4.03.2009,7:41 AM
Big Bend: Long short ride
Eighty-two Miles in Five Hours

Yes, it took that long to ride down to Terlingua. But then, we were already on Terlingua time.

After packing the bikes, we headed to breakfast at La Trattoria in Alpine. I had an omelet with a blackberry pancake. The spinach and feta omelet is absolutely delicious, as is the coffee. The inside of the cafe is very clean and simply elegant. Staff is friendly and helpful.

The cafe looks like a favorite hangout for the locals for lunch. Sometime I would like to stay for dinner and sample the wines. If you visit La Trattoria be sure to check the specials. The food is exquisite and reasonably priced. A single computer at the counter offers Internet Cafe access, which enabled us to contact Voni Glaves before we left.

So there we are when two women in riding gear walked inside exclaiming about the cold. Behind them followed an old friend and fellow Desert Rat, Hardy! What a great coincidence! Hardy, his wife, Denise, with friends Hal and Sandy, stopped for breakfast before riding a Big Bend Loop on their BMWs. We all chatted for a bit, which extended our time there, but who cares? Good friends, beautiful day, who can ask for anything better?

If you are in a rush, an order/pick up window is in the rear of the cafe. Behind these beautiful GS's of course.

After breakfast, we stopped for a wonderful visit with Voni and Paul Glaves, also riders and BMW enthusiasts, on the way to Study Butte. Their adobe house is fantastic, as is the shop which is spotless. I keep hearing about all the magical things Paul can do with motorcycles.

And I enjoy their sense of humor. Some of Paul's handiwork:

Voni is 'red', as anyone who knows her is already aware of. And she does exude a happy red. She's a genuine lovely lady and a gracious host. I think I found someone with a lot in common interests down there, even down to the rocks and cacti.

My first glimpse of ocotillo in leaf was at their house. I love ocotillo, but I'm not sure why. To many they look like dead pointy thorny sticks. As with most botanical creatures, this desert plant is known by many names: coach whip, Jacob's staff, vine cactus, and 'damned spiky things'. But it is not a cactus.

Most of the year they assume deadpan sticks or tall whips covered with spines. Although shrouded with flaky brown bark, the stems are green underneath. As with most desert plants, after a good rainfall they burst into foliage: clusters of small ovate verdant leaves. At each tip top of those whips a spike of small brilliant red flowers grows to wave in the breeze and contrast with desert yellows and browns. Like all desert plants, there's a mad dash to photosynthesize and reproduce in the presence of the most precious resource: water. This is how desert plants adapt to the harsh hot and dry environment; to conserve moisture and nutrition as long as they must, then rush to procreate when water is available.

In front of Voni and Paul's house was a beautiful specimen in leaf and flower. The temptation of photographing Voni's red bike behind the ocotillo was too tempting.

Soon it was time to gear up and ride south to Terlingua.

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posted by Macrobe
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