Texas Day 5: Phat Burgers, Big Bends, and A Dance with a Lady Named Rio
April 5, 2006
Finally, I woke up on the morning of what is to be our shortest travel day on the trip. This was hump day, the middle of the trip, and it started with the three of us waking up in our cozy two bedroom, two bath suite. I was the first up. Jim and Duncan were both very tired from the late evening, early morning really, the day before. I guess my "youth" is serving well when it comes to energy level. That and the fact that I am used to getting only 4 to 6 hours of sleep on a regular basis.
Duncan could not peal himself out of the roll away bed, so Shooter Jim and I took for Fort Davis. We took the standard photos in front of the sign, Jim got his stamp, and we watched the park movie on the history of the area. Upon exiting, a sign that had caught my eye the night before, caught it again, with more detail. We had to stop and take photo.
If you can't see the picture clearly, it is for Rodney's Phat Burgers. Pretty Hot And Tempting, and deserving of a picture. I am sorry that I don't have a review of the food for you, we didn't notice it was named Rodney's until the morning, and they were closed. I must return, and sink my teeth into a Phat Burger, hand pressed, I am sure, by Rodney.
When we returned the hotel office, Duncan had his bike pulled around, and was ready to take off. He asked if we had any keys, and I mentioned that we are all checked out, and I had left my key on the kitchen counter. After a couple of pics of us sitting on the front porch in rocking chairs, we hit the road.
We heeded the advice from the Englishman in the bar the night before, to try this river ride out of Presidio, Texas. We headed south. It wasn't long before the cool morning turned into a hot day. After reaching Presidio, we turned onto river road. This part of the ride had its high points, but over all, it just wasn't that great of a drive. The road meandered up and down, back and fourth through the mountains, occasionally kissing the banks of the Rio Grande. One turn looked like a hundred of the turns on this trip. I guess, the lack of trees, seems to lessen the shapes, and the colors you see. I would also guess there are pretty mountains in world. We could often see into Mexico, no fences to block our view. We also saw no immigrants ready to cross the boarder. It would probably be suicide to try and cross here. There is little in the sense of civilization around. I would have to believe it would be a two day trip to get here from any town in Mexico, and another two days to get away, and deep enough into the US to avoid being caught. Duncan was surprised by how un-grand, the Rio Grand was. It looked like no more than a creek. The widest sections we passed were probably no more than 15 to 20 feet wide, and I will bet, no more than a couple of feet deep. After several miles, we found our photo opportunity.
Before we entered the park, we need to top off the gas tanks. As we were discussing topping off our stomachs, and accident nearly took place right in front of us. A man in a large truck nearly pulled out in front an SUV, at the intersection where the gas station was located. The SUV had anti-lock brakes, had it not, the driver would have not been able to steer and avoid the other truck. It could have been a lot worse.
After Duncan and Shooter had an argument about were to eat, I was in the bathroom, they decided to snack now, and eat somewhere in the park. So when I returned, we headed into Big Bend National Park. Finally, we have gotten to the focus of this odyssey. We had to make our usual stop at the entrance and take numerous photos. Unfortunately, the only pics I have prominently feature Duncan's ass, and I refuse to post them anywhere where women and young children might see.
It was about 25 miles into the park to get to the visitor's center. We ran into some other bikers, a couple of guys from Ohio, and another from Indiana. It was interesting, being in southern Texas, six motorcycles, 4 from Indiana, and 2 from Ohio. After spending some time in the center, we realized that we would need to back track to get to Chisos Mountain Restaurant. This was an eight mile trip, and we stopped once for a great photo opportunity. There was a pull off at the "Tree Line", the section were there is enough moisture, and cooler temps for vegetation to sprout. The road to the lodge and eatery had some great twists and turns. One really scrapped my floorboard, so much that it drug my foot off of the peg!
At the end of this leg, it was becoming apparent that Big Bend was not the big attraction that Jim and Duncan had expected. Me, I was happy to ride somewhere that I had never ridden before. They have been in Colorado, Wyoming, and other places in the Rockies and I guess the riding and views are better. Maybe someday I will be able to find that out for myself.
Jim got his stamps, and we decided to head for a hotel in Marathon, Texas, and try to make it an early day. Along the route, Duncan had noticed that there were pull offs, and mailboxes were asphalted into the center of these islands. Duncan wondered what they were there for. I had assumed they were so the letter carrier wouldn't get run over at 75 mph, the posted speed limit. To make a joke, I said on the CB, that they were off the side of the road for snow removal. I doubt snow ever lands on this part of Texas, and if it did, I doubt there is a snow shovel , or plow for miles. But, since I don't have a wind screen on my mic, Shooter thought I said it was for "Shower Muffins". If any one knows what a shower muffin is, I will post it here. If not, and you all think it is a million dollar item, I will patient as soon as possible and begin selling them. We took two rooms in the second hotel we tried, as the first was rather proud of there rooms, as evidence of their prices. Marathon is a tiny town, so everything is nearly with in arms reach.
The hotel/RV Park where we were staying had a outdoor cafe that we ate in. We were able to bring our own beer into the cafe. This is a point of contention. We had a 12 pack that I had bought the night before, and we had not consumed many of them, but the last man out of the room did not completely police the room, nor the fridge, so the next tenant of Suite Number 9 at Hotel Limpia would have about 10 beers to drink the night away. So tonight, Duncan had to replenish the supply.
Once again we engaged with the wait staff, who was a very young man and his wife, who ran the cafe. We had lucked out again, and had another fine place to eat, and were able to learn a little of the life story of the couple trying to make something of this little place.
Tomorrow, we head to San Antonio. The winds are supposed to pick up, and Jim has two National Parks targeted for stamping.