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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 02-13-06, 01:40 AM   #1
tharold
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Idly dreaming of touring West Texas

In particular the area around Big Bend, Alpine, Marfa, Presidio, probably also the Hill country. Has anyone done this who has tips, or who has read the book 25 bicycle tours in the hill country and West Texas (thinking about getting it)? I've been in that area before but it was a long time ago and on a motorcycle one time and in a car another and I didn't camp. Such incredibly pretty country it's never left my imagination. Thinking about maybe the fall to catch the wildflowers.
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Old 02-13-06, 10:58 PM   #2
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don't know about the geographic/logistical side of touring west texas, but i did just finish a book by then-austinite lloyd mardis, who has written many stories of his travels around texas (on bike, naturally) collected into a book titled "mother nature ain't nobody's mom". mardis decided, in his early sixties no less, to up and jump on a bike and start pedaling till he'd ridden all over tx. his anecdotes and observations are charming in a witty, regular old guy kind of way. he's someone you'd be glad to have as a travelling companion. just a suggestion for inspiration.
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Old 02-14-06, 12:31 AM   #3
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I've ridden a few times in Big Bend National Park (mostly on the old unpaved roads) and have driven down there and backpacked many times. The grades are long and deceptively steep, but the scenery is incredible.

Fall can be a great time in the Big Bend but the weather can change pretty quickly. Last October I was riding in the desert and went from hot and sunny one day to cold and pouring rain the next.

Remember that it's a long way between towns so take plenty of water and be prepared.
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Old 02-14-06, 06:23 AM   #4
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I don't think you'll see wildflowers in the fall. Texas wildflowers are in the spring. This fall all your likely to see are burnt patches everywhere. Dry as a bone at this time of year can't mean good things during the summer.
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Old 02-14-06, 07:48 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tharold
In particular the area around Big Bend, Alpine, Marfa, Presidio...,
I went thru this partof the Texas (the ONLY PART of texas, if ya ask me!) on my world tour a few years ago, crossing into Mexico at Presidio(?)/Ojinaga. Big, wide open country with lots of desert type regions; clean air, great people. Watch the washes for flooding during rainy season or thunderstorns. The mountains have a Mordor/Tolkienish look about them. As others have said, this is wide open country so make sure ya got plenty of supplies and repair equipment.

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Old 02-14-06, 08:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doggus
I don't think you'll see wildflowers in the fall. Texas wildflowers are in the spring. This fall all your likely to see are burnt patches everywhere. Dry as a bone at this time of year can't mean good things during the summer.
Most Texas wildflowers (blue bonets, indian paintbrushes, etc.) bloom in the spring, generally around April depending on the region. In the fall, if there is sufficient rain, some of the desert wildflowers will bloom. I've seen Big Bend National Park carpeted in yellow flowers in October. But that's unusual.

Spring is definitely the time to tour Texas if you want to see wildflowers.
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Old 02-14-06, 09:46 AM   #7
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Spring is for wildflowers. But from now until summer is also the time of 30 mph winds from the north or, later in the spring, 30 mph from the southwest. September, October and even November are good months. You can't beat the fall weather in West Texas.

West Texas has always been my home, with a couple of short stays in Houston and Corpus.

The southwest area and the Davis mountains are great for touring but, as has been said, take plenty of water and supplies if you go in the summer. There are also some great areas between Wichita Falls, Abilene, and Lubbock and then along the caprock. You can base tour from Caprock Canyon state park and have a lot of fun, although half of the trail is closed now. Very little traffic and a town every 20 - 30 miles.

In two weeks I'm doing a one way tour from either Llano or Junction area back to the Wichita Falls area. Hopefully will catch the wind from the SW.
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Old 02-14-06, 11:44 AM   #8
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Have not read the book but have traveled El Paso to San Antonio. That is an interesting trip with a lot of options for routing. It all depends on how long you have, how far you want to go, how many hills you want to ride, etc. I agree about the flowers. In the spring the roadsides were covered, probably won't be any in the fall.
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Old 02-14-06, 01:31 PM   #9
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All hail West Texas!!

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Old 02-14-06, 09:30 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the comments. There's a glider port in Marfa that I'd like to check out too. I know West Texas is big, for the trip I have in mind I think 2 months might be not enough time: fly in to Houston, ride to Austin to meet some buds, then the hill country, west texas and gliding in Marfa, then *somehow* on west to fly off from San Francisco. Like I said, idly dreaming.
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