Our drive from Fort Stockton to Big Bend area (Lajitas) was interesting. It started off with really dense fog and then cleared up. Driving through the mountains with the large RV window was gorgeous.
We stayed in Lajitas, TX at Maverick Ranch RV Resort. This is a nice resort that also has hotel rooms, a spa and best public golf course in Texas. There were a few other RV parks 30 minutes closer to Big Bend NP but this one was our favorite because of it sits right on the Rio Grande River and has a great view. It sits right in between Big Bend National Park (800,000 acres) and Big Bend Ranch State Park (200,000 acres), that’s us surrounded by 1 million acres of majestic scenery.
On our drive from Alpine to Lajitas, we saw our first Dust Devil. By the time I got the camera out it had died down but you can still see it.
When we arrived we explored the resort and ran into a sweet lady, Sandy, that gave us so many suggestions for our first visit to the this area. She lived in Destin, FL for 25 years and then moved here 28 years ago and loves it.
During our exploring we saw roadrunners for the first time (we don’t count the world’s largest roadrunner in Fort Stockton since it was a statue 🙂 and a grey fox. Chris was able to capture pictures of both! Sandy taught us how to communicate with a road runner if we ran into one. No you don’t say “meep, meep”….You blow a raspberry. As soon as we went outside, after learning this, another road runner ran past us, they really do like to run across roads. After we all blew raspberries, just because it’s fun to do, the road runner stopped and turned towards us. He ruffled his head crest feathers. We had fun with this, it went on for a good 5 minutes.
As we were getting in back in the Jeep to head to the river, I look back to see what is taking Mackenzie so long and she is checking out something on a tree. She gets in with a fruit. She asks me what it is and naturally I respond with ” you’ll have to look it up and tell me”. Roadschooling at it’s best. She investigated, researched and then dissected it to confirm that it was a pomegranate. We had a sweet treat for dessert tonight compliments of Mackenzie and the tree in which she picked it.
The first thing we did was to walk down to the Rio Grande to put our hands in the river. Then we took a Sunday afternoon drive along one of Nat Geo’s top ten scenic drives in America. Check it out here… Nat Geo Texas most scenic drive. We followed the plan found on that page. It takes you all along the border of The US and Mexico. The stretch between Lajitas and Presido was so moving it brought tears to my eyes. I’m so blessed to have the opportunity to see all of these magnificent places in our country. Life is too unpredictable to wait to follow your dreams. Get our there and make it happen.
The pictures don’t do it justice, you have to experience it for yourself.
If you cross the river you will be fined $5,000!
We then cooled off in the pool. Nothing like mountains in the background while you are swimming.
The girls played on the volcanic ash mountains in our ‘backyard’. We took our school books out on our hike to the volcanic ash mounds and took a break in the shade.
Chris played “Black Jack Canyon” golf course. Texas’s best public course. It had the only grass for 200 miles 😉
We went horse back riding at Big Bend Stables (Sandy’s recommendation). The girls had several rides to chose from and they chose the 2 hour sunset tours. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree:) We loved the private tour of the old mining town with all the ruins. Our guide was so funny and great with the kids.
The girls and I walked through the old mining ghost town of Terlingua (means ‘three languages’). We had this on our list of places to visit but we had it on our agenda to do it a different day. We ended up here because we had a bag of clothes we needed to donate and asked Sandy where there was a thrift store and where we could buy some boots. We got two really interesting answers.
First, there are no thrift stores in any of the 4 towns within 120 miles. What everyone tries to do is use everything until it falls apart. If someone does have something they are no longer using they drop it off on ‘The Porch’ in Terlingua and there is a free bin on the porch for people to go through and take what they want for free.
Since we have been on the road, we have discovered that we don’t need everything we brought on board and it’s annoying to have things on here that take up space. We put the items in a bag and I keep them in my car and drop them off at a thrift store in whatever town we are in. We also have clothes the girls are out growing and there is no room anymore to store Abby’s clothes for Mackenzie to grow into so out they go. I always wanted to practice the rule “One item in, one item out” and now I get too. It feels good!
Back to ‘The Porch’… I was thinking this was going to be a bar or restaurant. Think the “The Library” in Gainesville, FL. But when I drove up to the tiny one street town of Terlingua I went into one of the 4 public buildings I saw and asked someone where ‘The Porch” was and the cashier at the gift shop (it’s a ghost town so there is a tourist gift shop) pointed outside to a house with…a porch. We walked over there and an old man came over and I explained we had a bag of clothes to donate and he graciously excepted them and then said follow me. He took us to the side porch and said you welcome to whatever you want. I looked around and talked with the man while the girls played with the puppy. The man collects clothes for people in need. He was currently gathering what he had to take down to Houston. He gave us some history on the old mining town and said to go out back climb down the small canyon and look for the cave… he said it’s a cool tunnel and showed us where it ends up. Why not, right? It was a fun little excursion. Not something normal tourist do 🙂 When we first entered the cavern we saw 2 Javelina’s.
They look like wild boars and they are can be aggressive. We were glad that we know to be loud in a desert to scare off the rattlesnakes so we scared them off before we were close enough to have a confrontation.
They mined for cinnabar that was then heated and mercury (called quick silver back in the day) was extracted with the by product of sulfur. We could see mounds of yellow sulfur powder on our horseback riding trail. The most mercury was produced during WWI and then the mines were shut down in the 1970’s when mercury was discovered to be toxic.
In between the two tiny towns of Lajitas and Terlingua is a building the size of a mobile home that has a sign outside that says “Long Draw Pizza”. I drove past it all week and only saw a truck there once. I had never driven by at night until the night we were coming back from our camping trip at Big Bend NP, we’d been in the car for an hour and were staring. I didn’t want to cook when we got home so I suggested we see it Long Draw Pizza was open for business. It wasn’t quite dark yet and there were a few cars parked in front of the building as we drove up. We went inside and sure enough there was a bar with a counter top behind it and several banquet folding tables and chairs. there were two people at the bar and one family sitting at a table. We sat down and the one women working there came over with a pizza and beer menu. We asked if she takes credit cards because we only had $20 in our wallets. She said no, but we could just mail her a check later. Let me repeat that… she said we could just mail her a check later. She was going to feed us on the honor system. I love the people in this country!!
As it turns out Chris had a check folded up in his wallet. We ordered, she went back to the counter and made the pizza and brought it out on paper plates and when we were done, she wrapped up the pizza in aluminum foil. I love places like this! When we walked outside it was dark, there was not one light on the outside of the building.
This is the quietest and darkest RV park we have visited. We star gazed every night.
The weather was perfect all week. It gets hot during the day, high 80’s and then cools off as soon as the sun sets to the 50’s. It only rains in the summer during their monsoon season so we saw no rain. It fact it is the first time I have ever seen 16% humidity. I’m telling you ladies, if you have frizzy hair and are tired of the humidity ruining your hairdo’s… this is the place to be!
It was so dusty, good thing the Jeep is grey because it was covered with grey dust, especially after the off roading in Big Bend.