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Sat. Sept. 16 to Fri. Sept. 23- New Mexico to Big Bend Texas   Part 1  

I have given up! I have tried and tried to get all the pictures into these blogs. I would get frustrated and walk away. That is why these are so late. I am finally going to do them by the day, but even then, I still cannot get all the pictures I want into the blog.

Saturday- We left around 9:30 and traveled east. We stopped at the Walmart in El Paso for diesel. $4.39/gal. It was over $5 at all the other stations.

We continued the almost 30 miles through El Paso on I-10. I have always hated El Paso. My opinion has not changed since 1975, the first time I was there.

In Van Horne, we turned south onto Hwy. 90. Our destination for the day was Marfa, a small Texas town. We had a reservation at Tumble in Marfa RV Park, $31 for FHU 30 amp, back in site. It was, of course, located right next to the railroad tracks on the south side of town.

We checked in and parked the rig. Then we went back north into town. Not too long ago, there had been an article in the Washington Post about Marfa. Bob had sent it to me. We went searching for some of the sites. There is not much to the town. They have a pretty peach colored county building and some art deco buildings. Nothing exciting, compared to other places that we have visited.

We did want to see the famous “Marfa Lights”.  From Wikipedia “The Marfa lights, also known as the Marfa ghost lights, have been observed near U.S. Route 67 on Mitchell Flat east of MarfaTexas, in the United States. They have gained some fame as onlookers have attributed them to paranormal phenomena such as ghostsUFOs, or will-o’-the-wisp. Scientific research suggests that most, if not all, are atmospheric reflections of automobile headlights and campfires.”

“The first historical record of the Marfa lights was in 1883 when a young cowhand, Robert Reed Ellison, saw a flickering light while he was driving cattle through Paisano Pass and wondered if it was the campfire of Apache Indians. Other settlers told him they often saw the lights, but that when they investigated they found no ashes or other evidence of a campsite.[5] Joe and Anne Humphreys next reported seeing the lights in 1885.”

We drove the 9 miles south to the view area, taking the dogs with us. We could definitely see what they were talking about. We could see 1 set of blinking red lights, which were airport beacons, but the white lights were what we saw and what they described. They definitely were moving in erratic movements. Here are our pictures. They would appear and disappear. We did not see any cars that would explain the lights and no campfires. The lights were in an empty area of the desert. All I can say, is if you don’t believe us, go see them for yourselves!

We had taken the dogs with us, and they behaved very well. They sniffed then laid down and just people watched. There were about 12 people there when we arrived. More people arrived and a bus even showed up, full of people! 

We returned to the rig. We had a quiet night. No train horns, but at one point I did feel the vibration of a train passing.

Sunday- Up, up and away! We continued our drive south, on Hwy 90. We turned west onto Hwy. 170, in Terlingua, and drove the 17 miles to the resort. We arrived at Maverick Ranch RV Park, in the small town of Lajitas. This is a nice park with 100 FHU sites. We were placed in site 28 which was relatively flat.

At 2 we went over to the pool building where all of the activities will take place. We received our bag with the information inside. We also received our name tags. Lisa Koca, who is the Escapees HOP (Head Out Program) leader. She is actually the paid leader of the HOP program with Escapees. At 4, we had the first get together. At 4:30 we left for dinner at the Starlight Theater, which is located in the Terlingua Ghost Town. There are 56 people in the group. The HOP had sold out and we had gone onto the waiting list. We were only on the list a few days when we were notified that we could join the trip. 

This is the stage at the Starlight Theater

We arrived and parked. There was a large gift shop. We were supposed to enter at 5 pm. The menu had arrived this morning in our email, and it as too late for us to respond. Some folks never got the menu email, as there is limited internet here in the desert. There was a mix up on the meal, and we had to wait to get into dinner. There were people waiting to enter to eat also, as the restaurant opens at 5, and we were taking up 56 seats. The restaurant is not all that big, maybe 75 seats.

Dinner was okay, nothing special. I had pork medallions(spicy) and Bob had chicken with spinach. We ate and returned to the RV park. The park is a dark sky park, meaning no lights after 9 pm.   

Monday- This morning we had “Eggs in a Bag”. We have had this before at a rally. You label a baggie with your name, you drop eggs (2) out of their shells into the baggie, add items, such as chopped tomatoes, onions, cheese, bacon bits etc. and close the bag tightly. Then you mash them all together. You placed them in boiling water, and 15 minutes later, you roll an omlet out of the baggie onto a plate and eat your excellent breakfast!

Breakfast in a bag at the HOP leaders RV

We left driving the 17 miles back to Hwy. 90, then turning south driving 4 miles to the Big Bend NP entrance on Hwy 90. We have the NP senior pass, so we enter for free.

We drove 23 miles to the turn off to Chisos Basin. It was a little bit over 6 miles long, through the mountains. We went up to an elevation of 5401 ft. It was a little bit cooler there! The view was interesting. We went into the NPS office, and I stamped papers for our NPS book. We also purchased a new National Geographic National Park book. Ours is so old, that there are new parks that were not in our book!

We wandered through the store, ate our bars, and did the ½ mile walk on the Window View Trail, to see the ‘window view’.

There is a campground (no services) there, but the road is not made for RV’s over 24ft.

We drove back out to the main highway.  We turned right and continued on to the Panther Junction Visitor Center. We wanted to see the NPS video. NPS is not showing the video, so we purchased one of the copies for $10. Grrr! You would think that with only a few people in the park, they could show the video; the staff think so, but they have no control. It is coming from the top of NPS.

We turned right out of the Visitor Center and drove the 20 miles towards the Rio Grande Village. We passed the entrance to the Hot Springs, which was closed, as they were still under flood waters. Big Bend is in their monsoon season, which runs from May to October. The area had flooded over the last few weeks. We were lucky that so much of the park is back open. We were also lucky to see the park ‘green’. All the rain had brought out the leaves and flowers.

We drove through the tunnel and stopped on the way at the Rio Grande overlook. We walked out to the overlook to find that it is does not look over the Rio Grande River. It was just a short walk to nowhere!

We continued on to Daniels Ranch, which was not open for the summer. There were picnic tables, so we ate our lunch. There was a lot of “scats” near the table, which we thought might have been from some bears, but then we decided it might be from horses. We continued on to the Rio Grande Visitor Center, which was also not open for the summer.

We drove out to the picnic area. There were horses grazing on the side of the road. One horse just walked across the road in front of us. I could not get my camera fast enough to take a picture. The horses were branded. We thought they might we wild, but they come across the river when it is low, and with the flooding, they could not cross back to Mexico. They just stay and graze until the river goes down.

The Rio Grande Village store and bathrooms are open all year There is also a FHU RV park located near the river in this location. We drove through to take a look. There are 25 FHU sites. It is privately run and is the only FHU campground in the park.

We drove back a few miles to the turn off for the Boquillas Canyon Overlook. We wanted to go down to the Boquillas dock, but the road is closed due to flooding. One of the activities we want to do, is to go across into Mexico, into the town of Boquillas for lunch. We are hoping that the river goes down enough that they can open the trip across before we leave.

At the overlook, there were items left on the ground to purchase by migrants or folks from Boquillas. The park does not want anyone to purchase the items, as it only encourages this activity.

We returned to the RV and happy dogs. At 5, we had a happy hour and a talk by the Steve, an Escapees member, who is a Texas Master Naturalist. He talked about the various plants. It was also “Margarita Monday”, and Steve had made Margaritas for everyone. At 7 they had Bingo, which we did not attend.

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