Morning began with a couple of catch-up projects. First on the list though was coffee. A short walk to the campground store and I had that one checked off the list. I could brew up some coffee at the campsite, but I decided to save my resources (butane and supply of coffee) for a more remote campsite. If that’s possible. The other few things on the list pertained to the Goose. I’ve been wanting to take the storage boxes off and take care of a couple of rust spots on my home-made racks. I accomplished getting the boxes off and I’ll get to the rust tomorrow. For the next project I had to put on an electricians hat. My electricians hat has holes in it though. Electronics are my weak point. The goal was to finally mount this dc power outlet to the bike somewhere. Before I left on the trip, Igor suggested that I mount it to the headlight circuit, and that’s what I intended to do until I saw how exposed and easy the horn wires were to access. Within 15 minutes I had that puppy hooked to the horn wires. Remember, I have no idea what I’m doing, so I breathed a sigh of relief when the horn still worked after the initial hook-up. I’ve also been carrying a dc to ac power converter for about a month and it’s useless with the dc plug. I pushed the converter into the plug and hooked my camera up to see if it would work. Failure. The horn wire don’t carry enough power. At about that time my campground buddy from Washington, Don, came over and he suggested that I hook the plug right into the battery. He also offered to help me out if I couldn’t get that to work. He has a fairly substantial supply of tools with his RV. Luckily, when I hooked it up to the battery, the dc plug had enough juice to run the converter and now I’m the proud owner of a Goose that can haul me around and charge my gadgets. After that it was a quick chain adjustment and lube and I was on my way to explore Big Bend for the day. Without the cargo boxes on the bike the Goose was loose. It’s been a couple of months since it’ s been naked and I’ve forgotten just how peppy that puppy can be. And let me tell you. It felt so light! All day, the bike wanted to do 75 mph and it was really hard to keep it near the parks posted 45 mph. There was one more chore that I left out. The day before when I left the park to go to the ghost town of Terlingua I forgot my annual pass and the ranger charged me $10 to get back in. She said there was no way to look it up, so Steve and I negotiated a refund with her if I brought my pass by before I left Big Bend for good. That meant that I would have to drive 44 miles to the other end of the park to get my ten bucks. In this park that’s a treat. 44 miles through some absolutely pristine desert. Better than a day at the office!
Finally all the chores were done and the lure of the Chisos Mountains were calling my name. For the past three days that I’ve been here they’ve been covered in thick fog most of the day, so I decided to hold off a visit. The Chisos hold the parks highest peaks and can be seen from anywhere in Big Bend on a clear day. From the parks main road up the six mile climb to the basin, the landscape began to change dramatically. Signs warned also, that you are entering bear and mountain lion country. It went from being a gently rolling desert to huge craggy peaks and lush forest. I kept thinking where the heck did this come from. Big Bend was shocking me again. Little did I know the best was yet to come. I finally made it to the 5,400 foot basin, er uh, wonderland. My God this place was amazing. Two thousand plus feet cliffs surrounded me like a massive mountainous fortress. This area was once covered in oceans millions of years ago and at the bottom of this ocean, volcanic activity was running rampant, creating these huge peaks which stayed under water for a very very long time. Now, with being exposed to erosion and time they have been whittled into a circular cluster of jagged mountains of massive proportions. Although looking like you are in the middle of an ancient volcano, each peak in the circle, was created from separate volcanic eruptions. I mentioned in my last post that the Sierra Del Carmens were the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen. That title has been taken by the basin area of the Chisos Mountains. At the basin there is a lodge, restaurant, park store, and visitor center. I grabbed a bite to eat at the restaurant and a coffee at the store and just chilled the heck out for a bit, taking in a view of what I thought heaven would look like. The crazy part of all of this, is that I know I haven’t even seen the Grand Canyon,Rocky mountains, or British Columbia, where the best views are said to be, yet. For now though, I’m thankful to have experienced this place and I think I’ll move my camp to the basin at least one day before I leave Big Bend.
After my moment of perfection in the Chisos’s, I made my way down the twisty turns, out of the highlands and back to Rio Grande Village. The goal was to head to the campground store and write a post up about the awesome day. While there I ran into two fellas that I met the previous day at the store. There names are Roger and Jerry and they’re from New Mexico. They are here in Big Bend working on a project to create a new border crossing in the park. Both guys are 19 years old and have the most laid back attitudes. We got along great the evening before and it was good to see them again. A bit later, Jerrys dad, Andreas, stopped by to get a shower. He is the foreman on the project and he keeps the boys busy all day at work. A couples hours later he finally got to take his shower. He gave me the most thorough run down on life in the southwest. We discussed everything from Las Vegas (his favorite spot) to Juarez, across the border. He spared no detail and assured me that travel in this part of the world is not as bad as the media makes it out to be. I wrote down some of his recommendations and plan to give em a visit. It was about ten thirty when I made the trek back to the tent. I’ll chalk that one up as a great day.