Taking a road trip out to parts of west Texas and the Big Bend area is something that I have wanted to do for years. We have numerous friends who've either gone on camping trips or attended the annual Chili cook-off in Terlingua, and the idea of being so close yet having never actually been was disturbing to me. On the other hand, we had no intention of putting on hiking boots, packing a tent and some sleeping bags and heading out into the wilderness. In fact, this little break from work (and, oh by the way, our wedding anniversary) was intended to be one of those deals where we rarely exit the vehicle (and the air conditioning), and really, see what all the excitement is about from a distance through a bug splatted windshield.
Deliverance sitting out on the front porch pickin' and grinnin' on the banjo all night.
Del Rio and interestingly, found a Rudy's Bar BQ where we decided to grab a quick lunch and fill-up before heading on. Just a quick note about that. In San Antonio, people rave about Rudy's. I've never disliked the place, per se, but it's not my favorite. But both Eva and I were extremely pleased with the vittles we had at the Rudy's in Del Rio. The brisket and chicken were great with no need for the sauce. The potato salad was outstanding. I don't want to get anyone in trouble, but the people in Del Rio are not following the company formula, and we liked it! I hope this isn't me reporting to Rudy's management that they have a serial killer in their midst, but what they ought to do is get out to Del Rio, figure out what they are doing and move that staff to San Antonio and Leon Springs.
Lake Amistad. The water seemed really low.
This is not to suggest that I am not opposed to check points, be they for random drug or DWI inspections, or any random thing. I am. In the case of these inspection stations, the only thing to be upset about is that they are a waste of tax dollars and a waste of time. We laughed about the fact that all the illegals could jump out of a bus, run around the check point, then get back in the bus on the other side. But, in terms of ruining my day? Whatever. The Border Patrol guys we encountered were all friendly, though admittedly, I'm pretty US Citizen looking and come to think of it, so is Eva.
And then there is another sort of stop. So there we were not even 20 miles from Alpine when I saw a State Trooper off in the distance coming towards me. I checked my speed - cruise control set for about 80 - and hit the brakes. When we got closer, I actually sped back up to 75, the posted speed limit and then as soon as we passed each other, he hit his brakes and pulled a u-turn. Whatever.
I immediately pulled over to the shoulder, put on the flashers and pulled out my DL and lowered the windows. When the trooper approached the passenger side window he asked if I was aware of my speed. I mumbled something friendly about going between 70 and 75. He smiled and said he had me clocked at 82. There is no arguing when you know you are due a ticket and since, truth be told, I always speed, I mean always, this was coming. When you are happy to accept a ticket just to make up for the fact that you haven't had one that you deserve in years, I guess you come across as friendly.
Alpine a small, clean, friendly college town. Aside from the fact that most every shop we wanted to visit closed by 5 PM, the place has character. Who knew Hoss went to Sul Ross? Not me.
Hampton Inn in Alpine (which we were very pleased with), we got back in the truck and headed down the road to Marfa. To me, Marfa was the real disappointment of the trip. In doing some basic Google research on Marfa, it was made out to be this hipster, artsy-fartsy place full of galleries and museums. Well, perhaps it is all that, but not after 5 in the afternoon. Granted, with a population of 2,121, there probably isn't any expectation that the sidewalks shouldn't roll-up at 4:59PM, but if you are planning on going to see the Marfa Lights, for instance, don't expect to be entertained by the rest of Marfa while you wait.
The other thing I wanted to see in Marfa was the big 3D controversial art display showing a Prada store front. Well, turns out it isn't in Marfa at all, and given our limited time, we weren't feeling the urge to go find it. For some reason, the Google maps app on my iPhone kept pointing us to an art gallery in Marfa (which was closed). Maybe another time.
We decided to head north from Marfa up to the town of Ft. Davis. In hindsight, it might have been better if we had gotten a room for the night there so we could have gone to the McDonald Observatory to see the star show. Chatting later with some folks who went, it seemed like a great time. Our issue was, we did not want to be navigating the roads in the middle of the desert late at night, so instead, we decided to eat dinner.
Ft Davis Drug Store that housed a small art gallery and a hotel all in the same building.
Next - Day 2 and our trip to Terlingua Ghost Town.