Tag Archives: Chisos Basin Lodge

Day 3 Big Bend and Carlsbad Caverns National Parks Motorcycle Ride

Saturday Sept. 19 Marathon to Chisos Basin Lodge (66 miles)

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Map Day 3 Marathon to Chisos Basin Lodge

Today is day 3 of our Big Bend and Carlsbad Caverns National Parks motorcycle ride. Come follow along and enjoy the scenery and ride.

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Gage Hotel

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Courtyard of the newer part of the Gage Hotel

Jo had us all up by 5:30 am (6:30 Georgia time) this morning. She mistakenly thought we were leaving for breakfast at 6:00am. As it turned out, nothing was open until 7:00am.

We ate breakfast at Johnny B’s. The food was good. It was just a small hole in the wall where the waitress knew everyone by name and the cook knew what they wanted before they even sat down to order.

While we were eating we noticed a commotion out front. We came to find out, George and Laura Bush were staying at the Gage Hotel, just up the street. Evidently the Bush’s were leaving the hotel to visit a nearby ranch. The waitress said they would be staying at the Gage Hotel for several days. It was kind of exciting to know a former president was just a few feet away.

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Greenhouse of a Bed & Breakfast in Marathon

After breakfast, we walked to the Gage Hotel to take pictures and walk around. The shops were still closed by this time so we went back to the Carriage House. On the way back Shirley noticed a strange-looking building and decided to investigate. On the way there, we met two local women who were out walking. They explained to us that the building was part of a Bed & Breakfast. Someone had come in and bought an old house and renovated it to turn it into a Bead & Breakfast. They had made it into a kind of Spanish style structure and painted it red, blue and yellow. They just started adding on to it using the same color scheme. The structure now under construction was two stories high and made of papercrete.

One of the women was upset because it blocked her view of the mountains. She has lived in her home for 75 years and liked to look at the mountains to determine the weather. Her home was over 100 years old. We had a nice visit with the two women. From there we walked to the Bed & Breakfast and looked around. It was a strange-looking place but they did have a “green thumb” because the green house was beautiful.

After that we walked over to a bookstore where Janet bought Hallie Stillwell’s second book “My Goose Is Cooked” and a book about Texas Ranger John Rogers.

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Hwy 385 to Stillwell Store & camp; Big Bend

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Hallie Stillwell Museum

Then we loaded up and headed for the Stillwell Store & RV Park. There is a museum in honor of Hallie Stillwell. She was a local character who died in 1997 at the age of 99. The RV Park and store are on the ranch Hallie and her husband owned. Her granddaughter, who shared a few stories about Hallie before we toured the museum, runs the store and RV Park. Hallie led a very hard but interesting Life.

motorcycle touring, motorcycle travel, motorcycle ride, Big Bend National Park

Restaurant at Chisos Basin Lodge

Our next stop was Chisos Basin in Big Bend National Park. At an altitude of 5,400′ and surrounded by high, rocky cliffs. Chisos Basin is near some of the park’s most spectacular and popular trails – the Lost Mine Trail, the Window Trail, the South Rim Trail, and the Pinnacles Trail, with its access to the park’s highest point, Emory Peak (elev. 7,825′). Also in the Basin area is the Chisos Basin Visitor Center, the Camper Store, and the Chisos Basin Lodge, which houses the only restaurant in Big Bend National Park.

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Where we stayed at in Chisos Basin Lodge with Mt. Casa Grande in background

We stayed in a cottage with three beds and one bath. It was quite cozy. Outside the cottage was a beautiful view of the “Window”. The “Window” is a view between two mountains. Shirley aptly named it “The Lords Window”.

We had lunch at The Lodge and as usual the food was great. The Lodge has glass walls on three sides so you get a great view of the surrounding area.

Tomorrow we head to Van Horn, Texas. Come ride along and share the fun with us.

Below are links to the other days of this ride.

If you are thinking about riding to the Big Bend area, checkout the links below. The links have valuable information on the Big Bend Area of Texas and tips we have learned about long motorcycle rides over the years.

  1. Motorcycle Travel Information For The Big Bend Area ofTexas
  2. Long Distance Motorcycle Touring Tips

If you enjoyed reading about this motorcycle ride to Big Bend National Park you may like our other motorcycle rides there too.

  1. Our first motorcycle ride to Big Bend National Park
  2. Spring motorcycle ride to Big Bend National Park April 2007

For even more content please checkout and LIKE our Facebook page.

Have Goldwing Will Travel…  I hope we see you down the road somewhere.

Day 2 Big Bend and Carlsbad Caverns National Parks Motorcycle Ride

Friday Sept. 18 Junction to Marathon (258 miles)

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Map Day 2 Junction to Marathon TX

Today is the second day of our Big Bend and Carlsbad Caverns National Parks motorcycle ride. Come follow along and enjoy the scenery and ride.

motorcycle touring, motorcycle travel, motorcycle ride, motorcycle road trip

I-10 Heading from Junction to Ft. Stockton

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Picnic area just east of Ft. Stockton

We had breakfast at another restaurant just down the street. We gassed up and headed to Marathon. It was cool and great riding weather. The only stops we made were at a picnic area just outside Ft. Stockton for lunch and then in Ft. Stockton we stopped at the Wal-Mart. It never fails, we stop at least one Wal-Mart on our bike trips. This was no exception. Shirley lost part of her heel on her boot and needed something else to wear. From there it was off to Marathon after a few misdirection’s from Gladys (The name Kristy & Janet gave my GPS).

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Converted Carriage House where we stayed.

In Marathon we stayed in a converted carriage house which was built in 1898. We could have stayed in the main house (Captain Shepard’s Inn) but it was not available  due to renovation. The Carriage House was interesting… Nothing fancy but it was fun staying all together in one house.

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Inside the Carriage House

We had planned to go to “Shirley’s Burnt Biscuit Bakery” but it was not open. Shirley the owner was on vacation. That was a disappointment because she makes wonderful fried pies. If you are ever in Marathon, a stop at Shirley’s Fried Pies is a must.

motorcycle touring, motorcycle travel, motorcycle ride

Shirley’s Burnt Biscuit

After we got checked in and unloaded everything we went to explore the town, but everything was pretty much closed. This was around 4:30 or 5:00 pm. We ended up buying some frozen pizza from a grocery store called “the French Grocer”. After dinner we stayed out on the porch of the Carriage House and talked. If Jo had brought her dominoes we would have played “Chicken Foot” but Jo didn’t pack them so… We were in bed by 10:00 (11:00 Georgia time)

 

Tomorrow we head to Big Bend National Park. We will be staying at the Chisos Basin Lodge. Come ride along and share the fun with us.

Below are links to the other days of this ride.

If you are thinking about riding to the Big Bend area, checkout the links below. The links have valuable information on the Big Bend Area of Texas and tips we have learned about long motorcycle rides over the years.

  1. Motorcycle Travel Information For The Big Bend Area ofTexas
  2. Long Distance Motorcycle Touring Tips

If you enjoyed reading about this motorcycle ride to Big Bend National Park you may like our other motorcycle rides there too.

  1. Our first motorcycle ride to Big Bend National Park
  2. Spring motorcycle ride to Big Bend National Park April 2007

For even more content please checkout and LIKE our Facebook page.

Have Goldwing Will Travel…  I hope we see you down the road somewhere. Ride safe…

Our First Big Bend Motorcycle Ride – Day 2

2002 Big Bend Motorcycle Ride Map Day 2

2002 Big Bend Motorcycle Ride Map Day 2

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)

Total                                                                                       ~368

Highway 118 stop

Highway 118 stop

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.

 Deer at Chisos Basin Lodge

Deer at Chisos Basin Lodge

Janet and Me at Chisos Basin Lodge

Janet and Me at Chisos Basin Lodge

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.

Century Plant in Bloom at Chisos Basin Lodge

Century Plant in Bloom at Chisos Basin Lodge

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.

Our First Big Bend Motorcycle Ride – Day 1
Our First Big Bend Motorcycle Ride – Day 3
Our First Big Bend Motorcycle Ride – Day 4

If you enjoyed this post you may like these too…

  1. Big Bend Ride 2007
  2. Big Bend/Carlsbad Cavern Ride 2009
  3. Riding Information on Big Bend Area of Texas
  4. Tips on Long Distance Touring
  5. Riding Fit… Riding Smart
  6. Getting the Wife to Ride