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 > The Great Southwest trip report

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FarcticOx

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Posted: 01/03/09 06:54am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DGPERSON,

Great post, Your dogs must love traveling with you. We're headed out that way in the spring and I'd really like to do that Closed Canyon hike. Can you give us a little more information on the location, either here on the forum or PM me.
Thanks
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jlbrown

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Posted: 01/03/09 10:51am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the info dpgerson. My wife and I are headed that way in February and will visit some of the places you did. I've been off the road for three months now and I am itching to get on the move. Your post has only intensified my need to get back out ther.

dpgerson

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Posted: 01/03/09 02:55pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here's a link to the map page of Big Bend Ranch State Park. Closed canyon is on Hwy 170. That's the hwy at the bottom 0f the park next to the Rio Grande. The canyon is in between the Rancheria West and the Rancheria East trailheads. It's about 15 miles east of Presidio, TX.

map page

There is a really nice RV park a few miles east of Presidio where you can take your camper off the truck and explore the park. It's called Loma Paloma. I spent almost a week there. Tell the hosts, Robert and Donna that I sent you. There's also one in the town on Lajitas, TX. Don't know what it's like. you probably don't want to drive much inside the park with the camper on. Inside the park on Highway 170, most of the campgrounds were destroyed by the September 50 year flood they had. But Madera canyon is still intact. There's a picture of one of the campsites earlier in this thread.

I just spent a few days in Big Bend National park and by far prefer the state park. It's not just my usual complaint about the anti-dog policies of the NPS, the state park is much less crowded, did not have nearly as many annoying little knats flying around all the time (really it was pretty bad), the scenery is just as good, and the staff is much nicer.

* This post was edited 01/03/09 03:03pm by dpgerson *


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dpgerson

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Posted: 01/03/09 05:34pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

silversand wrote:

Quote:

i attended what they call a "star party". If you ever have the chance to go to this place and sttend one, don't miss it.


Our entire stay at Chaco Canyon, NM, came with rain, cloud, and little overnight clearing, unfortunately. The "star party" was canceled. We'll try next time!

This trip report is nicely illustrated, and I will post it to Trip Reports using the Part I, Part II theme rather than a link to your main thread.

Have you the ability to post a map of your travels here? If you're using a GPS, the route waypoints can be manifested as a map.

Organ Pipe: any warnings vis illegals trudging through the area? Or, was it pretty quiet?

Standing by for next Part [emoticon]

Cheers,
Silver-



Can you point me in the direction towards learning how to map the route for this thread? I do have a gps, but it's one mainly for hiking. It saved me from getting lost a couple of times.

As far as illegals go, I've seen a lot of border partol guys, but no illegals. Organ pipe was quiet, didn't see nay BP there, but I did come across a water cache on one of the hikes.

silversand

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Posted: 01/04/09 03:18pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You could try Yahoo Travel "trip planner", if you have a Yahoo e-mail account (if you don't, you could easily set one up), here-->

As for the GPS, if you've been continually using it since you left home while driving, use your zoom out tool to evaluate the route already taken, if it appears that your unit has been tracking your route, then PM me.

Cheers,
Silver-


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Windwalker55

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Posted: 01/07/09 06:31am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm looking forward to hearing more about your trip and hope you continue to post.


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dpgerson

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Posted: 01/15/09 08:59am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Fourth and final part. I am now home in the SF Bay Area after driving from Austin, TX for 3 days.

Here's some more stuff from Big Bend Ranch State park. I was following this one trail that was supposed to be a loop, but there were many little side trails that had these funny tracks on them. Couldn't figure out what made them, seemed too big for deer. Then all of a sudden my dogs went crazy as we spooked a herd of wild burros. Managed to get the camera out in time to get this through a forest of Ocotillo:
[image]

also saw some of this beautiful purple prickly pear:

[image]


another hike I took led us to an oasis with clear cold water running in the middle of this harsh desert. It was really strange to be in this lush little spot in the midst of the dry hostile environment:

[image]

Finally I left the state park enroute to Big Bend Natioanl Park, further east. I saw this inviting road along highway 170 as I drove past. As folks often do when riding by an interesting road I wondered what could be up it. Most of the time we just drive past, but I realized I didn't have to be anywhere, so i turned around and hiked up the jeep trail to a pretty little valley with this view:

[image]

THe National Park was spectacular, but I liked the state park better. More hiking opportunities for dog lovers, less annoying gnats (they were unbearable at the national park), and a lot less people.

[image]

Sierra del Carmen, Mexican side of the Rio Grande at sunset:

[image]

Then it was off to Seminole Canyon State Park, a real stellar location. Nice Campsites, magnificent dark skys. In fact let me put in a plug here for the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife. I can't say enough about their parks. Clean, spacious, good trails and nice people without exception for the ones I visited. The yearlong pass that you buy from them for 60 bucks is a great buy.

So at Seminole there is a trail down to the Rio Grande. Once there, if you have binocs, you can see a 15 foot long pictograph of a Panther on the opposite side of the canyon. The only way to get right up to it is by boat. The Rio Grande is greatly swelled here by the Amistad Dam.

[image]

[image]


Near this spot is where the Pecos RIver goes into the Rio Grande. I really wanted to see that, but was told the path lay across provate ranches. I decided to try the hike which looked to be about a 4 mile round trip. Turned out to be more like 12, but it was well worth the effort. it was a serenely beautiful spot:

[image]

[image]

Here is a low quality video to give you a feel of the place:
pecos mouth


Finally, I pointed my truck towards the holy city of Austin, Texas (folks like me who love americana type music feel this way) to see a show at the Cactus Cafe with James McMurtry. I wasn't dissapointed. His father is the famous Larry McMurty, who has written several excellent novels set in the country I had just traveleld through. James is no less talented, his art finding expression in little short stories in song form. Jim Hightower, the famous progressive columnist was in the small audience that was packed into the tiny venue, and McMurtry dedicated his contoversial song, "We Can't Make it Here" to Hightower. Anyway, great show, but no pictures.

This left me with one more thing to do on my list. That was to chekc out some of the great Texas BBQ that I'd read about in this article:

texas BBQ

First I tried Smitty's Market in Lockhart, Texas. For folks who've never been to one of these places, you're in for an interesting experience. I walked into Smitty's and to my right was a huge brick edifice that was the bbq pit, an open fire burning right next to you on the floor. THese place have two separate areas. One, run by men, is where you get your meat. The other, run by the women, is where you get your sides and drinks. I think it's an old custom. They also don't have forks. The guy explained it this way. "You wouldn't want a fork to eat fried chicken. Why would you want one for BBQ?" I proceeded to tear into my brisket with my fingers, quite happy to not have a fork. It was great!

The Next day I drove down to Luling, Texas, to City MArket, another of the top 5 rated place. It was way better than Smitty's. I order ribs and brisket and it was so good I can't describe it. My only regret is that I didn't order more to take with me. I took a picture outside:
[image]

That left me one more day which I used to seek the holy grail, Snow's BBQ in Lexington, Texas. A small out of the way place that was rated number one by Texas Monthly. It's only open one day a week, Saturday, and they stay open until they run out of meat, usually around noon. I didn't want to take any chances, so I arose early to drive the 50 miles under a grey and threatenting sky into that farm country east of Austin. I got there right at eight, in front of a large flock of folks. I ordered two pounds of ribs and tow pounds of brisket. It was very good, but not as good as City Market in Luling, my vote for number one. I think Snow's may have suffered from all of the publicity. Here's a picture:

[image]

The next day, I got up and drove for every moment I could stay awake to get home. Three days of mind numbing I10 and I5. These trips in our campers are soul enriching experiences, filled with interesting people and places if you take the time and effort to find them, but Dorothy was quite right, there is no place like home. Thanks for taking the time to check out my trip to the Great Southwest.

* This post was last edited 01/22/09 11:39am by an administrator/moderator *   View edit history

Matho

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Posted: 01/15/09 09:37pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You and the dogs must be tired after that trip. The dogs are still smiling,must be the BBQ.
Great pictures from The Bend. The state park is where I will take my dogs when I go.
Thanks for showing your trip.


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The Mad Norsky

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Posted: 01/16/09 07:46am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Looks like a great trip.

Thanks for the photos and especially the BBQ tips.


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Posted: 01/16/09 11:31am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great trip and report. Enjoyed the photos very much. We hope to visit BB area perhaps in April.

Thanks for taking us along!

Jim


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