Monday, May 04, 2009


Red Bluff Lake and Orla Ruins Ride Report with Pics

In keeping with our goal of making as many Spring 2009 day rides as possible before the heat sets in, Dave, Britt, and I decided last night that we would make a trip out to yet another place I had never been before: Red Bluff Lake on the Texas-New Mexico border.

Red Bluff Reservoir is on the Pecos River, about 40 miles north of Pecos, Texas near Orla. It extends into Loving and Reeves counties in Texas, and Eddy County in New Mexico. According to Wikipedia, the reservoir was formed in 1936 by the construction of a dam by the Red Bluff Water Control District to provide water for irrigation and hydroelectric power. The reservoir is also used for recreational activities.


This was the first day of Badlands Spring Tour '09® that I would classify as hot. When we arrived at Red Bluff Lake (139 miles from my driveway), the first thing we started looking for was shade. The morning had started off perfectly mild, but the early afternoon sun was beating down on the rough terrain surrounding the reservoir.

Britt took the pics today, as I forgot my camera. These are stills from his video camera:

We made sure to stay hydrated on this trip. As I mentioned above, it got hotter than we expected.

Me consuming H2O molecules:

Dave's too good for Nestle water -- he only drinks Dasani:

The lake itself is pretty big, but is shallow. AIUI, the depth only averages about seven feet:

The dam:

These knuckleheads in this boat kept going out for short, fast runs and coming back to shore:

The only problem was, their idea of docking the craft was to run it repeatedly aground on the rocks in the shallows. Oh, what a horrible sound was produced each time they beached. I kept waiting for the thing to sink:

Needless to say, we'd had about enough of Red Bluff Lake by that point, and decided to ride back into Orla, where there were some ruins we had passed on the way to the reservoir and wanted to explore.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you L&J Liquors:

The rest of the toilet was nowhere in sight:

No whisky in the jar-o, just empty shelves and Pripyat-esque dilapidation:

Alright, here's a question for you. Have you ever had one of those moments where you went from totally relaxed and halfway bored to an instant state of full-on, fight-or-flight adrenaline? Well, it had been a quite while for me. That is, until we decided to explore the building next door -- an old nightclub with a few surprises still left inside:

I slowly peeked my head inside, looking down and around for snakes, spiders and loose floorboards:

That's when it happened. Just as I decided that it might be a good idea to check upward as well as around, I heard a very faint grunt of a growl and some movement directly over my head. I instantly ducked as I looked up into the rafters to meet the angry gaze a 40-odd pound female bobcat, perched not two feet from my face!

Um, yeah. You could definitely say an adrenaline rush ensued. Just imagine looking up and seeing a mug like this one staring down at you from a superior vantage point:

Needless to say, I hauled *** out of there at Warp Factor 7, yelling at the top of my lungs like a pretty little girl, "Bobcat! Bobcat!"

Britt and Dave were exploring different entrance points when they heard the commotion and each moved quickly away from the building. We met at the front and waited, but the cat never came out. After a few minutes of silence, Dave -- never one to shy away from the opportunity to get rabies shots -- decided to go back inside and get a look.

"Hey guys, I think she's gone."

"Nope, she's still here! Look out!"

Luckily, Dave was spared and the bobcat sprinted away through the middle doorway out back:

Britt, being the crappy photographer he is, never got a picture of the ******* cat! Way to go, Eddie Adams! Give that man a Pulitzer!

At any rate, thereafter, we all needed a little rest and some time to calm down. We headed back to the bikes with our hearts still pumping:

Whew. Boneheads 1, bobcat 0.

Total mileage for today was 278, not counting running from the angry Felis Rufus. I got home about 6:30 and immediately had a beer.

Or three.

Thanks for reading.

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