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Terlingua Ranch Lodge

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.

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2020 in Texas, Uncategorized

 

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Jal, New Mexico

Photos above: 1) DC Car Wash on the corner of Main and Quay. 2) Plate steel cattle drive sculpture. (Images shot with 590 nm infrared converted Nikon)

According to Weatherunderground.com it is 54 degrees this evening in Jal NM. The temperature was about 64 degrees a couple weeks ago while I was driving through before lunch time. It’s the middle of November. Jal is one of those small towns that you could miss if you stay on the 18 going north or south and not look this way or that. The 205 and the 128 pass through but you have to stop at a stop sign at some point and you’ll know you are there. This is the Permian Basin, home to oil and gas production as seen by vast fields of oil derricks, oil storage tanks, flare pipes, and endless pump jacks. And the smell of rotten eggs

Between the creaking, humming, squeaking sounds of a pump jack and the wind, cows graze quietly in the open scrublands. The vast plains set against a blue sky is quite pleasing, really. It’s cowboy country in these parts and many ranches have invested well in both cattle and oil. I always liked this wide open peacefulness of it all.

I drove a few blocks into town and realized not much is given to the streets in Jal. Pot holes were abundant and I drove slowly to avoid the bumpiness of the ride. A middle aged Latino woman walked past with purpose carrying a cloth sack of who-knows-what. I waved at her but she did not look my way. At the end of the street on the corner across from a small church, two men were exchanging tools as one reached under the hood of his dark blue pick-up truck. I passed them and turned left. This neighborhood has not aged well.

I had not been to Jal much as a kid. We went to Eunice for play days at the arena. I’ll write about that later. My parents did not have reason to drive any further I guess and I don’t remember having any reason to be there. My dad may have driven through Jal with us in his red Ford truck once or twice on the way to Kermit or Odessa. As an adult, I’ve passed through numerous times but had not stopped to spend anytime here. Unfortunately, we are in the era of Covid-19 so when I crossed the state line I was greeted with an electronic sign that read, “All visitors must quarantine for 14 days”. I had planned only one day in Lea County.

Unfortunately corona virus hindered my plans for a visit with the librarian, an oil field worker, locals at the coffee shop. There was not much happening that morning. Many stores were closed. Allsups had the most activity, it seemed, with people pulling up to gas pumps, coming and going in and out of the store, grabbing a Coke or some snacks, a pack of cigs. I had planned on capturing some street photography to include humans and maybe a stray dog.

I saw no one downtown on Main except for a few driving their cars and one with a poodle hanging out the driver side window, tongue flapping in the wind as if it has won an all expense paid trip to the Bea Arthur Dog Park. Many of the vehicles in Jal were trucks and had Texas plates. Most work on both sides of the state line in a variety of jobs but mostly the oil fields. The largest building in Jal: The high school building. Maybe. It might be the nursing home. Then I drove past a huge metal garage housing equipment likely for that hole to be drilled west of town.

Main Street remained quiet. The wind picked up and I caught my cap in time. This did not change the smell of the petroleum, though. This car wash in the picture wasn’t open and I had not found one to wash my black beast. An empty plastic water bottle rolled and bounced across the pavement as I closed my car door. I turned up the volume and listened to David Bowie’s “Life On Mars”, turned around at the high school, said goodbye to morning and to Jal and headed north.

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2020 in New Mexico

 

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Walnut Ridge, Arkansas

Walnut Ridge, Arkansas

First Baptist Church.
This is last year’s photo. The church still stands and surely not much has change in a town at the junction of the 412, the 63, and the 67. I should have stayed longer for there were some treasures to be found there.

Meanwhile, I’m pinning on Pinterest a bunch of tatting. You didn’t know I tatted? The things that can be made and given as gifts. Right now tatted lace jewelry is all the rage. Simply google it. I’ll put a photo of something I’ve made soon enough .

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Maramec Spring Park, Missouri

A pretty place to visit after 12 hours on the road.  A windy road to get there though but most scenic. 

I don’t care how hot it’s been, I still love the summer months.  Right now it’s so pretty outside with threatening sky looming in the West.  They say it will rain over the Red River this evening.  If only that will dip down just a few miles and get our town a little wet.   The cost of hay…

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.      ~Robert Frost

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2011 in Missouri, Photography

 

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Odd Fellows Home, Checotah, Oklahoma

Taken about 2 years ago, I shot this photo from my car as I was driving home from a job in Muskogee, Oklahoma. I don’t recall why but I got off the road in Checotah and drove through town.  I had never seen an Odd Fellows Home and thought that it might be a shelter for local indigents.

This evening while surfing the web looking for information on this Odd Fellows Home, I found the following:
The land in this region had an abundance of wildlife and fertile soil. Cotton and grain, and orchards thrived. Much of the area also was grazeland for cattle. In 1901 the building was a home for orphans and elderly that was constructed on a 153-acre farm near Checotah. In 2001 the Oklahoma Odd Fellows Home at Checotah was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NR 01000660). It was also known as Odd Fellows Widows and Orphans Home.

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows “strive to make the world a better place in which to live, seeking To Improve and Elevate the Character of Mankind.” I could find very little information on this particular home but it appears that it is now privately owned and may still be used for the care of elderly. There were a few photographs on some of the geneology websites. Perhaps a phone call to the IOOF will result in some interesting facts and stories of this home. Maybe you know.

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2011 in Oklahoma, Photography

 

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