Big Bend

4/10/08

4:30 pm Stopped at The Pantry.  Bathroom, Red Bulls, Water and Gum (the place has character!).  Back on the road!  Feels like the trip has finally begun.

4:59 pm Mile marker 701, dead possum?  And what is the deal with all of the trash cans on the side of the road?

Schulenburg – Home of the Cherry Bomb

“Beaver Believer”

Miler Marker 666???  It doesn’t exist!!!

5:30 pm Tire mistaken for dead animal.  False alarm (those energy drinks are messing with us).

5:54 pm Stop at Buc-ee’s.  Sampled jellies and BBQ sauce, bathroom break.

6:07 pm Back on the road with Red Bull #2

6:12 pm Lucas checks his e-mail.

6:15 pm Hit large bug, both exclaim “Wow!”

Lots of Smokey’s before Seguin.

6:51 pm Outskirts of San Antonio

7:13 pm Smells like Skunk at the edge of Medina County.  87 degrees outside, 71 degrees inside.

7:17 pm Stopped for gas in Castroville.  9.069 gallons @ $3.29/gallon = $29.92.

7:23 pm Lucas is on Red Bull # 3.  Castroville seems like a pretty cool little town.

8:00 pm Sunset

DEER COUNTRY!!!  Precarious, crazy, freaky!  The drive at this point is insane.  Constantly having to slow down to avoid deer on the side of the road.

9:30 pm Arrive in Del Rio.  Ate at Chili’s, checked into the Motel 6.  Clean, basic, nice.

Sleepy time!

4/11/08

7:45 am Beautiful morning!  Cool, clear air.

8:01 am Left the Del Rio Fishing Headquarters.  We filled up the tank, cleaned bugs off the windshield, bought water and another Red Bull for Lucas.  Store smelled awful outside and like fishing bait inside.  We were going to grab breakfast, but were completely turned off.  Roosters in the parking lot, haha.  Don’t stop here unless you need a fishing license!

8:41 am Stopped at the Pecos River.  Hiked around a little while taking pictures.  Very beautiful!

9:24 am More photgraphy at Eagle Pass.

96.3 is the greatest radio station ever!  “Toast” and “Morning Wood”

10:00 am Stopped at the store in Dryden for drinks and bathroom.  Restroom out of order. Very strong skunk smell as we left.

10:19 am Town & Country/Phillips 66 Stop – Bathroom!  Finally.  Bought Red Bull, Spicy V8, Ozarka and cashews.  Sanderson is a very nice town!  Motels, restaurants, a pretty setting.

12:00 am Back on the road after stopping in Marathon for food.  Went to a place that will be closing down soon – Café BBQ.  Burger and Brisket Nachos.  2 Shiners.  Great cars on the road :p

12:08 am Gas @ $3.67 a gallon!!!

12:42 am Officially in Big Bend National Park!!!

After arriving at the park we went to the Panther Junction Visitor’s Center and bought a hiking book.  Also discussed hikes with the rangers and changed our plans a bit.  We are no longer hiking to the top of Emory Peak on Sunday.  We are now planning to hike the South Rim.

Left the Visitor’s Center and drove to Terlingua to check into the motel and see if we could rent the jeep a little early.  We were able to, which was so wonderful!  Drove back into the park to see Santa Elena Canyon.  It was a gorgeous drive with lots of scenic lookouts and amazing rock formations.  The views from Sotol Vista were phenomenal and the lens Lucas rented came in handy for taking pictures of the Mule Ears.

Once we made it to the canyon we parked and hiked the rest of the way in.  The first part of the hike went partially up the wall of the canyon.  Then we hiked down some along the river and into an area of the canyon with more vegetation – trees, etc.  Took plenty of pictures!

Left the Canyon and took the jeep down Old Maverick Road – a high clearance dirt road!  Made it back to Terlingua around 7:30.  Took showers and went to dinner at La Kiva.  We ate Bomberos (stuffed jalapenos) and a brisket plate.  The cole slaw was pretty strange (yuck), but everything else was good.  Great margaritas and a very interesting place.  The bartender has a story – what is it?

Left La Kiva to check out the Starlight Theater in Terlingua Ghost Town.  Had the Santa Elena Margarita – too sweet!  Pretty sleepy at this point so we went back to the motel.  Saw 2 coyotes as we entered the motel parking lot.  I also tried to investigate a noise coming from the brush, to no avail.  The noise suddenly increased and I became a chicken shit and ran back to our room (#26).  Sleep!

4/12/08

7:40 am Left Kathy’s Kosmic Kowboy Kafe.  Shared a delicious breakfast burrito with black beans and potatoes.  Took awhile to get our food, which is throwing our schedule off a little bit.  Sat around the fire and talked to people that are also staying at our motel.  Discussed the strange noises coming from the brush the night before.  Javelinas?  Beautiful, clear skies this morning.  36 degrees outside!!!

7:43 am Stopped for gas at Study Butte Store.  There is no credit card machine at the pump!  Paid inside and also bought some gum and a Diet Dr. Pepper.  5.747 @ $3.69 a gallon = $21.20

8:12 am Passed the Chisos Basin turnoff

8:23 am On Glenn Springs Road!  Pretty bumpy, looks like fun!  Stopped to take the top off of the jeep.  Elevation = 3,111 feet.

8:37 am Pine Canyon turnoff – 3,488 feet elevation; mileage is 10,368

8:59 am At the Pine Canyon trailhead!  4,803 feet elevation, 51 degrees, mileage is 10,372

9:11 am Headed out on the trail!

What a beautiful hike!  It started off windy and cold.  Going into the canyon was almost all uphill (gained 1,000 feet in elevation), with a few downhill slopes thrown in.  When we reached the end of the trail we took a break and goofed off trying to get pictures of the two of us standing in front of the rocks.  Had a hard time getting the remote to work, but we finally got a few good shots!  It was a lot of fun, but then Lucas slipped on a rock and fell.  Hard.  After a few moments of checking to make sure there were no serious injuries we got ready for the hike back down.  It was quite a bit easier and quicker than going uphill!

12:00 pm Back at the jeep!  There was an older couple and a young girl getting ready to go out on the same hike.  Killed the tranquility and isolation we had been feeling all morning.  They took their sweet time leaving the parking area.  We ate lunch sitting on some rocks behind the jeep – ham, turkey and smoky cheddar cheese sandwiches with BBQ sauce along with some Coors Light.  The view was spectacular.

12:32 pm Left the trailhead and headed back to the main road.

12:48 pm 4 miles, turn on Glenn Springs Road.

1:04 pm Back on the main road, mileage is 10,378

1:19 pm On Old Ore Rd, mileage is 10,391

1:50 pm Started our hike to Ernst Tinaja after applying sunscreen and chugging a Gatorade.

The Ernst Tinaja trail was so different from any other hike we did in the park.  There was very little to no vegetation.  It was a short hike up a sandy wash that leads to a canyon of highly-convoluted rock layers. The large natural tinaja holds water all year long.  The only signs of life we saw were a lizard, some bees and a bird that almost flew right into us while squawking.  We think we may have found its nest between some rocks.  Oddly enough, it was in a section of the rocks that look just like a vagina.  Seriously.  We took pictures.  We actually hiked past the trail some to an area that became difficult to maneuver.  I gave up, so we turned around and hiked back to the jeep.

2:42 pm Jeep!  Ate the BEST orange ever!  So satisfying :p

2:50 pm MIA’s Paper Planes is on the satellite radio!

3:06 pm Hit the main road again.  2,060 feet elevation, mileage is 10,401

4:13 pm Made it back to Terlingua and filled the jeep up with gas before returning it 5.922 gallons @ $3.689 = $21.85, mileage is 10,442

After dropping the jeep off we went back to the motel room to take showers and rest for a little bit.  Decided we would try out the Chili Pepper Café for dinner.  Looked pretty cute from the outside, but it’s not so cute on the inside.  There is nothing actually wrong with the restaurant itself, but this was pure local territory.  We were both immensely uncomfortable.  We asked the waitress where we should sit and she rudely said that when she got a table cleaned off we could sit down.  We asked if it was okay to sit outside and she said yes in a way that made us feel even more unwelcome.  Lucas and I walked outside, looked at each other, discussed out options and got back in the car.  So … where did we end up?  Back at the Starlight Theater.  MUCH better atmosphere than the prior evening.  Ordered a bowl of chili and the Diego Burger (1 lb. of Beef, 4 slices of Bacon, 3 slices of Cheese, 2 Fried Eggs, Grilled Onions, Pickled Jalapenos, Pickles and French Fries).  Had some beer and wine and then left to get some sleep.  On the way out we drove up a hill and snapped some pictures of the sunset.  A cop followed us all the way back to the motel, which was annoying.  Sleep!

4/13/08 (aka – the day we hiked 14 miles!)

6:30 am Left motel, ate breakfast at café, purchased water and put air in the tires.

7:05 am Park entrance (we saw five rabbits in that five minute drive!)  More rabbits!!!  Almost hit one.

7:24 am Spotted two large deer.

7:27 am Chisos Basin Rd

8:02 am Starting Hike at the South Rim

Didn’t write a single thing after that except:

Beer Purchase at Drive Thru

“I don’t know how you want to do this exchange.”

I laughed for 5 fucking minutes!!

Best day ever!!!

4/14/08

6:45 am Checked out of the motel.

6:46 am Stopped for gas.  8.064 @ 3.73/gal = 30.15 (ripped off?), mileage is 14,434

1 muffin, 1 Diet coke

9:00 am Arrive in Ft. Stockton.  Breakfast at McDonald’s (to go) and bathroom break.

9:48 am Pulled over by Super Trooper.  Given a warning for no front plates.  Thank you Jeffrey A. McCutcheon.

11:50 am Stopped for gas in Junction (only 9 miles left in tank!).  12.215 @ 3.429/gallon = 41.89, mileage is 14,773 (342 miles to that tank of gas).  Got some energy drinks.

2:22 pm Luling – BBQ Stop!  Good sausage.  Ate at Luling BBQ, not Luling City Market.  Filled up the tank with more gas!

(Confirmed no 666 mile marker on the way back).

Almost in car accident.

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