Road Trip 2015: A Burrito in Mexico and a Tarantula in a Canyon

January 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

Gradually starting to function on a more natural time schedule (now that we were dependent on the light of the sun, rather than the dance club lights that flicker off at 4 o’clock in the morning), it was another 6 AM morning.  Rolled out of the warm and fluffy covers, then tackled the first challenge of the day:

making coffee without electricity.  But barista skills kicked in and, very slowly, two full cups of mostly-warm coffee appeared using the good ol’ pour-over method.  Then, eggs and sausage and cheese and bread, and I felt proud of what I had to offer Mr. Italian just as the sun was coming up in another colorful display of its desert grandeur:



And then, day trip westward, through Big Bend Ranch State Park.  As you can probably imagine by now, the road was mostly this:

, with a little bit of this:

, and eventual scenic pit stops like this:


After a couple of winding hours, we rolled into Presidio, a rather sparse outpost border town on the American side of the Rio Grande:


Nothing particularly impressive:

We left the car in a Dollar General parking lot and walked toward the river:


Let me tell you this: no one could have cared less about Mr. Italian and I crossing the border into Mexico.  No passports checked, no questions asked, just bored faces glancing up half-way and hand waving us on by.  So… that’s what we did.  We crossed over the bridge (how illegal is this photo?):


, and found ourselves in Mexico:

I don’t think that you are going to find Ojinaga, Chihuahua in any travel book.  It was… kind of exactly as creepy and desolate as you would expect a small border town in the middle of the desert to be:

It was mostly stray dogs and broken glass and beer bottles and trucks without license plates screeching around.  There was one plaza and two locked churches, and one colorful street that was entirely under construction, so we did not venture there.


Instead, we looped around a few corners, and then began walking back to the border:


But, crossing an international border for nothing would have been silly, so we came up with a purpose for the little excursion.  At least we would have a bite to eat!  So close to the border, we might as well try mex-tex food a go, instead of always going for the tex-mex.  We found two options: two different trailers near the international bridge.  So, we picked the bigger of the two, paid a ridiculous $3 for one skinny (albeit really delicious) burrito because we already made big enough fools of ourselves and the little kids probably needed it more than us anyways.  Then headed back to the border control.

Where they cared a lot more about us crossing into the States than out of them.  Not only did we each have to pay $.30, but they inquired as to our business in Ojinaga- to which, to my utter surprise, I replied to in Spanish:

Estamos en México para comer los burritos… y ahora queremos regresar a los Estados Unidos.

Which, considering that it was the first time that something in Spanish came out of my mouth that wasn’t a bachata lyric, I was quite impressed by.

The border adventure wasn’t over yet though.  On the American side, the immigration official was a stern man that looked unimpressed at Mr. Italian’s and my European passports and raised an eyebrow at my burrito story.  Until he saw in the computer that my parents were both from Poland… and then he started talking in Polish for a good five minutes and told me all about his life and held up the rest of the immigration line.  Apparently, it has been a while since someone that spoke Polish passed through this zone.

Back in the USA, safe and fed, we started the drive back to Terlingua- with a couple of little hikes along the way.  The first was that of the Balancing Rocks:

, with an easy one-mile loop by the river and over some rocky sculptures:

The second hike was a little bit more adventurous: the Rancherias Trail.

We started off on the wrong foot (feet?), mistaking the river bed for the trail.  We ended up at a canyon looming up above us.  I scaled it for a while, then decided that the trail is probably horizontal instead of vertical.


We stepped on a few cacti and walked around in circles on the mountain top for a while before giving up and going back to the beginning.  After finding the actual trail, hiking was a lot easier.  We only had time to go in a couple of miles, but found what we needed:

A two-colored cliff (see my shadow in the corner?!), with a cool creek passing through:

Laying upside down, hands trailing in the water, was pure bliss.  So was hopping from one rock to the other, like a mountain goat.

Until I landed a few centimeters away from a big, hairy tarantula.  Then, I decided that it was time to go back.

So, parking lunch picnic and then back to Terlingua.  En route, we stopped for a cinematic sunset over the Lajitas cemetery:

, with its collection of old grave markers:

Then, another porch evening, with tea and travel diaries.  All of a sudden, mid-sentence, my writing was illuminated by Christmas lights.  I looked up, and– electricity came back to Terlingua!  There was much rejoicing and celebration, by way of flicking all of the switches on and off.

And then we turned everything off and lit the candles again, and pretended that electricity was still a thing far, far away :]




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