We had to say goodbye to White Sands and get to our next camping spot - Big Bend National Park. I remember one of Talu's friends told us it would be extremely hot down there. And he was right. As we left New Mexico and got to Texas and El Paso, the sun was intense, and the AC made our lips dry. We were now in west Texas, bordering Mexico, slowly sliding down to the national park where few live.
I remember we almost went out of gas in that remote part of the US. Luckily, the car's dashboard numbers were not 100% true. The car showed 0 miles of gas in the tank, but we kept driving for quite a distance before reaching a gas station. I could only imagine the pain of not having gas in this semi-desert part of Texas. We couldn't even call a towing service because there was no reception. But all ended well, and we reached the Big Bend.
The park is in the southern part of Texas, right where the bordering river - Rio Grande - is bending away from Mexico and into Texas. The whole area to and from the park is very remote and desolate. While driving or hiking, you're surrounded by desert plants, primarily cacti and mountains or hills. The cacti were in bloom over there, producing fruit called prickly pear. It is strongly forbidden to pick that fruit in the park. They make tea and jam from it that you can buy in the area.
It was extremely hot in the park, especially in the southern part of it. We went to a few spots where you'd be in Mexico if you crossed the river. There are no fences or border patrols over there (at least, we haven't seen them). You can walk across the river into Mexico at one point, but we wanted to avoid getting wet or visiting it that way. In one hiking spot, I had to face my fear of heights again. But this time, I had to climb rocks. Thankfully to Talu, I managed to get down safely. But the climb was worth it. At the top, you could see the whole park and the way into Mexico.
The last day of camping at Big Bend was stressful - we couldn't sleep at all. The wind was blowing the whole night and was moving the tent violently. You'd manage to get some shut-eye when the wind would blow the tent wall right onto your face. We managed to get some rest because we planned to leave for Austin the following day.
The drive up there felt like home. We were back in our starting state, and you could see it. The speed limits and the signs next to the road all signaled we were getting close to our base - Houston. But, before that, we planned to stop at Austin. Austin is a very popular place for folks living in Texas, especially in the tech industry. It is also known for its vivid nightlife and culture. It has a nice lake running through it, and the weather is not as humid as in Houston.
It is also the home of the weird. There's a slogan, "Keep Austin Weird," and it's also used by one tech guy I follow from the programming world. And it really is, there are a lot of interesting stores and shops that we haven't come across on our trip. The most interesting thing we found was the Museum of The Weird, where they showcased strange objects, stories, and even a show you could watch backstage.
Besides that, we visited the main building in Texas - the Texas Capitol. It is vast and picturesque and full of folks visiting it. At the time of its construction, almost 140 years ago, the capitol was "The Seventh Largest Building in the World". Inside, you can see portraits of all governors and presidents of Texas.
We had fun, rested well in Austin, and should head home the following day. Join me in the next post, where I'll share the last piece of the story.