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      04-15-2015, 09:05 PM   #1
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West Texas Driving Tour to Big Bend

Have you taken your BMW on a road trip recently?

While this winter has not been particularly harsh in Texas... we did get our additional " 6 weeks" of winter, as predicted by Punxsutawney Phil, and the cold weather has held on as long as possible. A few months ago... when the Lone Star Chapter TourMeisters set the spring Driving Tour schedule... I was excited to see that the West Texas Driving Tour to Big Bend National Park was on the schedule.

Over the years, this event has been held every third spring, however the economic downturn in recent years along with sky high gas prices has shelved this event in favor of more budget friendly half and single day events. With gas prices low, and a burgeoning oil and gas industry having sparked the construction of several new hotels in West Texas, this seemed like the perfect time to make this my first trip to West Texas.

As the days counted down to the event, i consulted more experienced tourers and decided I would purchase a CB and an antenna.... Yes... that's correct... A Citizens Band Radio? and an Antenna... on my BMW.... hmmm..

I was advised it really is recommended, so I obliged and made a few quick moves on Amazon and the day of the trip I was armed with a handheld cb radio, and within minutes I was able to mount the antenna on the rear decklid. A small BNC antenna adapter was sourced from a local truck stop in order to connect the handheld radio to the external antenna. Total cash outlay... approx $75.




[/url]


Our group met on the south side of Dallas at 9am.... we were disappointed that there some late cancellations due to illness, reducing the group to 5 cars.. and our group somehow ended up being all N5X motors... an E46 330, two 1Ms, a Z4 3.0 and a 535 sedan. Our Tour Meister Ray took the point,





and fellow 1M pilot Mike took the tailgunner position and we headed out onto the open road!







north texas landscape.



It wasnt long before we hit construction.. it was unique to see this portable, manned, stoplight for a single lane section of roadway..



once past the construction... the roads became a little more fun!











the skateboarder in me immediately noticed the orange hand rail...




small towns are quaint! We wondered how they survive when so many main roads bypass the small towns!
(answer: the town is better off without the congestion of trucks and the wear and tear from heavy machinery, as well as noise and air pollution.)





much of our route was on Hwy 67... we went through stephenville..past Brownwood and Coleman...







North Texas wildflowers...



normal, north texas bluebonnets...




We had a 30 miinute delay for an auto accident victim to be airlifted away... hope recovery is quick




We stopped in San Angelo for lunch at THE GRILL... a surprisingly classy place .. with excellent service..ask for Benjy.



and we continued on after lunch... the further west we went... the flatter it got....









We reached our evening destination at around 5:30 pm....... the Candlewood Suites in Fort Stockton..
A bedtime photo of the cars parked safely at the rear of the hotel due to construction on the side... another new hotel!
When you leave your car behind the hotel.. be sure to take, hide, and most importantly.. LOCK.

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Last edited by M3 Adjuster; 04-22-2015 at 03:19 AM.
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      04-15-2015, 09:06 PM   #2
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Day two

Destination.. Big bend!




getting closer..





Last stop for fuel before the park is Marathon TX





Marathon, TX of course is home to Big Bend Pizza ...

A Google reviewer says.. " this place makes some fantastic pizza -- don't be put off by the exterior. Made quickly and with some very apparent talent. Yes you should stop here " We arrived early in the morning before 10am, so it was closed naturally..




Another notable landmark in Marathon is the Gage Motel... " This upscale property offers lodging in a pueblo-style adobe brick building, a restored 1927 Mission-style hotel and an 1890 Colonial-style building. It's a 5-minute walk from Gage Gardens. " Unfortunately I have No photo of the hotel sorry... just the sign.. and the beautiful view...




As we headed west from Marathon, suddenly things got really pretty...





It seemed like every time we crested a hill, there was a change to the topography and another amazing view





A short while later we reached the entrance to the park...








the blue bonnets got taller..






and taller...






The landscape continued to change by the minute..







a stop at one of the turn outs ... At this point... part of our group headed to Mexico to shop.... those that did not want to cross the border or were more interested in hiking the trails, headed on the way to Santa Elena Canyon





The roads were twisty on the way and SMOOTH on the way there..






Falling Rock?? !! this is one of the reasons a CB was handy... There actually WAS fallen rock in the roadway. Part of the duties of the lead car is to be a scout and check the roadway ahead and radio back road conditions (animate, and inanimate) back to the other drivers in the group.





that large ridge is Mexico....










The Santa Elena Canyon is created by the Rio Grande River.... and taking the trail leads to looking directly at Mexico






Yep... that's another country... right across that little river..



We hiked back further into the canyon... and the views got better and better. Hikers would consider this an easy trail.. i would say it is a moderate walk.






Lots of neat texas vegetation...







mexico is on the left.... and the United States is on the right..





<<<<Mexico........................................ .................................................. .................. U.S.>>>>>>>






on to chisos basin...





We stopped at the mountain lodge in the chisos basin.. There are campgrounds, lodges, and of course the main lodge restaurant even serves beer.... from Big Bend Brewing company... Natch! I had the Porter with my lunch. It was excellent!
Many people choose to come to the Park and use it as a home base, and then explore outward from the park.



After lunch, the part of the group that went to Mexico arrived at the lodge safely, and we continued on towards Alpine.
As we came down from the chisos basin... my draw dropped to the floor of my car as I saw this view...





on to Terlingua... via the Famous River Road. FM-170 along the Rio Grande.














We stopped in Lajitas for a photo op and a chance to look at the Rio Grande...








climbing atop this rock really helped with the view..



the view to the left...




and the view to the right..... see The River Road ?




here it is....


a few last glimpses of the Rio Grande on our way to Alpine...










the view outside as beautiful as the view inside




We reached Alpine in the early evening... and then went to the Reata Steakhouse for dinner..
My steak was excellent.. although next time I would leave the Port wine sauce on the side..




bread pudding and dulce de leche ice cream for dessert!





Last edited by M3 Adjuster; 04-22-2015 at 03:59 AM.
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      04-15-2015, 09:07 PM   #3
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Day Three


west texas morning...







We took a trip to town to Marfa. This is a unique cultural district..



The Marfa Food Shark turned out to be a fantastic lunch.. www.foodsharkmarfa.com





Our Tour Meister Ray Stopped to write a few Thank you notes..... er.. I mean Postcards...




the road to Fort Davis..














photo op at McDonalds Observatory...













their newest telescope.. the Hobby Eberly Telescope..






one of the mirrors..



Look closely at the photo below... look for the green bars... Slightly above this you can see the panel array.
There are 91 hexagonal panels



Sometimes a sign says as many words as a picture..



hey wait... I've got cell service! How many bars do you have?







the way back down...







Not exactly a sign you want to see when you are on the open road in your BMW...








Just another saturday in Alpine Texas



Saturday night, we drove back up to the observatory for some evening star gazing.



Last edited by M3 Adjuster; 04-22-2015 at 04:20 AM.
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      04-15-2015, 09:09 PM   #4
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day Four- The Return home

Day four












coming back down the mountains








We left Alpine at 8am, taking more of a direct route, returning to the DFW metroplex around 5pm.. I managed to get my car cleaned up as well as the lawn completed before tucking my pride and joy back in the garage...



Here's hoping you get yours out on the open road soon!

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Last edited by M3 Adjuster; 04-22-2015 at 04:13 AM.
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      04-16-2015, 10:52 AM   #5
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Nicely done! I am really hoping to get some longer trips in this summer! I'm getting antsy! ....and it's snowing here today!!
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      04-16-2015, 01:54 PM   #6
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Big Bend

Great trip. Thanks for documenting.
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      04-16-2015, 03:54 PM   #7
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Looks like a great time!
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      04-16-2015, 10:25 PM   #8
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I'm sitting here in KC, green with envy of that road trip. Those pics, just like the hundreds I have taken in Big Bend, strain to convey the wonder of the place.

We have run all the canyons in the park, as well as the 83 mile stretch of the lower canyons starting just outside the park and going down to Dryden. Staying in the Chisos Basin is great, as it staying at the Gage Hotel in Marathon.

We just bought a '66 Airstream Tradwind (24" dual axle) that I just started gutting so I can do a frame-off subfloor replacement and redo the interior to our liking. Big Bend is definitely one of the places we want to spend a month or so in when we get it road-worthy.
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      04-17-2015, 09:51 AM   #9
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GF has been wanting to take a trip to Big Bend. I would love to take the 1M out there but the dog would be coming so we would probably take her 328i.
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      04-17-2015, 01:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slats
I'm sitting here in KC, green with envy of that road trip. Those pics, just like the hundreds I have taken in Big Bend, strain to convey the wonder of the place.

We have run all the canyons in the park, as well as the 83 mile stretch of the lower canyons starting just outside the park and going down to Dryden. Staying in the Chisos Basin is great, as it staying at the Gage Hotel in Marathon.

We just bought a '66 Airstream Tradwind (24" dual axle) that I just started gutting so I can do a frame-off subfloor replacement and redo the interior to our liking. Big Bend is definitely one of the places we want to spend a month or so in when we get it road-worthy.
I was truly amazed. I had no idea that there were such spectacular views in Texas.
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      04-20-2015, 09:31 AM   #11
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Nice tour, enjoyed the pictures.
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      04-21-2015, 12:45 PM   #12
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Mark,
Great pics
I was also in West Texas 4/12 Marathon, Alpine and McDonald Obser
Now I have your pics to show
Next time please let us know before your next trip
Jim
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      04-21-2015, 08:38 PM   #13
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Mark,

Awesome pictures. I need to plan a drive for the Houston chapter.
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      04-22-2015, 04:25 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim 1M View Post
Mark,
Great pics
I was also in West Texas 4/12 Marathon, Alpine and McDonald Obser
Now I have your pics to show
Next time please let us know before your next trip
Jim
Oh my that's amazing.. that's the exact same weekend. Wow!
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      04-22-2015, 08:37 AM   #15
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looks like a fun road!!! thanks for sharing
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      04-22-2015, 10:45 AM   #16
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Great pics, great trip, thx for posting
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      04-22-2015, 01:40 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IEDEI
looks like a fun road!!! thanks for sharing
While my car is no garage queen, I do hate to put miles on it... Your daily driver usage has inspired me to get out and enjoy my car in more ways
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      04-22-2015, 10:18 PM   #18
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Thanks for the write-up and pictures! I wish I could have joined the group, but I was a corner worker at the MotoGP race at Circuit of the Americas the same weekend.

I have the wrong color 1M to complete the color trio anyway...

We went backpacking in Big Bend last Thanksgiving. What an amazing place. Pictures can't really capture how spectacular it is. We visited McDonald Observatory, as well. We also took a slight detour while in the region to visit Prada Marfa at sunrise. That was fun.

We were in our Sprinter van, so no 1M pictures, unfortunately!

Three photos from the South Rim of the Chisos Mountains, looking south toward Mexico, the Rio Grande and Santa Elena Canyon







Stardust Motel sign along U.S. 90



Prada Marfa

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      04-22-2015, 11:11 PM   #19
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P.S. I love that you have your European Delivery plates mounted front and back.
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      04-23-2015, 09:44 AM   #20
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P.S. I love that you have your European Delivery plates mounted front and back.

It came that way , and I just haven't had the heart to change it !


Love the photos of Prada Marfa. That was actually a part of the tour on day 3 , however several the group of us opted out in order to have some time to relax or shop in Marfa. As it turns out , that the Prada display is quite far from the town itself. (30 miles )

We also didn't get to see the Marfa lights as it was cloudy and then some heavy storms came in after we ate dinner in Alpine Friday night. (Day 2).
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      05-12-2015, 11:31 AM   #21
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Great thread! I love road trips like this.

When I get the M2, I plan on doing a coast to coast road trip in it. It's something I've always wanted to do, and I can't think of a better way to see the country (not originally from the US).

Thanks for sharing, I'll definitely be using this as a guide for when I drive through Texas.
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      05-24-2015, 10:47 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3 Adjuster View Post
It came that way , and I just haven't had the heart to change it !


Love the photos of Prada Marfa. That was actually a part of the tour on day 3 , however several the group of us opted out in order to have some time to relax or shop in Marfa. As it turns out , that the Prada display is quite far from the town itself. (30 miles )

We also didn't get to see the Marfa lights as it was cloudy and then some heavy storms came in after we ate dinner in Alpine Friday night. (Day 2).
Great pictures. I'm relocating to Dallas from CA in a week and we were looking into interesting routes to take!
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