Start time: 0730
Start odometer: 29884
Weather: Sunny, temperature 42 degrees F.
Decided to camp tonight in what has to be one of the darkest places I have been. Anxious to see the Geminids meteor shower tonight. Had to get a backcountry permit for the site, and it was very peaceful. This is a very beautiful park! I will add pictures very soon. Thanks for your patience!
I heard rain and strong wind about 0600, enough the awaken me.
By the time I departed the motel, the skies had cleared and presented me with a very beautiful sunrise!
Drove to Marfa, Texas. This is the location where in 1955 the movie "Giant" was filmed. It starred Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, and of course, James Dean.
Stopped in town at the Capri Motel to find out their rates. Talked with the motel owner about the biggest attraction in Marfa, the mysterious lights that appear west of town. No "real" explanation, but at night, these lights can be seen, and sometimes they might follow you to a certain point in the road. I did not get a chance to see these lights on this visit, but hope to return sometime. By the way, the town of Marfa is building a visitor center where the lights can be seen!
Visited the Chamber of Commerce and met Sondra, a former Braniff employee. We talked more about the town, "Giant" and the lights. Seems there is a scientific reason for the lights, but they do not let that out too often!
Sondra suggested a trip to the Marfa library for a scrapbook on "Giant." The staff at the library was very helpful and retrieved the scrapbook. I got a little laugh when I saw the book, as it was at least thirty inches by thirty inches, rather large, and as expected, on the front was stenciled "Giant Scrapbook"!!!
Drove towards the western entrance of Big Bend National Park, along the Rio Grande river road. Got to see some incredible scenery, with mountains and canyons along the way. It was also a roller coaster style grade, with the lower sections being part of a wash with signs constantly posted to watch for flash floods. They had water depth markers at many of these low parts of the road. Thank goodness it was not raining anymore, though it can rain a hundred miles away and still flood in this area.
They have the "Adopt-a-Highway" program for litter pickup as many other states do, but what interested me about this one sponsor was their name: "Chili Appreciation Society International"!
Drove into Terlinga, a ghost town along the road west of the park. Many towns died after the mining industry failed.
Stopped at the Big Bend National Park Visitor Center at Panther Crossing and picked up some information about the park and camping. Also learned of a Ranger hike to occur soon.
Went to the starting point and met Ranger Debbie, who was to lead an interpretive hike through the desert. Learned much about the park plant and animal life.
After visiting the eastern section of the park, I decided to camp tonight. I returned to the Visitor Center at Panther Crossing to arrange for a backcountry permit, then went to the site to set up.
That night at one of the regular campgrounds, a Ranger program was scheduled, so I decided to sit in on the program. Ranger Doug Thompson (the same name of a former boss of mine at IBM) presented a lecture with slides about the park. Some great pictures were displayed.
Back to the campsite, two miles down a rocky road that had not been graded for a while.
The star show was spectacular! Many meteors were visible, and it was great! See tomorrow's report for more info.
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Routes traveled today: US 90 - US 67 - Farm Road 170 - National Park roads
Lodging: K Bar Campsite -
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