I have been so absent from my blog, and for that I am sorry. It isn’t that I have had a lack of material; it is more like a lack of motivation. I have been busy trying to get use to working for myself, and I started treating writing more like a chore rather than an escape, which is what it used to be. However, I recently just got back from my four-day mini-cation in southwest Texas, and I had lots of time to clear my thoughts.
A clear mind typically makes for a good blog, so let’s give it a whirl.
I went on this mini-cation in the first place because it was mine and my husband’s one-year anniversary. He had planned the entire trip and booked us a tee-pee (that’s something you don’t hear every day” in the middle of the desert in Terlingua (Basecamp Terlingua). There is electricity and a community bathroom on the premises, but other than that, you are camping in luxury with a comforter and a fan.
The drive out there was a little rough for the first 6 hours. Towards the end of the trip, the scenery alone was worth every bit of the trip. Let me just stress something to you all: I have lived in Texas my entire life, minus a couple of years spent in college; I have never seen mountains and basins like this. It was like seeing Arizona in Texas, besides the saguaros. The climate, the sunset, the sky, it was all a complete shock to me. All this time, this scene has been in my distant back yard. That is how I have begun to view travel: everything is technically in your back yard if you see it that way.
There was a sitting area outside of our tent where I was able to sip my beer and look up at the bare, bright, night sky. There is something to be said about sitting in an 800,000 acre national park, looking up at a sky that, when observed, is still but a molecular portion of something so much more vast. It really strips you down. It makes you wonder about how important your issues really are, how small you really are, how irrelevant. In the grand scheme of things, our issues are as existent as a germ on a grain of sand. It’s there, but what of it? What difference does it really make? It’s intriguing.
On a brighter note, Terlingua is made up of a whopping 52 residence. I think all 52 of them are happy folks, and I think it is due to all that sun. It is beautiful down there, no doubt, but if a native Texan complains about how hot it is, you know the heat is on.
Nevertheless, we found solace in a cool canyon in Big Bend. We set foot for Elena’s Landing, or what I refer to as the butt-crack o’ Tejas. Once you enter the park, you take a rocky road all the way back to the canyons. You park and hike about a half-mile to get to get to the shallow part of the river, from which you can walk up and down, back and forth, into and out of the small wedge that is the make-up of Elena’s Landing. It was absolutely beautiful scenery for a hot day. At some point during the hike, you’re able to look out over the horizon to view the layers and layers of plateaus and mountains that make up a perfect west Texas cowboys and Indians scene. I was enamored by how little I knew of the west. Every John Wayne and old western movie I had ever seen was depicted right in front of me in real time, in real life. There was nothing like it that any movie could ever do justice to. The views were unbeatable, the water was cool and clear, and the experience as a whole can only be felt.
We made our way to Presidio from there. In contrast to Terlingua, Presidio is very much the butt-crack of Texas in every sense of the term. It is a small border town with more real estate for sale than occupied, with one restaurant, a gas station, and a bar. We stayed in a small little pueblo that was charming for the fact that it had not been updated once since it was built. There wasn’t much to see in this tiny little town, but the trip would not have been the same, had we not stopped in.
We went to check out the little cantina bar that seemed to be the main attraction of the town. There, we were two of four people at the bar the whole night. It really made me wonder how tiny little towns like that make it in this economy. It was a Friday night and there is not another big city anywhere in the surrounding area, yet the bar was nearly empty. There were so many intriguing dynamics when it came to Presidio, from the obvious struggling local economy to the woman at the empty bar with the strand of pearls around her neck. It was a quaint reminder of just how different all of our lives and situations are. I have often complained about Springtown being small, but in retrospect, it’s enormous and the economy here is thriving while property value sky rockets.
One of my favorite things about the drive, I must say, was meeting the mayor of Lajitas, TX. In between Terlingua and Presidio, there is the small town of Lajitas. I think the only car I saw in the whole town was the one I was in, everyone else drove by in golf carts. Makes for an interesting alibi for a DUI I suppose. Anywho, the mayor, Clay Henry III, was a nice fellow. He loved beer, as the sign by his name read. Did I mention that he is a goat? That could explain the golf cart situation. If you have a hard time believing that a goat is the mayor of a small Texas town, look it on up. You won’t be disappointed.
Moving right along to the last leg of the trip, we stopped in Marfa (DUH), and saw the intriguing art project that is the Prada store in the middle of the west Texas desert. I was actually surprised by Marfa. For how small it is, it is booming with success, art, and hipsters. It reminded me of a microscopic Tucson. I think that is why I enjoyed it so much. There was lots to see and do, especially if you’re into contemporary and latte art. I give it an A+.
As much as I would have loved to stay in Marfa, we actually had a room in Marathon at the ever-famous Gage Hotel. Yes, the hype is worth the experience. Our room was more like a small house decorated to perfection and made to feel more like a home than a hotel. Across from the actual hotel, there are some small pueblo-like houses that all sit on a 27-acre lot. You could look out of the window and see part of the 27-acre garden that made up the land on which the pueblos sat. It makes for excellent coffee or tea drinking scenery and the best part, in my opinion, is that DOGGIES ARE WELCOME!
The community pool scene was relaxing and social, and the white buffalo bar has the best cucumber cowboy coolers that ever quenched my thirst. I don’t know what all went in it, but the cucumber, jalapeno, and vodka with a spicy rim made for an excellent contrast to the heat of the air.
Right across from the hotel is a brewery/BBQ joint, which was smart on the hotel owner’s part (the same guy owns pretty much all of the major attractions in Marathon), because let’s face it: Texans love nothing more than beer and BBQ. What’s more, the place is merely a refurbished gas station, complete with garage doors and iced cold, locally brewed beer.
Driving back was relatively depressing, only because that small little trip was so fulfilling. Like I said, I have lived in the vast and great state of Texas my whole life, and all of these hidden treasures were so new to me. Of course I didn’t make our way home without stopping for some thrifting and sifting every chance I got! I found the antique mecca in San Angelo, another town I wish I had more time to spend in. It was excellent to pass through and spend a little money at, but I wouldn’t mind going back and exploring it a little further.
So that’s a wrap on my trip through Tejas and border towns. I know that flying is so much more convenient and quick when trying to get from destination to destination, but I would encourage folks to drive, every chance you get. This country and your state have so much to offer that gets over looked, just because it’s hardly on the map or not booming with social activity.
Take a drive, take a camera, and take a deep breath of new air somewhere.