Leaving the beautifully appointed Marathon Inn we rode south on US 385.
We almost collected a grey deer.
Here's a trip for the serious traveller - having a National Park Annual Pass meant we did not have to pay to enter. This Annual Pass cost $80, and is saving us $10 to $20 every time we enter a National Park. It is well and truly saving us money.
We asked about where we could buy food in the park, as we had not yet had breakfast. The attendant at the entry station told us there was a restaurant at Chisos Basin, and that we should definitely go there if only for the views. Almost anywhere else we were able to obtain refreshment. Here, in the remote corners of Texas, there was nothing for miles. Fortunately the sky was overcast most of the day, keeping us relatively cool. Food markets had limited fresh supplies and as a result food was more expensive. Perhaps there were sources over the border. We are not here long enough to explore that possibility.
The scenery became spectacular as we continued to Panther Junction where we turned right at the T junction. A few miles later we turned down the road to Chisos Basin, 6 miles away. As we climbed into the mountains and down into Chisos Basin the scenery became breathtaking. It is a time when you realised the forces of nature are phenominal, almost beyond our grasp.
Peregrine Falcon sculpture by Bob Coffee at the visitors centre.
Our lunch was relatively expensive, but we were so far from any civilisation, it could easily have cost more in hindsight. The waitress commented on two turkey vultures with distinct personalities vying for the same space.
After lunch we took a short and easy walk to Window View, high mountains giving a view of the tiny world below.
This is a collection of ruined adobe dwellings with a few modern dwellings. At the centre of the town is the old Starlight Theatre, now a restaurant and bar.
TX 170 or the Camino del Rio(river road) continued west through the town of Lajitas on the Rio Grande. As the road followed the course of the Rio Grande it twisted back and forth and rode up and down like a roller coaster, the scenery rugged and spectacular.
We stopped briefly at the Contrabando movie set, a group of crumbling buildings in a spectacular location on the banks of the very fast moving yellow river, and a background of spectacular mountains. This set was used in a number of movies.including Streets of Larado, Rio Diablo, and the 1985 western comedy, Uphill All the Way.
Following the Rio Grande was done with a little apprehension. It is the border of Mexico and Texas but very spectacular.
The going was quite slow.The road was like a roller coaster at times. Eventually we reached the town of Presidio where we stopped for fuel and a drink while admiring the mural next door.
Our GPS suggested the nearest lodging was 20 miles away, so we called in at the Chamber of Commerce which was still open. They put us onto several places where we could stay. We picked the better value, which was reasonable.
We enjoy B&Bs but find no great pleasure in spas, etc. so these add up to an expense we do not need. We would never get away if we succumbed to this way of life every night. Often these places do not have suitable parking and no internet. There are places with reasonable rates that offer internet, a fridge, microwave and/or coffee maker. It amazes me when some also offer breakfast, swimming pools, spas, laundry facilities, and a lovely seating area for outdoor use. A few places ask exorbitant prices for a beautiful room and nothing else. These are not up to date with the modern travellers' needs. There are places of course where the price reflects the facilities or location. This keeps most people happy.
We went into town to an Italian restaurant for dinner. It was rather upmarket: the least expensive bottle of wine was $42, the average about $60. At least the beer was affordable.
As we rode back to the motel some serious looking weather came over and we caught the leading edge of the rain.