Big Bend Adventure, Updated

We’re filling in our travel plans as we get closer to actually doing a drive across the State. So, naturally, this is the year gas prices are skyrocketing.

We were just going to drive straight down to Terlingua (587 miles, 8 hours, 51 minutes per Google Maps), but then we watched some of the videos of the existing bubble places (we’re staying in the new section that opens in July, so we don’t even have the official address yet), and they are dark at night. Very dark. This is, of course, one of the selling points, but if you don’t know where you’re going, it may be difficult to find under the stars.

I have experience with finding a place to stay in the dark. I spent over an hour on a business trip in Massachusetts, driving circles around my hotel because there were no street lights and my GPS wouldn’t sync.

Now, Massachusetts probably doesn’t have coyotes, rattlesnakes, and the other denizens of Big Bend Country, but Terlingua does, so I’d rather not arrive there in the dark, with no GPS, no streetlights and only a vague idea of where we were going.

So, I added an extra day of vacation, and we decided to drive half-way or so the first day, and then we can make it into Terlingua in the daylight. Half-way is pretty much Midland, but I decided to keep going a bit further, and that’s how I found Monahans. It has a Hampton Inn, which is where we stay on a lot of our trips, because they are very predictable, and have breakfast.

The new overnight gave us a 399-mile, six-hour drive on the first day, and left us with 188 miles and about three hours for the second day. Now, we’re not arriving at night, unless we really sleep in.

We decided that on day two, on the way to Terlingua from Monahans, we will stop and visit Marfa. It is a testament to the size of Texas that if you are going to be within a couple hours of a place, it’s “close enough to visit.” We always wanted to visit Marfa and this was a good time, even if it is slightly out of the way, and even if we can’t easily get there at night for the Marfa Lights.

I was thinking about taking a day in Terlingua to just go to Marfa, but it’s just over 100 miles (and almost two hours of driving), which means a lot of driving, so it is faster to visit on the way down. If we leave Monahans relatively early, we can be in Marfa by lunchtime, grab some food, wander around a bit, and still make it to Terlingua before dark – which was the whole purpose of stopping in Monahans in the first place.

Now, we have a 399-mile, six hour drive to Monahans on the first day. The second day is now two hours and 133 miles to Marfa, hang out in Marfa, and then finish with 109 miles and a bit under two hours to get to Terlingua.

Of course, after I booked in Monahans, we realized we could stop and visit family in Midland on our way. So, now we’re working on that.

It’s a big State, but there are friends and relatives everywhere.

We’ve booked a Jeep tour in Big Bend National Park one day, and we’re still planning what to do the other days.

We’re just waiting for instructions on how to get into our bubble, and where in the complex it actually is located. That’s an email a couple of weeks or so before we leave.

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