Sunday, April 29, 2007
Terlingua Ranch and Big Bend Part II, The Trip
After the Christmas festivities were over, I loaded my Jeep for the trip. Actually I overloaded, this being my first visit to the ranch and not really knowing what to expect. For one thing, I hauled more firewood than necessary. For another, not being 100% sure of the water situation, I erred on the side of caution and brought two full 15 gallon water jugs. Now, these supplies would not have been a bad idea had I had a trailer or at least a hitch-haul, but I found myself temporarily without such equipment and no money left over from the travel budget to purchase same. That meant everything had to go inside, leaving just enough room for me to drive.
It also took more time to pack than I anticipated, and I had procrastinated the night before; so that instead of the planned departure at the crack of dawn, I rolled out at about 3 PM, already tired. It was gonna be a long drive.
Well, the first day was long. I drove until I got to Texas, then drove until I found a suitable (as in, "with vacancy") motel. By then it was 3 AM. I slept 5 hours, which was a balance between the minimum I felt would allow me to function properly, while still getting on the road early enough to pull down some serious miles. And I did. I stopped for the night in Midland, just as it was starting to rain. It was early evening, and I could have continued to Alpine, but didn't want to head into the mountains at night, in the rain, with unseen 3000 foot drops just off the edge of the road (I know now that the drive is NOTHING like that, but I would have missed some beautiful scenery).
It rained all night, and was still raining when I headed out the next morning. The rain stopped about an hour out of town, and it cleared into a nice, but chilly day. Finally, I arrived in Alpine! Alpine is the seat of Brewster County, which is the county Terlingua Ranch is in, and is the only town of any size in the county. I guess you could say it is the cultural center
of the area. I arrived late morning and, after 'cruising the town" and gassing up the Jeep, headed to the public library to get online and send email. Afterwards, feeling some hunger pangs, I wandered over to the Edelweiss Brewery for a wonderful
lunch of a huge hamburger and fries, washed down with some of their primary product (you won't catch me delicately sampling fancy French cuisine!). When I left, I bought a growler of their Pale Ale to enjoy later at the ranch. Next I went in search
of the realtor (OK, I admit it; I bought a tract of land on the ranch sight unseen, on Ebay) but he was out of town so I decided to head south towards the ranch whilst the weather was nice and I had plenty of daylight left.
I stopped on the way a few times to snap photos of snow, mountains etc. and, about an hour and a half later, arrived at the ranch itself!
Next: Part 3, The Ranch [Link]