4.02.2009,12:07 PM
Big Bend Again: Windy Ride to Alpine

Sometimes leaving on the road doesn't really sink in until many miles are already rolled away from under two wheels. It's been a long time since a real road trip on the bike. Three days in Oklahoma last fall was like taking a stroll in the backyard. This was different.

Another long trip like those to Utah and Tennessee in the past are far and few between these days. I've realized in the last year that life these days seems to stand in the way of too many things that I normally, or used to, enjoy. And Time, that chronological clock that ticks away opportunities, is getting louder. So last year (or was it before last year?) I decided on a Four-year Plan (TM). I've been in this area now for ten years; my Living in the City Experiment is reaching its conclusion. Time for a change.

This trip was more than just a pleasure trip, but details are irrelevant here. Regardless, it was, like most of my riding trips, more than just a 'ride'. On the other hand, it was indeed a ride. It felt good to get back on the steed and do just that: ride. Ride till you can't go anymore. But then again, I think I could have gone further. If I don't stop.

I often wonder what it is that captures us so: get on a bike and just go. Go until you can't go any more. Or just go and submit to that Wanderlust. That lust that is like a gear driven by sheer will, determination, by a primitive drive to move. I don't know what it is, and my scientific curiosity -that subconscious urge to know 'why?', 'how?' - keeps asking the same questions. The brain reels narratives that could pass for explanations, but in the end I just shrug my shoulders, smiling and just go.

In the mist and rain, in the gusting winds that throws the bike and I side to side, the game face appears, sheer will and determination take over and you keep going. Focus, ride and go. It will get better.

It did. After hours of laying on the gas tank and tank bag, neck craning up with battered helmet, we turned left: south. With a tail wind I could now sit up and be a sail. Carry me south, towards warmth and sun. Carry me home. Like a bird with weary wings and a genetically driven urge to fly south, we sailed down to Alpine.

Then all I wanted was a hot cup of coffee and a seat that wasn't in motion. For a little while.

Later we checked into our accommodations for the evening: Antelope Lodge in Alpine. A delightful place just off the highway with cabins scattered around a grassy courtyard. The cabins are quaint with kitchenettes and full bath with shower stall. The colorful tile was cool to the touch and playful to the eye, the pillows were awesome (with a bad neck, pillows assume a more than average importance).

Settling in, it was now time to explore. The first attraction was a glowing campfire in the middle of the courtyard. Scattered around it were several leather jackets hinting of Harley riders. They were, and a friendly group as well. We all chatted, fed the fire, told stories and imbibed of toddies.

Later, Ed and I browsed through the Last Frontier Museum connected to the office. It was indeed a fantastic find! Showcased in two rooms are geological specimens from all around the Big Bend region: fossils, geodes, gems, rocks of all shapes, sizes and colors. More than just well noted and annotated, several exhibits provide more information about the geological history than any other place I have visited thus far in the region. A 'must see' for anyone with an ounce of curiosity about the inorganic natural history of that area.

A warm shower revived a road-weary body and lulled me to sleep after an episode of 'Star Gate.' The moring would arrive soon enough and then back on the bikes to Terlingua.

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posted by Macrobe
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