Thursday, February 21, 2019

Big Bend - Bicycling the West Loop

Today was a perfect day to ride the west loop of Big Bend National Park. We started at Maverick Junction, rode clockwise to Castolon/Santa Elena Junction, then proceeded south on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive to the Santa Elena Canton Overlook, and finally took Old Maverick Road back to where we started. 53 miles of some of the best scenery you can find anywhere - I really love Big Bend.

Ronnie and Nanette heading out on the main road from Maverick Junction towards Castolon/Santa Elena Junction. No photos of Heather today as she took the day off from riding :(

The main road climbs gently the whole way from Maverick Junction heading east.

Photo opportunity at the Castolon/Santa Elena Canyon Junction. This is the start of the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. Ross Maxwell was Big Bend's first Park Superintendent and a very excellent geologist.

Here I stopped to take a distant photo of a significant climb that starts just before the Burro Mesa Pouroff Trail-head. It hit close to 14% grades in a two-part climb.

Nanette reaching the top of the climb - she rode very strong (as always)!

Ronnie cranking up the climb - he had a rear derailleur adjustment issue that kept him from some of his lower gears. At the top he corrected the problem so the remainder of his ride was much easier.

Taking a break after the climb at the edge of the Sotol Vista.

The Bluebonnets were out in full force on this section of our route. Big Bend's variety seem to be the tallest that I have ever seen.

More Bluebonnets - Texas is blessed to have such a wonderful state flower.

And some more...

Bike among the Bluebonnets!

We stopped at the Castolon Visitor Center and Store for lunch and then pushed on towards some gravel on Old Maverick Road.

Ronnie and Nanette cruising the gravel on Old Maverick Road. We were fortunate to have a tailwind on this final section.

The whole group enjoying a beautiful day on the edge of nowhere in Big Bend.

The Jones bike loves gravel - 3" tires at 10 psi provided a great ride on rough roads :)

Luna's Jacal - yes this is a home where Gilberto Luna raised a large family. Located on Old Maverick Road at the edge of Alamo Creek.

Parting shot - Nanette and Ronnie riding towards Pena Mountain on Old Maverick Road.