Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Take a Break; Take a Hike; Take a Jeep

The morning sunrise,  the day before our guests arrived.  Beautiful!
Our “take a break” from exploring on our own became a reality with the visit from our friends, Chip and Daisy.
Their hostess gift was 4 bottles of Raspberry Chipotle Marinade - from HEB!

Nestled in next to our rig at BJ's RV in Terlingua.
We met both of them when we escaped last fall to spend the winter in South Texas, where they have a winter home base.  Chip is from Arkansas and Daisy is from Virginia, with a summer home base in Arkansas.  Since they had not yet been to Big Bend, it was definitely on their agenda to come and visit us and we are so glad that they did. 
The list of possible “to-do’s” weren’t hard for us to put together for their impending visit - adding a few new things we haven't seen - which made it all the more exciting to share together.  We were definitely the four amigos during this time - all of us touring in our Jeep to make it easier.  We were able to borrow a bench seat for the back of our Jeep so that Daisy and I could pile into it - and I might add that it was several times throughout the day.  What fun we had.  Sites we showcased on our previous Blog, "Viva Terlingua", were quickly photographed by both of them as they captured their own memories digitally.  Sharing photos before they left totaled more than 900+ photos (via 4 cameras) so that we could get just the right one!

Day 1 ~ Welcome to BJ's & Dinner at the Starlight Theatre

Our first item on our itinerary was the Starlight Theatre where we enjoyed good food, drinks and local music.  Jeff found out that Chip's favorite desert was something that we liked too, so we surprised him after dinner with something sweet. 
Sipping on a Margarita, enjoying the sunset over the Chisos Mtns

Beautiful sight!  Check out the handsome guys below!
Back at our RV for Chip's favorite desert - vanilla wafers, banana's & pudding

Day 2 ~ Big Bend National Park Jeep Trip 
Highlights on this day were the Sam Nail Ranch, Tuff Canyon, Mule Ear Peaks at 3,881 ft. and then the scenic drive into a spectacular canyon cut by the Rio Grande, known as the Santa Elena Canyon.  Last stop was to the Visitor's Center in the heart of the Park known as the Chisos Basin where we were at an elevation of about 5,000 ft.  Chef Kay's Chicken Pot Pie was on the menu for dinner that evening, so getting back early was very important to the success of this dish. 
Santa Elena Canyon

Grove of trees in the Sam Nail Ranch

Just who are those alien's waving their arms?

Our shadows high above Tuff Canyon!

Just us and the Mule Ears Peak in the background.
Kay's Chicken Pot Pie . . . let's eat!
Day 3 ~ Boquillas, Mexico & the Park, continued
We started the day with a ride back into the Park with Passports in hand so that we could experience the crossing into Boquillas, Mexico.  (Note: This area was just recently re-opened this past April after being closed shortly after September 11, 2001.)  After listening to the "do's & don'ts" for this visit by the US Port of Entry staff, we walked down to the river to begin a fun filled, 4-hour experience - not the 2-hour trip that they say most people spend.  We were interested in the people, how they lived and being able to support their Village during our visit. So many pictures to share . . .

Walking path down to the river crossing

Waiting for the boat to cross into Mexico

Victor (far right) serenaded us as we waited for the boat. 
Water is about 3ft.deep
Safely across

1/2 mile trip to the town by burro.
Our first Mexican "cool one"

Our second one. . .with some chips & salsa
Our third one was definitely a thumbs-up!
Beautiful to look at but we could not bring back to US

Roof top looking at Sierra Del Carmen Mountains
The local church

Very small room for high school students

Elementary school room

Kay, Daisy & Lupe - our guide for the entire visit.

The burro ride back to the river's edge and then back in the boat and safely deposited on US soil, was indeed a trip that will be remembered.  We piled into the Jeep (again!) heading back to exit the Park for that day (via a stop at Panther Junction).  Dinner this evening was planned by Chef Chip - a very delicious clam sauce over pasta, salad and baked apples by Desert Chef Daisy.  We were so hungry, I forgot to get the camera out to take a picture of all the food!  Good night to the group!
Day 4 ~ Scenic Ride through Lajitas & Hike to Closed Canyon
River Road (FM 170) between Lajitas and Presidio has been labeled one of the most scenic drives in all of the U.S. with its 20 mph turns, steep grades (15% at one point) and numerous ups and downs.

Located in Big Bend Ranch State Park is a narrow slot canyon, similar to those commonly found in Utah, called Closed Canyon.  It is a deep, narrow canyon cutting through Colorado Mesa to the Rio Grande with walls that are made of a rock called welded tuff, formed from volcanic ash.  When we started the hike down the trailhead we had a temps of 80 degrees.  That changed quickly along the path as temps dropped about 10-15 degrees cooler. 

Yes, it is water that we are drinking this time!

"Does anyone want to go skinny dipping?"

"Who put that tree branch there?"  The story behind this picture is a good one, ask Jeff.

We called this drop, slide on your butt.

THUMBS UP on this one!

Traditional rock sculpture that we built together.

Back at the campground, we enjoyed appetizers and Margaritas - talking about the day's activities and how much fun we had - before getting in the Jeep again.  A drive of about 3 miles to the Long Draw restaurant for some pizza and beer was the best in this neck of the woods. 
It sure looks like we "tip" a few, doesn't it?

The Texan way - a cold beer with good pizza

They call this one the Six Shooter!
Day 5 ~ Adios, Amigos 

The weather had definitely turned cooler as Chip and Daisy packed up to make the 600+ miles south – via Del Rio (to check out some fine wine at the Val Verde Winery) – and to skirt some much cooler weather that was heading to Terlingua (temp reached low 30’s here at night) with freezing rain.  Although, we definitely lucked out on some fantastic weather for Days 1-4 with sunny days for some really great sights to enjoy and to start some new traditions for our next future visits as the "Four Amigos".
Awesome friends together - wherever we might be!

 Our Holiday wishes wherever you are - across the miles – and in rigs that we call, “Our Home” - we wish you
Hugs to all ~
Kay and Jeff

[Travel update on us: We are still in Terlingua TX until the Friday after Thanksgiving when we will be starting our travels down the open road once again.  Destination is Arizona & California!]

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Starlight Theatre and 41 Mile Jeep Trip

The Starlight Theatre Restaurant & Saloon in the historic Terlingua Ghost Town occupies Terlingua’s original movie house and performance theater.  Finished in 1931, the Theatre was built to bring some culture to this remote mining town.  The Starlight serves dinner 7 nights a week and has some of Terlingua’s hottest live music in the area.

As we arrived for Monday’s special - 2 for 1 burger night – and of course, happy hour for their delicious margaritas – the sun was starting to set over the Chisos Mountains.  It was absolutely breathtaking.  You just had to be there to see it!  The inside of the Theatre was so enchanting with its high ceilings and western atmosphere.  Service also was definitely a 10! 

That following Tuesday we packed ourselves into the Jeep with plenty of water (always, in the mountains!) and headed out on South County Road (just across the road from where are staying at BJs RV Park) and decided that we were going to drive this stretch of road through the mountains which we were told would come out on Hwy 118 inside of Terlingua Ranch lands. 
What a ride!  Jeff did an amazing job on the rough roads. We were gone about 3 hours on this 41 mile trek and were able to get some great pictures.  At times the ride was a little unnerving because of the sloppy roads from the rain that fell 2 days prior.  It takes a while to really dry out some roads around here as they get pretty slick, making it almost unsafe to travel when it is raining.

This was photo was taken coming down a rough road - hang on!
Quite amazing rock formation - looks like a sand sculpture doesn't it?

Take a look at the mineral colors in this formation.

You felt like you were in Egypt!

Hen Egg Mountain
Mountain on Ten Bits Ranch
Now that we know the road we will definitely be traveling it again to spend more than just 3 hours this time.  Hope you like the pictures.

Hugs to all ~
Kay & Jeff