Bob got up early and I slept in—till 8 AM. We didn’t have much to do, so we were ready to leave by 9:00. We drove down 2 exits on I-10 to stop for fuel at Sunoco. It was the cheapest around at $5.19/gal. Our luck was not running good this morning. 1. My camera was acting up and I may need to get a new one. 2. We pulled up to a fuel pump only to find out it wasn’t working. The clerk inside didn’t speak English and couldn’t understand about resetting the pump, so we had to move the whole rig to another island. Good thing the station wasn’t busy. 3. That fuel pump worked fine, but the DEF pump at that island didn’t work, so we couldn’t buy DEF there. Oh well. We were on the road again after 30 minutes. The skies were partly cloudy, a little hazy in places, and it was already 84 degrees.
They expect a high today of 100. In fact, the whole week we’re here, it is expected to be 100 or better. There is very low humidity, so the air is very dry. The condensation from the AC that drips out of the drainspouts on the bus evaporates and never reaches the ground. We can feel the difference in our skin, lips, and hair. It’s true what they say about it being a dry heat! We took Highway 67 from of I-10 for 48 miles. The first 5 of those miles were under construction. As we continued south, we got our first glimpse of the Glass Mountains.
The speed limit on this road was an amazing 70 mph.
The area was arid and desertlike with a lot of these types of cactus “trees” everywhere. Some were even in bloom or seeding out.
We took Highway 90 for 8 miles to the town of Alpine.
Longhorns were waiting in the cattle pen. We must be in Texas!
After driving through Alpine, we picked up Highway 118 south for 85 miles to the town of Study Butte. We were alone on the highway for many miles as we climbed through the Christmas, Rosillos, and Chisos Mountains.
Mt. Ord was one of the highest mountain in the area at 6700 ft.
The highway took us through areas of small ranches in the valley and mansions on the hilltops.
We came upon this Border Patrol Security Check Station along the highway. We slowed down to look, but it wasn’t very busy and we didn’t have to stop.
Cathedral Mountain came into view and at 6800 ft. it stood out in the distance.
We traveled up, over, and through the notches. Every turn brought into view some great sights.
Wildflowers were clustered along the roadside wherever water might pool, if there WAS water. Off in the distance, we could see water flowing down this mountain.
These buttes lined up nice and neat in a row.
Not surprisingly, there was no cell service out here through much of our drive today. We saw a sign to watch out for donkeys for the next 6 miles. Really? Then there was a sign to watch out for bicycles! Wow! We came out of the mountains to the valley where we arrived in Study Butte. Terlingua is the next town just down the road a couple of miles.
We could see the campground with the red roofs from the top of the hill.
We pulled into Big Bend Resort and Adventures. It has a motel, gas station, little store, gift shop, and a laundry within walking distance.
Resort? I don’t know about that, but it was the best campground in the area close to Big Bend National Park.
We checked in and were sent to site 39. At least it had a tree and a little shade. . . very little.
We had 149 miles to go today and it took us 3 hours, after we left the gas station. It was 104 degrees when we set up and put on the AC. Auggie got a quick potty break outside and we were back in the AC. I spent some time getting the Tropic Isles community newsletter ready to send to the publisher. Bob helped me research buying a new camera to be sent to our campground here. Dark clouds blew over and it almost looked like rain for a bit, but no such luck. Rain would be good for this area. They need it very bad. Another motorhome arrived at the same time we did and we recognized them as people who were at the Ft. Stockton campground with us yesterday. This campground we’re in wasn’t full at all. The TV kept putting out severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings for areas just north of here. In fact, Ft. Stockton where we camped yesterday got a ton of rain and had some flooding. We were happy we missed it. We had spaghetti for dinner because Bob didn’t want to grill outside in the heat. I don’t blame him! The drive was a little tiring for him because he wasn’t able to use the cruise control much with some of the winding roads we were on. Just before dinner time, a severe thunderstorm watch came across the TV screen. This time it was for the Big Bend area where we are. The wind picked up and there were wind gusts of 30-40 miles an hour blowing so hard that we couldn’t see a thing out of the windows.
It rocked the bus, which freaked Auggie and I out a little. I put a ditch bag together in case we had to evacuate the bus in the middle of the night and hide out in the restroom building if storms or a tornado threatened. After dinner, the wind picked up ALOT and was blowing hard against one side of the bus. After awhile, we began to see an accumulation of sand/dust INSIDE THE BUS. The wind got so strong at times that we finally decided to pull in both slides on the side of the bus that faced the wind. Before we could do that, I used the minivac to suck up the sand/dust on the floor where it came in. UNBELIEVABLE! We pulled in the two slides and were still able to watch TV and I prayed that this wind event would end. The wind blew hard for about 2 hours obscuring everything outside. The skies cleared and the sun came out about 7:30, so we hoped that the wind would die down.
Auggie still needed to get his walk in and we had to collect Bob’s sandals and the outdoor rug that blew around when this whole thing started. Luckily, they didn’t get too far. FINALLY, the wind subsided around 8:00 and I was able to take Auggie outside for his walk. We went from tree to tree where there was some grass. He found lots of good smells there. It was hard to believe that just an hour ago, the wind was blowing so hard that we couldn’t see a thing. After the sun went below the hills, the wind was still and it was quiet. Thank goodness! The worst was over. It looked like they were getting rain to the northeast, but at least things were calm here.
We put out the slides again and settled in to watch a little TV. It was a nerve-wracking event for me. Bob kept his cool and kept me calm. Tomorrow we’ll do some exploring in the area. There is so much to see while we’re here.