Friday, September 30, 2016

Great Escape, 2016, part 2, On to Big Bend National Park

So, we left Albuquerque, New Mexico bright and early Friday morning, heading for El Paso, TX.  Getting out of Albuquerque was a nightmare, bumper to bumper traffic, stop and go, on the freeway.  It took us an hour to get out of Albuquerque.

It's an interesting drive, lots of nothing but scenery and a few scattered towns here and there.

We spent Friday night at a brand new KOA (right behind a Camping World) in Anthony, New Mexico (just barely north of El Paso).  It was huge (long and wide) and since it's new, basically a parking lot in the desert with huge mostly pull thru sites.  No ammenities at this time, except for a great dog walk/yard, but full hook ups.  Only half of it has been put into service.

I did not like El Paso at all.  For anybody who doesn't know, I'm a very empathetic person who feels other peoples feelings and emotions like they are physical.  I can feel good and bad etc. and I felt very BAD in El Paso, I'm sorry to say.  It was very depressing, at least the parts we saw.  Granted, we were only on a freeway, except for Golden Corral, Walmart, and fuel stop, but the extreme from "well to do" to "poverty" was so painful.  Plus on the right side of the freeway (West) it looked so crowded and desolate, it really made me feel sad.  

Then I noticed a huge flag waving over there that was not the US flag and realized we were on the border of Mexico and what I was seeing crowded on the hillside was Ciudad Juarez.  We were careful to not take any of the roads to the Mexican crossings, as we didn't want to go there by mistake.  

We had been warned to avoid El Paso if we possibly could, due to road construction.  So we unhooked the trailer at the camp ground, and drove to dinner and to get fuel and drove our route through the city to see if it would be okay with the trailer the next morning.  It was no worse than any other larger city we've driven through, and since we would  be leaving at the (as my so articulate daughter puts it) butt-crack of dawn, we thought we'd have no problem.  We were correct, we sailed right through, and headed south to Big Bend National Park.

We discovered that Big Bend National Park is in the middle of NO WHERE!!!   We thought we lived in the middle of nowhere, but we're in a very populated area compared to this part of Texas.  Towns with single or double digit populations and NO businesses.  Ranches truly in the middle of nowhere hundreds of miles from the nearest store, post office, etc.  NO Walmart or Golden Corral, LOLOL.

We did see a lot of beautiful scenery, lots of hills and mountains, lots of flat land, lots of desert, LOL.  We also saw some interesting sights. . .

 This sign about Van Horn Wells was quite interesting, talking about the Butterfield Mail line (which I've read about in books) and the "Jackass Mail" (is that another term for pony express?). . . Never heard that term before.   

This interesting shape from the distance and getting larger and larger had us wildly guessing what it might be.  I finally said some kind of weather balloon?  When we got to the road leading to it (fenced, gated, locked, etc., of course) there was a sign saying it was a tethered aeronautical radar device of some kind.  We thought that was pretty cool.  But it was honestly out in the middle of NOWHERE!!!!

Rather than staying in the National Park itself (no hook-ups and we're spoiled, LOL) we chose to stay just to the North West of the park in Lajitas, TX.  There is a "general store" (we didn't go inside, but from the outside it looks like the general stores from Little House on the Prairie).  It does have fuel with the next closest fuel being 50 miles away. . . So we stayed at Maverick RV Park and Resort.  This Resort is a REAL golfing resort place, with hotel, condos, houses to rent, as well as the RV park.  A very nice looking golf course (we don't play golf).  There is a huge controversy over this resort, as the "locals" and "National Park preservists" resent having this land cut up and made into a golf course resort etc.  It's a nice RV park, has a pool and RV park people can use the resort facilities, also, which include a spa, amphitheater, bakery, golf course, boardwalk shops/art gallery, Christmas World shop, cafe, Thirsty Goat Saloon, Equestrian Center, Fitness Center, theatre, chapel, Ballroom, Golf shop, and Gun and Saddle Shop.  It might be a great place to "snow bird" to, as long as you don't need anything "big store" wise.  

Finally the sign for Lajitas. . .  and then. . . Maverick Ranch

The following pictures are various pictures of our RV site, getting set up and the various views from the RV.  I'd love to return here some day and have this exact same campsite.  
The office.
The view driving up to our campsite.
A lovely BIG yellow butterfly, similar to our Yellow Sulphers, but MUCH larger.  right beside our water spigot.  

 Just pulled into the campsite, not set up yet.  
 The view from our front door.

The first 3 days we were here it rained, non stop. . . (I thought there was no rain in the desert???)  So we stayed in camp and relaxed, I worked on canes (got a few finished and a BUNCH started, but realized I needed more black polymer clay than I brought, so I had to order some to have shipped here. . . and then the "adventure" began. . . and I don't mean adventure in a positive note. . . sigh
Our fire ring, we used it once, LOL.  It was too rainy at first, then too hot, and tonight it was cool enough and we're leaving in the morning, so we had hot dogs and chips and my favorite dessert, perfectly roasted marshmallows.  
 View from my "studio" area.

 Rain, rain and more rain. . . I thought it didn't rain in the desert, LOL
 You wouldn't believe how incredibly dark it get here.  There are absolutely NO lights outside.  It is darker than I've even seen before.  We sat out one night for a short while just looking at the sky.  The stars were so bright and there were so many. . .

Hope to see you again in the next post.  We took a beautiful drive.  Smiles and see you soon.  

Sue C

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