Day Ride – May 2, 2015

 I’m leading an adventure ride into the Texas hill country on Saturday May 2, 2015 and all riders are invited to attend.

This ride is being sponsored by:

TJ’s Cycles

2535 Ridgepoint Dr #300

Austin, TX 78754

(Please note that the address above is to TJ’s new location.) They will be providing breakfast items (donuts, or tacos, or pigs in a blanket, etc) and will open the store early for us. Please make sure to thank Tom and Brian Johnson for their generous support.

Meet at TJ’s Cycles with a full tank of gas.  Breakfast will be from 8:00am – 9:00am.  Riders meeting at 8:45am.  Stands up at 9 am.

The route is nearly 270 miles long and has us crossing the Colorado River at a low water crossing at Shaw’s Bend, north of San Saba.  Unfortunately getting to the Colorado River will consist of mostly pavement and a bit more highway travel than I prefer.  The good news is that after crossing the Colorado we will enjoy some of the better dirt roads in the area as we head southwest for a late lunch at Cooper’s World Famous BBQ in Llano.  From Llano our route will be all pavement back to Austin and the end of the ride.

This ride is suitable for all types of dual sport adventure bikes, with the only caveat being that you need to be able to run 70 mph on pavement since our route includes some state highways.

There are multiple opportunities to refuel along the route, including Burnet, San Saba, and Llano.

We will divide into smaller groups (6-8 riders per group) with a ride leader for each group.

You can download the route here. I created the route in basecamp using City Navigator North America 2012.

A bad weather/rain decision will be made Friday evening and posted here so be sure to check here if there is a chance of bad weather on ride day.

Texas Adventure Rider Stickers

Texas Adventure Rider stickers are available in 3 sizes – small, medium and large.

Small stickers are 2×3 inch oval. $1 each

Medium stickers are 3×4 inch oval. $2 each

Large stickers are 4 x 6 inch oval.  $3 each

Add $1 to your order to cover shipping and handling.

The small sticker is perfectly sized for mounting on your helmet.

The medium size sticker easily fits on a fender.

The medium size sticker on the front fender of a DR-Z400S.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The small sticker fits nicely on the back of a helmet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The large sticker fits perfectly on the front fender of a XR650L (and other bikes).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can order stickers via the internet or US Postal Service:

Internet: order via paypal at rgibbens@austin.rr.com

Mail:
Richard Gibbens
12609 Red Bud Trail
Buda, TX 78610

The Worm Farm

DSCF1238

My friend Big Don took this photo of me yesterday while we were out riding in the Texas hill country. This photo reminded me of my childhood.

When I was kid I lived near the Texas coast. And lots of fishermen. So I thought I would start a business selling fishing worms. I started a worm farm in my backyard and then sold the worms door-to-door in my neighborhood. My sales strategy was to knock on the front door and when someone answered the door I would introduce myself – “Hi, I’m Richard. I’ve got worms.”

Later on I needed to make more money in order to help fund college. So I went into the seafood business in Houston. I would drive to Galveston and buy fresh seafood off the boats there. Then I would drive back to Houston and sell it. My door-to-door sales approach worked so well when I was selling worms that I decided to try the same thing selling seafood. I would knock on the door and when someone answered I would say, “Hi, I’m Richard. I’ve got crabs.”

Hill Country Adventure Ride – Saturday, March 14

Let’s start the New Year off right with a dual sport ride in the Texas hill country.  I’m leading a dual sport ride into the hill country on Saturday, March 14, 2015 and all riders are invited to attend.

This ride is being sponsored by:

TJ’s Cycles

2535 Ridgepoint Dr #300

Austin, TX 78754

(please note that TJ’s has moved to a new location). They will be providing breakfast items (donuts, or tacos, or pigs in a blanket, etc) and will open the store early for us. Please make sure to thank Tom and Brian Johnson for their generous support.

Meet at TJ’s Cycles with a full tank of gas.  Breakfast will be from 8:00am – 9:00am.  Riders meeting at 8:45am.  Stands up at 9 am.

From TJ’s we will ride west toward Mason, hitting some dirt once we get west of Hwy 87.  After about 180 miles of riding we will arrive in Luckenbach for a late lunch.  After that our route will be all pavement back to Austin and the end of the ride.

The route to Luckebach will include a bunch of really fun, one lane county roads that can be ridden on any street bike.  We will also enjoy some fun hill country dirt roads with a few low water crossings.

This ride is suitable for all types of dual sport adventure bikes, with the only caveat being that you need to be able to run 70 mph on pavement since our route includes some state highways.

There are no planned gas stops on this route.  If you don’t have a 200 mile range, I suggest topping your tank in Bee Caves.  The next closest opportunity for gas will be in Fredericksburg.  You can also carry spare gas.

We will divide into smaller groups (6-8 riders per group) with a ride leader for each group.

Email me at rgibbens@austin.rr.com and I will send you the route in both route and track format for use with your GPS. I created the route in basecamp using City Navigator North America 2012.

[B]A bad weather/rain decision will be made Friday evening and posted here[/B] so be sure to check here if there is a chance of bad weather on ride day.
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2015 Uncle’s Around the Bend

I am not organizing Uncle’s rally in 2015.  However, all is not lost because Peter, a friend of mine, has stepped up to the plate and taken over organization duties.  All the details about the 2015 rally can be found on this thread on Two Wheeled Texans.

Below is some of the information from that thread.  If you have questions or want to register, please contact Peter on Two Wheeled Texans (he goes by Shadman on Two Wheeled Texans).

 

Attention Big Bend Riders: Mark the dates of March 19 – 22nd, 2015 on your calendars for the 8th annual Uncle’s Around the Bend Rally in Terlingua Texas.

Our beloved Richard, aka Trail Boss, is taking a breather. I’m filling in. Uncle’s 8th Annual will be very similar to last year’s fantastic event with a few minor changes. Key event highlights will include:

  • Optional “Early Bird” Group Rides Thursday March 19th
  • Arrival Dinner and Check in on Thursday Night, March 19th
  • Desert Challenge Friday March 20th
  • ADVenture Challenge Saturday March 21st
  • Dos y Dos Challenge Saturday March 21st
  • Awards Ceremony and Banquet Saturday Night March 21st
  • Optional “Last Member” Group Rides Sunday March 22nd

“Early Bird” Group Rides Thursday March 19th Early arrivals on Thursday can meet up in Terlingua for some unofficial riding in groups. We’ll have a station set up for early registration and point folks in the right direction for group rides. There is plenty to see and do, even if you just have 3-4 hours in the late afternoon. If you are participating in the challenges on both Friday and Saturday, this is the best day to try out a taste of Mexico.

Uncle’s Desert Challenge, Friday, March 20th: For any dual sport riders wanting an extra dose of adventure, Uncle’s Desert Challenge may just be the ticket. The Desert Challenge is a one day long-distance dirt ride designed to test your skill and stamina. On Friday morning challenge riders leave at 7 a.m. to ride a specially designed timed loop course that is 195 miles long and consisting of 95% class 1, 2, and 3 roads. The course is long and difficult and will take most or all of the day to complete. Those riders who complete the entire course in the allotted time will receive a finisher’s award.

NOTE: Desert Challenge will need to purchase a pass for Big Bend National Park. I strongly recommend getting your pass before Friday morning if you are doing the desert challenge Friday, but you can get one at the gate entering on Friday if necessary. $10 for 7 days. http://www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisi…servations.htm

Dos y Dos Challenge, Saturday March 21st: The new “Dos y Dos” (two by two) challenge is a 90% dirt oriented ride starting and ending in Rio Grande Village with finisher trophies going to folks completing an extremely sub-200 mile ride on way less less than 250cc bikes. This is a challenge in line with minimalist touring blogs and forum posts for abuse of inappropriate equipment. Rides such as “Panama and Back on a Super Sherpa” and “Sydney to London on a105cc Honda callled Dot”. The idea is not mine, but comes from Meriden’s planned BW200 x 200 ride: http://www.twtex.com/forums/showthre…&highlight=200 I had to rename it in honor of the sub 200cc bikes found zooming all over our southern neighbor’s streets. This ride will take place mainly on dirt / gravel on the eastern side of the National Park and you will never find yourself more that 25 or so miles from pavement. Unlike the desert challenge, it will run up and back a lot of roads as to keep the total distance from ride HQ at a minimum. Sweep vehicles will run the course behind the last rider and provide pickup and delivery service back to civilization.

NOTE: Dos y Dos Riders will need to purchase a pass for Big Bend National Park. I recommend getting your pass before Saturday morning’s trek to Rio Grande Village (RGV). $10 for 7 days. http://www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisi…servations.htm

Uncle’s Adventure Challenge, Saturday, March 21st: Are you interested in the Desert Challenge but don’t have a dual sport bike and don’t want to attempt it on your big adventure bike? The Adventure Challenge is designed for adventure riders who want an extra challenge with their rally. Uncle’s Adventure Challenge is a one day long-distance mixed dirt/pavement ride designed to test your skill and stamina. On Saturday morning challenge riders leave at 7 a.m. to ride a specially designed timed loop course that is 313 miles in length with a mix of class 1 and 2 dirt roads and generous portions of twisty asphalt. The course is long and difficult and will take most or all of the day to complete. Those riders who complete the entire course in the allotted time will receive a finisher’s award.

NOTE: The Adventure Challenge does not go into Big Bend National Park so no entry permit is required in order to participate in the Adventure Challenge.

“Last Member” Group Rides Sunday March 22nd As some of us don’t have that far to travel back home, and we may be riding our bikes home, why not spend the morning taking the scenic route with a group headed your way? I’ll be creating a list of guys wanting to ride east, north, west, and possibly even south out of the rally on Sunday so you can get your plans firmed up.

So, please save the date, and try to firm up plans soon! This long weekend is the 2nd weekend of Spring Break for many Texas colleges and some high schools, so plan accordingly. I’m enlisting some members to help me get group rates at Lajitas and another 1-2 moderately priced hotels in Terlingua. Details to follow.

Prices for 2015:
Rally Registration $90.00 USD – Rally, Tee, Trail Map, Welcome Dinner, Two breakfasts, Banquet, Giveaways, All the Fun.
Rally Registration $80.00 No Tee USD
Desert Challenge $25.00 USD
Desert Challenge No Trophy $15.00 USD
ADVenture Challenge $25.00 USD
ADVenture Challenge No Trophy $15.00 USD
Dos Y Dos Challenge $20.00 USD
Dos Y Dos Challenge No Trophy $10.00 USD
Shirt Long Sleeve $5.00 USD
Big Bend Ride Guide $25.00 USD

Peter

The first ride of the New Year – Texas Hill Country, Jan 10th

Jan 7, 2015:  This ride is cancelled due to the weather.  I expect the next scheduled ride to occur near the end of Feb when the odds are better that the weather will cooperate.

Let’s start the New Year off right with a dual sport ride in the Texas hill country.  I’m leading a dual sport ride into the hill country on Saturday, Jan 10, 2015 and all riders are invited to attend.

This ride is being sponsored by TJ’s Cycles, 2535 Ridgepoint Dr #300, Austin, TX 78754 (please note that TJ’s has moved to a new location). They will be providing breakfast items (donuts, or tacos, or pigs in a blanket, etc) and will open the store early for us. Please make sure to thank Tom and Brian Johnson for their generous support.

Meet at TJ’s Cycles with a full tank of gas.  Breakfast will be from 8:30am – 10am.  Riders meeting at 9:45am.  Stands up at 10 am.

From TJ’s we will ride west toward Mason, hitting some dirt once we get west of Hwy 87.  After about 180 miles of riding we will arrive in Luckenbach for a late lunch.  After that our route will be all pavement back to Austin and the end of the ride.

The route to Luckebach will include a bunch of really fun, one lane county roads that can be ridden on any street bike.  We will also enjoy some fun hill country dirt roads with a few low water crossings.

This ride is suitable for all types of dual sport adventure bikes, with the only caveat being that you need to be able to run 70 mph on pavement since our route includes some state highways.

There are no planned gas stops on this route.  If you don’t have a 200 mile range, I suggest topping your tank in Bee Caves.  The next closest opportunity for gas will be in Fredericksburg.  You can also carry spare gas.

We will divide into smaller groups (6-8 riders per group) with a ride leader for each group.

Email me at rgibbens@austin.rr.com and I will send you the route in both route and track format for use with your GPS. I created the route in basecamp using City Navigator North America 2012.

[B]A bad weather/rain decision will be made Friday evening and posted here[/B] so be sure to check here if there is a chance of bad weather on ride day.
__________________

JT Rides Again

My friend JT is an intrepid explorer, spending many hours studying Google Earth and various maps looking for new rides and journeys.  Most recently JT has been examining satellite photos searching for a way to ride to the mouth of Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park from the Mexico side of the canyon.

This is Santa Elena Canyon on the west side of Big Bend National Park.  The Rio Grande river forms the dividing line between Texas and Mexico and enters Big Bend National Park here at Santa Elena Canyon.  Texas is on the right in the picture and Mexico is on the left.

After the Rio Grande exits the canyon it makes a 90 degree turn and flows south parallel to the imposing cliff line seen in the next two pictures.

After studying the photos closely JT was sure he had located a whisper of a track that would allow us to ride to the Mexican side of Santa Elena.  Now all that remained was for us to actually go do it.  On Friday, Dec 26th he and I headed into Mexico to see if it could actually be done.

Time to ride

Starting from my Uncle’s place in Terlingua, we trailered my XR650L and JT’s KLX400 to Presidio.  After a quick breakfast we suited up in a few extra layers to deal with the 40 degree weather and then rode south to the international bridge into Ojinaga, Mexico.  After verifying that our motorcycles actually belonged to us, the Mexican officials waived us into the country.

60 highway miles later we arrived in the town of Manuel Benavides and the start of the dirt.  JT had the tentative route mapped out on his GPS so we followed that as best as we could.  As we rode east the road steadily deteriorated – obviously there aren’t a lot of people going this way.

The views behind us got steadily better as we climbed.

The road eventually dead-ended deep in the mountains at a small, rugged house.  My Spanish is not good but I managed to ask the man who lived there about getting to Santa Elena.  As best as I could tell he said the road ended here and we would have to try another route.  Hmmm, now what do we do?

As we backtracked, JT spotted another road veering off to the north and was certain this was the goat track he had seen on Google Earth.  So off we went.

The only thing this land appears to be used for is raising cattle and as we made our way northeast we had to go through a couple of wire gates.  A short time later we encountered a Vaquero making his rounds on his horse, checking on his cattle.  As before, I tried to ask him about getting to Santa Elena and he indicated it wasn’t possible on this road.  But he did indicate there were some great views ahead and gave us permission to ride on.  I wished I had taken his picture.

We lost the trail a few miles later at a dry creek bed.  We could see the trail crossing a hill in the distance but couldn’t find where it entered and then exited the creek bed.  Eventually we rode down the gravel creek bed until we spotted where the trail climbed up and out.

Once out of the creek the road deteriorated into a moderate class 2, two-track.  It was fun riding and then, suddenly, we reached the peak.  The transition from no view to incredible view took place in the space of about 30 meters.  Wow, what a view!

We were a bit more than 1.5 miles south of the entrance to Santa Elena Canyon.  You can see the river exiting the canyon and turning south in this photo.

The weather was great, the sun was out, so we parked the bikes and enjoyed the views for about an hour.

Looking south

The Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park.  The highest point is Emory Peak at about 7800 feet above sea level.

JT enjoying the view.

This has to be the best view of Big Bend National Park I’ve ever seen.  It was simply spectacular.

Eventually it was time to start the trek back to Presidio.  Backtracking was easy and things were going well until JT’s rear tire went flat.  We couldn’t see anything sticking out of the tire so our guess was that a small thorn was the problem.  JT had Slime in the tire and elected to just air it up and see if it would hold until we made it back to the truck.  Sure enough, it did.

 Once back in Manuel Benavides we hunted down a gas station for a bit of petrol.

 5 liters of gasoline each did the trick and was enough for us to make the ride back to Presidio.

 A few local kids playing on their new bicycles were very interested in the two gringo motorcyclists.

JT needed lunch.  I asked the gas man and he directed us to the La Casona restaurant.

 After a good hamburguesa and fries, we had an uneventful pavement ride back to Presidio.

As many of you know, JT has been known to lead fellow riders into the most God-forsaken of places.  This wasn’t one of those times.  In fact, this has to be the finest discover of 2014.  Well played, JT, well played!

Say hello to my new redheaded Italian Supermodel

I recently added a 2013 Husqvarna TR650 Terra to my stable as a more road-worthy adventure bike.  While I like my hot-rod DRZ and the big red pig (XR650L), both are more dirt-oriented bikes.  The Terra should prove to be a much better long distance road bike than either the DRZ or XRL.  And she is a red head.

Now it’s time to start the farkling process.  :)