Thursday, May 7, 2015

Texas Travels with Longhorn Willie - Part 3

We left Big Bend National Park knowing that we took advantage of every minute and just scratched the surface.  We will be back.  We head North to Terlingua, TX.  Every year they celebrate the Day of the Dead in the local cemetery.

Terlingua Ghost Town
 Old School

After spending a couple hours in Terlingua we drove North to Alpine TX.  We grabbed a pizza in a small Italian Restaurant, La Trattoria.  Great Pizza.

Next stop was the Big Bend Brewery.  We had been drinking their beer ever since we got to Big Bend.

After finding the brewery closed for the day we headed back South toward Terlingua.  We were invited to stay at the "Oasis", at Ara Gureghian & Spirits place, affectionately know as Oasis of My Soul.  The author of "Freedom on Both Ends of the Leash".  I had been reading Ara's blog and posts on Wander the West.  Susan bought me his book and we have been communicating ever since.  It is always great when you meet someone as special as Ara.  We cooked dinner for the BeamerChef.  This was truely a special part of our trip.

Ara suggested that we drive back down to Terlingua and take the river road to Presideo, TX.  He said it was the most beautiful drive that he could take 1000 times and never get tired of the drive.

 We stopped in Marfa, TX for lunch at the Capri Restaurant, an outdoor courtyard.  It was open with umbrella tables and fountains.  We then continued on to Fort Davis and the Davis Mountains.  We made a quick little trip into the Fort to take some photographs and then headed on our way.

After a short visit to the fort we headed for San Angelo, TX and San Angelo State Park. We arrived at the park and asked for a campsite on the lake.  The ranger said the lake no longer existed.  It had dried up in the drought the past 3 years.  We then decided to go out to dinner and found a great seafood restaurant.  Good thing we did because when we got back to camp the mosquitos struck again, all over us and inside the camper.  We must have taken a good dozen halfway to Dallas. 

On Friday we went to the Dallas Arboretum with one of my sisters and our nephews, nieces, their kids and our son.  Very beautiful.  You almost need a full day to see everything.

Happy 90th Birthday Mom.

This trip was a great balance of vacation, camping, and family.  We drove over 4,022 miles, spent 12 nights in the camper and 4 nights in hotels.  My Mother was completely surprised by all that flew into /Dallas, thinking she was going to dinner with Susan and I that Thursday night, only to walk into my sisters house to a full house of family..  On Saturday morning 5/2/15 we left Dallas early in the morning and drove straight home to Carmel, Indiana in 15 hours, arriving home just before midnight.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Texas Travels with Longhorn Willie - Part 2

We arrived in Big Bend National Park about 3pm on Friday April 25th.  We drove approximately 1 hour into the southwest corner of the park to Cottonwood Campground. When we pulled in we saw another Four Wheel Camper, a 2010 Hawk.  We introduced ourselves and Gordon and Lois came down to our site for a visit.

Yucca Cactus in bloom

From Cotton Wood Campground

Claret Cup Cactus

Century Cactus in bloom

Sana Elena Canyon

Sana Elena Canyon



Prickly Pear Cactus

Claret Cup Cactus

Dessert Marigold

Volcanic Ash

Volcanic Ash

Mule Ears

 Tuff Canyon

We spent two nights in Cottonwood Campground along the Rio Grande River.  We were mostly in  a desert environment.  We spent a lot of time driving to different marked viewing areas to read the signs and observe the geological formations.  Lava formations were observed along with volcanic ash that was white or off white in color

Red Vermillion Fly Catcher

Great Horned Owl at Cottonwood Campground

Male Great Horned Owl

The Window

We hiked the Window Trail, 2.03 miles each way.  The elevation drop from Chisos Basin to The Window was a little over 800 feet.  The hike took us 4 hours and this was Susan's first full hike.

We saw numerous jack rabbits and road runners during our stay in the park.  We saw a Javelina along the road as we were leaving.  There are over 450 bird species that spend time in Big Bend National Park.We spent the second 2 nights in the mountains at Chisos Campground.  Temperatures got into the 40's at night and we even turned the furnace on for a few minutes.

Big Bend is an amazing place that should be on everyone's bucket list.  Being able to experience a desert environment and then go up into the mountains was a real adventure in itself.  We even drove into the southeast corner of the park and saw Boquillas, Mexico and part of the Boquillas Canyon.