We all woke up relatively early and got my parents and Gilli packed for the trip back up North. A quick breakfast and a non-Minnesota goodbye, and I was on my own. I was sad to have such a short overlap with them, but that’s life. We at least had some time together and the chance to get me introduced to some of the locals.
I headed up to the ghost town to grab a “Viva Terlingua” bumper sticker for the bike and scout for souvenirs for the boys. After that, I wandered down to the community garden, which was having it’s “Green Scene” event. There was a solar powered generator on a trailer that I thought was quite nifty- cleverly made from off-the shelf components with a minimum of customization, it looked ideal for off-the-grid situations.
I wandered up the hill and watched a demo on the “one rock dam.” It took a few more rocks than one to accomplish what they were going for (preventing a fairly severely eroded gully from growing), but the principles were simple: Slow the water down so it doesn’t get to a velocity or volume that it starts scouring the landscape. There’s a lot of scouring going on here, as can be attested by Terlingua creek after a local rain. It turns a very muddy brown as the local topsoil has no choice but to end up in the creek. I watched the demo, fascinated by what seemed like common sense but really took a bit of art to accomplish. They showed previous years’ efforts with this technique and how the soil had begun to accumulate and allowed some of the hardier desert plants to start to flourish.
I had a good chat about bikes with a guy named Ed. He has a similar bike to mine:
He’d done a 6000 mile trip to Glacier a couple of years ago, so we chatted about that and travel and things each bike had that worked and didn’t. I’m surprised by the number of GS’s out here- I’d have to say they are probably the second most popular bike besides the ubiquitous Harleys.
Next, I suited up and headed west on FM170, which is considered one of the better motorcycling roads in North America (apparently #2) . I’d ridden it back in 2009 when we did the Vision four corners tour to finish up the testing on the then-new Victory Vision. It was a fun road then, and it’s a fun road now. I’d forgotten just how technical it was- many crests where you don’t know which way the road is going to go, or whether there’s a burro or a javelina on the other side. I took it steady and still had some fun. I turned around before I got to Presidio, and headed back.
I stopped in at the Lajitas general store for some fluids, and met the Mayor of Lajitas:
There’s a bit of a story here, and it’s hard to tell where truth leaves off and fiction kicks in. I suppose it doesn’t really matter as much out here. As long as there are enough longnecks for everybody. I will admit to being a little surprised to see “resort” and the sorts of luxury things you’d expect in Arizona or wealthy Colorado mountain towns, but I suppose gentrification strikes all over, and if the well-to-do bring more money to the area then the area should benefit to some degree.
On the way back, I picked up a 12 pack of Bud Light for the construction crew, who was working, on a Saturday, in 90+ degree heat. I was happy to hear them kicking back in the game room playing ping pong when I brought the ice-cold brews in. They were very appreciative… they had earned that break.
Good deed done, I headed back up to the ghost town to hang out on the famous porch. Met a couple of interesting individuals who had been coming to Big Bend for years and had many great La Kiva stories and tons of tips on what to look for in the park. We had dinner, and TJ even insisted on picking up the tab. Thanks TJ!
After that, I headed back, crashed at 10pm, and woke up some 12 hours later. Apparently I needed that sleep.