Big Bend Country

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Another large bug just committed suicide on the windshield, right at eye level and sufficiently loud enough to shake me from my road daze. It was late, nearing midnight and both of us were growing tired after being on the road for five hours. The much earlier conservation about "just driving out to Los Angeles while we were this far out" now seemed ridiculous, even more so considering it took us twenty minutes to talk ourselves out of it. We were going to need to stay in Fort Stockton for the night and make the final three hour trip south to Big Bend National Park in the morning. It was apparent that fortune once again smiled upon us when we read the large poster in the hotel lobby that night... but I'll get to that later.

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Big Bend Country is a mountainous desert. The northern most stretch of the Chihuahan Desert meets the southern Rocky Mountains, is split by the Rio Grande and altered by violent volcanic activity. It's a land of dramatic contrasts in color, temperature, flora, fauna and geography, rich in history and immense in size. At 1300 square miles it's nearly the size of Rhode Island and sees less than 300,000 visitors a year. It's beautiful isolation. Inspiring vistas and magic encounters around each bend mask the humbling history of human settlement which were often met with violence and heartbreak.

It's a fascinating place to explore.

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We had a change of plans and spent only one full day and night in the park, but what a day it was, though we saw only a small fraction of what is out there. You can see for yourself in this little slide show I put together, be warned though, it does include a picture of a tarantula. Remember, it's only a picture and can't hurt you. Unless, you fall out of your chair or something. At any point in the slide show you can click on the image and it will give you the background information on what you're looking at. I realize that this is not the normal way I do things, but I'm out of server space right now and can only continue publishing if I use free hosting sites. But before you leave, let me tell you about our Saturday and our little bit of luck.

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There's this race that I've known about for a couple of years, but have never made the effort to attend. It takes place on a temporarily closed section of highway from Ft. Stockton to Marathon, and is about sixty miles in all. The Road Runners Open Road Race (RRORR) has no speed limits, no cops and no traffic. No real exclusions on who can enter either, it's a "run what you brung" race that's refreshing in today's litigious society. We saw everything from race prepped Vipers to a stock Toyota Camry. That Camry did pretty well, surprisingly finishing in the top two-thirds of the entrants beating out some Corvettes, Mustangs and other powerful sports cars. Amazing. Speeds of 150 mph were easily reached by some racers, and it was said that the Viper had once hit 215 mph on one of the straight stretches during last years spring event. Awesome. No entrance fees or rules for the spectators either, just find a spot to park and have at it. Just don't get yourself in the way of the racers.

Now, my digital camera also apprently doubles as a video camera and the quality is quite good, YouTube just managed to degrade the resolution. But it's free and you get what you pay for.
More videos here:
#16 Chevy Corvette Z06
#206 Chevy Corvette
#167 Ford Lightning (Truck)
#61 Pontiac GTO
Well, that was our weekend. After a full day of racing it was getting close to being dark so instead of driving the two hours back to park and searching for a new campsite we decided to head home back to San Antonio. Now not to cut this post off really short and end it on such weak note but I'm out of things to write. So find something else to occupy your time with... Oh, but don't forget the slide show link, as well as my other YouTube links for some of the other racers, it should be worth the effort. Slide Show Link Again