Quick Trip to Big Bend

I was reading though some email one evening when a VFR forum post called “AM in Arkansas” caught my eye.  This lucky Kansas rider was taking a solo trip to the Ozarks on their trusty Honda VFR800.  A machine I am quite familiar with. 🙂

This strangely made me a little jealous.  My yearly long trip with my band of misfits “my riding buddies” never really manifested.  With the end of the year approaching, I started to feel the door closing on a opportunity for an extended ride.  Argh!!!!  

Blogs, forums, groups.   It amazes me how small the world can appear sometimes when your thumbing through the experiences and knowledge of fellow riders.  I sometimes live vicariously through some of the posts and start to formulate my own personal excursions.  

This spurred that ever returning urge to get out on my bike one more time before the end of the year.  A few of my riding buddies scheduled a late year ride I was not able to originally attend.  One of those kinds of rides that can be a quick get there and back without too much preparation.  That destination is the Big Bend region of West Texas. Lucky me, they reschedule.  The Big Bend area of West Texas has seen me a few times in the past on a slew of different bikes.  I tend to rotate bikes pretty frequently and it turns out that I needed to see what a recent acquisition of mine, a 2006 Ducati ST3, can do out in the deep nothing of West Texas.  

A quick 4 day trip was all I needed.  Not a long trip but just enough to quiet my demons and stretch the Italian legs of my Ducati.  As you can probably already see, my bikes of choice tend to be sport tourers of one type or another.  

It’s funny how big Texas can be sometimes.  Luckily our 80mph plus speed limits help scoot us along to your destination.  We super slabbed it on I-10, observing the very generous speed limits of course.  Only stopping for bio breaks and fuel when needed.  The highways in Texas are gorgeous in these parts.  Rolling hills, smooth pavement, fuel stops adequately spaced and rest stops when needed.  The only concern I had was the wildlife that would wonder onto the highway so we traveled late morning and got to Fort Davis by 3pm or so.  Checked in our very favorite motel, The Stone Village Tourist Camp motel.  I’m not much of a camper so we rough it in a couple of cozy motel rooms.  The temp was dropping so we quickly checked in, unpacked and got ready to visit our favorite Market for beer and snacks and plan dinner later. 

Our evenings for the entire trip were spent at a great bistro in Fort Davis called The Blue Mountain Bistro.  Food, drink, staff and atmosphere were all wonderful. Since the town was small, our stroll to and from the bistro was very convenient.  We indulged and got back to our rooms to rest for the next day.

The credit for the map above goes to rhilliard.net

Our second day was filled with a ride from Fort Davis to Alpine TX down to Study Butte/Terlingua.  Then to do the extremely picturesque and technical road that is 170.  A ride we missed the last time this group and I were in the area due to heavy rains left the road with a ton of run off debris on it.

The trail led us to Presidio for a quick fill up.  Then off to the funky town of Marfa TX.  What an unusually place.  Very artsy and bohemian.  We stopped at Planet Marfa for a drink and a bite to eat.  

Temperatures started to drop again right after our late lunch.  We raced back Fort Davis to call it a day.  Later that evening  our friend Thomas decided to join us from San Antonio after work.  It was good to add him to the mix.  

Map credit to Sundaymorningrides.com

Our 3rd day started with a ride around the Fort Davis Loop.  Another scenic route around the semi mountainous area fill with long sweepers. We made our way towards Valentine to visit the famous Prada Marfa Art Sculpture.  A very unusual item you do not expect to see in the emptiness of west Texas.  

After the Prada Marfa Store we shot over to Alpine Texas to visit some friends that were involved in the Alpine Tx Art Walk Festival.  

Voni Glaves, besides being a wonderful artist she and her husband Paul are also accomplished motorcycle travelers.  More on Voni & Paul here.

We called it a day once again and headed back to Fort Davis.  Another wonderful trip.  Shared one more wonderful meal and back we went to rest for our trip back.

Our buddy Brandan had other plans to get us home.  We scooted east on 90 and took a left on 349 in Dryden TX.   Ended up at Fort Lancaster. We didn’t have time to look around much so got back on bikes and hit I-10 to get us home.  Our buddy Thomas broke off sometime later to enjoy some twisties in Leakey, Tx before getting home.  The rest of us shot straight home. 

Good times my friends.   Do it again soon. 

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