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Truck + camper trailer options in BBRSP

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Offline Fox60

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Truck + camper trailer options in BBRSP
« on: January 11, 2017, 08:43:46 AM »
Good morning!  The wife and I, 61 and 62 years young, are considering a trip to Big Bend Country for late October/early November to coincide with the spectacle of the chili cook-off in Terlingua.  We'll need some quiet and solitude after that, and BBRSP looks very inviting. 

We'll be traveling in a F350 single-rear-wheel Crew Cab long bed 4wd diesel pickup towing a hardside A-frame popup camper trailer. The truck is on 10 ply ATs, two full-size spares, good 100% duty-cycle air pump, plugging kit, and jacking gear.  The trailer is on a torsion axle, has 15" AT tires and a fullsize spare, has 16-18" of clearance all around, and is marketed as an "off-road" trailer.  We've had it in some knarly spots in Montana, Wyoming, and the Southern Appalachians since purchasing it in 2014.  Both the tow vehicle and the trailer are 19' long, so we're 38' nose-to-tail.  We have a 23 gallon water tank and can carry up to 28 additional gallons in cubes, well more than enough for a few nights' stay.

My preliminary thoughts are to enter BBRSP, park/set up the camper for 2 to 4 nights, and explore some of the roads in the truck and hike some trails.  Having been an exploration geologist in another life, I am particularly interested to see El Solitario up close and in person.  It's a fairly unique structure.   

I've spent 2-3 hours looking through this forum and on various BBRSP official website pages, including maps.  I'd welcome any thoughts concerning:

Water supply to fill our tank(s) in Sauceda, Lajitas, or Presidio, where we like to avoid towing lots of water while on the road.

Confirmation of availability of showers at Sauceda HQ, but none (and generally no water at all) at campgrounds and campsites.

Possibility of our rig running the Llano Loop south and east of Sauceda, with or without the camper.

Campgrounds/campsites where we may be able to shoehorn our somewhat long single-axle camper in to (and not be too obtrusive to others who may be tenting, etc). 

Feasibility of getting our truck (without camper) in to (and out of!) interior roads leading to El Solitario.  Looks like the road ends at Tres Papalotes campground and it's not possible to circumnavigate El Solitario by vehicle.  Correct? 

Other roads/trails to consider exploring.  We enjoy a bit of off-road driving and a lot of day-hiking.

Closest grocery store west of Study Butte/Terlingua at which to provision and get ice on the way in.  Is it common to see block ice sold in stores in Big Bend country?

Closest diesel fuel west of Study Butte/Terlingua.  For this and the above, I'd think Presidio may offer grocery store, ice, and fuel options. 

When we leave, we're considering heading up to Chinati Hot Spring for a night or two, then out the Pinto Canyon route to Marfa en route back to our North Carolina home.  I've seen several videos of folks traveling that road and unless there have been recent heavy rains causing new washouts, I think I can get our rig out that way. Thoughts?

Thanks for reading this Newbie's post.  I welcome any comments or advice.

Fox60

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Offline BlindWilly

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Re: Truck + camper trailer options in BBRSP
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2017, 02:19:53 PM »
I'll answer the few that I can and hope that it's helpful...
Sounds like you've taken your camper on some rough spots.  You'll be able to do all the main roads with no problem.  On some of the trails I think the long wheelbase of the truck would pose more of a problem on some of the tight turns.  So pulling the trailer around some spots might be tough.  One of the campsites I visited most recently was Mexicano #2.   If you're looking at the trail map, head south along Javelin Road to Madrid Falls road... Madrid Falls road had a nice hill and semi rough trail before we reached Mexicano 2.  Maybe you can detach the trailer and run the trail first to see if you'd want to tow the pop up.

Tres Papalotes is a GREAT campsite and you're right. You can't go all the way around the Solitario. IF you wheel your truck up there, I would advise against taking it up to the Magnesium Mine!  There would be little to no place to turn a full sized truck around up there.  Nowhere and the Uranium Mine will probably be ok.
As of 2 weeks ago, you will have NO trouble getting both your rig and camper to Tres Papalotes.

There is a shower stall in the men's bathroom at the ranger station.  I'm assuming the same for the women's.

Truck Only I would suggest the Oso Loop and the Javelin trail for wheeling.

Presidio to the west of the park is the closest town. From there you can take Casa Piedra road to the main park road.  When I was there we stopped at the Exxon station for gas, bags of ice and snacks.  I'm not sure about a full blown grocery store, although I'm sure there is one.

I'll let other folks comment on the topics I didn't cover.

Post up a photo of your rig and trailer, I'd love to see them!   

Here's what I went wheeling and camping with recently.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 05:25:02 PM by RichardM »
"No matter where you go, there you are"
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Re: Truck + camper trailer options in BBRSP
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2017, 12:25:24 PM »
Been a few years since I've been through Presidio, but there definitely was a full grocery store last time i camped in BBRSP, and the internets confirm: http://www.myporters.net/presidio
(Not much English was spoken in that store.)

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Offline Fox60

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Re: Truck + camper trailer options in BBRSP
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2017, 08:10:55 AM »

Sounds like you've taken your camper on some rough spots. 

Yep, BD, DT, but no T-shirt

You'll be able to do all the main roads with no problem.

In your experience, what are the main roads, as relates to how they're labeled on the BBRSP official maps? 

On some of the trails I think the long wheelbase of the truck would pose more of a problem on some of the tight turns. 

The '02 Superduty CC longbed must have the worst turning radius of any production truck ever built.  Tight turns bordering on switchbacks are a game stopper with the trailer unless there is run-out room to both sides, rare for a spot where a tight turn is required to begin with.  Plus, steep washes are game stoppers, where the truck's breakover angle is poor owing to the long wheelbase,  where the departure angle is poor with the longbed, and where the breakover with the camper trailer is terrible since it's got a toy-hauler platform forward of the camper box.   


Maybe you can detach the trailer and run the trail first to see if you'd want to tow the pop up.

Wouldn't be the first time.  That is, in fact, SOP.

 
As of 2 weeks ago, you will have NO trouble getting both your rig and camper to Tres Papalotes.

I carefully watched your video titled Paso Al Solitario.  I haven't consulted the maps, but if that's the main trail from Sauceda to Tres Papalotes campground, the washes are too steep for the camper, and the truck may be challenged.  She's stock except for a very mild lift and has open diffs with a marginally-functioning factory LS rear
. Was the 1:00 hour video all on the main route from Tres Papalotes to Sauceda or was there some alternate route driven where the washes were so steep and the two-track so gullied up in places?
 


I'll let other folks comment on the topics I didn't cover.

Yes, thanks for this and thanks to Austin Gorpchomper for the inputs on Presidio. 


Post up a photo of your rig and trailer, I'd love to see them!

Working on getting some iPhone photos corralled and posted.   


Thanks guys,

Fox60

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Offline Fox60

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Re: Truck + camper trailer options in BBRSP --UPDATE
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2017, 10:34:50 AM »
I took a longer look at the Fresno Canyon topo linked on the BBRSP website and I see where the Solitario Road to Tres Papalotes is designated as a 2WD HC route, and further I see the loop to the northeast is designated as an unmaintained 4WD HC route.  I suppose the unmaintained loop is the main part of your Paso al Solitario route videoed and that the main Solitario Road is indeed a graded gravel 2WD HC route along which my truck and camper trailer might be OK.

I also watched the Feb 2015 video of the Road to Nowhere ascent. I didn't find "road to nowhere" labeled as such on the BBNP Fresno Canyon topo, but it's pretty clear it starts south of Tres Papalotes campground, ascends the west flank of the canyon opposite of Tres Papalotes, jags back to the left/west at a saddle about 0.9 miles in (where the red vehicle backed in to allow you to pass), then holds the shelf for the rest of the route into its dead-end at the designated view-point.  My truck's rear axle trails well inside of the front, so a couple of those drainage crossings are iffy, and there's sure as heck nowhere to pass or pull over for opposing traffic, so I guess the smaller rig is obliged to back up (sort of the "F350 Rule", you might say. ;) ).

Fox60

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Offline BlindWilly

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Re: Truck + camper trailer options in BBRSP
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2017, 01:42:46 PM »
Hi again,
The Paseo Al Solitario is NOT the road to Tres Papalotes and Nowhere.  It is an unmaintained 4x4 trail heading north, away from the Solitario.
As of December 27th, 2016 the road to the Solitario was well maintained and was accessible by a prius :)
"No matter where you go, there you are"
-Buckaroo Bonzai

www.txpedition.com

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Offline BlindWilly

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Re: Truck + camper trailer options in BBRSP --UPDATE
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2017, 02:05:43 PM »
I took a longer look at the Fresno Canyon topo linked on the BBRSP website and I see where the Solitario Road to Tres Papalotes is designated as a 2WD HC route, and further I see the loop to the northeast is designated as an unmaintained 4WD HC route.  I suppose the unmaintained loop is the main part of your Paso al Solitario route videoed and that the main Solitario Road is indeed a graded gravel 2WD HC route along which my truck and camper trailer might be OK.
Correct, the main road is very maintained and easy to get to Tres Papalotes. The unmaintained loop IS the Paseo al Solitario. We didn't end up looping back, we exited up by the private residence on the northern side of the park

I also watched the Feb 2015 video of the Road to Nowhere ascent. I didn't find "road to nowhere" labeled as such on the BBNP Fresno Canyon topo, but it's pretty clear it starts south of Tres Papalotes campground, ascends the west flank of the canyon opposite of Tres Papalotes, jags back to the left/west at a saddle about 0.9 miles in (where the red vehicle backed in to allow you to pass), then holds the shelf for the rest of the route into its dead-end at the designated view-point.  My truck's rear axle trails well inside of the front, so a couple of those drainage crossings are iffy, and there's sure as heck nowhere to pass or pull over for opposing traffic, so I guess the smaller rig is obliged to back up (sort of the "F350 Rule", you might say. ;) ).
Correct again, the entrance is just south of Tres Papalotes. There are also two mines to explore, but based on your earlier post regarding switchbacks, you might want to hike those two.
If you're camping at Tres Papalotes, you can pretty much know when folks are heading up to Nowhere. There were a few tight turns up there that will make you clench a bit. I had a buddy of mine let his daughter drive his Humvee up that trail to the end. 


Fox60
"No matter where you go, there you are"
-Buckaroo Bonzai

www.txpedition.com

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Offline Fox60

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Re: Truck + camper trailer options in BBRSP
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2017, 06:18:21 PM »
This is very, very helpful, BW.  I've got a much better "feel" for the lay of the land, and the main roads and trails. 

Hopefully the geologic maps of BBRSP, of course  including  the Solitario structure, will soon arrive and I can start planning some vehicle and hiking traverses.  El Solitario is often referred to as a collapsed volcano, but it is more widely believed to be a laccolith, with a minor (in terms of area) collapsed vent near its center, and the circular pattern so strikingly visible is due to differential erosion which has taken place since emplacement of the laccolith.  A laccolith is formed when magma squeezes laterally between layers of older rock as well as doming upward to form a "blister" which never reaches the surface.  There is, however, a small area of collapse breccia mapped in the center, so perhaps a small extrusive vent (aka volcano) did breach the surface when the surface was hundreds of meters above the present surface, and as that vent's activity ceased, broken up side-wall rock (breccia) receded into the vent.  El Solitario is also notable in that the "blister" shape of the laccolith warped up a material amounts of the old folded and faulted Ouchita Mountains as it pushed upwards and laterally.  Subsequent erosion has caused these much older rocks to crop out in a ring around the structure and that outcrop is the southwesternmost exposure of the Ouchitas in Texas.  The folded and faulted Ouchitas underlie all of central and northeast Texas but crop out only around the Llano Uplift, the Marathon Uplift, and around El Solitario.  The closest other exposures of the Ouchitas is in southwestern Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma.

Fox60

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Offline BlindWilly

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Re: Truck + camper trailer options in BBRSP
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2017, 09:38:46 AM »
You know your geology!   8)
One resource you might want to look at is the "Discovery Topo" map of the park. I used it and google earth to map out and explore areas of the park I wanted to visit.
http://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/big-bend-ranch/map
"No matter where you go, there you are"
-Buckaroo Bonzai

www.txpedition.com

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Offline Fox60

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Re: Truck + camper trailer options in BBRSP
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2017, 01:15:35 PM »
Well, I've spent a few hours reading some USGS and other professional literature on the geology of Big Bend country.  The Discovery map is on my "to acquire" list.  Thanks again for your help!

Fox60

 


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