Adventures from the Big Bend – Happy birthday to me.


So what do you think.  Do I sound any older?  No??  That’s good, ‘cuz I don’t feel any older.  But I guess I should.  Today I just finished my 77th year on this great planet.  I actually feel much younger.  I think I told you before, that I thought there was something wrong with my birth certificate, not that I want to start a Obama-like controversy.  I even asked my mother if I was adopted, and she said “Yes, but they brought you back.”   I may have even told you that before, but I guess it’s still good for another laugh.

On Friday, we got back from another trip to the Big Bend, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post.  There may be something to that old people stuff after all.  Despite what I said above, I feel a bit worn out after all that traveling.  But hey, young people get tired too.  So anyway, I can now get going on telling you about the wonders of the Big Bend National Parkand surrounding areas.

Audubon Yellow-rumped Warbler

Having said that, I think we spent most of the time in the BBNP than any surrounding area.  Of course, we stayed in Study Butte at the Far Flung Casitas so I guess that would be called part of the “surrounding area”.  Before I go any farther, we always started our day eating breakfast at this great little nondescript place, called Roadrunner Deli.  Dang, if Frank Jones doesn’t have the best breakfast in the area, I don’t know who does.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on who is doing the talking, the tourists head for another motel/restaurant up the way a bit.  So Frank’s place is the place to go if you have the inside knowledge.  Well, maybe enough people will read this and start filling up the place.

His breakfasts, are full menu meals.  He cooks everything to order, however you like your eggs, etc.  A super way to start the day.  So chalk up another piece of information for when you make the trip.

Our first day was spent getting there.  We left San Angelo at about 8:00AM, drove south to Sonora where we picked up I-10 West.  Now along there the speed limit is 80mph so you can cruise right along.  At Fort Stockton, we used the facilities, then took Hwy 385 south to Marathon.  From there, we continued south to the entrance to Big Bend National Park

Santa Helena Canyon - Big Bend National Park

We hit the kiosk at the park entrance around 1:00PM.  From there it still is another 40 miles or so the park headquarters at Panther Junction.  The speed limit is 45MPH, and rigidly enforced during peak times.  Last week it still was pretty hot, and the busy season hasn’t really started yet, so we could get on the gas a bit more to about 55MPH with no worry.  Could probably get away with a bit more speed, but why push your luck.  Anyway, if you do that, you are going to miss a lot of great scenery, and possibly not get to see much wildlife.

We stopped at the Panther Junction to check out the facilities again.  At this point there is a junction with the highway that runs east and west across the park.  If we turn left we go to Boquillas Canyon and Rio Grande Village campground.  We turned right and headed for our destination of Study Butte outside the west side of the park.  A distance of about 35 miles.

After we checked into our accomodations at Far Flung Outdoor Center we unpacked then decided on our evening activities.  Valynda at the desk had told us that Monday night was two-for-one hamburger night at the Starlite Restaurant in the ghost town of Terlingua.  The Starlite was originally a roofless theatre back early in the 20th century.  It was vacant and near falling down when some entrepreneur decided it was worth saving.  They put a roof on it and opened the bar and restaurant.

So we enjoyed a couple of large, juicy, cheeseburgers along with a couple of well-earned margaritas.  After that we had a nice evening of sitting on the porch of our casita, just laying back and watching the birds and wildlife.

About the pictures:

The Yellow-rumped Warbler was photographed at the Rio Grande Village Campground, Big Bend NP.

Santa Elena Canyon is the most accessible canyon in the Big Bend NP.  You can easily drive your car to within 500 yards of the entrance.  The walls at this point reach 1,500 feet.  A short trail from the parking lot takes you to a switch-backed, concrete walking trail , that leads you up to about 100 feet above the Rio Grande River.

More on my next post.  Click on the photos to see enlargements.