On to El Paso
Trip Start Apr 28, 2009
37Trip End Jul 03, 2009
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Ft. Stockton, TX RV Park (actually quite nice, a small town out in the middle of nowhere 100 miles north of Big Bend Nat'l Park, 250 miles east of El Paso)
May 9, 2009
My grandfather's birthday. He'd be about 133 or something like that.
Texas, Texas and more Texas. We actually have really liked it. Greener than expected. More rolling in many places. Western definitely dry, lots of mesquite, but buttes and mesas and lots and lots of windmills, the new kind. Miles and miles of them. Goats and cattle. Oil wells. And then miles and miles and miles of nothing but shrubs. Today not too hot at all - about 84 with a breeze. Blue sky. Great bakery in Llano, and we really liked the town of Mason (we have pictures for the Mason family!) The grocery stores have definitely gone southwestern. Shelves and shelves of tortillas, flour and corn, all sizes and package sizes. Peppers of many sorts in the produce section, and a big bin of loose pinto beans.
We had a problem with the "air bags" (not the kind that inflate in an accident, but the kind that bolster your truck springs, allowing you to carry a heavy load with no problem) - but in a bad luck/good luck kind of way, we found a truck garage 15 miles away (we could easily still drive it) and they fixed it - it had just slipped out of place. No damage, and didn't have to take the camper off the truck. And they charged us $20. They will never get rich that way! We initially feared 3 days (weekend...) to be spent in Burnat, TX, but alas, we were able to keep going:-)
The last 2 nights have supposedly had internet, but very poor internet and can't get things sent out. So you will get this eventually, but who knows when!
Van Horn, TX
We have had two wonderful days down at Big Bend National Park. It is a wondrous place for sure. We took a long scenic drive through the Chisos Mountains down to the RIo Grande. Cactus, some in bloom, buttes and mesas and mountains. Blue sky (and pollution evident in the views, alas....) Belle and I SWAM TO MEXICO across the Rio Grande (risking a $5000 fine and a year in jail for illegal entry, but really, there was no one around, and we didn't technically "enter" we just touched!!) You could really walk across, about 3 feet deep, clay at the edge, then a sort of cobblestone bottom to the other side. A beautiful deep canyon that the river comes through - the Santa Elena Canyon - we swam a bit below that, but with a huge cliff looming on the Mexican side, above a narrow shelf where cows were grazing. John and Tilly waded on the Texas side.
Then we drove back up and camped way up in a basin in the Chisos mountain range, at a park campground, with a flaming orange sunset and then a windy windy night, with lightning flashing all around but only a few drops of rain. Perfect clear morning, and we drove south out of the park and then for 60 miles along the Rio Grande - not very grande, rather green/brown (silt), with cliffs and canyons all along until towards the end of it where it opened up into farmland on the Mexican side. We then headed north, stopping at the town of Marfa to look in at the Paisano Hotel, an historic hotel where various movie stars have stayed while filming in the area (Giant, 1956, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean!) - a beautiful old Mexican style hotel. Then on to Alpine, where we found a "mercantile" shop with Mexican handcrafts and raspis or "snow cones" of many different flavors (we chose mango and peach, but they were, to be honest, sickly sweet.....) Then we drove north, up through the Davis Mountains, probably 40 miles on a lovely road through beautiful mountains and valleys and we saw no cars for probably 45 minutes, Just us. It looked like golden grassland, but when we stopped to walk the dogs, we found it was crunchy, spikey grass with little tiny cactii (cactus plural??) in it and the dogs (wisely) wouldn't walk on it!
We are hoping to stay in El Paso tomorrow night with our camp friends the Dorians - Mark and Helen and their two kids - Helen leaves later this week for an Aloha event in Fairlee, but we'll see them tomorrow before she goes. We think Aunt Nene was from El Paso - and we are thinking of her!
Keep those comments and emails coming, we love them - and we do have occasional cell phone - loved hearing from Alan and from Mary and Murray on Mother's Day. We talked to all the Hall-Speare family mothers, and it was Becca's 3rd birthday. We will celebrate with Sarah and Kaleb on Friday - coming right up!