Our little dot on the map for a month is Lajitas, Texas, sandwiched in between Big Bend Ranch State Park and Big Bend National Park. We’re right where we want to be in what they call Far West Texas, surrounded by the Chisos Mountains and the Chihuahuan Desert. Imposing, beautiful, stark, dusty, hot, cold. All those words describe this place.
To get to our “oasis” in the desert, we traveled around the bend of Texas and landed in the town of Marathon just for the night.
There wasn’t much on this route, so an RV park complete with TV was a pretty good stop. Looks like something from the 50s.
No doubt this is Texas. The view from the RV park.
It was a short drive, so we did a little exploring at a local park next to a spring. Jackson got some good non-prickly walking in and we stretched our legs, We saw our first roadrunner on the drive. Truthfully the first bird we saw run across the road was likely a quail, but since I hadn’t seen a REAL roadrunner yet, I didn’t know any better. It was a bird, on the road, running, so it seemed like a reasonable conclusion. At this point we’re in short sleeves and enjoying no jackets. But then evening comes and the wind howls, literally. By morning it’s in the low 20s and we’re hoping Lajitas is warmer, much warmer.
We planned ahead on dinner at this stop and were going for pizza at the place we googled up. Alas, it’s closed this day and we didn’t make reservations at the only other place in town. There is a small market and we get a frozen pizza to bake. Unfortunately we’re still in a battle of wills with the new convection oven and it seems to either burn – and I mean lump of coal burn – or hides a completely raw spot in the middle. This time we got raw crust. Sigh.
So we leave Marathon on a very chilly morning and I’m busily texting Ethan with our temperatures. Despite our southerly drive, we didn’t factor in the change in altitude. We’re in the mountains and the temp goes from 22, to 21, to 20, to finally bottoming out at 19, and it’s almost midday. Definitely time to stay in the coach and keep driving, except that we get an error message from our leveling jacks. They say they are down. Pat pulls over so I can check and take Jackson out at the same time. False alarm on the jacks, but poor Jackson is having trouble finding a non-prickly spot to walk for a potty break. There’s a smooth dirt road just through an open gate and I’m headed that direction until I read the sign. It says “I have firearms and a backhoe”. Needless to say we beat a hasty retreat. Way better than a “No Trespassing Sign”.
Maverick Ranch RV Park
It was so nice to arrive and get settled in and out of the cold for the day.
Not a bad view from our spot at Maverick Ranch.
One week later, here’s the view of the RV from the state park visitor’s center. You really have to step back to get a sense of the surroundings and just how vast they are.
People told me it was really hard to get a roadrunner picture. I took it as a personal challenge and fortunately this guy cooperated. He was on the edge of the RV park and I swear was looking for a handout. He let me get just close enough for the zoom to capture his top knot and long tail. Beep! Beep! And in case you wondered, they can and do fly. We saw one fly up to the top of a fence when Jackson got too close.
Maverick Ranch is part of the golf resort that IS Lajitas. The whole place is owned by the resort and although a town on the map, it gets its mail from neighboring Terlingua. Rumor has it someone bought themselves a town a few years back.
Probably explains why they can have a goat for a mayor. Meet Clay Henry. He and Jackson got acquainted, but not too close. He’s one big goat and is famous for drinking beer. Lone Star is supposedly his favorite. I’m guessing because that’s the one they give him. Anyway, he and his lady friend live in this enclosure on the edge of “town”, and are very curious of visitors.
Here’s another view of the area. The boys are looking, and the view they’re looking at.
On one of our exploratory walks to see the Rio Grande. We didn’t find a route to the river, but were welcomed to the place of biting pests! Fortunately we didn’t encounter any rattlesnakes, tarantulas or scorpions, but a little girl was recently bitten by a Western Diamondback at a park we visited, so we’re being careful.
We were really intrigued by the Lajitas cemetery. The historic marker informed us that Lajitas is the Spanish word for flagstone which is found everywhere in this area due to the Boquillas geologic formation. The flagstone slabs are used for fencing, house walls, and in this case the barrows, or rock mounds, on many of the graves.
Here’s a better look at the barrows made of flagstone slabs.
The cemetery has been in use since the early 1900s. I loved the detailed iron work on the fencing with the mountain peak behind.
Of course this stop is all about Big Bend. Here’s a teaser photo so you know what’s coming. This is from the Window Trail in the national park.
Meanwhile, we’re here in Lajitas until mid-February with no cell service and relying mostly on park wi-fi for communication with the outside world. We’re taking weekly jaunts 50 miles through the state park to get to church in Presidio and re-provision at the market. Oh, and we get a great Mexican lunch fix and cell service. That’s when I send my flurry of “we’re still alive” texts.
Next up – Terlingua Ghost Town, Big Bend Ranch State Park & Big Bend National Park, in no particular order. See you on the way!