Soooooo…we took a little 500 mile detour to pick up this little gal. Her name is BB and she’s named after BB8 from Star Wars. Yes we’re goofy people. I’ll just leave it at that. So BB, or Beebs as we sometimes call her is from a small town outside of Dallas called Gober. She is the smallest of the litter but makes up for it in personality. And boy does she have personality. She has her feisty side but a loving one as well and since we are camping and cannot have her crying all night long in a crate, she’s been sleeping with us. Wow, are we nuts or what? She cuddles up to both of us and may end up in Don’s armpit or my forehead or last night she fell asleep next to Don’s arse. We bought a front facing pack that we are able to carry her in when we hike, again we can’t leave her for long periods. She seems to love it and we are enjoying it as well. Our hikes are shorter and not so difficult but it’s fun. BB gets into a lot of trouble though. She loves to eat shoes or socks, dirty laundry, plastic anything, sticks, rocks. You name it this girl wants to eat it. As a matter of fact she just came running by me with the dust pan.
When we left the Dallas area we headed to San Antonio to have our brakes replaced, Yuck. But we should be good for another 100,000 miles. Next it was San Antonio to Big Bend. This year we went to Big Bend State Park instead of the National Park and discovered a whole new area. Lots of new hikes and a great campground in Lajitas called the Maverick Ranch. It’s high desert country and extremely stark and beautiful. It was very hot and very windy and much to our dismay we left for a hike and left the windows open in the camper only to come back and be in the midst of a wind storm. Everything was covered with dirt in the camper. We were dusting ourselves off for days.
This area of southern Texas is on the Rio Grande and you can stand on the US side and throw a stone over to the Mexican side. It’s a very special place and one we hope to return to again. We spent 4 nights in Lajitas, which means “small flat rocks”, so named for the layered limestone formed by ancient seas. It sits at an elevation of 2342 ft and is situated between Big Bend National Park and Big Bend State Park. It became a mining town around 1895 when Cinnabar ore (a component of Mercury) is discovered and the boom lasted for about 50 years. Lajitas has a rich history that includes Apache and Comanche tribes who drive out Mexican Indians that had been inhabiting the area for years. It became a popular site for movie making and THE STREETS OF LAREDO was filmed there, with James Garner. The population as of 2010 was 75.
We decide to try off the grid camping in the State Park. We ended up at Upper Madera along a drive that is breathtaking from Lajitas to Presidio. It’s a 45 mile drive winding through Big Bend State Park through some desolate areas and some towns that may be home to 20 or so residents. The road meanders along the Rio Grande and it’s so exciting to look over the river and see the small towns in Mexico. So our dry camping experience was exciting as we were alone on an overlook surrounded by towering mountains. We had no electric hook-ups or water so we had to rely on the water in our camper and the solar panels on the roof of the camper. It was hot and dry during the day but at night we sat under the stars (no bugs) and contemplated the universe. It was, without a doubt, a highlight of our trip. We got to see about 15 or so Javelina come wandering close to our campsite. Javelina, also known as collared Peccary are a medium sized animal that looks similar to a wild boar and are classified as Herbivores. They are about two feet tall and weigh between 35 to 55 pounds. Don and I were so excited to see them and Don decided the next night he was going to sit in the bushes and wait for them in order to get some great pics. Alas they didn’t appear till it was dark the following night and his stealthy plan fell through (THANK GOODNESS). I was also able to get some great moon shots and my first attempt at star trails. My star trails are sad but hey I’m learning. But I love my moon shots though. Hard to do Full moon shots and star trails at the same time. I’ll keep practicing.
From Big Bend we head to Carlsbad for another issue, this time we need two new tires. We camp at a KOA outside of Carlsbad and pretty much take care of housekeeping chores like piles of laundry and cleaning all of the dust that is still clinging to us from Big Bend. It is extremely windy in Carlsbad (wind seems to be the theme of this trip) and not conducive to being outside. We heard that the day before we got there a small pop up camper was blown a few feet from where it started because of 80 MPH gusts. Yikes, I guess we didn’t have it so bad. BB is doing well but she does not like the wind and definitely does not like the cold, which it was at night. But she learned how to bark and uh oh.
From Carlsbad we head to Mayhill NM, which is a small mountain village surrounded by the Lincoln National Forest on the eastern slope of the Sacramento Mountains. It sits next to the Rio Penasco River and has an elevation of 6,581 ft. It was home to the Mescalero Apache tribe and white settlers who had begun to settle there in the 1850s. A skirmish took place in 1855 when settlers asked for military protection from the Indians who would leave their reservation to procure horses and sheep from the settlers in order to survive. The Apaches surprised the military and several of the military were killed. We are camping at the Rio Penasco Campground along the Rio Penasco River. When we arrive we are greeted by a few geese and lo and behold there are about 17 deer that wander the campground. They don’t seem to be too scared of people but if you get too close they take off. Mayhill is about 17 miles from another small mountain village named Cloudcroft (a pasture for the clouds). It is a play land for birders, hikers, horseback riding, camping, wildlife photography and astronomy and home to some great restaurants. A unique part of its history was as a Baby Sanatorium which operated from 1911-1934. More than 500 babies were treated for dehydration from nearby desert communities. Cloudcroft sits at an elevation of 8668 ft. It is a funky town with a very friendly vibe.
It’s been an amazing trip so far. We are headed to Roswell, Santa Fe and then to southern Colorado and then slowly making our way home.
Love to everyone.
Deb and Don