised Kathy to look at her laptop and try to determine why she couldn't connect to the internet, and we both wanted to bring her a bottle of wine. There was nothing wrong with her computer and the wine was great!
Do you know what a Javelina is? Well, on our picnic table there was a sign indicating to watch out for these critters as they are dangerous to small animals and live in the park. Yup, that's right! While chatting with Jim and Kathy, a small family of these long haired, pot belly pig looking things came strolling by. Sissy snapped away while John chuckled at their looks and mannerisms. With a long, hot bath and a hair combing, these Javelina's may even make good pets.
Big Bend National Park was calling us to stay another day, but we had to leave the next morning and head north to Roswell to find some UFO's. We really wanted to stay for another day, especially since we met such nice people (Jim and Kathy), but we reminded ourselves of the purpose of this adventure: to see as many places as possible so we'll know where to come back to in the future. This will surely be one of them. Next time, maybe you can go with us or meet us there and experience and enjoy what we did.
We were up bright and early Saturday morning. John made Kathy a CD with all the pics we took while in Big Bend (over 200), and we gave it to her on our way out of the park. Both Jim and Kathy invited us to stop by their home in Minnesota on our way east, and we may just have to alter our plans and do just that. They are such nice folks!
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