Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Big Bend National Park

Since I have been daydreaming about road trips, I pulled out some of my old trip write-ups (If you don't do a trip journal or trip write-ups, you should start. It is a great way to preserve those memories) and thought I would post them. Today's is from Big Bend National Park! This is probably my favorite trip I have ever taken!

On February 20-28, 2004, we visited Big Bend National Park in west Texas. It was a fantastic trip! The weather was great with temperatures in the 80s during the day. It was a little chilly at night but never too cold - a fleece was plenty. The trails were empty, even though the campground that we were in was pretty full and it was the high season for this park. This is not a daytrippers park - it is very remote so that limits the crowds.

Mileage - approximately 3000 miles round trip

We left home on Friday evening, deciding to drive until we were tired. We made it to Memphis just before 9pm and dropped by Brooks Brothers to say a quick hello to Henny Penny-my sister, the store manager. We were soon back on the road. We got tired around Little Rock, Arkansas. So we found a dark parking lot and pulled in for the night. We were in a Ford Expedition. A queen-size air mattress fits nicely in the back. We slept for a couple of hours until it got REALLY cold. Vol Fan decided to hit the road again. By the time, I woke up we were in Texas. We switched places to allow Vol Fan to sleep for a while. I loved driving in west Texas. The roads were so long and empty and the speed limit was 80!!

We reached the McDonald Observatory by 6pm on Saturday - in plenty of time to attend a star party. This was a lot of fun! If you ever get the chance, it is well worth the fee. There is a short lecture and then you head to the telescopes. You get to look at whatever is best viewed at that particular time. My favorites were seeing Saturn and the Andromeda Galaxy. We stayed at the Hotel Limpia in Ft. Davis, Texas. I would recommend checking in before heading to the observatory. We just barely made it in time to get a room as things were already closing for the night! We were in Suite #3 of the Mulhern House - It was wonderful!

On Sunday morning, we awoke to a beautiful sunny day! We had a great breakfast at the hotel dining room and then headed to Fort Davis National Historic Site. We were pretty much the only people there. The exhibits were interesting - they gave us quite an insight into the lives of the soldiers. In the living quarters, be sure to look for the bathtub! After exploring for a while, we drove down Highway 17 and then Highway 67 to Presidio, Texas. I wished we had timed our trip through Marfa so that we could have seen the Marfa Lights. We stayed at the Riata Inn. The rates were good and the rooms were clean but don't expect The Plaza. It is pretty much the only hotel in town! We ate at El Patio Restaurant for dinner and for breakfast on Monday. The food was really good and inexpensive, too! Good thing because it was pretty much the only place in town, as well! Presidio isn't exactly a booming metropolis! And you don't just fall into this town - you have to mean to get there!

On Monday, we walked across the bridge to Ojinaga, Mexico. Ojinaga is not the tourist trap like many border towns. There were a couple of stores selling cheap liquor and cheap prescriptions. But, mostly, it was just a bustling Mexican town. We spent some time in the courtyard of the church, just soaking in the atmosphere. We were a little surprised at how easy the border crossing was - we had more trouble crossing into Canada at Niagara Falls. On our way into Mexico, no one even glanced in our direction, much less asked for identification or for details about our plans. On the way out, we had to pay $1 exit fee which we thought was pretty funny!

More tomorrow....

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