Big Bend

10-18-01

3:00 pm

The drive was longer than I expected but well worth it. The landscape alone is gorgeous. I am going to pick the campground tonight and then backpack in from there tomorrow.

Another odd sighting was the World’s Largest Road Runner, Paisano Pete in Ft Stockton

4:15 pm

I just got my permit. The Chisos are incredible. I can’t wait to get out there. I guess there are many place off limits so I’ll have to carefully plan my route. I only have the day to pack in and out.

10-19-01

7:00 am

I am up. It was so quite and dark last night. Water is disgusting but that was to be expected. There are other campers in the campground but they were quiet all night. This place could make anyone reflective.

10:00 am

My first break. The weather is great….getting down to my shorts and tank top. I should find a place to camp by 2:00 I think. I just want to unload and then do some more exploring without the gear. I am sad that I didn’t bring Bailey. Next time I come I’ll just camp here and not do all the other touristy things I am doing this time that I can’t bring him.

2:35 pm

Camera batteries ran out so there’ll be no pictures. Probably doesn’t matter since I suck at the whole 35 mm thing anyway. The thing I love about technology is that it makes it easier for us lacking in talent. My next purchase is digital.

7:20 pm

I am back at the campsite. I found some amazing rocks while out. The kind that sparkle at you from the ground like stars. I cant’ wait to find out what they are.

10-20-01

It was colder last night but then I am at a higher elevation. I am going to take the shorter side of the trail today. I want to make it to the town before 5:00 and there is a lot of space to cover.

6:55 pm

I have landed in Terlingua and need a nap but it’s not meant to be. The hotel, the Longhorn, is strange but I need a real bed and shower. A few to many nights in the mountains sleeping on the ground. Big signs all over the room are warning me not to drink the water. Might as well be camping. I think I’ll just finish off my provisions here then go down into Terlingua to find the bar. Suz is playing at the Starlight tonight. A beer sounds really good right now.

3:20 am

The show was good…what a neat old building. I was surprised at the people here. It seems like the hill country went and moved itself right here to death valley.  They have a annual exodus here which I think is an awesome idea. There was a winner of the “flamingo thing.” Which is, who has the best pink flamingo in their “front yard” so to speak. I went over to the camp grounds. I sat at the campfire and played harmonica with Al Barlow (which is a real honor for me). Makes we want to get more in different keys so I can play more. He invited me to join the brunch tomorrow but I don’t think I will be getting up that early. There are a number of other people I don’t know. Some I recognized from shows in and around Austin. It reminds me of what I like about Kerrville. Suz and Michael showed a bit later but I was too tired to hang out anymore so I headed back to the hotel. Now I am here and can’t sleep. This is the kinda place with only two channels on the TV and where you have to go get your water in bottles from the front desk.

I am sitting here with the locals at the hotel having the brunch being served. It seems a regular affair with a cast of regulars. I am the only only not greeted and known. My goal today is to hit Boquillas and the national park. I want to hit a few of the ghost towns along the way.

I had some trouble crossing back over the border but have made it back and set up a small campsite. Not much to do but write. Hot Springs was a treat. I spent a significant amount of time imagining how it must have looked when it was a resort before it became a tattered and run down set of rock formations. They say it was a popular place even a president visited, like it so much and bought a house close by but I don’t remember which one. Folklore. I love the scenery. I can see what Georgia O’Keeffe admired in its “regal sparseness”. I might have more to say but I am tired finally.

I see pepper tomorrow.

10-22-01

I am sitting outside this little silver bullet looking restaurant in Alpine waiting for pepper. I drove along the border towns from the Terlingua to Presidio through the National Park and back around taking myself through Marfa and onto Alpine. I stopped and walked across the river to Mexico , took some sand and a few pictures.

In Marfa, I was hoping to see the remains of the set of Giant but sadly it is less than a pile of wood. As luck would have it I found a rock shop in Marfa. He told me about my finds and then polished them for me right there while I waited.

I am taking pepper with me to Marathon and we will stay at the Gage Hotel.

10-23-01

Pepper…our meeting was good, not so nervous as I thought I would be. I t must be noted that in alpine at Sul Ross, we ran into a man, his name was Dude and I am not making that up. He told us his life story. An old oilfield worker who went to Sul Ross and was there to visit the walls – old friends, old memories. He left his wife at the motel cause she was tired of walking around. Pepper rode with me to Marathon. The hotel was cool. I reserved a room in the older part of the restored hotel with a private bath. We spent the early evening in rocking chairs and then had an incredible dinner on the outside patio with a fire behind me. Not much else in Marathon. We walked after dinner. Best first date ever. Today we are going out to the camp.

10-24-01

The peak is a neat feature to this camp. Pepper’s a good host. Luckily last evening, we caught a night at the Mc Donald Observatory when they were hosting a Star Party. I saw Saturn through a telescope, a ring nebula, affectionately know as a moldy cheerio and learned alot about the surface of the moon.  We are going into Ft Davis today to look around.

10:30 pm

Pepper was going to show me a special place but we were scared by something. Picture us running back to the cabin. In Ft Davis, there is a ring of oaks close to a hundred years old. What’s interesting about these oak trees is that they were once a temporary stable. Whoever built it, soldiers most likely, used freshly felled oak trees and when they abandoned the stable the seeds took root and left this circle of trees in an open field. It’s now a picnic area for the locals and visitors. Tomorrow I leave for home.

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