Tuesday, Oct 28th- Big Bend National Park

Yesterday was pretty mundane.  I did the dishes, finished my book, packed up the tent, etc.  I had a nice Facetime chat with everybody  in Minnesota.  Sadly, it was getting too dark and the wifi doesn’t reach far enough to do a full walkaround.

Oh, this is once I’d fixed the Internet.  It’s hard to preserve things like fragile phone cables when you’re running big diggers around the property, and the inevitable happened.  So after everybody left I figured out what wires to connect to what and was able to use the Internet in the evening.   This morning, the guy from the phone company was here to relocate the phone box to a place where it is relatively unlikely to get clouted by a digger.  Hopefully this one lasts a while.

Today, I got up early (by me on vacation standards) and went to see Big Bend National Park.  It was as picturesque as ever.  Rather than upload all of the pictures here, I’ll point you to this set on my Flickr page:

Big Bend Album

I went in via the Study Butte entrance, and was immediately faced with a choice:  Asphalt or Gravel?  I’d been down the Maverick road in a truck before, but that was years ago, and I wasn’t driving.  Given the choice between adventure and the safe option, I chose adventure.  Even though I was on a huuuge bike.  That I just got.  With street tires.  What’s the worst that could go wrong?   This may have been influenced by watching a good portion of Disc 2 of “Long Way Round” last night.  I mean, Ewan and Charlie got through Mongolia, right?

Here’s a map:

http://www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/upload/BIBEmap3.pdf

 

I came into the park from Study Butte on 118, then immediately turned south-west on the unmarked gray road at Maverick Junction.  This proved to be a fairly well-graded gravel road without too much trickiness.  There were a couple of wibbly-wobbly bits when the gravel got deep, but on the whole it was possible to cruise along pretty well.  It was way more comfortable on the bike than it would have been in a truck, because the bike doesn’t sway from side to side.   There were even a few spots that would have been ideal jumps at higher speeds, but I exercised admirable restraint and kept both wheels on the ground.

GS on Maverick Road, Santa Elena in the background.
GS on Maverick Road, Santa Elena in the background.

The low structure is Luna Jacal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luna_Jacal

Apparently Mr. Luna lived here with a very large family and up to 12 (!) wives.  He lived to 107 or 108 years old.

DSCF3455 DSCF3448

After Maverick Road, I went to Santa Elena Canyon.  The light was a bit flat but it was still beautiful.

DSCF3479

Then I headed up to the Chisos Mountains to cool down, buy some gifts, and take photos of the Window and Casa Grande.

The Window
The Window
Casa Grande
Casa Grande
Cactus Blossom
Cactus Blossom

There was a very strange scooter that rolled in as I was having a rehydrating drink.  It was most interesting, in a “Mad Max meets Hello Kitty” kind of way.  I think it was a stripped down Yamaha Vision, though I could be wrong.  This would fit well in Japan.  I was surprised by the number of scooters I saw.  That’s apparently now A Thing.

Interesting scooter.
Interesting scooter.
Interesting scooter.
Interesting scooter.
Interesting scooter.
Interesting scooter.
Interesting scooter.
Interesting scooter.

It was a good day.

DSCF3544I even helped this guy out a little bit:

DSCF3546

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