Saturday 6 July – hot, hottest day yet. We left Sanderson, Texas and headed for Big Bend National Park.
We had to stop at the side of the road because Ramsey’s radiator was gurgling. I guess it was overheating. Clint added water and off we went. We got to Big Bend around 1 o’clock and we stopped at their Visitor Center. Because of Ramsey, we decided to stay in the closest town instead of the park. The Park is big and not close to any amenities. We drove 30 more miles to get to Terlingua. It’s a very small place right in town.
We set up and then we drove to Big Bend National Park, driving down different roads in the park to see the landscapes. We went to the Chisos Mountains which were 6800 feet high and up there it was 18 Celsius to 26 Celsius. We drove through the campground and the sites were tiny and very rocky with no services; it was pretty well tents only.
We went back into town and drove down the road to the Rio Bravo Mexican restaurant where we had a really good meal.
Sunday 7 July – Sunny and hot. We got up and left early and drove the Ross Maxwell Drive which is about 30 miles long, I think.
We went down to St. Elena’s Canyon. We couldn’t do the hike because there was lots of flooding and very thick clay. Some young people tried to do the hike and they were almost up to their knees with clay so they came back. They said it was very tough going and they only went a couple hundred yards.
This was one of the roads in the Park, heading to St Elena’s Canyon, a lot of water flooding the roads. They had signs up to be careful as there was severe flooding, depending on the time of year and weather. But we have a great truck so no worries for us!
The drive through the park was really nice and we stopped here and there at different places. Saw lots of little geckos. We stopped at Mule Ear overlook and they did look like mule ears.
The Sol Vista overlook was next. We did some short walks on some of our stops and at that time the temperature was 22 Celsius but later in the afternoon it was 29 and then went up into the 30’s. This was on the Ross Maxwell Drive.
The St. Elena Trail was at 2100 feet and as we kept going it went up to 4274 feet. We drove to the Visitor Center at Panther Junction and we watched a movie. We left there and went to the Rio Grande Village, which was a full-service campground, just for a look. It was basically a huge parking lot, but still okay, we should have stayed here. We saw Road Runners all day, and all they did was run across the roads and over the fields. So cute. I have never seen one in person, they are pretty adorable.
Some random photos of Big Bend National Park and area, we drove outside the Park one day. I can’t remember where each and every photo was taken! It’s a big park.
We stopped at a store and went in for a treat and then on to Boquillas Crossing and Canyon. Clint walked a bit of the Canyon which was on the Rio Grande River.
We also did the Rio Grande overlook.
They say there are supposed to be about 25 mountain lions and also Mexican black bears in this area but we didn’t see anything. I don’t think of bears when I think of Texas! There are also supposed to be Javelinas which is a type of boar-looking pig. Then we drove on this horrible narrow road to the Hot Springs. It was narrow and bumpy and only one lane with a huge drop-off. We finally made it in and parked. We saw some old buildings and the sign pointing the way. It was supposed to be a ¼ mile walk to this Hot Springs so we started on a trail and walked for over 20 minutes. I did not take water with me and it was hot and I said this is a long ¼ of a mile so I went back to the truck. Within five minutes Clint, as well as five other people, who were just ahead of us, came back. We were all on a long loop not the hot springs trail and we didn’t realize it. We didn’t realize the hot spring was practically in the parking lot. Then we headed home.
Monday 8 July – low 20’s Celsius and it’s cool and rainy. We are up at six and we had an encounter with fire ants and that is all I will say about that. That took a while to resolve and then we left. We drove to the town of Alpine to get Ramsey (our truck) fixed, hopefully. We got stopped at a checkpoint and we were asked for our passports which we didn’t have with us. We never left the state so it just seemed odd to us. But they looked at our driver’s licenses instead and probably figured “Oh those poor Canadians have no clue”. There were numerous checkpoint stops on the highway in some of these States. We are only used to Border crossings.
We spotted this guy in one of the towns, made us laugh. Always practice safe work ethics, particularly if you are a dinosaur.
We got to Alpine and we tried different garages but no luck until at the third one, called Alpine Auto. They took us in. Wes, the owner and David, worked on our truck. We got to visit with Hank, who is Wes’s dog and Rita, a visiting Labrador dog. She was cute, she would just wander in and out. I guess she lives next door. The truck repairs cost us $150 but hopefully the truck is okay now. We left and got a bite to eat at Sonic Hamburger, we will never go there again, it was horrible. I don’t think I’ll complain about McDonald’s again haha. It took us an hour to drive back to our trailer but we wanted our cameras before we headed out for another drive. This is a beautiful area. We decided to eat at the Rio Bravo restaurant again, yup…..good food just like Saturday’s meal!
A few random shots from the drive.
The flower below was all over the place in the southern states. It is called Parry’s Agave. This plant has a stalk up to 20 feet tall and has 20-30 side branches. Each side branch has hundreds of flowers. These plants are also known as Century plants because they live 10-30 years before flowering and then they die. So they only flower once and that’s at the end of their life. Kinda sad really. The plant will have offshoots that replace the parent plant after it dies. This plant has been a source of food and beverage for 9,000 years or more. Humans can use the fluid in the plant, which when allowed to ferment becomes an alcohol which becomes mescal after being distilled. You can bake or roast the core of the plant for various uses and the leaves have strong fibres that can also be used for inexpensive rope, paper etc. Very cool plant.
Tomorrow we are off to El Paso, Texas!