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Thread: US 285 CarlsbadNM to PecosTX hazard

  1. #1
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    US 285 CarlsbadNM to PecosTX hazard

    Had to fly out to Albuquerque yesterday early to retrieve my older sisters car from ABQ airport and return to the Houston area near Galveston Bay. I am the youngest and said yes to help her out. I dislike flying.

    Have ridden many different routes from the area thru the last several years, including taking US 285 from I-40 to I-10 if in any time crunch or wanting to swing toward Big Bend region. Our typical route is further to the east and on bikes, usually as fast. I have not owned a car in years and am used to trucks and bikes, so, this was an unusual trip sitting low in a car.

    I wanted to be home around dark and have made the 700ish mile run a few times back to Middle Texas. Hit the go home button on the Garmin I took with me and went with the 285 to I-10 route since i was in a CAR and had not been that way in maybe 3 years. The stretch is 85 miles in length from Carlsbad to Pecos on I-20.

    Anyways, have ridden/driven thru the oil patch in several states and wasn't expecting to meet the mother of all US highways in overused condition I have been on in the last ten years. Found it. The Delaware Basin oil patch

    https://bnhspine.com/delaware-basin-county-map.html

    Midland-vs-Delaware-Basin-Fig-4.png

    DBNWS-Ops.jpg

    This from a 2012 map, there are rigs still everywhere

    You get the sense of seeing all the new construction in Carlsbad,NM that there is new money flowing. You are surrounded by oil related business light and heavy trucks not far from the city limits heading south and start crossing drilling rig sites, pipeline construction, deep disposal well sites,makeshift rv camps, and all the support businesses...which is a lot of trucks and activity. Have seen this area during prior booms, this takes it to 11 from a 4 on the Spinal Tap scale.

    So, back to the road. Bumper to bumper averaging 5mph under the posted limit, which in NM is 55 and parts of TX 65.Trucks turning, entering if any gap is perceived is the norm for miles. The road surface is full of potholes just to the center of right wheel track...would eat a motorcycle in a heartbeat if you fail to see in time.The road is being widened in places, however it does not appear to be heavily funded or a big priority.

    Had two boneheads in seperate personal pickups passing at same time regardless of lane markings or oncoming traffic. They passed the line of maybe six vehicles ahead of me and ran two oncoming trucks off the road throwing a cloud of dust our way and luckily not back into our path...then they did it AGAIN to the next line and the truck they scattered was still trying to gather it in as we passed. My palms were even sweatier by now!
    I passed when it was safe, a passing zone, and prudent, which did not present itself many times. I had folks so close to my rear bumper I thought NASCAR had gone on the road. I was as fast as the multi vehicles in line ahead of me and there is no freakin' place to go...so WTF?. Wondered if I was in my 3/4 ton Dodge would it happen as often Or how being on a bike would have been.

    I can not imagine riding this under this condition or dark, rainy...The local first responders have to be a busy group.

    So, if you have ridden this...sorry For those who might look at a map or use a GPS...Don't!
    Did the Google and found a few warnings on rv forums and the Carlsbad newspapers story with sobering statistics
    https://www.currentargus.com/story/n...hs/1084760001/
    Steve Henson-Mod Team and club tire changer

    Be decisive, right or wrong.The road of life is paved with
    flat squirrels who couldn't make a decision~unknown

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by henzilla View Post
    Had to fly out to Albuquerque yesterday early to retrieve my older sisters car from ABQ airport and return to the Houston area near Galveston Bay. I am the youngest and said yes to help her out. I dislike flying.

    Have ridden many different routes from the area thru the last several years, including taking US 285 from I-40 to I-10 if in any time crunch or wanting to swing toward Big Bend region. Our typical route is further to the east and on bikes, usually as fast. I have not owned a car in years and am used to trucks and bikes, so, this was an unusual trip sitting low in a car.

    I wanted to be home around dark and have made the 700ish mile run a few times back to Middle Texas. Hit the go home button on the Garmin I took with me and went with the 285 to I-10 route since i was in a CAR and had not been that way in maybe 3 years. The stretch is 85 miles in length from Carlsbad to Pecos on I-20.

    Anyways, have ridden/driven thru the oil patch in several states and wasn't expecting to meet the mother of all US highways in overused condition I have been on in the last ten years. Found it. The Delaware Basin oil patch

    https://bnhspine.com/delaware-basin-county-map.html

    Midland-vs-Delaware-Basin-Fig-4.png

    DBNWS-Ops.jpg

    This from a 2012 map, there are rigs still everywhere

    You get the sense of seeing all the new construction in Carlsbad,NM that there is new money flowing. You are surrounded by oil related business light and heavy trucks not far from the city limits heading south and start crossing drilling rig sites, pipeline construction, deep disposal well sites,makeshift rv camps, and all the support businesses...which is a lot of trucks and activity. Have seen this area during prior booms, this takes it to 11 from a 4 on the Spinal Tap scale.

    So, back to the road. Bumper to bumper averaging 5mph under the posted limit, which in NM is 55 and parts of TX 65.Trucks turning, entering if any gap is perceived is the norm for miles. The road surface is full of potholes just to the center of right wheel track...would eat a motorcycle in a heartbeat if you fail to see in time.The road is being widened in places, however it does not appear to be heavily funded or a big priority.

    Had two boneheads in seperate personal pickups passing at same time regardless of lane markings or oncoming traffic. They passed the line of maybe six vehicles ahead of me and ran two oncoming trucks off the road throwing a cloud of dust our way and luckily not back into our path...then they did it AGAIN to the next line and the truck they scattered was still trying to gather it in as we passed. My palms were even sweatier by now!
    I passed when it was safe, a passing zone, and prudent, which did not present itself many times. I had folks so close to my rear bumper I thought NASCAR had gone on the road. I was as fast as the multi vehicles in line ahead of me and there is no freakin' place to go...so WTF?. Wondered if I was in my 3/4 ton Dodge would it happen as often Or how being on a bike would have been.

    I can not imagine riding this under this condition or dark, rainy...The local first responders have to be a busy group.

    So, if you have ridden this...sorry For those who might look at a map or use a GPS...Don't!
    Did the Google and found a few warnings on rv forums and the Carlsbad newspapers story with sobering statistics
    https://www.currentargus.com/story/n...hs/1084760001/
    I drove it today coming from Angel Fire, NM to Alpine, TX. Sunday afternoon it was not horrible but not good either. They don't seem to hire these oil patch truck drivers for their smarts, or their driving skill.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  3. #3
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Y'all ride thru that
    I was thinking about you and Voni as I headed that way.

    Just a mess out there!
    I was in showers from just north of Ft Stockton all the way home.So glad it waited that long on the crazy stretch not being wet as well
    Steve Henson-Mod Team and club tire changer

    Be decisive, right or wrong.The road of life is paved with
    flat squirrels who couldn't make a decision~unknown

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by henzilla View Post
    Y'all ride thru that
    I was thinking about you and Voni as I headed that way.

    Just a mess out there!
    I was in showers from just north of Ft Stockton all the way home.So glad it waited that long on the crazy stretch not being wet as well
    On the bikes we go the long way, over through Van Horn and up to White City and then Carlsbad. But in the pickup, on Sunday afternoon, we just braved the gauntlet. What a disgusting mess they have made.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  5. #5
    Registered User YeehaStephen's Avatar
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    "Or how being on a bike would have been...."

    When in Rome?

    SS
    Yeeha! Stephen
    R1200RS, R1200RT, R1200R, (R1150RT = Donated To Charity)
    "Why eat a Burger when you can have Pie?!" Miss Vicki @ Lost Maples Cafe - Utopia Texas

  6. #6
    Registered User RIDERR1150GSADV's Avatar
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    Thanks for the heads-up. It has been 15 years since I last rode in that area, glad to have seen it before it got so busy and deadly...
    MOA # 108516
    Current ride 2018 R1200 GSA Triple Black
    Past rides '04 R1150RT, '05 K1200LT, '06 R1150GSA, 17 R1200RT

  7. #7
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YeehaStephen View Post
    "Or how being on a bike would have been...."

    When in Rome?

    SS
    Sometimes it's safer to avoid Rome. I saw zero two wheelers this pass.

    I will not ride this until the boom subsides and the road is in safer conditions. With current activity ,that may be years
    Steve Henson-Mod Team and club tire changer

    Be decisive, right or wrong.The road of life is paved with
    flat squirrels who couldn't make a decision~unknown

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by henzilla View Post
    Sometimes it's safer to avoid Rome. I saw zero two wheelers this pass.

    I will not ride this until the boom subsides and the road is in safer conditions. With current activity ,that may be years
    I totally agree. Going west to Van Horn and then up 54 to US 62 only adds 30 miles to the trip from our house south of Alpine, TX to a condo at Angel Fire, NM. It is a much more pleasant ride, the road is not cratered with potholes, and the traffic is not dominated by crazed drivers in oil patch rigs and white pickup trucks.

    The road conditions, trash along the road, blown tires, and dust from land scraped bare, say a lot about the slovenly oil and gas industry and the integrity of the state environmental protection officials.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  9. #9
    Registered User RIDERR1150GSADV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post

    The road conditions, trash along the road, blown tires, and dust from land scraped bare, say a lot about the slovenly oil and gas industry and the integrity of the state environmental protection officials.
    Like most of those officials, they're either on the take or too lazy to do they jobs..
    MOA # 108516
    Current ride 2018 R1200 GSA Triple Black
    Past rides '04 R1150RT, '05 K1200LT, '06 R1150GSA, 17 R1200RT

  10. #10
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    If you do a Google earth aerial tour of the area, you might think you are looking at a city subdivision in spots until you zoom in.

    Seeing all the well points, pipeline ROW's,compressor stations,miles of 8''- temporary on the ground pipelines paralleling the highway you hope is only water, and such, I see no way for any oversight to keep up. In the sea of white company trucks...seeing one( which I did not) with a blue state seal of the environmental agency (TCEQ) would make me laugh knowing the area he/she must be assigned. Even the LEO's are challenged to find a place to pull the offenders over. I do not envy that assignment either.


    Have traveled thru many oil patches/frack fields in several states...this will be the poster child of how bad it could ever be.
    Between sucking all the fresh water needed for fracking, the disposal of whatever the heck is in that frack fluid back into deep wells and the inevitable spill from the frantic pace...one wonders how anything will be normal again and how the aquifer(s) can survive.

    The refinery complex north of Pecos blew me away...it's horizontal, so maybe a huge compressor facility...anyways, it is huge. I grew up around the TX coastal refinery complexes and worked alongside many of them while playing lineman...never seen such a mess as this current boom.
    Steve Henson-Mod Team and club tire changer

    Be decisive, right or wrong.The road of life is paved with
    flat squirrels who couldn't make a decision~unknown

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by RIDERR1150GSADV View Post
    Like most of those officials, they're either on the take or too lazy to do they jobs..
    More likely they suffer because the legislature has totally failed to give them the tools they need to do an adequate job.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  12. #12
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    Two friends and I rode 285 from Ft. Stockton to Carlsbad on Saturday. It was absurd. TXDot is working on the road, but it is horrid. Unbelievable traffic and "alligators" all over. Traffic was so thick, we were only able to pass one truck. This is a definite avoid. Talking to friends from that area, they say any of the roads leading to that area from Midland/Odessa are congested and in bad shape. We took I-20 west out of Odessa and couldn't wait to get off and on the two lane to head south. Word is that the traffic accidents and fatalities are at an all time high.
    Roland

  13. #13
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    I tried to warn ya

    Welcome to the forum
    Steve Henson-Mod Team and club tire changer

    Be decisive, right or wrong.The road of life is paved with
    flat squirrels who couldn't make a decision~unknown

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