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Alpine, TX


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#1 SanAntonioClyde

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 10:58 PM

Tuesday I attended their celebration for the rehabbed Amtrak station. Has new ADA platform. More improvements still needed which are recognized by both Amtrak and the city. Stayed at Holland hotel across street; can recommend especially if you don't mind hearing some train during night. While they do not have name brand rental car franchise, I did meet the man who does, 45 car fleet.

#2 KmH

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 07:59 AM

It's unfortunate the eastbound SL/TE (#2/#422) gets to Alpine after sunset this time of year.

According to my notes we'll get to Alpine some 75 minutes after sunset when I'm there briefly early next month.

 

Otherwise, I'd be more inclined to make some photos.


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#3 Bob Dylan

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 11:56 AM

Great news about my birthplace and where I caught many a SP Train back in my youth.

The Holland Hotel is really a Gem, I loved staying in the Penthouse last time I was in Alpine!
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Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#4 Everydaymatters

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 12:27 PM

Did you go to any of the tourist places while you were in the area?  If so, may I have some information about them?  Thanks.


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#5 Bob Dylan

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 12:30 PM

Did you go to any of the tourist places while you were in the area?  If so, may I have some information about them?  Thanks.

I'll send you a PM Betty.
"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
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Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#6 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 12:51 PM

I already know about Alpine and the surrounding areas but I would like to request that information be posted here in the thread (instead of or in addition to a PM) so guests and other members can benefit from it as well.   After all we are talking about the best part of Texas (IMO).   :)


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 06 April 2017 - 12:53 PM.

I used to be with ‘it,’ but then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what I’m with isn’t ‘it,’ and what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary.


#7 SanAntonioClyde

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 06:50 PM

Unfortunately this was a quick trip for me. But it was relaxing driving out from San Antonio on hwy 90, good road almost no traffic, hills. Alpine is essentially centrally located to Marfa and their lights, Big Bend national park, Ft. Davis and the McDonald observatory. Cool nights and low humidity.

Going back in 6 to 8 weeks to discuss daily Sunset Limited campaign that NARP wants to start.

#8 willem

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 08:32 AM

[...] I would like to request that information be posted here in the thread (instead of or in addition to a PM) so guests and other members can benefit from it as well. [...]

 
Ditto. I've never been in this part of Texas other than on the train, but I might be driving to Big Bend NP in the next year. There might well be others planning a visit.



#9 Bob Dylan

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 01:42 PM

San Antonio Clyde hit the Highlites re the Alpine/Marfa/Ft Davis/Big Bend area.

You will need a car ( as was mentioned,no Major Chains but the Mom and Pop guy meets the Sunset for those with reservations for his cars.( Alpine Auto Rentals)

I suggest not going when Major Activities are happening in the area such as Cowboy Days and Art Fests and Rodeos at SUm Ross U. are happening in Alpine.

Also the Marfa Lights,Art Fests, and the Movie "Giant" are happing in Marfa.

It gets Very Hot and Crowded in the Big Bend in the Summer ( its a Long Drive between Alpine and the Park), Fall,Winter or Spring (Not Spring Break or Easter time)are the best times.

Definitely visit Ft. Davis and see the Restored Fort, eat at the Limpia Hotel Cafe and attend a Star Party after Dark at the McDonald Observatory).Also Davis Mountain State Park and the Doll House Museum are worth a,look!

Also drive 17 miles East over to Balmorhea State Park and visit the Fantastic Springs and Pool and have a Picnic in the lovely park.

As for Marfa, it's become an Artist Colony (Donald Judd Foundation owns half the town) with Wealthy Santa Fe and,Austin type people.Lots of Art Galaries,Trendy Cafes,etc.Do visit the Presidio County Courthouse and climb up into the Dome for a great view of the Area.Also take a look at the Famous Nicely Restored Paisano Hotel where the Cast of Giant stayed (but Not Rock Hudson or Liz Taylor, they had a House)

The Marfa Lights are seen at a Roadside Park type Shelter on Highway 90 between Marfa and Alpine. BigCrowds most evenings after dark, it gets cold and its Free!

I'd say stay in Alpine, the old Railroad Hotel, the,Holland is across from the Station and there are lots of Chains and Mom and Pop Motels on Highway 90. ( UP ad Amtrak Crews change here/they stay in Motels on the Highway 90 "strip" East. of Sul Ross U up on the Hill.

Lots of shops,cafes,bars,fast food etc., its,a College town!

Also the only Hospital and Medical care in the whole area is located here.The closest Wal-Mart is in Ft Stockton,80 miles,away!😄

Another sight to visit is Kokernot Field, a Rock Baseball Stadium built in the 30s by the CCC. It now belongs to Sul Ross U where their Baseball Teams play. For years Major League Teams would Play here,as they Whistle stopped their way North after Spring Training. And the Famous Semi-Pro Alpine Cowboys (Biggest rival were the Marfa Indios)played here for years.

Also several Minor League Pro Teasms played here through the years in various Leagues.Definitely worth a visit and if a game is being played, a great afternoon delight!😎

I think you should also go up to Sum Ross,and visit the Museum of the Big Bend,(Free) great collection of things historical and Western.

30 miles to the East on Highway 90 is the small town of Marathon with Artists and the Famous Gage Hotel with its Gourmet Resturant and Bar. It's pricey and a destination for swells, but worth a look and a drink and good meal.

Hope this isn't TMI, it's actually a wonderful area to visit, all things considered the Best of Old Texas IMO.

Edited by Bob Dylan, 08 April 2017 - 09:17 AM.

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Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#10 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 05:39 PM



[...] I would like to request that information be posted here in the thread ... so guests and other members can benefit from it as well. [...]

Ditto. ... I might be driving to Big Bend NP in the next year. ...

Starting at the beginning, if you're coming from Houston/Austin/San Antonio, take Hwy 90, not I-10. It was the main route Florida-California before the Interstate was built, so it's easy driving, not divided but wide. Much less congested (so if you don't like to share what's left of the road after the 18-wheeler takes his ...)

 

Keeping this a bit on topic, Hwy 90m keeps fairly close track of the main line of the Southern Pacific, and today's route of the Sunset Ltd, for most of the distance San Antonio-El Paso. (Close to El Paso, the town of Sierra Blanco was a golden spike site, where the Southern Pacific met -- help me now -- the Texas & Pacific or sumpin, making a second transcontinental route.

 

Coming from Dallas, I know almost nothing of I-20. Try the meteor crater near Odessa, and the dunes of Monahans Sandhills State Park.

 

On Hwy 90, don't blow thru Hondo. Slow down so you can read the famous sign: "This is God's country, don't drive thru it like Hell." (You could see it from the train, too, except the Sunset passes at night.) Uvalde and Brackettville are interesting, but close, so save them for a weekend trip.

 

Nearby Del Rio, as seen from the road, has all the charm of a World War II army base town. But looking past the gas stations and motels, liquor stores and beer joints, the old town is remarkable. One of the biggest springs in Texas feeds small canals, ditches really, that run thru neighborhoods of gracious homes to irrigate gardens, orchards, and farms.

 

Moving on, Lake Amistad, a reservoir on the Rio Grande, flanks the road (and the parallel RR) which together cross the now-flooded channel of the Devil's River. Further along, the highway bridge high over the Pecos has great views. In fact, on the east bank a turnoff leads to a 'roadside park' on the edge of the chasm. Well worth a short walk-about. (The RR, with the famous 'High Bridge' over the Pecos, crosses upstream from here, not beside the highway at this point.)

 

Next comes Langtry. Here Roy Bean, apparently self-appointed but with popular assent, served as the judge on the wild frontier. His saloon/courthouse is maintained by the State of Texas, with a visitor's center offering a great selection of brochures for towns and attractions on down the road. An adjoining small botanical garden labels the shrubs, trees, cacti, and wildflowers you might see in West Texas. The center offers clean restrooms. Unless you fancy doing your business behind a prickly pear cactus, you should use these facilities.

 

For the 150 miles or so to Marathon, "Gateway to the Big Bend", most signs of human civilization have dried up and blown away.

 

Sanderson at least has restrooms (remember Langtry!). A few vintage motels, which like the town, were left stranded when the Interstate opened 65 miles to the north and drained away the transcontinental travelers.

 

Sanderson was a major RR town back in the days. (And remains a stop on the Sunset Ltd in tribute to that history.) WB crews that took over at San Antonio got off in Sanderson, spent the night, and the next day took over an EB train. Crew members could sleep in a Southern Pacific dormitory. Or spend time with the friendly young women who worked in the town. Ahem.

 

When union contracts were changed, the shifts became 'hours worked' instead of 'miles covered'. Sanderson was done for.

 

Then to pile on the troubles, a flash flood wiped away half the town's homes, of the poor people living alongside an arroyo known as Sanderson Canyon.

 

Today the 'Cactus Capital of Texas' has a historic courthouse -- check it out, that's what we do on Texas road trips. Next door stands a classic 1930s vintage high school building. Nearby stands a Masonic Lodge that used to be a bank (or is it vice versa).

 

Leaving town, heading upstream, so to speak, along the dry Sanderson Canyon, dams or hillside dikes were built to prevent another devastating flood. (You can see some from the road, but look closely. The rock dikes on rock hillsides are camouflaged.)

 

Sanderson is left with one extraordinary sight: It's on a migration path of Monarch butterflies heading to winter in Mexico. So every year, for some days in October, you can drive around carefully -- Watch out! Don't crush them! -- amidst clouds of butterflies, butterflies, butterflies, butterflies, butterflies, and more butterflies.

 

The migration would be a great natural attraction if they could get the timing right, like, 'the second weekend in October'. But the butterflies fly when they feel like it, for a few random days in the month. (Go and return on Hwy 90 gives you two chances to encounter the endangered beauties.)

 

Next place worth a mention is Marathon, and the Gage Hotel. Built by a local rancher for his guests to stay, the original building has been restored, and rents a few of the old rooms if you want to live the old-fashioned way. Later owners added a motel wing, surrounding a shaded garden and swimming pool. The current owner expanded the food service to include patio dining as well as restaurant and bar. You don't have to spend any money to step into the lobby area or the bar, but the food is highly rated. The hotel and the 'downtown' front on Hwy 90, with the RR tracks a few steps away.

 

By this point, you'll have reached an altitude keeping temperatures cool at night, and tolerable if you stay out of the sun, attracting a number of get-away-from-it-all retirees. 'Downtown Marathon' has its own relaxed vibe, as if these proprietors retired from the big city and needed something to do. So, a bakery (mostly cookies) shop; a bookstore offering pottery and affordable paintings and carvings too; an antique shop or two or three; a store with blue jeans, fancy belts and buckles, embroidered cowgirl blouses, saddles, and the like; as well as a place selling sandwiches and ice cream. You know that ice cream tastes better in the desert.

 

You can turn here and head to Big Bend on what passes for a shortcut in West Texas. I never went that way. But I've read there's a place to hunt for rocks, including a kind of agate found only here.

 

You can continue ahead, to turn at Alpine. Or go from Marfa to Presidio, thence by scenic drive back towards Big Bend.

 

The National Park is the #1 attraction, of course. Desert, mountains, wildlife all easily available for "windshield tourism," making it great place to take an elderly person along. If you want more activity: hiking, rafting, rock climbing, etc. More details on Wikipedia, of course. Worth a special mention is the highway between the Park and the sleepy border town of Presidio, definitely a scenic drive, following the Rio Grande's green littoral making its way between desert hills.

 

Advice from a still-vivid personal experience: When the signs say, STEEP GRADE USE LOW GEAR, you should do just that and don't shift gears until they say so! The road coming down from the Lodge makes a T intersection at the bottom of the long, long, long hill. If you survive the brake-free turn you have forced upon yourself and hapless passengers, you have to go to the garage that has considerable experience replacing burned-out brakes.

 

In Alpine, Sul Ross is a smallish (2,000 enrolled) state college with beautiful Georgian Revival style red-brick, white-stone-trim buildings, on a drive-thru campus sitting on a mountain slope overlooking the town, with a nice museum.

 

Alpine has no Walmart (no big box stores between Del Rio and the intersection with I-20), and as a result, an old-fashioned downtown with locally owned stores survives, if barely. The Holland Hotel, unimpressive exterior, elaborate public spaces, now a boutique hotel, sits across the street from the station. [My parents spent their honeymoon night here in 1936.]

 

I want to give grateful praise to Alpine's hospital. After driving from Del Rio, I started to feel exhausted. I pulled over and asked my friend to drive. Then when I waked up, we were turning in at the Emergency Room. They did their thing, proclaimed a diagnosis of pneumonia. It just caught me. Went from well to sick in about an hour, thinking I could keep going a little more, a little more -- until Wow, I couldn't! (So I sympathized with Hillary back in September.) A shot and a pocket of pills, a good night's sleep in a local motel, juevos rancheros for breakfast, and I was back in the driver's seat.

 

Anyway, there's no other healthcare facility from Del Rio to Van Horn, halfway to El Paso.

 

Folks excited by ghosts and alien sightings could be interested in the "official viewing area" for the mysterious Marfa lights, between Alpine and Marfa on Hwy 90. Reports of strange unexplained moving lights in the desert near here go back to 1883.

 

However SPOILER ALERT if you ask about the famous lights at the McDonald Observatory (see below), they may look at you as if you had asked if the earth was really round and not flat. Then they give their explanation. (See Wikipedia.)

 

Bah! Humbug! Those science guys probably believe in global warming too. LOL.

 

Marfa features the lovely Paisano, on the National Register of Historic Places, by architect Henry Trost, whose fine work ornaments the El Paso area. Among its guests were the 150 members of the cast and crew of Giant, the 1950s movie now a classic.

 

Well, O.K. Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and James Dean soon moved to private houses. But they came to the hotel every night to eat and watch the dailies screened in the ballroom. I don't think the stars were being divas. Stars attract attention, and sadly, some of that attention is nuts. I'm sure studio security had orders not to let anything happen to Elizabeth Taylor! Or Rock Hudson or young James Dean for that matter.

 

The town's main street slopes uphill from the RR, thru the modest downtown and past the Paisano Hotel and the movie theater, to a stately courthouse in a square; a scaled-down version of Austin's Congress Avenue.

 

Improbably, Marfa became an art colony after minimalist artist Donald Judd moved here in the 1970s, eventually converting the abandoned buildings and grounds of a World War II air base into a sprawling museum of his sculptures (and a few other works). Today many artists live and work in Marfa and fill the local galleries found in old commercial downtown buildings that would otherwise be empty.

 

Judd fit the Texas ethos: Make it big and it will get noticed. You don't have to like contemporary art to enjoy his Chinati Foundation's indoor/outdoor museum. Not just big, it's enormous, vast, awe-inspiring, stunning ... I'm not able to think of anything quite like it in all the world.

 

The county historical group had put a museum in an adobe building on Hwy 90, a block or two west of the main street. [That's the house where my parents were married, by a retired preacher who earlier had married my mother's mother and grandmother.] Sadly, I see that the museum is closed now. I hope the building still stands.

 

West of town, in the big empty just past the dried-up town of Valentine, is the Prada Store. Hard to explain, but see it to believe it. It's thought-provoking art, they say, or you might say it's a choice example of a West Texas sense of humor. Surely it's the only such thing in all the world, and not to be forgotten. Srsly.

 

Make a U-turn back toward Marfa and pass thru dusty Valentine again. Official signs mark a turnoff for a "Scenic Drive" into the Davis Mountains. I've seen antelopes, peccaries, deer, turkeys, rabbits, vultures, owls, etc among the scenery.

 

In the heart of this pile of mountains is the little town of Fort Davis. Eyeball the elaborate courthouse. You can check out another restored old hotel, the Limpia, Spanish for clean, named for the town's mountain stream; fine dining.

 

North of the town is its reason for being. Fort Davis was a frontier fort built to make West Texas safe for white people. Set against the doomed Indians were black units -- a principal deployment of the Buffalo Soldiers. Now a National Historic Site, many buildings were restored as part of the so-called 'make-work' New Deal projects during the Great Depression and its massive unemployment. You probably can't find a better example of the days of cowboys and Indians, buffalo and longhorns, covered wagons and stagecoaches this side of Custer's Last Stand.

 

From the restored fort, follow a few signs uphill on another scenic drive. Like Big Bend, this area is a sky island, where temperatures fall as the altitude rises. So cactus gives way to grasslands then scrub brush and rugged trees until it's crowned with forest.

 

Davis Mountains State Park is another inheritance from the New Deal period. [My uncle worked here with the Civilian Conservation Corps, building roads and trails.] The park features the handsome Indian Lodge, where today you can get a room, a good meal, or just your beverage of choice while you take the view and the mountain air.

 

Going further uphill gets you to the McDonald Observatory, owned and operated by the Univ of Texas. At the nice visitors center you can start a guided tour of the astronomical workplaces. Get close to the stars -- the guides let you reach up and touch the massive telescopes that grab specks of light from a zillion light-years across time and space. Glorious views from atop Mt Locke, at 6,791 feet, one of the highest peaks in Texas. If you can't catch a tour (make reservations!) do drive up the public road as far as you can go.

 

To go home on a different route, head north to I-10. (Did I mention it's best not to let your gas gauge drop below half full? It can be a long long way to the next service station!) More trucks and less to see on the interstate, tho the sprawling wind farms atop mesas near Ft Stockton are quite impressive. With oil wells nearby you can see our energy future and our energy past within a few minutes driving.

 

Check out other examples from the great era of Texas courthouses in Ozona and Sonora. If you have a minute more in Ozona, drive slowly around a few blocks east of the town square. See if that flock of wild (wild? LOL) turkeys still patrol the yards of the fine, oil-money mansions from the mid-20th Century.

 

For this trip, spring may be the best season, or any time after it rains, when the desert blooms with wildflowers (like yucca and cenizo). Summer is hot, even for Texans it's hot. Winter is cool with a few dustings of snow. October has those Monarchs at Sanderson, and some fall color in the mountains. But go when you can. It's always worth the trip.


Edited by WoodyinNYC, 07 April 2017 - 10:53 PM.


#11 ehbowen

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 10:02 PM

Re the Southern Pacific and Texas & Pacific: The southern transcontinental route was originally chartered for the two railroads to meet in...Yuma. That's right. However, the T & P ran into financial difficulties and the SP was well funded, so the latter just kept rolling along eastward through Arizona and into Texas where they bought up previously existing railroads that formed the nucleus of the Sunset Route and connected the dots all the way into New Orleans. It was a fait accompli by the time the T & P really got going. They were going to continue building westward, but after some tête-à-tête and posturing they came to the then very sensible conclusion that the route could not support two parallel railroads. Southern Pacific offered trackage rights from Sierra Blanca into El Paso, and T & P accepted the offer and made El Paso its western terminus.

 

On my visit to the Big Bend area with my nephews in July 2010 we stayed two nights at Lajitas Resort. Nice place, if a bit out of the way (of course, what out there isn't...?). Air conditioned throughout and two swimming pools...you won't find either amenity at the National Park lodges. We took a half-day raft trip arranged through Far Flung Outdoor Center; they picked us up and dropped us off at the resort and took good care of us. Auto rental for the drive from the Amtrak station in Alpine to Lajitas/Big Bend was arranged through Alpine Auto Rental, the local "mom & pop" place. The car was older and more high-mileage than I expected but the customer service was impeccable; they were waiting for us right at the Amtrak station and upon the return told us to just park the car at the station and leave the keys and paperwork inside. It was a nice holiday weekend (Fourth of July) excursion and the weather was much better than we expected...we followed a pretty strong rain system so it was unseasonably pleasant. Not that we objected....


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#12 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 11:00 PM

Tuesday I attended their celebration for the rehabbed station. Has new ADA platform. More improvements still needed which are recognized by both Amtrak and the city.

Thanks for showing up and giving support. Did you get a prize for being the one who traveled the longest to be there? :)

 

A new ADA platform says to me that we are a thin salami slice closer to getting a daily Sunset Ltd.


Edited by WoodyinNYC, 07 April 2017 - 11:04 PM.


#13 willem

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 10:00 AM

Thank you, Bob Dylan, WoodyinNYC, and ehbowen, for the information. (No, Jim, it wasn't too much).

 

For what it's worth, my trip will almost certainly be by automobile (from the north, as in Dakotas) and will likely include a visit to Mesa Verde and other National Park Service sites. And the McDonald Observatory. Thanks for pointing that out.

 

 



#14 ehbowen

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 10:56 AM

Thank you, Bob Dylan, WoodyinNYC, and ehbowen, for the information. (No, Jim, it wasn't too much).

 

For what it's worth, my trip will almost certainly be by automobile (from the north, as in Dakotas) and will likely include a visit to Mesa Verde and other National Park Service sites. And the McDonald Observatory. Thanks for pointing that out.

 

 

 

My parents and I visited and stayed overnight at Mesa Verde in 2007. The National Park Lodge was very nice, but watch out for bears! (Good stargazing, though.) If you're in the Mesa Verde area, be sure to ride the Durango & Silverton narrow-gauge steam train. As long as it's all adults, I recommend paying the extra for the parlor car. The complimentary beverages, snacks, personal service and engaging commentary from the attendant are worth it. Yes, we did tip her. (This forum needs an "open can of worms" smiley....) Plus, you get access to the open back platform for spectacular vistas and photo shots.

 

Edit To Add: If you take the Silverton all the way to Silverton, remember that you're going all the way up to 9000 feet elevation. Cold weather is likely any time of the year. On our first visit in September 2003, on the sunny trip northward my mother complained, "Why didn't you book us in one of the open-air cars?" Then, in Silverton, a front moved in and the temperature dropped to near freezing with light drizzle which threatened to become snow. On the way back my mother was saying, "I'm so glad you didn't book us in one of the open-air cars!" So prepare accordingly. They don't actually heat the cars outside of the true winter season (they have propane heat), but just being able to close the window makes a big difference if things turn chilly.

 

While it's nice to actually stay in Big Bend park, Lajitas does have better amenities and it's not too far away to drive and see the park itself. If I were to plan a long visit during cooler weather, I would want to stay half the time in the NP Lodge and half the time at Lajitas. If it was during summer or if it was another short visit, I'd just stay at Lajitas and drive to the park.

 

The half-day raft trip we took was through the state park a few miles west of the National Park (due to easier/closer access to the Rio Grande). If you really want to raft through the National Park itself, pick a one-day or overnight trip and be sure to confirm the itinerary with your outfitter. All river tour participants must register in advance so that your info can be provided to DHS and Mexican authorities, so don't plan on a last-minute trip. Your outfitter may use either rafts or canoes depending upon the state of the river...rafts are generally used when the water level is high; canoes when it is low.

 

I know that border security is of some concern, but it hasn't been a big issue in the Big Bend area. Roadways south into Mexico are few and in poor condition, so the coyotes and drug smugglers generally pick easier routes. No money-back guarantees, however.


Edited by ehbowen, 08 April 2017 - 11:11 AM.

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#15 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 01:49 PM

 

... my trip will almost certainly be by automobile (from the north, as in Dakotas) and will likely include a visit to Mesa Verde and other National Park Service sites.

I know that border security is of some concern, but it hasn't been a big issue in the Big Bend area. ... the coyotes and drug smugglers generally pick easier routes.

My impression is that coyotes and smugglers want to avoid any interactions that would attract law enforcement attention. So I certainly wouldn't mess with them if I ran into them, I'd expect that if you mind your business you will both want to go your separate ways.

 

I took my mother and a good friend from work to visit Big Bend about 15 years ago. My friend, a lifelong New Yorker, had never visited Mexico, and really wanted a taste.

 

To visit Mexico, from Presidio we crossed into the sleepy village of Ojinaga. We drove about two miles along the main road, passing a few motels and restaurants. Picked out a couple that looked nice. Checked in at a motel, then went to an early dinner, or late lunch by Mexican time-keeping. Returned to the motel before dark. The next morning juevos rancheros. Then I was tempted to drive a few blocks to the plaza. We could tell where it was by the steeple on the Catholic Church. But I decided to take a pass, and we went back across the bridge. My mother and friend claimed that hadn't been scared at any time. I was a little scared. The risk of a stick-up or a car-jacking is way above nada.

 

A safer way to see a border town would be from El Paso to Juarez. Their Chamber of Commerce has organized tours by bus, so you see the main sites -- the bullring, the market, the plaza and cathedral, a restaurant -- and the shopping! So far no casualties reported. LOL.

 

My sister lives in El Paso. I enjoyed visiting Juarez at least once a year for almost 40 years. Haven't been back since my nephew was murdered there in 2000. To be fair, drugs were involved, but the place just doesn't appeal to me any more.



#16 Bob Dylan

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 02:21 PM

Update on Mexico Border/Juarez:

Although Mexico is claiming Juarez is cleaned up and is Safe for Tourists, this has the same validity as one of Trumps tweets or "mispeaks", aka Lies.Avoid this place at all costs.

The US and Mexican Government have made it easy to visit the small Mexican settlement of Boqillas across from Big Bend.

There is now a Customs/Immigration checkpoint on the US side that allows one to reenter the US via remote electronics, ie your Passport ( Required)is scanned via reader by an agent in El Paso.

Going to Mexico, no problema, you pay for a small boat to take you across the Rio Grande ($2 Roundtrip was the asking price last time I went), then can chose between walking a half mile up the gravel road to the small village on the hill(Free),pay a driver to take you in their "Taxi"(back of an old pickup) or ride a donkey.(same $2)

Once you are there you can have lunch, get a Bebida,(Cool drink) or Beer and choose from some spotty souvenirs and artifacts (probably Chinesemade!)

The journey is the thing here. The friendly people in the village depend on this for their living in this desolute outpost in the Chihuahuan Desert.

Plenty of Border Patrol agents around on the US side so bring your Passport and dress comfortably for the visit. (Jeans and Sneakers are good)It can be very hot in the Summer and Cold in the winter.

Edited by Bob Dylan, 08 April 2017 - 02:28 PM.

"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 "..My heart is warm with the friends I make,and better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#17 dogbert617

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Posted 28 May 2017 - 04:04 AM

Update on Mexico Border/Juarez:

Although Mexico is claiming Juarez is cleaned up and is Safe for Tourists, this has the same validity as one of Trumps tweets or "mispeaks", aka Lies.Avoid this place at all costs.

The US and Mexican Government have made it easy to visit the small Mexican settlement of Boqillas across from Big Bend.

There is now a Customs/Immigration checkpoint on the US side that allows one to reenter the US via remote electronics, ie your Passport ( Required)is scanned via reader by an agent in El Paso.

Going to Mexico, no problema, you pay for a small boat to take you across the Rio Grande ($2 Roundtrip was the asking price last time I went), then can chose between walking a half mile up the gravel road to the small village on the hill(Free),pay a driver to take you in their "Taxi"(back of an old pickup) or ride a donkey.(same $2)

Once you are there you can have lunch, get a Bebida,(Cool drink) or Beer and choose from some spotty souvenirs and artifacts (probably Chinesemade!)

The journey is the thing here. The friendly people in the village depend on this for their living in this desolute outpost in the Chihuahuan Desert.

Plenty of Border Patrol agents around on the US side so bring your Passport and dress comfortably for the visit. (Jeans and Sneakers are good)It can be very hot in the Summer and Cold in the winter.

I never would've guessed that you could cross the border within Big Bend National Park, into a very tiny town across the border. I'm amazed the US border patrol set up a station at this ferry point so that you could go to this town, this looks like something I'd definitely be up for doing(w/bringing my passport) if I ever went to Big Bend!

 

Also, that's extremely sad about Ciudad Juarez. Many years ago with a church, I did a work camp trip to a settlement in a small town just outside Juarez, where we helped with construction of it. We even did a trip one day to this market in downtown Juarez, that was really cool! It's a shame with all the violence on the Mexico side, that I worry if this Mexican market still exists anymore. This was back in 2000 when I did this trip, and I'm sure things have changed a DARNED TON since then. :(






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