Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Now in Burnet, TX

I am way behind in writing my blog. My excuse is that for the past week or so, I have not been able to send email or post. I'll attempt to catch up.

From Feb 5-8 we were at a campground in Lajitas, TX which is near Terlingua in the Big Bend Country. The campground is a part of the Lajitas Resort which is a large development right on the Rio Grande. It was the dream of a TX oilman who thought he could attract big money people to the area, by offering condos, homes and other high end lodging. He also built an airport, hotel, a variety of shops, golf course, etc. The project has never been a success. The original developer lost interest or died and his children eventually sold it to another dreamer who added an equestrain center, luxery RV park, expanded the golf course, built a huge restaurant and more condos and homes. After 5-10 years he ran out of money or lost interest and it was once again sold.

The current status of the "resort" is that it seems to be hanging on, although there were not many people there. The golf course is in sorry shape due to lack of rain, the various shops are open limited hours and the big restaurant is closed. The RV park was very nice and was about half full---mostly snowbirds or people interested in mountain biking or hiking.

We enjoyed our stay as the weather (with the exception of a day or two of high wind) was absolutely beautiful. Mostly, we just enjoyed our walking, running and biking in such wonderful conditions. One night we went to Terlngua to eat at the famous Starlight Theater. It was 2 for 1 burger night and the placee was packed with locals. It was interesting to observe the people as they came in and made their rounds greeting their friends and neighbors. There was going to be a man and woman providing entertainment by playing and singing, but we left before that started.

While in Lajitas, one day was spent driving the scenic river road to Presidio. Presidio is sometimes the hottest place in the US and it is a fairly busy border crossing.

When we left the area on Feb 9, our camp host had told us to stop in Terlingua to eat breakfast at India's Bakery and Cafe. This was a "hole in the wall" place, but the food was really good and the prices were very reasonable. We visited with the owner and learned that due to the current economic situation, she is barely hanging on, but is determined to mak a go of it. We ended up buying a small cake to take with us.

From Feb 9-13, we were in Alpine, TX at The Lost Alaskan RV Park. This was another very nice park and we met some interesteing people, especially a couple who were biking/camping from Mesa, AZ to New Orleans. They ended up staying a couple of days and Hollie and I visited with them quite a bit and I found that we had much in common as they were avid Grand Canyon hikers and that is one of my passions.

While using Alpine as our base, we took day trips to Fort Davis and Marfa. Each of these towns have significant history in the development of the West and we especially enjoyed walking around Marfa. In Fort Davis, we ate lunch at a small cafe that had the best burritos that I have ever tasted.

In Alpine, there is a famous baseball field/park (Kokernot) which is a miniture of Wrigley Field. It was built in the 1940s by a local rancher, Herbet Kokernot, who then founded a professional baseball team. They were called the Alpine Cowboys. I'm not sure how long that team lasted, but the park is still in wonderful condition and is used by the University and the HS for their games. In fact, on Sunday whe it was extremely cold, Sul Ross was playing a game.

We had planned on leaving Alpine on Feb 12, but the weather forecast convinced us that we needed to stay another night. As it turned out, that was a good decision because we would have been driving in snow and ice. On Sunday, it was cold and some freezing rain. Since I wanted to run and Hollie wanted to bike, we went over to Sul Ross University and talked our way into their fitness center where I ran on the treadmill and Hollie used the stationary bike.

Yesterday we drove from Alpine to Burnet, TX where we are now staying with Mason and Janie Honeycutt. We have known them for over 30 years. While living in the Houston area, Janie and I used to teach/coach at Stratford and Westchester HS and we had our conference period and lunch periods back to back which gave us enough time to run most days. We also did many miles on the weekends and ran several marathons together, including the Boston Marathon. Last night, we got to their home with just enough time to go for a run and that brought back many memories. Janie is the kind of friend that you can not see for years and simply pick up where you left off. We have also recently done a couple of Grand Canyon Service Projects together, so we are still good friends.

We will be with Janie and Mason until Thursday morning when we will drive to Austin where we will be staying at Mckinney Falls State Park and attending the Dead Runner Society World Conference and I will run the 5K which is a part of Austin Marathon weekend. The conference is a yearly meeting of runners who correspond by email. I have previously attended meetings in Tucson and Albuquerque and it is really fun to meet people with whom you have had frequent and lengthy email communication. More on that later...

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