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Old 01-31-2010, 08:25 AM   #1
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Big Bend Country

Has any traveled Hwy 385 from Hwy 90 in Marathan, TX down into Big Bend National Park all the way over to Lajitas, then Hwy 170 to Presidio and Hwy 67 back up to Marfa, TX on Hwy 90? In particular have you done this route in at least a 35 foot Class A towing a toad?

If so what conditions can one expect? Are the roads good? Are there many hills, or sharp 'S'-turns to worry about? What and where are any decent campgrounds to stay at along the route?

Appreciate any information...

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Old 01-31-2010, 08:40 AM   #2
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You'll be fine until you reach the Study Butte area where FM170 (the River Road) begins. The River Road is considered one of the 10 best roads in Texas for motorcyclists because of its twists, turns and changes in elevation.

2. El Camino Del Rio (TX 170) from Lajitas to Presidio. Leaving Study Butte west you will travel through the once boisterous mining town of Terlingue, now a ghost town with a population 25. Once a year "chiliheads" converge on the small town for the International Championship Chili Cookoff. Lajitas (Spanish for flagstones) is your gateway to "one of the prettiest roads in America." A spectacular 50 miles through lush, twisting river valleys, carved red and purple rock rising 1000 feet from the churning river. The road is excellent; it twists and drops to the canyon floors along the roaring river. Threading through the Bofecillos Mountains formed by two ancient lava flows you will approach the "Big Hill." At a 15% grade it is the maximum of any regularly traveled Texas highway. In Presidio, take time to visit Fort Leaton State Historic Site & Big Bend Ranch State Natural Area to see one of Texas' most unusual historic sites, a massive adobe fortress built in 1848 immediately after the Mexican War.
Personally, having driven/ridden FM170 numerous times (never with an RV), there are sections I wouldn't want to try with a MH pulling a toad as the cliff walls on some of the hairpins come right up to the edge of the road. Others who have actually done it with a MH may have different opinions, and I'll certainly defer to their experience.

All the other roads you mention are fine.


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Old 01-31-2010, 02:52 PM   #3
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We did this drive (TX 170) last March... in our Toyota Avalon and it was great. We left the motorhome here Lajitas Resort & Spa - Maverick Ranch R.V. Park

We also spent several days here TPWD: Davis Mountains State Park

Oh and by the way, the motorhomes we did meet on the drive from Lajitas to Presidio, they may still be prying their fingers from the wheel.
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Old 01-31-2010, 03:27 PM   #4
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Will never forget that drive from Persidio. Cell phone was in Spanish and we lost our transmission. Limped back up to Alpine and got towed to Odessa. Quite an adventure. Never did see Big Bend NP, we will do that this year. Thaks to Good Sam extended warranty all it cost was $250. but a liftime of memories.
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Old 02-02-2010, 07:34 AM   #5
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Thanks for the info... after talking with the wife and with your opinions we've decided we'll stay at Alpine and drive the toad down to the River road at Lajitas.
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Old 02-16-2010, 05:40 PM   #6
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This should be quite doable in a 35 footer w/toad. We just traveled this same route in reverse about a month ago. FM170 is lesser traveled two lane (paved all the way between Study Butte and Presidio) road but we encountered no twists and turns that your rig couldn't handle. Use Google Maps to review the road. There are sweeping turns but no sharp twists and turns. We found it to be a fairly relaxing drive with terrific scenery. There a couple of campgrounds in Study Butte you could stay at before tackling the River Road.

As for Big Bend itself, you'll find more room and better access for overnighting at the Rio Grande Village campground. The sites in the other Big Bend campgrounds are just too small. Motorhome size on the road to Chisos Basin is limited to 24 foot if I remember correctly.

Have fun and enjoy.
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Old 02-17-2010, 06:28 AM   #7
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It's Feb 17/10 and I'm in Maverick Ranch RV in Lajitas having arrived via Alpine 118 and FM 170 into Lajitas in a 43 ft MH with 2 motorcycles on rear lift and pulling toad. No Problem.

Yesterday we rode the bikes from Lajitas to Presidio and back and it is indeed a stunning drive. However, I would not be in a hurry to take my full rig set-up over this road. Sure one could do it if necessary but I suppose but marital harmony would likely take a serious beating! I did see a MH (approx 38-40 ft) perched out in camp site overlooking the Rio Grande and was somewhat envious I must admit. This particular area was probably one of the BB SP camp sites.

Hope that helps some. Cheers!

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