After almost two years of convincing, my g/f Donna finally agrees to wintering in the Southwest instead of FL. We broke from the pack of snowbirds in mid January and headed south. The only definite destination on my map was Big Bend National Park and Terlingua, TX.
"What's to do there?" she asks...
Well... Ride motorcycles, drink, and as my friend and ex-BMW afficianato Roger "Uncle" Hazlewood says, speaking from his desert-side mancave across from Ghost Town, "I sit here in the gazebo and think. I can lay here and think for days and days."
Most of the people you meet Terlingua are fair weather vacationers, ex-hippies, artists, and bikers of all sorts. The restaurants fill in through the evening with vacationers and locals who run raft trips, the horse ranch and the few shops around the valley.
From home in Southern (Grassroots BMW) we we did plenty of scenic together (can you say "Graceland?) stuff along the way, so I put in for an afternoon off to play in the sand.
Our first stop was the GMS MotoRent trailer parked beside the Big Bend Resort where an hand scrawled sign announces that, "We are here mornings until about 10:30 and afternoons after 4:00 or so." Such is the winter home of Deb and "Lt."Dan Dickie and GSM MotoRent, and my plans for the following day.
Dan and two other dudes were just rolling in from an afternoon off-road with 50+ MPH winds and sand so thick in the sky that the sun was little more than a glow in the brown glow. Meanwhile BMW Ambassador Bob Sancken tugged off his helmet and coughed out some sort of sandy sludge, Bob "Waldo" Ganser commented
"It's like a sand blaster out there," yelled Bob "Waldo" Ganser.
"Kurtz! What are you doing here? Are you going to announce at MMM this year?" yelled Lt. Dan.
After swapping a couple stories from the day, and figuring out who knew whom from my last visit to TX, we put together a plan for an afternoon ride the next day.
Donna and I started that morning at the Chili Pepper Cafe and then headed to Roger and Wanda's place for intros. 1:00pm nears so we headed back to the resort so I could suit up for the ride. Dan had a Yamaha DR-something waiting for me and we did up the rental agreement. Waldo and Ambassador Bob Sancken arrived so we headed out the back of the Big Bend Resort toward Indian Head Mountain and 50 miles of sand and gravel.
Dan usually just offers the rentals and not a guide service, but it wasn't a busy week so he led us on his Blue 800GS and we caught a few pics of the team as we headed further to the Valley of the Moon. The photos tell the story... (Sorry, my G650GS Sertao didn't get to come along on vacation.)
Dan is a fun host for this sort of ride... He has this Tennessee drawl that gives you the impression that he woke up about three minutes ago or has a flask of "jack" in his hip pocket.
If you are looking for a mid-winter dual-sport ride get in touch with Dan for a bike to rent and suggestions on where to ride. A couple weeks after my visit Dan organized a ride up the river rd to Presidio, crossed into MX (Mexico) and returned on the south side of the Rio Grande to Boquillas, just across from Big Bend. You can't do a vehicle crossing from Boquillas, so it's an in-and-out day trip to MX with lots of desert. This would be a great ride for him to develop into an overnight package by next year!
If Dan's not available then find Waldo. He is spending his winters prowling the trails and mountains around Terlingua and Big Bend. Try to keep him moving... his stories take almost as much time as the ride itself. The tracker map shown here is our ride traced with the Backwoods Navigator app in my smart phone. Great tool for planning or storing your adventure. Needs no cell signal!
If you think you will need contact information for these guys, or for anyone in the area, you're thinking too hard... Terlingua is reported to have a population of about 800 during the busy season... You can ask any waitress for anyone, using their nickname if you know it, and they will tell you how to find your target person, and just may go for their cell phone to connect you on the spot.
Other Terlingua must-do's: Big Bend National Park. La Kiva. Ghost Town. The Front Porch. Chili Pepper Cafe. The Boat House (biker bar in recovery). Earth and Fire Gallery (featuring photography byVoni Glaves!). Boquillas, MX (take $ingles, they don't make change.) Big Bend State Park (with movie sets from old westerns.) The river road to Presidio, TX.
Have fun out there, and tell them that "that Kurtz guy" sent you.