Big Bend Road Trip – La Segunda Parte
If you missed it, Josh did a blog post last week about how we got to our destination in Terlingua, Texas. Now, I get to post about all the adventures we had while we were there! After kicking his butt in cards and getting a good night’s sleep on our first night, we woke up Sunday morning and made breakfast: Thanksgiving stuffing. Yes, you read that correctly. Josh and I packed a full tote of non-perishable food that would be easy to cook. We wanted to challenge ourselves to eat only what we brought and not go spend money at the “lodge” down the road. So, think PB & J’s… lots of PB & J’s.
We did so much prep work for our 2 full days at Big Bend that we already had a pretty solid plan as far as what we wanted to explore. On Day 1, we took the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. The route was stretched out over 30 miles, and everywhere you turned, there was something to see. Among the dozen stops, there were 4 that we’re glad to put down in the books:
The Burro Mesa Pouroff was our favorite stop of the day. Just something about it… Josh and I are huge adventure seekers, so to be able to actually get off of the beaten path and “get lost” in nature was super exciting for us. We had to crawl over large boulders, high-step through mud, and get pricked by quite a few thorns to get to our destination (sounds like fun, right?). It was well worth it for us!
Exhausted, we drove into Terlingua for a cold brew and to look around. Terlingua is the remains of what used to be a ghost town thanks to the Chisos Mining Company in the 1900’s, but in Josh’s words, “It’s still a ghost town.” We stopped in the local shop and got two Viva Terlingua! patches (here, we decided we would get a patch from every place we travel together and sew them on vests. Yes, we are being serious). Onto High Sierra Bar & Grill, we both tried Big Bend Brewing Company on draft- Terlingua Gold Ale for Josh and Fontera IPA for me. They were delicious, but we were hungry enough to head back to our bus after just one pint.
At this point, you could call us Mr. and Mrs. Grumpy Pants, but after quick showers and the start of dinner, we were in better shape. If you read Primera Parte, you know that there were issues in the shower department. Well, our Airbnb hosts graciously let us use their personal bathroom given the renovations happening down the road. What’s for dinner you ask? Oh, nothing better then a fancy Fried Spam sandwich. Y’all, I don’t care what you say… that sandwich was delicious. This was probably my most memorable night. We started cooking over our little gas stove on the tailgate of our school bus when it started to rain. Instead of letting it frustrate us, we went in to play our version of Gin Rummy – we forgot the rules.
The next morning, we set off for our second day in Big Bend. Like the day before, we planned our route, but thanks to our hosts, our route changed. They gave us the scoop on a trail that most locals only know about. The park purposely keeps it off of the map to ensure it’s pristine conditions. Cattail Falls. Talk about natural beauty. It’s hard to believe that in the middle of the desert lies an untouched, frigid fresh-water spring. We took her exact instructions, which literally had landmarks like “hang a right by the big tree”. The falls were a little piece of heaven and exactly what we needed to keep us moving the rest of the day. After a PB & J and some exploring, we traveled up a winding road to The Window Trail. Big Bend, how do you just keep getting prettier and prettier? We got to see The Window when we first arrived to the park, but seeing it from above was way better.
I wish we could talk about our visit to The Hot Springs, but it was, for lack of better words, miserable. This part of the park was on a whole other level of hot. Josh almost passed out from the heat on the walk, and due to a rise in the Rio Grande, there weren’t even any hot springs to see! An hour and a half wasted, but still an adventure gained.
Our last night in Terlingua was a… loud one. Because we were on 90 acres of land, I asked our hosts if we could shoot guns. Risky move, but hey, we were in Texas. They were SO excited. We set up behind their RV with plenty of space around us. Josh and I brought our .22 to have on hand. Not a gun to show off or be impressed with; just something that is better than nothing. Where the impressiveness came in was Larry’s .40 cal. Holy crap that thing had some kick to it. It made shooting our gun look like we were little girls! You know someone is a good host when they let you drink their whiskey and shoot off all their ammo. And a good night was had by all (obviously).
Our time in Terlingua had come to an end but our trip wasn’t over. We still had a night in San Antonio to live out, so we left our bus at 4:30 on Wednesday morning- not without leaving our signage though. The first town to hit after leaving Terlingua and going through a border patrol checkpoint was Alpine. I’d like to point out that we might not have made it to Alpine if Josh would have responded to the border patrolman’s question of, “Are you both U.S. citizens?” with “Sí.” He wanted to. Thank God he didn’t. We stopped in town at a local Food Truck called The Smokin’ Cuban. IT WAS AMAZINGGGG. The best breakfast burrito either of us have ever put in our mouths. After that, onto San Antonio it was for one more night before we head homeward.