Carlsbad, NM to Terlingua, TX

Brake Light Status: On

Drive Time: 5 hours

Today’s drive: 282 Miles

Total Trip Miles: Forgot to take a photo.

First night we were able to charge the Jeep!

We saw quite a few odd things between Carlsbad and Terlingua – The entire trip was taken on back country highways with very little civilization in between. Primarily on US HWY 62/TX 180  In fact, we’re seeing a lot of odd and quirky things on this trip; so much that we’re thinking of putting them into their own posts as we go along. Keep an eye out for them.

Crossing from New Mexico into Texas wasn’t a big deal for me as I’m from Texas but it was great to see the wide open plains and longhorn cattle. The “beaucoup moo-cows” as Steve insisted on calling them.

12:32 pm outside of Guadalupe Mountains National Park – rain! Our first weather event since leaving California (actually, pretty much my first weather event since moving to California, unless you call ash from fire “weather”). We counted 76 drops, but they were bigger because we’re in Texas. And when they evaporated, they left little cowboy-hat shaped residue on the windshield.  

As soon as we got to Terlingua, we went to dinner. Now Terlingua is not a large town. It’s built around an old ghost town, in fact. It definitely has its own charm. There are only a few restaurants, but all very rustic. We ate at the Starlight Theater; a restaurant and venue for performing artists. I had their shrimp tacos and a prickly pear marguerita. Both great. Steve had a French Dip sandwich (yeah, I know… all that Tex-Mex food and he orders a deli sandwich). According to him, it was the best French Dip sandwich he had ever had (hey, Texas!).

After that, we headed to our lodging. We were going to be staying in a tipi (for you city folk, “teepee”) at a place called “Buzzard’s Roost”. 

It is a small property looking out across the plains with three tipis for rent (complete with AC, bed, refrigerator and Keurig), and shared bathrooms and showers within a short walking distance. The tipis were authentic but, let’s face it, it was glam-camping.  Well, mostly. We did have to deal with the local fauna. The area around the campsite had many ant nests, some of them with lines under the edges of the tent. They weren’t really a problem, but we made sure not to leave any food out to tempt them. We were also visited a few times by a desert mouse outside the tent but I think we startled him more than he did us.

The other tipis were located nearby, but with plenty of space between us. We managed to run an electrical cord out underneath the tipi to charge our hybrid Jeep overnight, for the first time on this trip. Overall, the Jeep continues to perform well, except the Brake light – it’s definitely got gremlins. It stayed on all day during the drive. Forgot to take a photo of the Mileage and AVG MPG, but it’s been averaging between 19 – 20.

The first night at Buzzard’s Roost, we were the only guests and had the entire place to ourselves. We sat outside for a while, in the moonlight. It was gorgeous.  You could only hear the wind across the plains and the occasional car way up on the access road. After a while we got into our comfortable bed and went to sleep.

Around three in the morning, Steve got up and walked outside the tipi. I heard him say “Wow! You have to see this.” I joined him. He was looking up at this incredible cascade of twinkling lights. The moon had set, revealing all the stars hidden by its glare. We sat down and just stared up at them for I don’t know how long. Steve tried to take some photos of them, but, again, nothing comes close to actually being there and seeing it with your own eyes. The distant sounds of the coyotes just added to the wonderfulness of it. Those of you who live out there already know what I’m talking about.

We went back to sleep as we still had a big day ahead of us; visiting Big Bend National Park. It’s a huge park and we were planning some off roading. That adventure will be told in our next post!

6 thoughts on “Day 5: Carlsbad, NM to Terlingua, TX

  1. The Texas version of Governor’s Camp! BTW Jessica, Terlingua is the site of the annual chili cook-off festival, isn’t it? Also the site where Jerry Jeff Walker recorded his live album “Viva Terlingua,” I believe – you know, the one with such classics as “Up Against the Wall, Red-neck Mother.” Sounds like a great trip so far!

  2. Wow! The photos are such a testament to the adventure it sounds like you are having! I would love to see a list, at the end of the trip, of things you recommend bringing, any resources you think are great etc.

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