Big Bend Day 4


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!


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”.  


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.



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.




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.






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.




On the Mexican side of the river
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.

Old General Store at hot springs


Swallow nests about 50′ up on cliff wall

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.

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.

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



Big Bend

I made it to Big Bend National Park! Finally. And just in time for the Arctic Blast….today’s high is 35 with a brisk wind, and the clouds are so low, I can hardly see the mountains. Drat! I may have to extend my visit.  As soon as I entered the park I saw my first wild critter…a big fat tarantula crossing the road; how exciting! I did not stop to take a photo of him. Then I noticed another, and another…..a really disturbing number of tarantulas!! Eww. Once I got off the paved road I didn’t see any more, but I bet they’re out there, just waiting to jump on me! Also waiting to leap on any unsuspecting person or dog are cougars and bears.Spiders, cougars and bears, oh my!

I am camped in a Backcountry site in Grapevine Hills. I was hoping there’d be a cell signal here but no, at least not on my phone. I really wanted to get the Government Springs sits as it’s quite close to the paved road, but it was taken. So my site is down 4 miles of very bad dirt road, but it’s nice once you get back there. It’s a sort of double site, and my neighbor is a young guy with kayak and bike and he’s camping in an old vintage Playmore camper! It’s cute as a button. (and so is he, if you care about that sort of thing) Oh no, I just tried to enter some photos and again my USB converter doesn’t work!  I really hate when that happens.

In the middle of last night I had to go outside and gather up my canopy, as it was too windy and the poles were banging on the camper. Oh the stars!! That song is right, “The stars at night are big and bright, deep in the Heart of Texas”!

It was so nice to not have to get up early and drive today. I made a big breakfast of “everything eggs” (sausage, ham, green pepper, onion, potatoes, eggs and cheese) and dawdled around all morning. I came out to empty the porta-potty and use the free wifi at the Panther Creek Visitor Center, which is only about 7 miles from me. On the way out the dirt road, I saw a coyote, a bunch of some kind of quail, and a roadrunner! I did take photos though they were kinda far off, so I don’t know how they turned out yet.

At the visitor center the ranger identified the thorn that went through my shoe as  mesquite, and he said the same thing happened to him the other day. I’m now very careful what i step on, but it’s already feeling better.

I’ll keep playing with the camera disc converter and hope to post photos the next time.