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Big Bend December 2017

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  • Big Bend December 2017

    Today we wrapped up our five day West Texas expedition and man are we exhausted. It has been a good trip, but not without it's fare share of mishaps and shining moments.

    Day 1:
    We departed from Midland, Texas and headed south on highway 385 toward the Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas. My Dad, Grandpa, and I were a little worried we were not going to fit all of our gear into the back of my Jeep, and the two of them were a little worried that riding in a Jeep for a long period of time would be a horrible idea. Thanks to the Frontrunner JKU Interior shelf, we managed to fit all of our gear no problem. We didn't even have to fold down the back seats! After a two and a half hour drive down south, we reached Marathon. We checked into the Gage, unpacked the Jeep, and started to walk around the small town to see what was around. Marathon on a Sunday afternoon is a complete ghost town; hardly anyone is around except for a few hotel guests.

    My dad decided it would be a good idea to drive around the town and see what there was around. At the beginning of the trip, I really wanted to see about getting into videography. Because of this, I let my dad drive while I shot some B-roll. We visited the cemetery in town and that's when we had an issue. My dad did not see a fairly large boulder on the perimeter of the cemetery road and while taking a turn, smacked the s*** out of it with the front left tire... great. We drove the Jeep back to the Gage and in the short quarter mile, we determined the alignment was a bit off, the steering wheel was about 45 degrees to the right, and the ESP light on. I whipped out the tool roll and got to work, reading how to straighten out the steering wheel and giving the front end a visual inspection. I found what seemed to be an axle seal leak on the rear part of the front left axle C. Once i'm back in Austin, I will get a ship to look at it to see if work needs to be done.

    That night was a rough one. I thought we would have to get towed back to Midland. My dad was pretty upset about the whole thing, and my Grandpa, well, he just went off to take pictures. After this, I decided to drop the idea of getting video and drove for most of the trip.
    Last edited by captain_texas_; 12-22-2017, 05:56 PM.

  • #2
    Day 2:
    Monday was the day we would go to Big Bend, something I had been looking forward too for months now. I had heard about Black Gap Road, and how that is a trail that is on the Jeep Badge of Honor program. After much consolation with members from Austin Jeep People and with the steering wheel straightened enough so the ESP light went off, we determined we could continue the trip but with limited 4WD engagement. Reasoning behind this was that if I did indeed have an axle leak seal, engaging 4WD would make it worse.

    We made it to Big Bend and we all were taken back by the shear size of the park. Being a native Texan, I have always seen fencing on the side of highways due to much of the land in Texas being private property. I was a bit surprised when I saw that there was no fencing in the park what-so-ever. I understand that this is because it is a National Park but it was still surprising none the less. We drove a small bit of road that led to Old Ore Road but we decided to turn around and head deeper into the park. We found the gas station off of Panther Junction and filled up.

    Heading deeper in, we took a right onto Glenn Spring Road and started the drive to the North end of Black Gap Road. Something I have got to invest in is a compressor. We had to keep the tires at street pressure and man was the ride rough even with the sway bar disconnected. The pictures just can't grasp the scale of this place, it's truly amazing.


    • #3
      Day 2 continued:

      After some time, we found the turn to Back Gap Road and we quickly saw the road conditions deteriorate. We were in 2WD for 99% of the trip, but when we came up to the Gap, I needed just a bit of 4WD High to climb up the grade.

      We took River Road back to the main road to get out of Big Bend and while the scenery was great, we were running late into the evening and had a dinner reservation to meet. It was a rough drive and we got off the trailhead just by dark. Needless to say we were a little late to dinner, but made it.


      • #4
        Day 3:
        We packed up our gear and headed West out to Marfa. The Gage Hotel is a great place to stay and I highly recommend it! On the way to Marfa, we stopped by the Target building just a few miles outside of Marathon. Cool place, but a bunch of graffiti on the inside.

        After we checked into our home-away, we unpacked and settled in. That evening we went to go see the Marfa lights and luckily they were visible.

        And then another mishap; Grandpa fell. We initially went into panic mode but then calmed down and started working to fix the problem. Apparently he had tripped on something in the parking lot and fell face first. We hauled over to the Alpine hospital and waited for the doctor. We was fine, just a bruised cheek and a few cuts but nothing major. As he always says, it's better to go and check and not have anything wrong than to have something wrong and not check. Something I am also wanting to invest in is a new medical kit.

        Day 4:
        Day 4 was a chill day, we took it easy and relaxed (especially after the night before).


        • #5
          Day 5:
          The Fort Davis Mountains were the plan for the day. We drove up to a turn off we had been before in March and enjoyed the sights and took pictures.

          We went to visit Fort Davis after coming down from the mountains. When I mean Fort Davis, I mean the actual Fort Davis. It was a cool opportunity to visit the past and see what it was like for enlisted men in the U.S. Armed Forces back in the late 19th century.

          That about wraps it up. Day 6 was the long drive back to Midland. Hope everyone enjoyed the read and pictures!


          • #6
            I collect Liberty Bottles,what one is that sitting on your fender?
            "Don't wish for it,work for it."
            2014 Ram Power Wagon


            • #7
              Originally posted by forsakenfuture View Post
              I collect Liberty Bottles,what one is that sitting on your fender?
              I got that Liberty Bottle from Bexar Goods out in San Antonio. I love it! Have had it since April.


              • #8
                FANTASTIC photos!!! Thanks for sharing! I went to Big Bend in 2016 and you make it look A LOT better then I saw it...

                Ben Hedrick

                HEDRICK Speedsports
                "We are a Small Garage with a Big Jeep Problem"
                2007 5.7L HEMI Sahara Unlimited - Sold
                2010 6.1L HEMI Rubicon Unlimited - Sold
                2011 6.4L (392) HEMI Rubicon Unlimited - Sold
                2002 4.0L AEV Brute - Sold
                2003 6.4L "Stroker" HEMI AEV Brute - Sold
                2005 4.0L SC AEV K9 Brute - Sold
                2014 345 HEMI Rubicon Xpo Adventurer - Sold
                2000 4.0L AEV 112 Long Wheelbase - Sold
                2006 4.0L AEV Brute Rubicon - Sold
                2005 570 AEV TJ Brute Wrangler


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ben Hedrick View Post
                  FANTASTIC photos!!! Thanks for sharing! I went to Big Bend in 2016 and you make it look A LOT better then I saw it...

                  Thank you! Really appreciate it! It truly is an amazing place. I've lived in Texas all my life and never have visited Big Bend. Glad I did!


                  • #10
                    Great pics and a fun read, thanks for sharing.


                    • #11
                      Great pics, and definitely some beautiful country out there!