Jack's 2007 Chevy Build

locrwln

Expedition Leader
We had an appointment for new tires in Brownsville, TX. I only had about 25k miles on my current Cooper AT3 XLT's (285/75R18), but I wanted fresh tires before heading south of the border. On our previous attempt, I ordered my TIP online. This time I forgot about it and because I had a copy of my previous one, I didn't give it too much thought (famous last words). We got everything taken care of and made our final preparations for crossing the border in Brownsville. We hit the crossing at around 9 am and to make long story short, we were denied our TIP. That's right, our truck's GVWR is over the 7500lb rating that MX allows for a TIP. I was able to get it through while online the first time because Nevada puts the empty weight on the title and that was enough to get it through. This time, no luck. The customs guy basically told us that because he could see it, he had no choice but to deny issuing it. Our spanish isn't strong enough and his english wasn't good enough to convince him to let us in. This was a big blow to our motivation. We crossed back into the US and decided to re-evaluate exactly what we wanted to do. We did try for a few days to get another TIP issued online, but their system was down and we could only get so far before it would kick us out or freeze up. We took that as a sign that perhaps we were not meant to go south right now. This was our third attempt and we realized that it was "three strikes and we were out." I'm not a big believer in "signs" but this was getting hard to ignore and we decided that right no wasn't the right time. So it was on to plan...oh crap I don't even know at this point...M maybe??? So while we worked on getting the TIP online, we went to South Padre Island. We weren't really looking for the glitz of SPI, but we needed a place to stay and found it on the north end of the main road, where the road ends.




We had never been to Big Bend NP, so we pointed the truck west and began to meander. We were in no rush, so we were taking the long way there.
Falcon State Park, we had the place to ourselves.




Next stop was outside Del Rio, Texas. We headed to the library and tried again to get online and get the TIP. Again, the MX system wouldn't let us complete it. This was our final attempt.



Next stop: Big Bend NP...

Jack
 

locrwln

Expedition Leader
Back to our traveling update. Big Bend National Park. We had never been and didn't really know what to expect. We started with the visitors center to obtain our backcountry camping permits. It looks a lot like being in Death Valley or the Mojave if you have ever visited those areas. If you have never been like us, you soon learn that you choose your campsite(s) at the visitor center and for how many days. I erroneously thought that the spots were "group" spots and that you would be camping with other people. It wasn't until we got to our first spot that we figured out that you are in single rig spots, which is nice. Our first spot was at the end of Black Gap Road (BGR). The NP park map labeled BGR as rough and high clearance 4x4 needed. The park ranger told us that it would be better if we took the long way down and came back up to the camp spot in lieu of taking BGR as it is really rough. We figured its a NP road, how bad could it really be.

Soon after leaving the pavement and before BGR.





Turning off onto the BGR.





This first spot that required a look. As you can see behind me there was a Tundra that had caught up to us.



From this spot to the next serious one was rough but not overly difficult and we thought we had seen the worst of it. Then we got to the little water fall climb. This was a full on spot by my wife with the front locker engaged and eyeballing potential winch spots kind of obstacle.







And just like that it was up it. I have put this truck in a lot of different spots and I thought this one was going to be much harder, but it actually just walked right up it. I wish I would have gotten a picture of the bottom of the climb as it was only partially filled in with boulders and some pieces of wood. I was very surprised and shocked. I actually stood by and waited for the Tundra and helped him get up it as well.

Next stop was camp and a shower.




Here is the sign next to our camp spot warning travelers of the BGR.


The sunsets were great. Can you see the shark?





We stayed at this spot for a night before moving on to one next to the Rio Grande.

Jack
 

locrwln

Expedition Leader
On our way to our next spot, we did a couple of mile hike that paralleled the river. Our camp spot for the night was next to the Rio Grande. It wasn't our favorite spot. We were parked on talcum powder and perched atop a 10' tall bank next to the river so we couldn't get to the river at all and had to be careful near the edge as it was cut back and not solid at all. The talcum powder wanted to stick to everything and even going in and out made for a mess in the camper. I didn't get a picture of the spot.

It


We were originally going to stay another night, but decided to move on and so we headed back towards the visitor center. On our way we stopped at an old mine site.



From that point, we moved on and headed out of the park.

Jack
 

locrwln

Expedition Leader
Very nice! Glad to see you really getting out with the truck!

And I hate that dust.... I know exactly the stuff, I call it moon dust. Its terrible.
We've been trying.

Me too and I've heard it called moon dust, poof dust and bull dust. No matter the name, it sucks and makes a mess.

Jack
 

follow Maggie

New member
I didn't read through all 53 pages, so this may have been asked before, so I'm sorry if it has. Does your bumper affect the transmission temperature? I have the same body style pickup and I had to take my winch mount off because it blocked air flow to the transmission cooler & made it run too hot to haul or tow anything. Awesome setup, by the way. I love it.
 

locrwln

Expedition Leader
I didn't read through all 53 pages, so this may have been asked before, so I'm sorry if it has. Does your bumper affect the transmission temperature? I have the same body style pickup and I had to take my winch mount off because it blocked air flow to the transmission cooler & made it run too hot to haul or tow anything. Awesome setup, by the way. I love it.
I can’t say for sure that it did, but I added a larger transmission cooler and cut in more holes if the front part of the bumper to allow more air to get to the cooler. I keep “tow/haul” mode engaged all of the time.

Thank you.

Jack
 

locrwln

Expedition Leader
Sorry if I missed it, @locrwln but almost coming upon a decade of ownership, how has this truck been?

Nice reports, by the way.
The truck has been great. Both my wife and I were just asked a similar question by a friend and it's amazing how much we still love this truck every time we get into it. It has treated us very well. I would say that anything that has gone wrong is usually a matter of my particular use/abuse. Currently sitting at 193k and I still trust it fully.

Thank you.

Jack
 

locrwln

Expedition Leader
Sorry for the delay, I have been distracted a little. Time to get back into this update.

From Big Bend, we continued west along the Texas/Mexico border and working our way toward Carlsbad Caverns. We have been in the area a couple of times, but never quite made it to the caverns. The day before we got to Carlsbad, the wind was intense. In fact we saw a wind sock along the highway that was there to warn of high winds, fly off of its mount. Can't say I have ever seen a wind sock do that. Because of the wind and our need to do some laundry, it was a hotel night, so nothing really to see. The next day, we headed to the caverns.

We decided to take the "old" entrance into the caverns as opposed to taking the elevator.







The wind the previous day brought with it some weather and as we finished up with the caverns, we started in a northwesterly direction and into the mountains. We found a secluded spot, but as you can see, there was snow on the ground and it continued into the night. Made for a quiet night though.




Jack
 
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