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Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Rio Grande Big Bend National Park, TX, Saturday, 22 September 2012 3:39am

I did the hipster thing this morning and waited in line for a food truck in Marfa. The Marfans are a chatty bunch. I talked to a woman who'd ridden on the back of her husband's motorcycle back from Alaska. That's a trip that I should do someday. I overheard another woman talking about a tanker truck crash on the road I was planning to ride, so I asked about the details. Luckily, it was in the opposite direction. It seems they're having to fly in a special drill that will let them drain the fuel out of the tanks without making a spark that will ignite the whole truck.

The riding today was much more interesting than yesterday. I rode out to Presidio, on the border with Mexico, and then took Farm Road 170 south, following the Rio Grande. I was probably within a stone's throw of Mexico for most of the afternoon. It's pretty, dramatic country: badlands, buttes, and dramatic cliffs. And the river is a silty stream that looks like it would be trivial to wade across. Before you get to Big Bend National Park, you pass through Big Bend Ranch State Park. The road through there is like a roller coaster. Rather than switchback over each ridge, they just went over the top and down across the washes.

Big Bend is practically empty. When I asked the ranger at the entrance station if I'd have any trouble getting a campsite, she almost laughed. I think that on 3 of the 100 campsites are in use in the campground where I'm camping (Rio Grande Village, the one closest to the river).

I put up my tent and then immediately staked it down, because it was threatening to blow away. That's the first time I've done that since the Badlands of South Dakota! Then I rode a gravel road and hiked a half mile to a hot spring (nice temperature, but lots and lots of sediment in the pool). I still had time to make dinner before sunset, and am now doing some laundry at the campground laundromat, which, pleasantly, has power for my laptop and wifi.

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