Big Bend "State Park". Tx

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

We have only been back an hour or so and Spirit is already snoring. This is something new including sometimes a throaty content noise as I would not know what else to call it. I think we are both aging well together, he probably thinks the same about me when he hears me… will find out soon. As another Year is around the corner, an hour or so away, as we have returned from a few days in isolation throughout Big Bend State Park, there is a big load of thoughts toward the future, one cannot help it I guess when chapters such as years keep on turning their pages. I can only send my best Wishes for this New Year, ahead of it all I wish everyone the greatest Health possible, lets face it, without it we have nothing… with it, we have everything. Our possessions are within us throughout the span of our individual Journeys, wherever we are, whatever path we have chosen, sometimes given without that choice, we can only make the best of it, we have to.


spirit a  

We left one morning, as early as possible, I really don’t keep the dates present in my mind lately even though I know today is New Year’s Eve and why not stay up till midnight for a change, it is so close. The first stop was in Terlingua for the best breakfast in town at KKKK, and lucky me, as I was discussing our planned destination “Chinati Hot Springs”, a couple visiting from out of town told me that they were privately booked till January the 4th. Oh! I said… as she even called for us. Nice helpful touch. They were right and suddenly, kind of as usual, I had to think about plan B. That would Big Bend State Park. We were fully packed, a good thing that was.

spirit a

In case you are wondering, Spirit “is” trying on some new Goggles. He is not happy, he does not like them. I did get the message and switched to his favorite ones later on. The camping gear we are carrying has turned out to be on the heavy side. I had just gone through my tools, probably shed about 10lbs of duplicates, did away with 2.5G of water and changed the pressure in the rear tire. Not bad considering that we will not need that extra 5G of fuel and 5G of water at all time in more urban areas. So there was some excitement knowing now we were going somewhere else. The element of surprise is always a welcome one when on the road, after all, no one is waiting for us anywhere.


So we are moving right along and, talking about surprises, suddenly Dan and Jacquie are in front of us, pulling out from a rest stop on River Rd on their way West! They were really leaving the area after a week or more loosing track of time in this wide vortex of ours. We stopped, chat as usual and decided to meet in Presidio as we were also going to stop to refuel and backtrack to the entrance of the Park. I knew just the place, this little bakery, “Don Jose” with wonderful goods. It was always my little out of the way secret… right across from the Exxon station as turning right to go to Marfa. The owner Miguel, I knew he would also serve us lunch, something they just do not advertise. They live behind the store and I always know from the smells if something is going on or not.

dan & jacquie

dan a  

I have met many couples traveling around the World, some others doing North and South America as Dan and Jacquie, but never met anyone with the greatest attitude they have. They are fun, fun and more fun to be with, care free. I have met so many with seemingly always a bit of criticism, always a comparison between us and where they are from, wherever that would be, some constantly worrying about their bike, even skipping some great sites as not to add too much mileage. These two are at home wherever they are, no solid plans, no six Parks in one day, they take it all in, make many Friends and Dan’s clowning around is a show stopper in itself. There is a bit of an empty space now that they are gone, but who knows, we might just bump into them when in Death Valley. The are living “right”!

Don Jose  

dan & jacquie eating  

The food, a Mexican stew with melted cheese, the bread, the… donuts, yes, we ate it all around the only table on the premises as we were all starving! The best meal I have had in a while. A great place to stop, a budget lunch, it all cost us about five dollars each. We felt a bit like in one of those Movies where dinner is served privately, we felt at “home”. It was then time to really say our good byes, I knew we will not bump into them again, that’s for a while anyhow. Fueled and backtracked to Casa Piedra Rd, a 7 mile dirt road which would take us to the entrance of the Park and another 17 miles to “Sauceda”, the office and lodge where we had never been.

casa piedra rd

Beautiful road amongst the 300,00 acres surrounding us, a true Ranch turned into a State Park. The condition of the road? well, as usual “washboard” and not totally agreeing with the fact that they call it a 2WD road. Nothing too difficult, but a high clearance vehicle I would recommend adding as written in their flyer, carry 2 spares of tires as I would find out would have been a good idea the next morning. Avoid the sharp rocks at any cost, I did not. As we arrived at the gate it was posted that the office closes at 4pm. It was 3:30, I had 30 minutes to ride the 17 miles, it was also posted that it would take roughly 45 minutes to an hour. We flew, kind off, and made it with a few minutes to spare to get a site a mile away from the showers and the interesting lodge they have. Very friendly people by the way, they really make you feel welcome within this deserted space of such vast land.

camping c

camping a  

It was about 140 miles of road to get there, the oddest fact is that we were only 20 miles or so away “as the crow flies” from “The Oasis”! Even closer to the swimming hole! Quiet and peaceful as here, the space had however different feelings as a foreign land as it should be since we had never been there. The campground, one amongst many, called “South Leyva” must have just been finished as the picnic table and fire ring were brand new. They also have totally primitive sites, actually trails where one can camp just about anywhere. We were late, for $8 a night I thought this would be a wise decision and looking forward to taking a long shower, a real one unlike in our daily Life!


I was so glad having practiced once how to set up this new tent. It is of simplicity but a bit time consuming. I would not like too much to set it up for just one night. One cannot have it all, one nighter’s are generally small and only 3 season tents. This is the best tent I have ever had! I can almost stand up to get dressed, roomy and its best features are the vestibule and 4 openings for warmer days to let the breeze go through.

tent c


I am calling it our “Green Condo”…

tent a  
cup of coffee  

Nothing like a good cup of coffee in the morning, with freshly roasted beans and ground with my grand mother’s hand crank grinder, sitting inside out of the cold watching the sun rise on a New Year’s Eve day. I had stopped coffee when I stopped smoking, 2 months now… of course who is counting since that is a “thing” of the past, and now amazingly only brewing it at half strength I can truly taste those beans coming from all around the World, organic ~ fair trade.

sunrise b

More on this adventure next time… and again “HAPPY NEW YEAR”.

Help us keep the site alive. Please contribute… The logistics of it have become costly. It is an open book, its pages for the taking with always the hope that you will support their presence.

Two years of Photography is finally in order on SmugMug… In “Your Favorites”, in “States”, some labeled “first year” and second year”, now also “Texas the third year”. Feel free to browse, you can even use the slide show mode and have fun.

Merchandise is also available through SmugMug. If you like to order a print all sizes are available as I store the originals myself considering the huge bandwidth needed to upload on the Gallery.

Be well…

Ara & Spirit

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4 Responses to “Big Bend "State Park". Tx”

  1. Paul and Dee Says:

    Happy New Year to you and Spirit, Ara!
    Hope the new year brings great health, rich travels, and good friendship.
    As always, we are enjoying the journeys that you so kindly share with us. I love to just sit back and soak up your breathtaking photograpy skills – you have a wonderful eye, and always seem to be “Johnny on the spot” with your timing. Well done.

    Take care of yourselves and each other, Paul and Dee.

  2. Belinda Salinas Says:

    Happy New Years and my best wishes to you both.

  3. John Wells (maine) Says:

    Happy New Year!
    Keep us posted if the New England / Canada trip becomes a reality.

  4. Gene McCall Says:

    Ara, have a healthy & happy New Year and should your Canada/New England trip come about and your path lies through Tennessee, remember the latch string is always out in the Boro!

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