Way back when…a couple months ago.
It was the first of October of this year that I decided to start planning on this trip to Big Bend and at that time considered camping. November is a busy period at that National Park because the temps are cooler and the sky deeper blue during the middle of the Autumn season. I’m brave and tough and can handle camping in a tent but I didn’t want to deal with the cooler evenings so I decided to nail down a place to stay if needed. Everything was booked. Well, almost everything that I could afford. Terlingua Ranch Lodge popped up frequently on my search and it seemed nice enough and remote. I wanted to be away from the human race to be honest.
A second reason I chose this time to travel to remote location was avoid the election noise. November 3, 2020 was the 59th presidential election in the U.S. and although I had voted weeks earlier, quietly and confidentially, I had no desire to watch all the commotion on the mainstream media, nor did I want to see what anyone had to say on social media including my friends. With Covid and election season, you learn how hateful the hearts are of those you follow on social media, go shopping with, have lunch with when time and virus allows. Service for my android was poor for most of the trip so this was perfect. I didn’t have much opportunity to read anyone’s mean words.
Did I mention remote? I knew what I was getting when I booked this place and was well prepared but this lodge is about 30 miles off the main highway and that highway is a good distance from any of the entrances to the park. That highway, by the way, is the 118. The speed limit is 45 mph and that is a long drive. I’m glad I found it before it got dark because, well, it gets dark out there and unless you’ve been there, you won’t know if you are in the right place because you lose mobile service at times.
Terlingua Ranch Lodge is at the end of the 30 mile road. It sits on 450 acres of picturesque landscape and some dust. There’s no paved roads once on this property. Internet was decent in my cabin although not real strong. I didn’t watch any movies and there was no TV. There was, however, a beautiful black sky and The Milky Way stretching up over the rocky peak in the picture below. Customer service was superb. The folks at the desk area friendly and helpful. And then there’s the after hours guy. I forgot his name but he’s older than dirt and he’s got a guard he walks around in the evening. It’s a small dog, cute, but it gives us all something to reminisce about. If I remember right, the clerk who checked me in said he’s door is open and he’s always willing to sit on the porch and talk about anything science. But I wasn’t there long enough to make the most of anything. What is important is that I felt safe, the bed was comfortable and I had a hot shower.
The morning I checked out, I walked over to the Bad Rabbit Cafe’ for breakfast and was welcomed and treated like I’d been eating there for the past ten years. There were about five others inside as well and they all knew each other. It was the typical homecooked breakfast, great coffee, and a decent cost. It was a great farewell to this far-off cabin and I would likely stay there again. But that drive.