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Paco Goes Round the Big Bend

March 2008

This is Paco's story of his unplanned trip to the Big Bend area near the end of March 2008:

Robert arrived late Friday evening. After greetings and salutations, we pop the cork and start discussing THE PLAN. Inebriated we decide to wing it.

Richard, that other piece of scooter trash, was supposed to hook up with us but the siren song of Hollywood beckoned. He got a gig as a co-director to some trashy movie. His fame will spread. Next will be the fleshpots of Bollywood, cavorting with dark skinned nubile nymphs. His loss.

Saturday morning, bikes loaded, we head west towards Big Bend National Park - the biggest one in the Federal system and the least visited.

Lion Warning

We arrive in Del Rio, Texas at 1:30 AM, tired and looking for a place to rest. They had a biker rally, fishing tournament, and rodeo all on the same weekend. Only two rooms available: one, smelling of curry and stale cigarette smoke, on the bad side of town for $130 + tax; the other with a single bed, no hot water, heat or air conditioning for $88 + tax. We move on. At 4 AM, we find a dusty patch next to some 18-wheelers. After our farting and snoring intruded on the rumble of the big rigs' engines, they cranked up and left...

Breakfast in Marathon, Texas at sunrise, in a cold outdoor café - chilled eggs and coffee. Then on to Big Bend. More pics and tall tales to follow.

Cool morning and day. High 60's and sunny. Perfect. Breakfast again at the Kosmic Kafe. Then on to Glenn Springs, Pine Canyon, parts of the River Road again, Black Gap and the Old Ore Road. More of the same. Class 1 and 2. Off River Road, we stop at the Mariscal mine. Quicksilver, discovered in 1900 is the reason for the existence of Terlinqua. In 1943, the price collapsed, taking along the economy of Terlinqua.

Robert pinched one off into one of the chimneys thinking that it was the latrine. I have pictures to prove it. What a face of agony! Must have been a Mexican Corn Log.

Black Gap road was absolutely the best. Parts are probably class 3. Very technical in spots. Only four-wheel drive vehicles with high clearance can attempt it. This was the site of my first drop. I stopped for pics of Robert coming down a rocky portion. When I mounted my bike, I fell off the other side. Cactus hurt. Later on, on an uphill right-hander, there was a slick rock 3 feet high, 6 feet long +/- I tried to use it as a berm, like you see the MX’ers do at the track. The bike lost traction and we slid down its face. Still in the saddle but in an awkward position. I had to get off to position the bike for a run up the boulders as that was now the only line available to me. I hate to backtrack, even though it would afford better traction, so I just muscle it up. After much dabbing off this or that foot I made it to the top, breathing hard.

On to the Ore Road. Maybe a class 2 in parts. Very loose stuff here and there. Jimmy Lewis taught me that the perfect Zen moment comes when you are flowing and thinking of other things. Well I was going down a slight incline when my parched lips were tasting the ardent kisses of my lady. In front was a rut or wash out. No worries. Lean the bike, easily clear the obstacle, then nothing but smooth sailing. Well I commit the cardinal sin of all motorcyclists - I look down! Softball size loose rock catches my eye, thereby my rear wheel, front tire skids right into the obstacle I was trying to avoid. Rut catches wheel, forward progress is abruptly interrupted, human becomes projectile. Simple physics, dumb rider.

ATGATT (ALL THE GEAR, ALL THE TIME) is my creed, but due to heat and seeking more comfort, I had attached my elbow guards loosely by the Velcro strips instead of slipping them on like a sock, then cinching them down securely. Well, the rest of the gear protected me in this run of the mill face plant. The elbow guard, though, rode up, and my forearm mated with a small rock. Ripped a chunk of MY precious flesh open to about the size of a dime. One eight to one quarter inch deep. You could see the globs of white fatty tissue in the jagged rip. Do you call this Washboard Rash? The Hill Country Rub? Always carrying an emergency first aid kit, we applied anti-bacterial cream, gauze and tape. Then headed in. At the Study Butte grocery/liquor store sought assistance, as I needed stitches. The local PA (17 miles away in Lajitas) could not be reached as the phone lines were down - a common occurrence. The hospital was 90 miles away in Alpine. What to do? Well, bought the finest American made whiskey, then as an after thought, more gauze, anti bacterial cream, hydrogen peroxide, and rubbing alcohol - almost $16. Put my hands up at the banditos. The whiskey was cheap at any price. Back at camp, went to the showers to remove the trail dust and field dressing. Had to Cowboy Up and clean/ scrub the wound with soap. Then pour peroxide, then the rubbing alcohol. It had me screaming like a thirteen-year-old girl. Gobs of ant bacterial cream and gauze along with the bourbon would get me through the night. Day’s mileage: 140.

Next morning broke camp and headed home. Had to dance the Texas Two Step with my arm again. Second, go round hurts just as bad as the first.

Stopped just outside of San Antonio and ate at Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q "Worst Bar-B-Q in Texas". They don’t lie. Arrived home at 5AM unloaded. Cleaned bike, started chores, and went dancing again. This time those ardent kisses are the better balm than bourbon.

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