Big Bend Chat

Big Bend or Bust! => The West Texas Fandango (aka Road Trip) => Topic started by: trtlrock on February 04, 2007, 10:05:17 AM

Title: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: trtlrock on February 04, 2007, 10:05:17 AM
Hi all.  Out of Virginia & now in Austin.  Subaru needs some as yet unspecified work :(

When we leave I'm wondering which of 3 routes to take to Study Butte.

1) the Mapquest (and probably fastest) route:  290W to I10 to Ft. Stockton & then 385 to SB

2) 290W to I10 to Junction then 377 SW then 277 S then 90W to 385 to SB

3) I35S to SA beltway (410) to 90W to 385 to SB

My concerns / goals are...

a) get to SB by 6:30pm at latest (not critical, but daylight is a good thing)
b) leave Austin before weekday morning rush hour coagulates
c) if going thru SA, don't hit whatever their AM rush hour is
d) the fewer speed traps the better
e) new or pretty scenery would be nice
f) there will be no stops except for gas etc

We've always taken route #1 as described above; a change would be really nice, but not if it takes a lot longer.  I can see us leaving by 6:30am - 7am at the earliest, and I'd really like to get to SB before dark.  FYI we'll be leaving on a weekday.

Thoughts?
Title: Re: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: BigBendHiker on February 04, 2007, 10:40:13 AM
Quote from: "trtlrock"
Hi all.  Out of Virginia & now in Austin.  Subaru needs some as yet unspecified work :(

When we leave I'm wondering which of 3 routes to take to Study Butte.

1) the Mapquest (and probably fastest) route:  290W to I10 to Ft. Stockton & then 385 to SB

2) 290W to I10 to Junction then 377 SW then 277 S then 90W to 385 to SB

3) I35S to SA beltway (410) to 90W to 385 to SB

My concerns / goals are...

a) get to SB by 6:30pm at latest (not critical, but daylight is a good thing)
b) leave Austin before weekday morning rush hour coagulates
c) if going thru SA, don't hit whatever their AM rush hour is
d) the fewer speed traps the better
e) new or pretty scenery would be nice
f) there will be no stops except for gas etc

We've always taken route #1 as described above; a change would be really nice, but not if it takes a lot longer.  I can see us leaving by 6:30am - 7am at the earliest, and I'd really like to get to SB before dark.  FYI we'll be leaving on a weekday.

Thoughts?


We have taken the I-10 route and the Hwy 90 route (and at least the time from SA to BIBE seemed about the same).  The hwy 90 route is much more scenic, in my opinion.  I think you could take that route, if you were leaving by 7AM from Austin and reach Study Butte well before dark.  On our first trip out there in 2003 (Victoria to the Basin), we left Victoria at 8:15AM and were in the Basin by 5:30PM. That included stops for lunch and food in Del Rio (about an hour there), so you should be OK.


BBH
Title: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: 01ACRViper on February 04, 2007, 12:09:41 PM
we left for our january trip with 2 cars of unorganized people at 7 am, and got to PJ at 2:30, with a long lunch stop at DQ in fort stockton. we took route #1.
Title: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: Al on February 04, 2007, 12:46:36 PM
Route #1 when time is important.  Under 7 hours.  Pretty much just gas and bathroom  stops, eat in the truck on the go.
Title: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: McTullis on February 04, 2007, 01:08:19 PM
Sounds like you're giving yourself 12 hours to get there.

If it were me? Haul it to Acuna for a taco tray and margarita at Ma Crosby's and then take my time on 90...you'll get there well before dark.

But with no stops you'll make it sooner than you think.
Title: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: trtlrock on February 04, 2007, 03:03:36 PM
ok...sounds like rt.90 is the way to go.

can anyone debate the pros & cons of routes #2 & #3?

thanks again everyone...
Title: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: Roy on February 04, 2007, 03:06:53 PM
#1 (with a bullet)  Avoid San Antonio.
Try this (I like to wander a bit, but this should save a couple of miles, and you have plenty of time).
290 to Fredricksburg;  then State 16 to I10.
Get off I10 to State 41 at Mountain Home, pick up 377 above Rocksprings, then 277 into Del Rio.
Note:  if there are any shopaholics in the car, Fredricksburg could be a problem.
After that, I'm with McTullis.  
A stop at the Pecos River bridge is nice. Might want to stop at Langtry - Judge Roy Bean's place.  Seminole Canyon is also interesting, but you have to wait for guided tours to see the best part.
Driving straight through from Del Rio to Study Butte should be about 5-6 hrs.

Check Texas DOT web site for construction/delays on whichever route you choose.
Title: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: BigBendHiker on February 04, 2007, 03:20:39 PM
Quote from: "McTullis"
Sounds like you're giving yourself 12 hours to get there.

If it were me? Haul it to Acuna for a taco tray and margarita at Ma Crosby's and then take my time on 90...you'll get there well before dark.

But with no stops you'll make it sooner than you think.


I second the recommendation on the side trip to Acuna.  We always spend the night in Del Rio when we are outbound to BIBE and go across to Acuna for some cultural exchange (in the words of Gary P. Nunn).  Ma Crosby's is a must see and visit place.  If you do not want to drive across, just park near the bridge and either walk or take a cab for $10 to get across.  Crosby's is worth the visit -- outstanding food and atmosphere.

BBH
Title: Re: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: SHANEA on February 04, 2007, 05:59:09 PM
Quote from: "trtlrock"

Thoughts?


Get on I-35 and go North through Temple and pick up the Hwy to Crockett.  Continue on through Crockett to Deep East Texas and pick me up.  I'll get you to Big Bend from here...   :P
Title: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: West Egg on February 04, 2007, 07:57:06 PM
I second Roy's suggested variation on option #2.  That's hands-down my preferred route between Del Rio and Austin.  It's slightly faster than the Junction route, because it's shorter and there's about a 20-mile stretch of 377 between Rocksprings and Junction that's pretty slow-going with switchbacks and a 55-mph speed limit (with good reason).  That portion of 377 is more scenic than 41, but 41 is no slouch.  Plus, you can stop and pick up some good beef jerky at Garvin Store at the intersection of 83 and 41.

Either way, you'll want to make sure you've got enough fuel to get from Kerrville to Del Rio.  It's expensive in Junction (if you take that route), and there's only a couple of options on the 41 route (Garvin Store and Rocksprings, the latter of which you'll go through on either route).

And as long as we're talking about fuel prices for those of you who travel to BB via DR, the cheapest branded fuel in Del Rio (other than HEB or Wal Mart) is in the middle of town, by about 10 to 15 cents per gallon over stations on the outskirts.  If you pay more than about 2.05 for RUG or 2.35 for diesel right now, you paid too much.
Title: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: trtlrock on February 04, 2007, 09:07:45 PM
ok -- let me try to make this a bit more complicated [I'm like that]

What time would I have to leave Austin to get to PJ by 4:00 sharp (get permits); then to Study Butte.

Let's say I use Roy & West Egg's Route #2.

Mapquest says route#2 to SB is 10.25 hours.  Add 0.75 for bathroom & food to go.  That's 11 hours.  I'm a speed limit + 5mph kind of guy.

If this route can really be done in 10 hours flat instead of 11 then I need to leave Austin by 6:00am.  Sharp.

No stops in Del Rio, etc.  Just scenery-grazing from the car.

Now the focus shifts to "can I get to PJ in time for permits while still taking the scenic route & leaving Austin no earlier than 6am?"

PJ closes at 4:30, right?

BTW Shane -- I didn't get that far north...but if I never go through Conroe, TX again it'll be too soon for me.  What a traffic disaster that place is!  Took us 20+ minutes to go 100yds!  AARGH!

vis-a-vis SA -- MapQuest says it's an hour less to go thru SA & take 90 from there.  How about if I take this Loop 1604 thingie above SA going from 12 o'clock back to 9 o'clock where it hits 90?  Still a disaster?  Still avoid at all costs?  What's 90 like between SA & Del Rio?  Nice?  Nothing special?
Title: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: Casa Grande on February 04, 2007, 09:17:21 PM
just throwing in my two cents here without over complicating things  :roll:

but.....90 is an awesome road to take and my preferred converyor belt...however, from Austin? Not worth dorking around with....stay with 1 and just get to the goods.
Title: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: chisos_muse on February 04, 2007, 09:19:16 PM
http://www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/vc_hours.htm
Title: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: trtlrock on February 04, 2007, 09:28:39 PM
So PJ's open till 6:00?  Thanks Muse.

That means I can take route #2 & get there by 5:00, so I can leave Austin at 7am.  Confirmation anybody?

David -- you're right of course, but I've never been on 90 & the I-10 route is pretty mind-numbing...

Still curious about the possibilities of the loop 1604 above SA & hopping on 90 from there.  Unless that part of 90 isn't noteworthy & SA even that far north is a disaster.
Title: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: Al on February 04, 2007, 09:40:58 PM
Quote from: "Casa Grande"
just throwing in my two cents here without over complicating things  :roll:

but.....90 is an awesome road to take and my preferred converyor belt...however, from Austin? Not worth dorking around with....stay with 1 and just get to the goods.


ditto.  The sooner you get there the better!

Al
Title: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: jeffblaylock on February 04, 2007, 09:41:38 PM
For whatever it's worth, I take 290 west to I-10 to 385. It takes me right at about 7 3/4 hours to reach Panther Junction, but I drive pretty close to the speed limit (which is 80 on I-10). Not very scenic, but it's fast. The worst parts are Oak Hill and F-burg. The rest of it is easy.
Title: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: chisos_muse on February 04, 2007, 09:48:22 PM
Believe me, I-10 is the way to go for speed. Casa Grande and I will tell you from great experience that if you want to get to Big Bend right quick, Loop 1604 to Hwy. 90 would not be the way.... Avoid SA at all costs if you're trying to save time. Mind you, 90 is more scenic, but also worth making stops along the way, which is not time saving either. If you have good company and good CD's/Satellite Radio, I-10 is a hop, skip and a jump....
Title: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: West Egg on February 04, 2007, 09:48:31 PM
I think you should definitely be able to make the drive inside of 10 hours.  In my experience, the modified #2 route takes about 4.5 hours from downtown Del Rio to downtown Austin (due in no small part to all the stoplights on 290 southwest of Austin).  Marathon's "only" about 175 miles from DR, and the speed limit is 75 mph just about the entire way from the Highway 90 bridge over Lake Amistad all the way to Marathon, so . . . about 2.5 hours on that leg.  Then you've just got the 70 miles to PJ.

Just remember that there aren't any gas stations to speak of on the 120-mile stretch between DR and Sanderson.
Title: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: Roy on February 04, 2007, 09:49:38 PM
Just leave early enough to avoid rush hour in Austin, and stay out of San Antonio (I don't care what Mapquest says, they've never sat in traffic at those interchanges).  You've got plenty of time whichever route you take.
I also checked DOT and there doesn't seem to be any major construction to worry about.
Title: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: westtex on February 04, 2007, 10:09:00 PM
I have had a couple of girlfriends that have lived in Austin and have made the trip between Alpine and Austin 50+ times.

The fastest way is clearly 290 to I-10.
Other possibilities that have not been mentioned include:

Heading out 290 then going south from Fredericksburg to Kerrville, then winding through the hillcountry from Leakey to Concan to Highway 90 in Uvalde.

A route that is seldom traveled from Austin is going up 71 to Llano and then down 190 until you meet up with I-10 between Ozona and Ft. Stockton. -this is my personal favorite because it usually includes a stop at Cooper's Bar-B-Q in Llano.

Also 290 turns south of I-10 around Sheffield and goes to Sanderson.


There are at least a dozen other ways to vary your route includeing going through Luckenbach or other small towns on FM roads.
Title: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: trtlrock on February 04, 2007, 10:14:03 PM
ok -- wife gets the tiebreaker & it'll be 290-to-10-to-385.

I would've picked this too, in the end.  Sounds like 90 deserves more attention than a pell-mell drive-thru; so we'll take it back home to Virginia on some future BB trip.

can't go home that way this time, though.  it's got to be 3 days:  BB to Dallas, Dallas to Nashville, Nashville to Linden.  Yawn.  Just about nothing worse than driving I40 through the entire horizontal stretch of Tennessee.  Two lanes, constant construction, tractor-trailers with attached 2nd trailers barrelling next to you & the jersey walls at 90mph, always seems to be raining...yechh.

Thanks for all the input, everybody.
Title: Long Ways...
Post by: SHANEA on February 04, 2007, 10:17:06 PM
Quote from: "trtlrock"
BTW Shane -- I didn't get that far north...but if I never go through Conroe, TX again it'll be too soon for me.  What a traffic disaster that place is!  Took us 20+ minutes to go 100yds!  AARGH!


I'm a long ways from Conroe - fortunately.  Deep east Texas - not far from Louisiana.  Behind the Pine Curtain.  Piney Woods - or whatever the Chamber of Commerce decided to change it too - lotta good it did with me...
Title: Road Construction...
Post by: SHANEA on February 04, 2007, 10:22:08 PM
I seem to recall reading lately that 290 over around Del Rio and other places has a lot of road construction.  If you gotta be  there by 4pm, then leave at 4am to leave time to change a tire, etc.
Title: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: Al on February 04, 2007, 10:25:04 PM
In Fort Stockton the turn onto 385 can easily be missed.  Just look for the building with the porthole windows and turn left just before it.

Al
Title: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: Roy on February 04, 2007, 10:59:33 PM
Quote from: "trtlrock"
Just about nothing worse than driving I40 through the entire horizontal stretch of Tennessee.


There's a mileage sign east bound on I10 a little outside El Paso that reads "San Antonio 548 mi".  That's downright discouraging.
Title: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: jeffblaylock on February 04, 2007, 11:20:32 PM
Quote
In Fort Stockton the turn onto 385 can easily be missed.


As I recall, it's the street next to the Dollar General, but any of the north-south streets will hit it for a few blocks beyond the actual turn.
Title: Just
Post by: SHANEA on February 04, 2007, 11:26:41 PM
Quote from: "Al"
In Fort Stockton the turn onto 385 can easily be missed.  Just look for the building with the porthole windows and turn left just before it.

Al


I can almost never get through Fort Stockton w/o getting lost - I just point the Avalanche in the general direction south, hit the rail road tracks, and finally work my way to the right road.  All roads eventually lead to Big Bend.  Of course, you'd never know it, as everything seems to lead to San Angelo....Must be a brazillion ways to get to San Angelo.

BTW - the Vallero station in Fort Stockton on the main drag just down from Wally World generally always has the best petro prices - much cheaper than the interstate....  Never figured out why they changed the name from Diamond Shamrock to Vallero.  Companies love to spend tons of money redoing signs, etc.  Diamond Shamrock had curb appeal.
Title: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: jimbob on February 04, 2007, 11:47:45 PM
Route 1 is definitely the direct way to go.  The others are great routes if you are not in a hurry or just exploring. When I go to Big Bend, it is always about getting there.  On the other hand, there are many great ways home.  I think that's the more interesting question.

My favorite is 90 east from Marathon to Sanderson (58 miles), north on 285 (16 miles) to 2400 (39 miles) to 349 and north to Sheffield (11 miles).  From there take US 290 (22 miles) to IH 10 about 22 miles west of Ozona.
Title: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: Vince T on February 05, 2007, 08:25:16 AM
I am way late on this post...but I've taken about 15 different routes to the park from SA and Austin (yes...there are that many when you throw in some good (and not so good) county roads.

Austin to SA...through downtown to 90 is a good route...but so is 290, to IH 10 cutting off anywhere to get to Marathon.

There is an entire string on this topic somewhere else...but bottom line is...
It's all good.

Have a great and safe trip.  

Vince

P.S.  I was recently in "The Commonwealth"...had a great day at Manassas Battlefield.
Title: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: trtlrock on February 05, 2007, 10:48:38 AM
wow :o

Manassas is about 1/2 hour from Linden...

the battlefield is great, but the rest of Manassas is a hellhole :)
Title: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: jeffblaylock on February 05, 2007, 12:02:16 PM
Quote from: "trtlrock"
the battlefield is great, but the rest of Manassas is a hellhole


Yeah, and the narrow ribbon of interstate between that hellhole and the District of Calamity is a parking lot most times of the day.
Title: which route from Austin to BiBe?
Post by: aggiehiker on February 22, 2007, 03:19:15 PM
Loop 1604 is horrendous on traffic from about I10 all the way to the Hiway 90 cutoff due to construction. It's one lane for several miles near the cut off to 90. I grew up in Del Rio and live in College Station so I used to go that way a lot. Now I hit I10 at Luling. The scenery is much better on 90 plus there's the sights worth visiting-Acuna, Langtry and the Pecos River High Bridge. You get to see the topography change from the rolling hills, to the mesquite foothills to the desert.