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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

No Star Gazing Tonight

~Friday, November 19, 2021~

Day 523 (Travel Day)

Up by 7:00 for my weekly hair washing (o.k. it might have been over a week). Gotta take advantage of these full hookups when I can. As most of you know, I have a lot of hair (yes, even at 58), so with a ¼ bottle’s worth of shampoo needed, I require the full 6-gallons of heated water to rinse it out. It is definitely a “mane” event. 🤣🚿But because we were trying to hit the road by 9:00 a.m..,the full monty had to be cut short with wet hair braiding instead of my normal blow/dry straightening. O.k. enough about my hair and moving on to more interesting topics that might be of greater interest to you.

Things like the drive…..Because we’ve been packing on the miles, Jeff asked if I would take the first leg of the 410-mile ride. And yes, we left on time!! But 4 hours of driving turned into an easy 8, mostly via Hwy. 10 and probably the best road conditions of the trip. Though pretty uneventful, we at least had beautiful desert scenery to look at. One thing that was unusual though, once we got close to Terlingua, was very uneven asphalt and by that I mean what’s similar to “frost heaves” in Alaska, but not quite as bad. I don’t know what they call them in Texas, but we’ll just call it asphalt upheaval, and it can be really bad when towing. All I could think about was the guy we met in Santa Fe months back, who went a little too fast over some pretty bumpy train tracks and snapped his weight distribution bar in half. So I just slowed down. I think it must have lasted about 10 miles. Seeing all this terrain reminds us of Utah and feels like we’re really headed “home” (our old home of California). With a few stops between, I didn’t feel a bit of tiredness…….until we arrived. Then I felt the fatigue set in.

We arrived at The Road Runner Traveler’s RV Park in Terlingua, TX right before sunset, not realizing we had changed time zones (now in Mountain Time). Easy to find, and easy to park since all of the sites are pull-throughs. Within minutes, we were greeted by the very friendly owner, Allison and her 7-year old Tracker, the BloodHound. She and her husband, Chris, whom we hadn’t yet met, purchased the land a few years ago with the intention of building a home on it, but instead decided to turn it into an income generating asset. With the dogs getting to know each other, she continued to tell us their fascinating story of traveling 3 years in their RV, falling in love with it, and falling in love with southern Texas. And they just weren’t liking the homes they were seeing, feeling they’d end up settling. So instead, they decided to make their 45-foot 5th wheel their home, while turning the land over into a wonderful oasis in the desert and business has been great. They love the desert, they love traveling, and they love meeting people. Sounds like a winning combo.

We are about 12 miles from the Rio Grande/Mexican Border pretty much out in the middle of nowhere. The recommendation is to maintain a half a tank of gas at all times, and to arrive with a loaded fridge. Allison suggested since we only have 2 full days here, that we split our time between Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park. I think we’ll do the state park tomorrow since they allow dogs on the trails. After all, Sadie had 8 hours of sitting in the car today, so it would be good to get her on a hike. Terlingua, with a population of only a few hundred people, is home to miles and miles of undeveloped beauty with a light sprinkling of trailers and homes mixed in its surrounding mountains and valleys. A far cry from Fredericksburg I must say. If you’re a die-hard desert fan, this is the place for you, and just on the edge of Big Bend National Park with its gorgeous temple-like canyons. Can’t wait to check it out!

We also met our neighbors from Eastern Washington, where they are both professors at Washington State. Both are on sabbaticals, writing a book while traveling the U.S. with their 8-year old son in their 1966 retro Airstream…….and boy is it shiny!! Evidently, her father was in the professional polishing biz (maybe he worked for the airlines), but spent over 20 hours using citric acid and elbow grease to get it looking the way it does. You almost need sunglasses on when looking at it. Meeting new people delayed our setup a bit, which meant finishing up in the dark. It’s all good though. We just love mingling with fellow travelers and sharing stories. Hopefully we’ll get to hear more about their journey.

Thankfully, this RV park is a “dark zone”, so everyone is kindly asked to refrain from using any outdoor lights. But the full-moon

took its place, making it impossible to have a star-gazing night. We were greeted by a resident neighbor’s herding dog that lives just down the road. Very friendly and eager to play with Sadie. Evidently, Terlingua is a lax city when it comes to leash laws. It’s a pretty common sight to see them just wandering around. Anyway, Sadie and she got a few running sessions in before we called it a night. I was a bit concerned about the other dog’s welfare, staying out after dark with coyotes in the area. You could definitely hear them in the distance. But, she must have been called back by her owner since we didn’t see her the rest of the evening. At least that’s what I hope happened 😳.

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