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Day #2 Big Bend February 6, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — gogopance @ 1:55 am

We started out the day with a 5 mile hike along the Lost Mine Trail, an up up up then down down down adventure. There were pretty spectacular views the entire way.

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Then we drove over to the far east end of the park to hike into the Boquillas Canyon, yet another attraction carved by the mighty Rio Grande. Mexico is fully accessible from this hike by a mere wade across the river (pictured). And, naturally, vice versa. We were told by our casita host to be aware of trinkets that the children of Boquillas del Carmen sneak over and leave for sale to Big Bend tourists. We found several piles of beaded goods, all with a menu of prices.

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Big Bend, I didn’t know you existed, you are not easy to get to and you are a little risqué in your proximity to a foreign country (we needed to confirm our US citizenship to border patrol twice). But in two short days I managed to pack out a lot of awe, a curiosity for the miles of trails left unxplored and a longing to visit you again.

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Across the Plains of Texas February 3, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — gogopance @ 11:25 pm

So the Toro Dealer conference ended with lovely dress-up-required awards banquet on Friday night. So don my best bib ‘n’ tucker I did and it was either because of or in spite of that (Mow Power close your ears), that I was one of four to win a $1500 lawn mower. It will of course be resold and the monies allocated to the “Texas in February” trip fund of 2013.

On Saturday, one piece of crimson power equipment richer, Gemini took to the side roads heading West with a final destination of Big Bend National Park. In Del Rio we drove up to the Mexican border just to see what it was like. Check!

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Several hours later we arrived at our Casita, our “small house” for the next couple days, located in the town (used loosely) of Terlingua, Texas.

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Today we spent the entire afternoon exploring Big Bend. We hiked about a mile up into the Santa Elena Canyon which was cut sometime before this year by the mighty Rio Grande. It was an overcast day, ideal for hiking in the desert, but blue sky started to peak through long enough to provide some cool visual contrast and afford us a pretty descent sunset (not pictured). Spending time in the desert is kind of amazing. I never think I’ll like it or deem it pretty, but it always humbles me in ways nothing else really does. In the East it’s very rare, if it even exists at all, to look all around you as far as the eye can reach and *not* see another man-made structure. It’s rather claustrophobic actually. Don’t worry… I’m not gonna up and move across the Mississippi any time soon, but I think I need to de-East myself on a regular basis. If only to remind myself how very small I am and how very quiet it can be.

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San Antonio February 1, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — gogopance @ 11:51 am

So here I am in San Antonio, Teyhas soakin’ up some 70s sunshine, lounging poolside with my book whilst my SWVA brethren are flooding from torrential amounts of rain. Speaking of this week’s storm, Gemini flew *over* the rain + winds + tornadoes two days ago from CLT > ATL > SAT. Never in all my ever have I experienced turbulence like that. I closed my eyes, pulled the window shade and said my last prayers, hoping only to be visiting that open bar in the sky quicker rather than slower.

Alas. We made it. Wiping brow.

The view for me has been mostly inside the resort compound, which is cool since it’s about 300 acres in size and has multiple pools, walking/running trails and a gym. All of which I’ve utilized. I’m a +1 at the annual Toro conference, so while I’m rocking in the sunshine on the back deck between free meals I also get a view of lawn mowers. There’s even something called a “Lawn Mower Rodeo” on the itinerary this afternoon. I’m intrigued. I may just have to tear away from reading to see what that’s all about.

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Last night we were shuttled down to San Antonio’s claim-to-fame River Walk for dinner at The Buckhorn Saloon & Museum, home to the Texas Ranger Museum and over 500 species of taxiderm’ed wildlife. Having hundreds of marbled eyes watching you eat plates of meat is certainly a once-in-a-lifetime treat.

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For a nightcap we used the restrooms in the famous Menger Hotel and then strolled by The Alamo. The Alamo is tucked downtown inside modern day San Antonio which usually results in everyone exclaiming disappointedly, “It’s so small!” But really, people? Do you think they had  high rises in 1836? Me thinks it’s quite ironic (ironic?) that the beloved “Shrine of Texas Freedom” is by popular opinion considered small.

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