One of the rides I’ve always wanted to do but just hadn’t gotten around to is riding to Big Bend via northeast Mexico. Start in Del Rio, cross into Mexico at Acuna, ride west across the Chihuahuan desert and Sierra del Carmen mountains to Ojinaga, re-enter Texas at Presidio and then ride east to Terlingua.
I’m not the first person to think of doing this. Other groups have actually completed this ride, most recently JT and Milton in 2011. You can read their Wrong Way ‘Round the Bend ride report here.
The primary challenge with this route is gas – it is about 400 miles from Del Rio to Ojinaga and there are no gas stations anywhere along the route. Previous groups doing this route have been able to purchase a few liters of gas from locals at the tiny village of Morelos. However, I was with a group that rode the first half of the route in 2007 and my group was unable to locate gas in Morelos or anywhere else in the area. So, finding gas has not been a given.
However, things have recently changed. The unofficial border crossing from Big Bend National Park into the small village of Boquillas Mexico, closed after the 911 attacks, has been re-opened as an official crossing site. Boquillas nearly died when the border closed in 2001. Today, with tourists once again crossing the Rio Grande into Boquillas and providing a source of income for locals, new services are now available, including gas (via a 55 gallon drum). If we really can get fuel in Boquillas, then it solves the gas issue with this route.
I did some checking around with Big Bend locals and was assured I would be able to buy gas in Boquillas. It would set me back a whopping $7 a gallon but it was there. With fuel seemingly available, it was time for me to mark this route off my bucket list. I called my buddy JT and we headed west the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Expedition Big Bend, here we come.