Our annual trip to Terlingua for the chili cook-off is just around the corner, so we are gearing up for the adventure. Ok Hwa has been getting our camping gear together for the past two weeks, and staging it in the living room. We have a large plastic tote that she keeps her cooking stuff in, and she has that in the kitchen, organizing it. We went out a couple weeks ago and bought a new tent. The last one had to be trashed after an all night, and all morning deluge at the Tommy Alverson music festival last month. We tried to roll it up to bring home to dry out, but, it was a leaking, saturated, muddy mess, and we could not see putting it in the car. So, adios, old tent. We had five good years of camping together. We now have a new, somewhat smaller tent. I think it'll be just fine. We've really been packing too much stuff on these camping trips, and now, this year our focus is to travel lighter. I have a little Ford Bronco II, and we usually have it packed tightly, right up to the ceiling. I'd like to be able to see out the rear view mirror!
Speaking of the little Bronco, I just today took it to the repair shop for some much needed work. Overall, it's in pretty good shape for a twenty year old vehicle. On the way back from our family reunion in North Carolina this summer I noticed that the throw-out bearing was starting to growl again, and knew it was just a matter of time before it would need to be replaced. So, after agonizing over expense vs prudence for the last month, I decided today to take it in for repair. My mechanic is cutting me a deal, and only charging me for the parts today, and will let me pay him for the labor when we get back. That is really saving our butts on this trip.
We went over to Wal Mart today to pick up a few items for the trip. We got a new, very bright flashlight, a great little LED lantern for the tent, some propane bottles for the stove. I think we're about set.
We leave on Monday night after I get off work. I should be home by nine, and we should be packed, and pulling out by about ten thirty. The drive is somewhere between ten and eleven hours, so that will put us in Terlingua in time for breakfast.
In past years, we used the chili cook-off as base camp for exploring Big Bend National Park. We didn't participate much in the event, except for the nightly entertainment down at the stage. We've decided to try to take a more active role in the event this year, maybe judging or something.
Last year the Conejo Cowboys inducted us into their group, and what a hoot that was. These are a group of real cowboys from the Conejo Ranch in Colorado, who come down to Terlingua with their horses, cowboy camp, chuck wagon with all the trimmings, and their cowboy attitude. What a great bunch of folks! We're really looking forward to seeing them again.
Our great friends Mark Mundy and Barbara Norris will be hosting our group of campers on Margarita Hill again, out behind the store. Mark and Barbara introduced me to this place, and this event in 2001. Mark attended Sul Ross State University in Alpine as a geology major, and has been coming to the Terlingua Chili Cook-Off since those college days. He has a wealth of knowledge, and great stories about the area.
So, we'll be off soon on our adventure. I will take the computer with me, and try to post something from Terlingua. There is a wireless hot spot in the store and cafe by the Big Bend Motor Inn. If not, I'll be back in a couple weeks with some new, hopefully interesting photos, videos, and stories.
Terlingua Chili Cook-Off: www.abowlofred.com/
Terlingua Ghost Town: www.historic-terlingua.com/
Big Bend National Park: www.nps.gov/bibe/index.htm