Big Bend Annual Ride
by Steve Ledbetter
If you want some of the best off-road and paved bike
riding in Texas, try the Big Bend Thanksgiving Ride.
Nick Burke (RIP), Bob Speer, Jim Mosher and others were
the first to make the Big Bend at Thanksgiving an Annual
event. The logic behind making the trip at Thanksgiving
is, you are riding in the desert and it can get really
hot in summer, and it‘s not a peak tourist time of the
Ralph Delmar one of our NTNOA members runs CycleTek, a
successful bike repair and accessory business in Study
Butte. Study Butte is where we stay due to its central
location in the Big Bend area and a choice of motels and
campgrounds. Check out this web site for details of the
The off-road trails are rocky, dusty and some times
sandy, but always beautiful as you ride through the
desert and mountains. I’ve been lucky to have Bob Speers
as a “guide” because its easy to get lost and a long way
to anywhere, so always have a map, and a GPS with TOPO
is added insurance. A licensed bike is a must because
the trail usually starts and ends off a paved road, but
it might take a lengthy road ride to get back were you
started. There are a lot of trails but they can be
widely separated and long so you have to be able to ride
on paved roads to get to them.
After a long day riding it’s mandatory that you refresh
yourself at the “porch” at Terlingua Ghost Town. This is
a popular local spot to watch the changing shadows in
the mountains as the sun sets.
There are some good places to eat, a lot of characters to
meet, and beautiful scenery in Big Bend and most of all
some great riding.
Tommie (Ralph Delmar’s better half), Bob Speer and
myself on “the Porch” in Terlingua Ghost Town rinsing
the dust out.
The Porch again. Shane Bradford’s Yamaha TT250 on
left Notice extra gas strapped to back.
Bob’s KLR650 is in the middle. Bob has a lot of stories
with all the places he has been on this bike.
All the dust is gone. Bob and I getting ready
to enjoy a cold one.
My XR400 modified for Big Bend, Baja Designs
street legal kit, 4.0 gallon tank,
GPS, dual output stator, rack on the back for gear, and
a Peckerhead graphic.
Clay Henry - Mayor of Lajitas, a beer drinking goat.
Click on photos to enlarge.