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Old 02-21-2006, 02:00 PM   #1
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Big Bend Trip

We just returned from a short trip to Big Bend to take my bicycle-racing stepson to ride his bike at Lajitas. Great weather except fog and drizzle for the last day coming home.

First day--Austin to Alpine, TX. Stayed at a dismal RV park, but only $14. Didn't unhitch.

2nd day - Alpine to Study Butte. Expensive RV park, but full hookup and cable. Big surprise! Found we were parked right next to 2 new Airstreams. Turned out to be Rich Luhr (Airstream Life) Tour and a couple from Montana. Spent 3 days touristing the Big Bend area while son rode his bike. Bluebonnets are starting to bloom along the River Road to Presidio.

5th day - Study Butte to Seminole Canyon SP Stopped at Gage Hotel in Marathon, but dining room closed. Still neat to see the Gage. Cold and windy by the time we reached Seminole Canyon, so cooked and watched DVR.

6th day - Del Rio to home in rain and fog. Found we had missed ice in Austin while we were gone.

The first photo was taken looking down at the "Window" in the Chisos Basin at Big Bend NP. We were at about 5000' and the peaks around us went up 7800+. It was warm enough to hike in a Tee-shirt. Secone photo was the Rio Grande gorge along the River Road west of Lajitas.
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Old 02-21-2006, 02:10 PM   #2
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Sounds like a great trip, espically this time of year. I am green with envy.
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Old 02-21-2006, 03:43 PM   #3
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John,

Thanks for the report. We want to head out just as soon as we get our trailer out of the shop. Any specific recommendations as to campsites or RV parks would be most helpful in our planning. We've been wanting to get down before the Easter crush of folks wanting to see the sights and wildflowers. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip. Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old 02-21-2006, 05:10 PM   #4
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Thumbs up Nice pictures, thanks for sharing!

Sounds/looks like a great trip, must have been fun to run into the other airstreamers!
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Old 02-21-2006, 05:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZoominC6
John,

Any specific recommendations as to campsites or RV parks would be most helpful in our planning.
Your trailer is too long for the Basin; so in the park you would be limited to Rio Grand Village with hookups or Cottonwood Campground without. Trouble with Rio Grand Village is that it is a paved parking lot with trailers packed together. If a short stay, you can boondock in the RGV overflow area which is more pleasant, but often a lot of generators running. Both Cottonwood and RGV are miles away from the balance of the park.

We stay at Study Butte, just west of the park, at Big Bend Travel Park. Study Butte is about as convenient to the good scenery as any of the campgrouds in the park and close to the River Road to Presidio which is a must. Rated as one of the more scenic roads in the country.. Full hookup and cable @ $28.50/night. There are a handful of other, cheaper parks in the Study Butte/Terlingua area, but they are tightly packed and not as pleasant. I still would choose one of them rather than staying in the park.

Don't fail to hike into the mouth of Santa Elana Canyon. The trail goes for about 1/4 mile into the canyon. If you can handle a 5-mile round-trip hike, then the Window Trail at the Basin is a must-do. We enjoyed eating at the resort in Lajitas and at the restaurant at the Basin (The cobblers at the Basin restaurant would be worth another trip).
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Old 02-21-2006, 10:17 PM   #6
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Thanks for the details John. We're making plans based on your recommendations and really appreciate it. Study Butte sounds like a good recommendation for a first time visit. Boondocking we enjoy but not necessarily on a first visit and definitely not in a parking lot or crowded generator noisy environment. The hiking and restaurant tips are appreciated as well. One more question. Was the dining room at the Gage Hotel closed permanently or just during your visit? I love that old hotel and my wife has yet to see it. Did you happen to notice if the antique store on the corner just east of the hotel was still in business? Glad you made it home safely. We had an icy, stay at home weekend up here.
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Old 02-21-2006, 10:31 PM   #7
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Was the dining room at the Gage Hotel closed permanently or just during your visit? I love that old hotel and my wife has yet to see it. Did you happen to notice if the antique store on the corner just east of the hotel was still in business?
The dining room at the Gage serves only breakfast and dinner; no lunch on any day. We happened to be there at noon on Sunday when both the dining room and the restaurant next door owned by the Gage were closed. On other than Sundays, all 3 meals are available wither in the hotel or in the adjacent restaurant. We ate in a coffee shop just to the west which was fair to good. We did get to tour the Gage at our liesure although most rooms were occupied and therefore the doors were closed. We saw only a couple of rooms in the main hotel and in the annex.

It was cold and windy and we wanted to get on to Seminole Canyon, so we didn't really explore the rest of the town. The businesses close to the gage did seem to be alive, however.

There was an Airstream Safari, fairly new and about 25' parked across from the Gage when we arrived, but gone when we finished eating. We didn't get to meet the owners.

BTW, at Seminole Canyon, we were parked next to an oldish, rather beat looking tri-axle Airstream with a sign in the window saying Region 1 VP. In the time we were there, we never once saw the occupants although there were interior lights on at night and in the morning.
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Old 02-24-2006, 05:52 PM   #8
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What a great trip...Jen and I traveled through this part of Texas on one of our trips from San Francisco to East Texas... we stayed in Fort Davis State Park...one of our favorite places ever...nice well placed parking spaces with views and full hookups...also there is a nice private rv park in Marathon...we left our motorhome there while we took the toad to Beg Bend National Park...we plan to go back soon...maybe when Wanda finally gets restored...joe...













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