Below is my navigation system before GPS. I kept it on the gas tank for quick reference. It served us well…
Day 2 Big Bend Route Miles
Alpine to Study Butte 80 GAS
Study Butte to Santa Elena Junction 13
Santa Elena Junction to Castolon 22
Castolon to Santa Elena Canyon Over Look 8
Santa Elena Canyon Over Look to Castolon 8
Castolon To Santa Elena Junction 22
Santa Elena Junction to Chisos Mountains Basin Junction 10
Chisos Mountains Basin Junction to Chisos Basin 10 Lunch Chisos Mtn. Lodge
Chisos Basin to Chisos Mountains Basin Junction 10
Chisos Mountains Basin Junction to Panther Junction 3 GAS (103 miles)
Panther Junction to Rio Grande Over Look 20
Rio Grande Over Look to Boquillas Canyon Overlook 4
Boquillas Canyon Overlook to Rio Grande Over Look 4
Rio Grande Over Look to Rio Grande Village ~2 (~ is approximate miles)
Note: There is a store and gas (no premium) here. Rio Grande Village to Rio Grande Over Look ~2
Rio Grande Over Look to Panther Junction 20 GAS (~52 miles)
Panther Junction to Marathon 95
Marathon to Alpine 38 GAS (133 miles)
We were up early and rode out to Big Bend. The ride out was scenic and the temperature was cool. By the time we got to Santa Elena Canyon, it was so hot! Mid to upper 90’s. June is not the best time to ride Big Bend because June is the hottest month. Because of the drought the Rio Grande was almost dry but the canyon was still impressive. We spent some time hiking, taking pictures and taking in the majesty of the canyon.
From Santa Elena Canyon we were off to the Chisos Basin for lunch at the lodge. The ride was beautiful up the winding mountain road. There is not much traffic but the road is narrow with no shoulders, steep climbs, descents and tight corners with limited visibility.
Because the elevation is several thousand feet higher than Santa Elena Canyon it is much cooler. The temperature at the top was in the low 70’s vs. 90’s down at the river. What a nice difference. Janet and I think that Chisos Basin is the prettiest part of the park. It has great views and there is wildlife to be seen. Today we had deer grazing near our bikes at the Lodge.
There is only one place to eat in Big Bend and that is the lodge at Chisos Basin. It has good food and the prices aren’t bad for a national park. So if you plan on eating while in the park you will need to plan your trip accordingly. Everything is few and far between so plan wisely.
From Chisos Basin we rode to Panther Junction. In the park, gas is only available at Rio Grande Village and Panther Junction. The station at Panther Junction is centrally located in the park. I would suggest gassing up every time you ride by (remember few and far between). It is the only station that has premium gas for those of you like myself who requires premium for their bike. We gassed up at Panther Junction and spent some time at the Ranger station before heading back to Alpine. We did not get to see as much of the park as we would have liked. We didn’t make it to the eastern side of the park. Note to self… Next trip we will try to stay closer to the park so that we are not spending most of our time traveling to and from the park.
Because of the distance and the time we spent in the park, it caused us to ride in the dark before arriving at the motel. No big deal, but there are some big deals (animals) that are out and about after dark. Not a good thing for motorcyclist…
Tomorrow we ride to Fort Davis, McDonald Observatory, Marfa, Marathon and Sanderson for the night…
Here are the links to the other days of this ride.
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- Big Bend Ride 2007
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