Big Bend Road Trip – Primera Parte

Cait and I decided to take a road trip a while back.  We had no real intention or direction of where we were heading, just knew we wanted to go somewhere we’d never been before.  Maybe six or seven weeks ago, we were looking at google maps of national parks (because we are both HUGE fans of the wonders of the wilds that we have right here at home in the USA) and saw Big Bend National Park in west Texas.  The plan was set…

Saturday morning the tenth, we headed off to Houston.  My sister Jen and her husband Rich live there, so we knew we could have some family time and get some rest before the journey.  They have a beautiful home in Cypress, and my niece and nephew are hilarious (Eaton genes).  The ride was rough with pouring rain and constant construction.  I joke, and will always joke that the traffic and congestion in Houston is the worst in the world.  Being from Atlanta, I’ll take Atlanta traffic over Houston anyday.   I know that sounds ridiculous, but Houston driving in the rain on the interstate is insane – every moment might be your last…

We spent the day with Nathaniel and Elizabeth (nephew and niece) playing “knock out” – a pool basketball game, and watching college football.  Both Jen and Rich are Baylor alumni, so it was nice for the Bears to get a big win.  My sister always cooks my favorites, so our last supper before the adventure was pork tenderloin, which she slays every time.  Ended the night playing a card game called Five Crowns, which I managed to end up in second place (not usually very good at new card games, ask my friend Ada).  In bed by 10 with separate beds (house rules / we aren’t married yet), we set the alarm for 4:30 AM.  Wish we had taken a family photo, but we didn’t…  This is like the third time we’ve missed this opportunity with them, but there is always a next time…

We left Houston at 5 AM and headed west.  The drive kinda sucks until you get past San Antonio when the hills really start to roll.

After a while, you realize that keeping the tank full of gas is a good idea.  Once you pass San Antonio, it’s easy to go fifty miles between stops.  We managed to find a spot in Ozona, Texas to grab a less than average couple of burgers and fries for fifty dollars (what a bargain).

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Shockingly, we couldn’t find a good barbecue spot anywhere.  Like anywhere…  As many of you know, my dream is to one day have a BBQ joint, so I had to be okay with it and declared that it was Sunday. In this part of Texas that means that this is a day of rest (God’s Country).  So seriously.  These people better be getting some rest.

The last stop before heading south towards Big Bend is a town called Fort Stockton.  If you look at the route on a map, you can see that you have to go north to avoid cutting across Mexico.  This part is where it gets especially crucial to have a full tank of gas.  We brought a spare tank to have in the Jeep in case we ran out, an emergency five gallons that would give us an additional 75 miles or so.  Either way, if you plan on living in Fort Stockton, my best suggestion is to work on your Spanish and always fill up with gas.

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We arrived in Terlingua about 4:00 PM.  The property was in a place called the Terlingua ranch, which is about 2,000 acres of desert right below the Chisos mountains.  Our host seriously wrote, “If you feel like you’ve entered the set of a Rob Zombie movie, you have arrived”.  Totally one of the most beautifully weird places I’ve ever been.  Our host wasn’t available, but had a friend  waiting to show us to our “bus”.  We had a few hiccups, but what do you expect in the desert?  Bathrooms?  Not working.  Showers?  Under recent remodel.  Who cares – we’ll make it work.  Seriously, look at our digs for the next few days!

 

It was pretty easy to settle in.  Moved most of our gear inside, but compared to our usual backpacking trips, it was nice to have the Jeep so close for non necessities.  Thought it would be a good idea to play some cards, watch the sunset, and call it a night.  Lastly and most importantly, I made sure I had a bullet in the chamber should that Rob Zombie thing come true…

(If you want more details on our host in Terlingua, contact us via the site – we didn’t want to publish her location and number on the interwebs without explicit permission.)



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