Friday, February 4, 2005

No internet service tonight (there's a tree in the way) so I am having to "post" this to a file for uploading later.

We are in Davis Mountain State Park (map). The campground is mostly empty, and we are all alone out in the "tent" area, where we were just able to squeeze Odyssey into a parking space. There turns out to be a lodge here, apparently built by the CCC in the 30's. We selected a site close to the trail to the lodge, and walked up there for dinner. Nothing special, and tonight was buffet service because they were short handed, but not bad for a state park.

Today we drove out of Big Bend park to the west, through Terlingua "ghost town." I put that in quotes because Terlingua has become a tourist trap, and it's now far from deserted. We had lunch there in a roadhouse called Ms. Tracy's -- excellent grub, and a real biker-dive type place. We fit right in. This is the off season here, so everything was quiet.

Much of Terlingua consists of the ruins of adobe brick buildings that are leftover from the town's boom days as a mining town. It is amusing to see some of these buildings, in their run-down state, now being re-occupied by residents of the town.

From Terlingua we drove west along the Rio Grande on Farm Road 170. This is perhaps one of the most scenic roads in the US, with sweeping vistas of the river and the cliffs on the Mexican side. The road winds through Big Bend Ranch State Park for a good part of the way to Presidio. The road also has a roller-coaster aspect to it -- as a minor road through a state park, the alignment and grade follows the natural contour of the land much more closely than, for example, a state highway would (where grades are leveled and alignments straightened for speed and safety). Odyssey "bottomed out" on many of the dips. The road was posted at 55, but we could manage no more than 45 for most of the length.

In Presidio it becomes necessary to depart from the river once again, and we headed north through the town of Marfa, where we crossed US90, and into Fort Davis. Night fell just before we arrived there, and we continued three miles west of town to this park. Ft. Davis was home to the "buffalo soldiers" and I would like to have stopped at the small museum, but it was already closed.

Tomorrow we head west, perhaps stopping at the MacDonald Observatory before joining back up with US90.

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