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Saturday brought another cool crisp day with a brilliant blue sky crowning a beautiful valley bordered on three sides by mountains. We were getting our bikes packed and ready to go when the fact arose that we had both had slight headaches during the night (Duckman edit: Could all the beer and Tequila have anything to do with it? Naw…), we determined that the arid conditions probably had us dehydrated and that we needed to make more frequent stops for fluids, unfortunately those fluids needed to be something other than beer. We stopped on our way out of town and took a picture of the main drag in the morning sun.


Ended up pulling out of town about 9:00 in the morning and turned south on 385 headed for Big Bend Natl. Park, it is for the most part a road with long straights separated by short sections with a few curves but it does have a relatively good surface and the scenery is at times breathtaking.



Once you get into the park the road gets somewhat curvier but the surface deteriorates and you have to be vigilant because of the frequent abrupt rises and dips. At the intersection with 118 we turned west for Terlingua but made a side trip to the Chisos Basin to have an early lunch at the lodge there, the view from the restaurant is beautiful.

The road into the basin is narrow with a series of very tight switchbacks and a lot of blind curves; you definitely can’t be in a hurry even though the sign coming in warning you of the bears and mountain lions might make you want to. Lunch was nothing to write home about, which seemed odd because every national park lodge I have ever eaten at has always been excellent.
As we were leaving the lodge a group of HD riders pulled out just ahead of us so we pulled over to the side of the road to give them a head start and we still caught them before getting out of the really fun part of the road and we weren’t pushing it either, we ended up not being able to get around them until we got to the intersection with 118 some turned right the rest stopped and let us get around. The ride out of the park has some sections that are a lot of fun though you have to keep a close eye on the surface as it has some significant irregularities. I had one occasion where I was approaching a moderate right hand sweeper at speed when I saw a group of cruisers exiting the curve at a much slower pace so I shaved speed to match theirs before entering the curve. Unfortunately I also relaxed my line allowing myself to drift slightly to the left of the center of the lane as I proceeded through the curve where I encountered a patch of hard tar (Mike called it black ice) and the bike immediately slipped 6” to 9” before regaining traction, talk about getting your attention (Duckman edit: He fails to mention this was while slowing from about 80 mph!).
After leaving the park we turned onto 170 and headed for Terlingua where we stopped for gas.

Hwy 170 runs all the way to Presidio along the Rio Grande and is a blast to ride.


It has a wide variety of curves, a lot of washboard like rises and falls and I have never seen a road with so many curve breaks immediately after the abrupt crest of a hill, you never knew which way you were going to have to turn at the top of the hill. The road surface was fair but you still had to watch for tar patches and sand at low water crossings.

The scenery continued to be exceptional for some distance gradually giving way to a flatter more open terrain. Just before reaching the end of the good riding on 170 we encountered a section of very abrupt washboard type rises and falls, we would bottom out the suspension in the bottoms and get light at the crests. At one of the last rises I powered out of the bottom and instead of cresting to another fall it rose and leveled off but I could see that it was quickly going to rise again and then go into another fall which I assumed would be similar to previous 10 or 12, wrong-o wrong-o sahib, it fell away at an extreme angle sending me airborne. Mike says he saw about 6” of light under my rear wheel and then I disappeared over the hill while he got busy cutting speed, as he cleared the crest all he saw was me giving the thumbs up and accelerating away. (Duckman edit: This was in my opinion the highlight of the trip. 70 mph with wheels 6” in the air and butt 6” off the seat. After seeing the thumbs up “I’m good”, I was laughing so hard I had to stop for a minute. It’s amazing to see a seat cover sucked up someones butt so hard it stretches out 6 inches! ) We stopped in Presidio for some drinks and to rest for a second meeting a couple of locals (or maybe not so locals) while standing there in the parking lot. Once rested we headed on up through Marfa and on to Ft. Davis, a fairly low key ride, arriving at about 4:00 PM for a 288 mi day. We checked into the hotel then took a ride up to the McDonald Observatory; the ride up was fun, very curvy with a good surface.


Ft. Davis is dry so to get a beer you have to join a private club, fortunately checking into the hotel Limpia includes a complimentary membership so we got back to the hotel in time to have a couple XX ambers before dinner and enjoyed a good meal before retiring for the night fairly early knowing tomorrow would be a long one.
Sunday morning, what can you say, it’s time to start heading back and neither of us is real excited about that but off we go at about 9:00 AM north on 17 toward I-10 and boredom. At least it’s another beautiful day although there is a wind out of the south that makes the flags stand straight. The speed limit on I-10 is 80 so we make good time and get off at Ft. Stockton for breakfast over which we decide we aren’t going to be able to take ten straight hours of slabbing it. We opt to get off I-10 at Sonora and head south back to Rocksprings for another run at 55 and 337. Not much to be said about the run between Sonora and Rocksprings but once south of there the fun kicked back in, the only problem we had was that strong south wind kept messing with us. When you really kick it over in a curve and come around across the wind it really wanted to get under you and push you out but the bikes stayed pretty stable and dealt with it. Only once after slipping on a tar snake while banked and across the wind did mine become a little unsettled but she regained her composure quickly and we were on our way. Before you know it we were down to Camp Wood and turning onto 337 heading toward Leakey, this gave us the opportunity to complete the loop that we had left open earlier and it was worth it, that stretch of 337 is very nice, good surface with a variety of curve types and varying grades. Once through Leakey we continued onto the stretch of 337 that we had enjoyed so much on the way out and it was just as much fun on the way back although Mike experienced his only bobble of an otherwise flawlessly ridden trip. While exiting a 20 MPH rated curve he lost concentration momentarily and became edge fixated and damn near kissed the vertical rock face that set the outside edge of the curve. Fortunately like me he was able to wrench himself away from the fixation and recover with no harm done (Duckman edit: Ok, one Hershey Kiss in the seat cover after 1630 miles isn’t too bad). The ride through Bandera and back into San Antonio on 16 was the last fun to be had. Once in S.A. we got back on I-10 and slabbed it all the way back home arriving there at 10:00 PM for a 649 mi day. I think we both slept good that night. Mike took a picture of is GPS trip stat screen:


That's all folks!!:)
 

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What a great trip! Thanks for sharing it with us. And what great timing; I was just thinking I should take a trip down to the hill country before it gets too cold. Thanks for the inspiration.

BTW: Nice ST's.
 

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Great report

I just relocated to Rio Frio (10 miles south of Leakey )Texas from Wyoming. I didn't have room in the truck for the Duc but it's being shipped this Wednesday and should be here within a couple weeks max. I ran the three sisters last weekend on the Harley and enjoyed it but I'm dying to get the Duc out on the same run. It's beautiful down here and I'm enjoying being back home in Texas. Great write up and pics..thanks for posting and maybe I'll see you out there. Be well...
 
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