Up with the sun, The Bearded Man pulled on his favorite pair of Mugsy jeans (yes the BM is a Mugsy Man www.mugsyjeans.com) and headed for the open road. After luxuriating in hot springs for a few days, The Bearded Man knew that if he didn't hit the road early he would be very content to laze about in the warm water for another day (or three). But Big Bend National Park in south Texas, about 20 miles from the Mexican border, is calling and he must obey. So in the van and off he goes.
From Hot Springs NP to Big Bend is about a 13 hour drive, so there are a few scheduled stops along the way. First up is Fate, Texas, where The Bearded Man will be paying one of his 17 outstanding traffic violations. When we inquired as to the nature of the violation and why on God's green earth would you ever go to Fate, Texas, he simply replied "I'm trying very hard to remember her name." We did not ask any follow up questions. In any case, after municipal court, the plan is to grab a quick bite at Macks BBQ (972) 722-4343 give em a call for carry-out) and then hit the road. Next stop is Ranger, Texas and the infamous Peckers Fried Chicken. Yep, we thought the same thing. With a name like Peckers, you better have some damn fine chicken. We will let you know after The Bearded Man has some wings on Walnut Street.
Provided all goes well, and they don't lock him up in Fate, (insert pun here), The Bearded Man should be pulling into Big Bend around 7:00 PM, where a big comfy bed awaits at the Chisos Mountains Lodge Cottages. (NOTE to HOUSEKEEPER: Count the towels upon departure.) Prior to jumping into bed, there is a scheduled star gazing expedition since Big Bend has less light pollution than any other NP in the lower 48. And after all - the stars at night, are big and bright, clap, clap, clap, clap, deep in the heart of Texas. Come on everyone...sing along. The stars at night, are big and bright, clap, clap, clap, clap, deep in the heart of Texas.
After a good night's sleep, our intrepid traveler is scheduled to be a guest speaker during the afternoon ranger program. The Bearded Man will be speaking about the habitat and mating rituals of the Mexican Jay, a bird he has studied in the wild for over 20 years. He was also asked to speak on the nesting qualities of the Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, but declined. After a brief late lunch, The Bearded Man will hit the 5.6 mile Window Trail, descending through Oak Creek Canyon, which highlights some of the finest panoramic desert vistas in the southwest. By the time he drags back to his cottage, The Bearded Man will be ready for dinner, a tub (who doesn't like a tub?) and a little more star gazing before packing it in for the evening.
Next stop is Guadalupe Mountains National Park, near the north Texas border with New Mexico. The Bearded Man is looking forward to stopping in Valentine, Texas, home of the 1932 earthquake that measured 5.8 on the Richter Scale, the largest earthquake ever recorded in Texas. We have no idea why this is of interest.