We just can’t get away early! Despite all efforts it was 8:30 before we pulled out of Seminole Canyon State Park this morning and we only drove about 30 miles before we made our first stop which was at the Visitor’s Center and restored home of Judge Roy Bean in Langtry.
We turned off of the highway which always makes us a little nervous as we don’t want to get in a situation we can’t get out of. We found out later that we were on a loop road so no worry. There really was nowhere to park so we just stopped in front of the center in the no parking zone and I went in to ask where we could park and were told we could stay right where we were.
The Texas Department of Transportation has a Visitor’s Center connected to the museum and the ladies working there couldn’t have been nicer. They immediately asked where we were headed and began to gather relevant brochures for us. Before our self-guided tour we watched a short video on Judge Bean which had obviously been done years ago but was still providing correct information.
We left the brochures on the counter and began the tour of Judge Roy Bean’s saloon and the Opera House (his home). Legend has it that the town was named after Judge Bean’s idol, Lillie Langtry. He had numerous pictures of her decorating the saloon and he wrote to her many times inviting her to visit Langtry. She eventually did but unfortunately it was a few months after Judge Bean’s death. In speaking to the assembled peopled she told them that she felt as though she knew them from the letters that Judge Bean had written to her.
After touring the buildings we walked through the cactus garden. It is lovely and filled with many different varieties and each of them labeled with a bit of information about them. Had the weather been nicer – it was very windy and a little cool – I’m sure we would stayed longer but with the wind it was getting cooler.
We left and headed to Marathon where the Gage Hotel is located. I had heard that it was absolutely essential that one stop at the Gage to see the beautiful architecture and eat in the wonderful restaurant. Well, the lobby of the hotel is pretty impressive but the restaurant doesn’t open until 6:00 so we were out of luck there. We drove on and ended up stopping in Alpine and parking the coach at the athletic field of Sul Ross State University where we just ate what we had.
The drive from Alpine to Terlingua was at times harrowing. We had been in light rain since we left Langtry but after Alpine the fog set in plus we were in mountainous country. As usual Jerry did a fantastic job but at times his visibility was very limited. Due to that we didn’t make very good time finally arriving at BJ’s a little after 3:00. It didn’t take long to set up although we are still having some trouble with the jacks.
As soon as we could we set off to get the lay of the land and actually headed toward Big Bend. I cannot possibly describe the majesty of these mountains. They are absolutely mesmerizing. The various colors all seem to seamlessly blend and it is just such an amazing site. I don’t think I’ve seen anything more beautiful and I can hardly wait to see them up close. We rode to the entrance to the park where the ranger explained that we would need a car pass and with our America the Beautiful pass entrance was free for 7 days. He gave us some literature and some suggestions.
Since it was nearly 5:00 we returned to Terlingua and then drove on to Terlingua Ghost Town. Wow – there’s a teepee there and a lot of small adobe homes. It’s like something out of a picture book. Needless to say it’s really authentic, nothing touristy about it at all. We continued on to the Starlight Theater where we were thinking about having dinner but the lines were already long so we decided to go on back to the campground and think about dinner there another night. I prepared some potatoes au gratin and we warmed up leftovers for dinner.