Categories
Texas

Arizona!

Finally I made it to Arizona! I didn’t get quite as far as I’d hoped, but I drove 350 miles and that’s a pretty good day for me. I just have 55 more to go tomorrow morning. Much of today’s drive was on the back roads again, through the desert which is pretty boring except for trying to figure out what all the squished animals are on the road. In case you’re wondering, there were probably 100 jackrabbits, with a few raccoon and a coyote mixed in.

As I left Guadalupe Mountains National Park I drove over to the Frijoles Ranch Museum exhibit. The buildings were not open so I just wandered around a bit.  The ranch was started in the 1870’s, then changed hands in 1906. The Smith family added onto the house and made their living by truck farming and a small orchard. The nearest market for their produce was in Van Horn, 60 miles away. So they would load up the wagon, hitch up the horses, cover the produce with wet paper & rags to protect them from the dust and heat, and drive all night, arriving the next morning to sell to their customers. Phew, sure sounds like a hard way to make a living!

This is the little red schoolhouse, built in 1925. The Smiths hired a teacher who was paid $30 a month plus room, board and the use of a horse! They had as many as 8 kids in attendance.

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And here’s my last view of Guadalupe Mts.

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Ahhh Arizona! Back in the land of magnificent sunrises and sunsets. The past few mornings I have been up in time to catch the sunrise, thanks to Roxie. (Grrrr) It’s definitely worth seeing; I just don’t want to get up and go outside at 6:40 a.m.!

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Thank you for using my Amazon Associates link to get to Amazon & order your Christmas goodies! (OK, well ALL the time goodies would be good)  It doesn’t cost you any extra and I get a small percentage of the amount spent. Here’s my link: https://www.amazon.com/?tag=litbitliv01-20

 

 

 

Categories
Texas

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

I said a sad farewell to Big Bend this morning, with a hug from neighbor Neal and exchange of email & Facebook Friendships. I believe we’ll run into each other again somewhere in Arizona this winter. I think this time in early December is a really good time to visit Big Bend….not many people, good weather, and plenty of campsites to choose from. I hardly ever saw another car on the road!  As I was going out our bad dirt road this morning I saw the remains of someone’s bike rack or something in the road….three separate piles of “stuff”. I hope they were able to pick it up and put it back together on their way out.

I drove all day on little 2 lane roads (speed limits usually 70-75, but I only go 60). I was getting tired when I got to Van Horn, TX but I went another hour and made it to Guadalupe Mountains National Park. The Pine Springs CG here is just a big paved lot with no shade but the price is right; $4 with the Geezer Pass! There’s a really cool Aussie-style camper across the road from me. I wish I had the guts to ask if I could see the inside….but I don’t.

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Here’s our campsite; barely got set up before dark! Pretty nice view.

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It’s pretty windy here; hope it calms down soon. It seems impossible to keep the wind from blowing straight through the camper, even with all 4 corners stuffed with foam.

(Next morning) The winds remained really gusty all night long…we were really rockin’ and rollin’! I was again giving thanks for my good friend Jenni’s help in installing the handy wind straps that keep the roof closed tight.  I was grumpy this morning because Roxie made me get up at 6:45 but what an amazing sunrise I got to see! And the mountains are bathed in beautiful golden light….compare this sight to the photo at the top that I took yesterday.

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I guess I may as well get an early start on today’s drive….if I do really well, we could get to Whitewater Draw Wildlife Management Area today! It’s 325 miles though, that’s quite a long driving day for me. So we’ll see.

Categories
Texas

Big Bend Day 5

Today we went to Castellon and Santa Elena, where the whitewater trips through the Santa Elena Canyon take out. Without hiking over a mile, I couldn’t get any photos of the canyon. This is the closest I could get, and the river runs through that big vertical crack in the middle of the photo.

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For some reason most of the photos I took today turned out a little bit out of focus, not sure what that’s about! But there was a magnificent sunset and I’m posting one of the blurry photos of that anyway.

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These are from our first day here; I love this purple prickly pear! (Try saying that three times real fast!)

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And these are some kind of quail or ?; can you find them?

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Finally, Neal’s 1969 Playmor camper. Isn’t it cute!

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Categories
Texas

Big Bend Day 4

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Today we went outside the park on the west side, to the ghost town of Terlingua. I was interested to see it because I used to own  5 and 13 acre tracts of land near there at Terlingua Ranch, which I bought and sold sight unseen. I got gas in Study Butte (pronounced Stoody Byute) for $2.609, not cheap but at least it’s $.10 a gallon cheaper than inside the park. Terlingua is a really funky little place, with people living in shacks, nice homes, teepees, tents….you name it! I really like adobe and this isn’t this the cutest little adobe tiny house!

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And the next door neighbor is this teepee! There are quite a few old adobe and rock remains of homes.

Near town is this place, shaped like a clipper ship. In case you can’t read the sign, it says “Passing Wind”!  At another house that had a completely sand yard was a sign that said “Keep Off The Grass”.  

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In Terlingua there’s a really nice store with Texas and Terlingua souvenirs and gifts, and next door is the Starlight Theater. You can get dinner and a show! There’s going to be a live band tonight and I think my neighbor Neal is going.

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I keep seeing coyotes coming and going on “our” Grapevine Hills Road but they always disappear into the brush when I get close. Today there was one that slipped into the brush but when I got to the place where he left the road, there he was! He stood and modeled for me while I look at least 6 or 7 great photos, then trotted off. Then I noticed the little yellow blurb in the camera that I’d been ignoring, it said “No memory card present”. I didn’t get ANY of those photos!!!  As I continued toward our camp, I saw another coyote that was trotting up the road and went around a bend. When I got around it, there was our campsite. And the coyote was right there! He sure had no fear of humans; Neal was standing in the doorway of his camper and the coyote went within 4′ of him! He too stood around for long enough to me to get some photos but I’m sure they are not as good as the ones I couldn’t keep.

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coyote

 

On the way home I drove up to Chisos Basin; there’s a visitor center, campground, store and lodge there. The terrain is completely different….lots of conifer frees and there were signs warning of bears and cougars. There was even a “bear crossing” sign but I guess I was there at a time when there weren’t any crossings scheduled, as usual.

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Categories
Texas

Big Bend Day 3

I have extended my stay at Big Bend for two additional days, as the first two days were completely clouded over, and I really want to see the park in the sunshine. I’m pretty sure there really are tops to these mountains; I just can’t see them.dscn6642

Yesterday I left the campsite and soon realized that my neighbor was right behind me. I drove through the gas station to see what the price is ($2.70 a gallon!) and he drove in also. I went to the Panther Jct. visitor center, extended my campsite stay, got some water and dumped my trash and when I came out, his car was also there. Then I drove over to see the Boquillas border crossing; I had hoped to be able to see the actual river but the U.S. Customs building was in the way. You can take a rowboat ride across the river for $5, then there are people on the Mexican side who will give you a donkey ride up to the little town of Boquillas for another $5. I have no desire to ride a donkey! I drove on to an overlook area and saw some people on the Mexican side of the rivier working on some project. There were some walking sticks and crafts all laid out on a rock there with no one around; you can buy things made in Mexico on the honor system! Most of the small items were $6 and the larger items were $10-12.

 

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On the Mexican side of the river
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The Mexican town of Boquillas

I went on to the Hot Springs and was surprised that there were old buildings there…one was a store and another looked like a motel! I actually walked the ¼ mile to the hot springs! (And ¼ mile back) My knees and hips were feeling it when I got back but there were places to rest along the way.  As I was coming back to the parking area, there was my neighbor again! I called out that it wasn’t nice to stalk people and he laughed; we stopped and chatted a bit. His camper is not as old as I thought; it’s a 1969 Playmor. He lives in it too, like me except he’s got almost twice as much space.

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Old General Store at hot springs

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Swallow nests about 50′ up on cliff wall
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Pictographs

The hot springs are free and about a 20’ square pool right next to the river, just a few feet deep. I believe the water is 105 degrees.

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Hot springs pool

I went on to the campgrounds. The one with electric hookups was like a paved parking lot though it did have some trees; campers were packed in very closely. This CG stays full all the time. The other campground without hookups had lots of trees and the sites were spacely farther apart. There’s a “no generators” area that would be quieter.  There’s also a visitor center, store and another gas station there.

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Full hookups campground
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Typical site in no-hookups campground
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These yellow flowers were growing right of the rock on the side of the canyon!

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