Off the grid

When General Assembly was over, we proceeded to the next destination on our 2007 driving tour of Texas: Big Bend National Park and the surrounding area. Big Bend, so named for the sweeping curve of the Rio Grande that forms the rounded border between southwest Texas and Mexico, is as little-known as it is spectacular.

We stayed in Terlingua, gateway to the park and famous for the International Chili Championship, held there in November each year. Terlingua, home to fewer than 300 people, is the most remote town I’ve ever visited. It’s not on the way from anywhere to anywhere so everyone there either lives in the area or went there, like us, very much on purpose.

Our accommodations were at the Chisos Mining Co. Motel. I wish I could say I recommend it. We had no phone, no TV, and no Internet service. Terlingua has no digital cell service. And then, to make our “off-the-grid” experience complete, there was a total power outage throughout the entire Lajitas/Terlingua/Study Butte area from 4:00 pm the last evening we were there until 8:00 am the next day just before we checked out. According to the locals, the power there is unreliable. Heh. They claimed power was out everywhere south of Ft. Stockton, but we can’t confirm that. At the very best the closest town with power was 70 miles away (Presidio) or 80 miles away (Alpine).

We had to scrounge for dinner since no restaurants could serve and then do our best to sleep with all the windows open since the air conditioning was out. As you can imagine, though dry, Terlingua is a very hot place in late July. It wasn’t a pleasant way to end our stay in Terlingua, though I’m sure we’ll remember it for a long time.

Did I mention Big Bend is spectacular? Here are a couple of pictures I took:

Rio Grande with Mexican cliffs in the background and Texas to the right of the river
Moon over the Chisos Mountains, taken from our motel in Terlingua

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