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August 6, 2016

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1k loop in Texas

May 5, 2016

 

I have been following Curt (@rambleonphoto) on Instagram for quite some time now and have always been a big fan of his photography, so when I saw him start to promote his 1K In a Day challenge I was instantly interested. I had been wanting to do something crazy like that to see how hard I could push myself on my Harley for quite some time now.

I thought it would be pretty awesome to try and do a loop out towards west Texas and travel through Big Bend National Park, as it's been close to a decade since I've been out there. The route I chose would take us through a nice portion of the central Texas hill country before putting us out near the Mexican boarder where we'd begin to get into the wide open and mountainous west Texas countryside, ending up with us stoping in Terlingua for our halfway point.

Originally I had planned to try and run this by myself (I know, crazy) but I mentioned something about it to my dad and he was more than eager to ride out here to do the trip together.

We set out from San Marcos at about 7:15am, stopping on the outside of town for some breakfast tacos. We rode from San Marcos out towards Kerrville, then up to Mountain Home to pick up highway 41 to take us out towards Rocksprings. Highway 41 was on of my favorite roads we took during our 1,001.9 mile journey. It's a 52 mile stretch of two lane highway with very little traffic to speak of. We made some good time riding down it doing about 90-105 mph. About halfway down the highway we came up upon a small gas station and picked up some damn good jerky, I regret not buying more. After the quick stop there, we kept on until we hit Rocksprings. We stopped there for gas and continued boogying on down towards Del Rio.


About 20 miles north of Del Rio, as I was riding behind Pops, I noticed his left taillight and license plate were dangling and getting tossed around in the wind. After pulling over, we noticed the bolt that held the taillight and license plate holder onto the bike had worked itself loose, but thankfully wasn't missing. After jerry-rigging it to hold in one place with a bandana and some paracord, we made it into Del Rio and found an auto parts store. We ended up having to pull his entire fender off to get everything tightened back down properly. We made a pit stop after our repair work to grab some food and get a few cold beers in us, then it was back on the road.


We took off from Del Rio with about half full gas tanks thinking we'd for sure find a gas station as we rode along the Mexican boarder. Turns out we were wrong. On highway 90 from Del Rio to Marathon, where we would turn to head into Big Bend National Park, there is only one place to get gas. We were approaching a village called Dryden when I started getting the dreaded "low range" message. As we pulled into Dryden, I was running on fumes and pulled over at the general store in town. Unfortunately, there were no pumps there. As I started to curse my horrible luck, this angel of a women came out of the general store asking if we need gas. I said yes, and thankfully she had a full five gallon jerry can for us to use. After gassing up, we thanked her, slipped her some cash for the trouble and kept on truckin' until we hit the town of Sanderson with the glorious gas pumps. We topped off in Sanderson, then continued on towards Marathon.


From Marathon we started a beautiful journey down into Big Bend. The sun was slowly starting to creep down on us at this point and the sky was getting painted with all these beautiful colors. It's hard to find words that properly describe riding the the park at dusk. It was hands down my favorite part of the ride.


After exiting the park, we rode about 10 miles before we hit Terlingua and were officially halfway through our 1,000 mile journey. We stopped for gas just inside of town, as the sun started to fully set giving us some amazing photos. I think my old man said it best... He said the sunset there in Terlingua was "Quite possibly the most beautiful sunset I've ever witnessed in my 54 years on this earth." I couldn't agree more. It was the perfect interlude into the night portion of our ride.

Taking off from Terlingua, we headed north towards Fort Stockton while winding throughout the rugged, mountainous desert terrain. Even though the sun has set on us, this was still a blast to ride through. After about 45-50 miles of this I started seeing a bunch of wildlife on the roadside, with the occasional ballsy deer and jackrabbit running across the road. Thankfully I never hit a deer, but one unfortunate rabbit decided it was his day to die and dove right in front of my bike. I felt both tires go over the poor bastard, and I just kept on boogying.


After a couple hours, we arrived in Fort Stockton and decided in order to make up some time, we'd just bomb down Interstate 10 all the way into San Antonio, then take Interstate 35 back into San Marcos. Off we went, with about five hours left to ride and pretty much instantly we felt the temperature drop on us. Neither of us planned on riding in 40-50 degree weather, so we sucked it up and kept on going. After a hour or two my body went numb, so then it wasn't too bad.


About 200 miles out of San Antonio, while we were stopped taking a quick break I decided to try and gain a little warmth by cutting a hole in the middle of my bedroll and fashioning it into a Mexican poncho. It didn't do much help, but then again we only had about 250 miles left.

 

With the end in sight, we soared through the remaining miles and were exiting off of the interstate when I looked down to see my odometer change from 999.99 to 1,000.00. Words can't describe the feeling of knowing that we'd just crushed a 1,000 mile ride in under a day. When we finally pulled into my parking spot behind my apartment, it was 5:30am and my odometer read 1,001.9 miles.

This trip was as amazing as it was brutal, and I loved every minute of it. I know my old man is already wanting me to plan out another 1K run for next year. I'm just happy to have accomplished this and I can't wait to see everyone else's stories from their 1K In a Day victories.

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