Sunday, February 27, 2011

Chihuahuan Desert

I arrived early @ Dennis' place Wednesday morning. It was cool and raining, I was glad to have arrived early to beat the traffic on the west side of town (if you can call this traffic compared to DC or the ATL). We were all loaded up and on the road by 09:00 which is pretty darn early for this group. We took the scenic route south via Hwy 90 going through Del Rio and other assorted towns along the border. A total of four of us in Dennis's Tundra, and two in Mike's Outback... we were ready for 5 days in the desert!

Upon arrival, everyone jockeyed for position and various places to "crash" in the little slice of heaven know as the Study Bute Resort (aka the sh!thole)... nothing in the desert is cheap... except the camping. I fully expected to camp and brought all my gear, I simply set up on the front porch and avoided the smells and sounds that accompany 7 grown men in a two bedroom cottage. I think I was the smartest one of all in this respect.

Our first ride started off with good intentions, only we discovered that one of the bolts on my upper rocker had gone missing.... this was the first in a series of reality checks the desert brought to our attention. You can never have too many parts, water, or a range of clothes. We searched in vein for a replacement bolt, but alas could not source one. Luckily for me, Will our go to McGyver was able to find a bolt under the hood of the tundra that was the right length and TPI, so I was saved! We only wasted about 1.5 hours on this mishap, again not too bad for this crew. Off we went. We were not much further than a mile before Mike began lagging behind. We decided as a group to split off @ about mile 5 of the ride and let the 3 in the back do their own thing, we continued on to the Contrabando Trail.... Will, Mike C, Marty and myself were all going a good pace, did the entire Dome Trail, and by the time we got to the Cinnabar mine decided it was a good time to apply more sun screen... Oh, yeah, did I mention it was 97*? The week prior it was a daytime high of 19*. After applying copious amounts of sun screen for fear of catching on fire, I was reminded again of how unforgiving the desert can be... I over heated with clogged pores and began to suffer the effects of early heat stroke... goose pimples, and dizziness! Oh joy, and not getting out other than riding in the mid day sun and heat. My riding partners were very graceful, helped get my core temp down by soaking me and making me drink more and more, and finally we exited the trail in one piece. I was really feeling like the drag of the trip until I found out several people had to be evacuated via ATV over jeep trail due to heat stroke/exhaustion.

The rest of the weekend was spent riding on the Lajitas tail system, covering every portion of trail, and having a blast. I'll have to do a full write up soon, but was really just in need of posting up the best of the worst, and of course some pictures... Pictures of the place, even by a pro photographer do the place no justice. The place is massive and overwhelmingly beautiful. I highly suggest checking the place out for yourself. Late fall through late winter would probably be the only times of year I would want to be in the desert, but I imagine it's breath taking year round... if you love heat, this is the place for you.


Sine Botchen said...

Looks like some sweet riding out there.. I've been wanting to ride out West for some time now. Thanks for the report and the pics!

fatbob29r said...


It's a great place to ride, and a must visit if you're in Tejas. A group of us are thinking we might try to head out again this fall. Camping on the Rio Grand, and riding in Lajitas & Big Bend Ranch State Park. Possibly a little rafting or kayaking on the RG, but biking & camping are the main focus. You're more than welcome to join in, not sure our pace is what you would call challenging, but the offer is there if you're interested.