Today started off at McGoo's for breakfast. It was convenient and close to the hotel. Service was good and reasonably quick for a party of our size.
Then we headed down to Study Butte to allow a few riders to top off their tanks before riding the river road (FM 170). I followed Chuck and Mike at a modestly spirited pace. Most of the group stopped off at the fort just outside Presidio but I kept going.
I topped off my fuel tank in Presidio and continued on FM 170, I want to go to Candeleria which is as the north end of the road. The ride was pleasant although not as exciting as the stretch from Study Butte to Presidio. When I got to the end of the road, I looked around, wondered why anyone would live out there and then turned around. In Ruidosa I decided to head towards Marfa via a gravel country road called Pinto Canyon Road. It was a 20 mile stretch of rough gravel with some great scenic views. I wouldn't recommend it on a touring bike but for moderate dual sports it's definitely something you should check out. Of course if you think your Goldwing is a dual sport by all means go check it out.
When I finally reached pavement again I found myself on FM 2810 which I followed into Marfa. There I picked up Hwy 17 toward Ft. Davis. About 4 miles south of Ft. Davis there's a road going toward Valentine, I think it's FM 166. It's part of the Ft. Davis loop. I turned on it and followed it around for 75 miles to get into Ft. Davis. Just remember to always take the road to the right and follow the signs toward Fort Davis. The first mileage sign to Ft. Davis is about 25 miles into the loop. The ride was scenic and there was snow on the ground as I got into the Ft. Davis mountains near the observatory. Some other riders told me there was actually snow on the roadway at the observatory but I didn't ride up to check it out.
Once back in Ft. Davis it was a short 23 mile ride down Hwy 118 into Alpine. I filled up the gas tank near the hotel and then parked the bike for the day. I rode about 350 miles today and got to see all the sites that I wanted to see. The gravel road was an extra treat.
Tomorrow we are heading back to the Hill Country. I was sort of looking forward to visiting Big Bend National Park but knew I was going to sacrifice my time in the park in the interest of the others so I'll come back and ride that another time. We'll either stay in Camp Wood or Rockspring tomorrow night and then ride home on Monday.