I don’t know about you but I find that as I get older winter seems to be a longer and longer season. When I was a young whippersnapper (yeah, my grandfather used that term too), I was into alpine and Nordic skiing so I kind of liked cold weather and snow. Lately though, not so much. Around the end of January I’m usually getting just a bit of cabin fever and although I live far enough south that I can ride even during the winter months on good days, I definitely suffer from PMS (Parked Motorcycle Syndrome) to some degree.
For the past several years Roger Hazlewood has graciously hosted a crew of mostly MSTA folks at his Terlingua, TX compound for a week or so of riding in and around Big Bend National Park. This probably started years ago as an Eldon Rix just-for-fun event and is now mostly a dual sport outing but only because those tend to be the folks most interested in riding that time of year. The street riding would be excellent too if someone wanted to do that.
Last February (2015) Mickey Tyler and I could stand no more winter so we decided to join the Big Bend festivities. Most people camp on Roger’s property. Good for them. Personally, I prefer walls, heat, warm showers and a comfy bed so Mickey and I opted for lodging at the 5-Star (Ha!) El Dorado hotel in Terlingua Ghost Town. It did provide the essentials, however, and it was just across the road from Roger’s place so it was all good.
The day before we were to depart, we got a pretty good snow at home which blocked Mickey’s trailer and bikes in his garage. Yeah that was a pain for him – had to find someone to plow his drive to extract his trailer. Then, when he came to pick me and my bike up before dawn we found the cul-de-sac at the end of my street was blocked too so he had to disconnect his trailer to turn around there. Bother. But, we eventually got away and headed west before the sun came up so we were happy for the time being. It’s a long, long way to Terlingua from the mountains of east Tennessee and the most direct route (~1700 miles) is through Dallas. However, late in the day when I checked the weather I saw that Dallas was expecting a big ice storm later that night. We elected to circumvent Dallas and headed due south out of Memphis to Baton Rouge where we would pick up I-10. Had we planned on I-10 from the outset it wouldn’t have made much difference in our mileage. Unfortunately, changing plans in Memphis added about 200 miles to our trip. Even so after we passed San Antonio on day two we encountered snow and icing conditions on I-10. The mighty Honda Element never missed a beat however and we arrived at Terlingua around 9pm. A couple of brews in the adjacent High Sierra Bar (not sure if that refers to the location or the patrons???) and we called it a successful journey.
So, a picture blog of our trip follows. Did we have a good time? — Oh yeah, what a great break from winter. I hope to go back again.
The annual Big Bend gathering is scheduled for Feb 22-28, 2016. Contact Max Hendrix or Eldon Rix (in your MSTA Blue Book) for more info.