Day Thirty-Three

Trip Start Oct 27, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Sunday, November 28, 2004

Kudzu and I left Rio Grande Village this morning and drove up the winding Green Gulch Road to the Chisos Basin into the heart of the Big Bend and then on to the western entrance of the Park. This is such a beautiful place that I will definitely return to Big Bend in the future to spend time hiking (unfortunately but understandably dogs are not allowed on National Park trails), cycling, exploring the many four wheel drive roads, and rafting the Rio Grande.

Just beyond the western border of the Park, we stopped at the very remote but active town of Terlingua, home of the original chili cook-off, where I enjoyed a late breakfast of sausage and egg burritos, black coffee, and bloody marys at the Starlight Theatre. The Starlight is a partially renovated (you can still see daylight through various holes in the ceiling and walls) 1930s movie hose frequented by weathered old cowboys, braless hippie chicks, dusty bikers, hung over river guides, and a handful of wide-eyed tourists weary from the long drive to the edge of nowhere. The eclectic establishment offers a full menu of Mexican and American fare, impressive wine list, cold beer, mixed drinks, a shelf full of board games for the kids, and live music seven nights a week. There was even a Jimmy Buffetesque guitarist serenading the Sunday brunch crowd. What a cool town! I could live in Terlingua although I don't know what I would do to support myself other than smuggle dope or sell beer out of a cooler to thirsty tourists on the roadside.

With a full stomach and a Viva Terlingua! bumper sticker, Kudzu and I headed north and west as fast as possible through Alpine, Marfa, and Van Horn in a mad dash towards New Mexico. Finally, well after dark, we are out of Texas. After much deliberation, we are pleased to award Big Bend National Park and the town of Terlingua the coveted five Zoobs award.

We thought about camping at Guadalupe Mountains National Park but decided against it when we arrived to discover winds strong enough to blow galvanized trash cans across the parking plot. Instead, we continued north to stop for the night at a cheesy campground at the entrance to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. I'm too embarrassed to tell how much we paid for a small square of gravel and a shower too dilapidated and nasty to actually use.

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