I recently took a vacation. Yes, I know, that is just not acceptable in the life of a writer. 🙂 But, I did it anyway.
Myself and my best friend and Spirit Sister in life, Kay, journeyed from North Texas down to the Big Bend area. Now, that my friends, is a long haul! Texas is a big State.
But, we took our time and stopped along the way. One our first stops was at a music festival in Luckenbach, Texas. The Thomas Michael Riley festival is held every year on the same weekend at the same historic location. Wow! What a great lineup of music from Thomas Michael Riley himself to Tom McElvain and Cooder Graw with LOTS in between. Miss Kay and I thoroughly enjoyed soaking up the music. Of course, we were excited to begin our adventure and this was the perfect setting to start.
If you look on the second column, second picture down, you’ll see me and Kay sitting on the front row. Picture to the left is Tom McElvain and the Dirty Pesos and bottom is Cooder Graw.
From the music festival, we drove to Alpine, Texas. Alpine is the home of Sul Ross University and sits at the base of the Davis Mountains. We explored the actual fort at Fort Davis – a fascinating bit of history, then ate lunch at a quaint drugstore in Fort Davis. And I have to admit we indulged in a peach vanilla malt along with our chicken salad sandwich.
The next day, we met up with an old friend, Cactus Mike Mosman, who has lived in the Big Bend area for over twenty years. He then became our tour guide taking us into the Big Bend National Park to explore for the day.
From there we drove through the amazing Chihuahaun Desert to Marfa. We stayed at the amazing and eclectic El Paisano Hotel in Marfa. It is allegedly haunted although we saw no ghosts. The food at El Paisano was 5 Star! The hotel itself held such character from a long forgotten era of the early 1900s.
Yes, we went out to see the MARFA LIGHTS. And yes, we actually saw them. I regret that I didn’t have a camera that would capture the images, but this is the closest publicly available that depicts what we saw. They call them the mystery lights. No one has been able to figure out where they come from or where they go. They appeared at random in the distance, would sometimes break apart in to several lights, then vanish leaving total blackness, only to reappear again in a different spot. Back in the 1800s, early settlers thought they were seeing Indian campfires and sightings have been recorded since that time. Amazing energy!
The next day, Mike took us to see Chinati Peak. We followed a paved road until it ended and turned into a rough dirt road (an advantage of having a tour guide who knows the entire area), then drove up and up until we were at the top of the mountain. Wow! What a view. We stopped, walked along a creek and looked for rocks. Then, not being able to resist, we took off our socks and shoes to wade in the cool clear water.
We visited the Terlingua Ghost town with some amazing energy all its own. The photos I am going to post to finish out this Big Bend excursion were all taken by a friend and professional Photographer, Dave Hensley, who visited the same area a week after we were there. He gave me permission to use these great photos.
I took this picture during the day in the Terlingua Cemetery.
We spent some time at Cactus Mike’s house in Fort Hancock and visited with a renowned Southwest Artist, John McKenzie. I was honored to share my first book, Flowers and Stone, with him.
We thought we were heading back to North Texas from Fort Hancock, but wound up taking a detour through New Mexico. Visited with a dear friend of Mike’s, Mary, in Mesilla, New Mexico and ate a delicious lunch at the historic La Posta restaurant. What a treat! Took a picture of this amazing sculpture while driving down a side street to return to the highway.
While at The Lodge, I met the new owners of this hotel, El Paisano in Marfa and El Capitan in Van Horn, Joe and Lana Duncan. They were extremely interested in my books and music CD projects and will be ordering them for their gift shops. What an awesome experience to get to share with someone brand new the whole story behind writing the books and recording the CDs. It was the perfect ending to a perfect trip. If you travel to the Big Bend area, I highly recommend staying at any of the three of these hotels and check out their gift shops while you are there to pick up a copy of my books and CDs!
And then we came home to rest!