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  1. #31
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    316

    Default

    Dave:

    Great report! I'm really enjoying the ride through some familiar territory (many of your stops can be found in part 1 of our travel guide, Arizona and New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips. Guadalupe Mountains is a beautiful place, and it doesn't get a heck of a lot of visitors, so I'm glad you were able to fit that in to your itinerary.

    That said, please tell me you've already been to Carlsbad Caverns! It was only 30 more miles beyond Pine Springs! I know, I know--when time is not unlimited, we have to make choices, and deep caves don't appeal to everyone--but even so, that place is one of the true natural wonders of the world, so if you have NOT been? Definitely consider it for one of your future excursions.

    Rick

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,232

    Default A great book full of great ideas.

    Hey Rick, I'm glad you are enjoying it !

    I was going to mention your book in a summary at the end of this report as I was lucky enough to get a copy from Mark while in Vegas. While this trip was already planned out, I have been reading through since our return to the UK and I must say it's excellent with detailed information and wonderful illustrations. Anyone reading this report who has plans to visit Arizona and New Mexico will find a copy of the book a great resource for planning those 'off the beaten track' places.

    As for Carlsbad Caverns, it's on our 'Hopeful' list of places to visit and we will have one more 50/50 chance to visit there later in the trip. As you say, there are so many places and so little time, another interesting place we had to pass up on on that day was White sands National Monument. There are certainly enough options 'left to do' that would certainly warrant another trip through the area !

    Dave.

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,232

    Default Big Bend.

    Day 11. February 27th.

    I had a bit of a restless night having picked up a bit of a cough and suffering from indigestion and only added to by the trains running close by through the night. The entire town of Van Horn has been developed either side of the tracks and there is no escaping the sound of the trains, perhaps they should of named the town 'Train Horn'. Despite that I'm up and excited to hit the road to Big Bend NP. We top up our propane tank as we will be in Big Bend for 3 nights, but leave topping up the fuel tank until we get to Marfa, in the hope that will keep us going during our stay as the fuel is scarce and expensive in the park. So we head south on US90, a quiet straight road with open range either side and just a couple of small communities between Van Horn and Marfa. Rather bizarrely, about half way between the towns there is a piece of 'Living art' by the side of the road. This is in the form of a Prada store that displays a collection of shoes and handbags from it's 2005 collection but the 'store' does not open, it's actually completely sealed including the door. The 'Marfa Prada' art display has been reclassified as a museum to avoid it being declared an illegal advertising board by the Texas DOT. There is a sign explaining it's existence and around the back there is a chain link fence that has been covered in padlocks with messages. So strange yet kinda cool.



    We continued down the road a way and was surprised to see a huge Mural by the side of the Highway that I had not discovered in my research. This was probably down to the fact it's quite a new project, part of the project was first displayed in 2018 but it was only completed in January 2019 (a few weeks prior to us arriving) with Elizabeth Taylor being put in her place. (Bet that's a first!!)



    The fence posts in front are over 4 and a half feet tall, just to give you an idea of scale. The mural honours the 1956 film 'Giant' that was partially filmed in Marfa. It was created by John Cerney who has done a number of roadside murals. Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean are instantly recognisable but sitting in that car is no other than Rock Hudson. This was James Deans 3rd film as leading role but sadly died in a car crash before it's release.

    So we rolled into Marfa and got our supplies and topped the fuel tank up and had a wander around. Originally a 'water stop' for the railroads, Marfa became the County seat of Presido and has a lovely Courthouse building.



    From Marfa it would of been quicker to continue to Marathon and then head south to our destination, the Chisos mountains campground, but I liked the idea of heading to Presido and east along the Mexican border on Highway 170 through big Bend Ranch SP. So from Marfa we headed south on US67 and stopped on route at Shafter, part living and part mining ghost town. This once booming mining town, located in the Chinati mountains by Cibolo creek, now only has around 11 residents living there. The town pretty much died when the mines shut down but it was used as a location for several scenes in the 1971 movie The Andromeda Strain. As we stroll through town to the creek there are still some interesting buildings remaining, and some old ruins from the mining days which the land seems to be slowly reclaiming. The Sacred heart church stands proud 'front and centre' of town and I believe it still holds mass once a month.





    Back on the road we drove through Presido TX and headed east on FM170 through Redford and into Big Bend Ranch State park. The scenery soon changed into all that I had been hoping for and dreaming of as we drove along reaches of the Rio Grande and through several canyons.





    We then stopped at a Teepee rest area for a cuppa and then again further down the road at the Contrabando abandoned movie set. The site was used in a number of Movies but there is only a couple of buildings that remain after floods in the area made others unsafe and they were torn down. Still a cool place to stop if you're passing through though, as well as the buildings you can walk down to the rivers edge and dip your toes in the Rio Grande.





    We continued through Lajitas and Terlingua and finally into Big Bend NP, our main objective of the trip. Just before Panther junction we turned off at Basin Junction towards the Chisos Basin campground. The road got narrower and more twisty the closer we got with some interesting hairpin bends on a steep downhill grade. I loved it ! The views were out of this world and I felt really excited about spending the next 2 nights in this campground. The campground only caters for vehicles up to 24 feet in length so I was a little nervous about arriving in a 'C25' RV, but whats a few inches between friends ?! We pulled into our spot, which was basically a layby to the side of the road with a tent site off road. As we jostled into position trying to find a spot that made us as level as possible a campground host came over, I thought oh no. He was a nice chap who asked how we were doing and I told him we were trying to get as level as possible as Cruise America don't supply blocks/ramps with their rentals. He was soon back with a couple of levelling blocks and offered to give us a hand getting level. Top man !

    Settled in, we sat and took in the views which were pretty amazing.



    We made dinner and sat outside to eat, with a beer of course. The sun dropped and the night sky became ablaze with millions of stars, there was total silence and as all the camp lights were turned off around the campground (including ours) we sat there in awe of the beauty of the night sky. We saw flashes of light rocketing through the milky way and I must say, I felt elated. I had enjoyed every moment of our journey here, but this was different, this is why we are here and do what we do.

    Goodnight !

    Today's mileage. 230 miles. Total: 1956.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 04-19-2019 at 03:43 AM.

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Australia
    Posts
    207

    Default Prado

    Amazing adventure you both are having. I bet you gave a sigh of relief when that Prado store was sealed up and closed. Lezli looks dismayed hehe. You better buy one of those bag's for her now Dave. hehe. I wouldn't mind a real version of that yellow Ford. Looks like a Twin spinner.

    Keith

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,232

    Default A bit of a relief !

    You know me too well Keith ! I'm not the worlds keenest shopper and when you have driven miles out of your way to avoid them, it was a bit of a shock to find an expensive 'store' in the middle of nowhere. Haha.

    Dave.

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Australia
    Posts
    207

    Default

    Hahaha You sound just like me Dave. I avoid shops. Cloth's just appear in my wardrobe every now and then so i don't have to go. I can imagine the look on your face when you came across that Prado. hehehe.

    Keith

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