I used to visit family in Texas on a regular basis. It’s always felt like home to me. My cousin Mick is based in Dell City now so I stopped in to hang out with him on the ranch for a few days. I had been to Dell City only once before when my mom took my sister to NYC for a week and Mick was stuck looking after me.
But it was a great week for this little scrapper; I stayed on the ranch and shot guns and rode ponies and did all the standard cowboy shit. Mick reminded me that that summer I had been given a disposable camera from my amazing Granny, Rest In Peace. It was probably my first camera, but there was a leak or something and none of the photos turned out. Apparently I had taken photos from Waco Tanks, White Sands, Carlsbad Caverns…all epic places, oh well.
So I went back to those places and re-did it all: shot the guns.
Its been way too long since I’ve been back to El Paso and I missed out on meeting my cousin, Mick’s son, Michael. He’s a great kid and I was really happy to finally get to spend a day with him in El Paso, we bonded over bikes and boards and grass fed beef. We also annihilated some kids in laser tag and tore up some go-karts and mini golf.
I was also introduced to more extended family, Mick’s dad’s family, the Lynches, who are big bosses out in Dell City. Turns out I have extended cousins that live in Costa Rica. I spent a day with Marie, riding bikes around the salt flats and just being generally cool cats. See you pura vida homies in Costa Rica soon.
Going East from Dell City, you cross through the Guadalupe Mountains National Park before hitting New Mexico and so on. McKittrick Canyon is a gem in the rough, an oasis in the desert. My cousins were talking up the colours changing in the canyon, so I figured it could be cool to see. I hiked up the canyon, dropping layers as the sun rose, and passing senior colour-keensters with their big lenses and tripods. I made it to the notch, a high point 6 or so miles down the trail just as the sun was breaking through some clouds and it was perfect.
When I started planning this trip I instinctively looked for any music festivals that i could include in my route. I didn’t really even need a reason to go back to Austin and kick it with my cousins, but just so happened FunFunFunFest was going down the same weekend. More about that here. I had a great time catching up with my cousins in Austin eating barbecue, drinking beers, and riding bikes. From Austin I took a pretty stupid route way out to Marfa, stopped to pee, and then kept on south towards Presidio and Big Bend National Park on the shores of the Rio Grande and bordering hard on Mexico.
After spending a windy night in the Presidio Middle School parking lot, in my not-pervy-at-all blacked out minivan. I backtracked east again towards Big Bend.
Big Bend is one of the largest, most remote, and least-visited national parks in the lower 48 United States. The geologic features are absolutely dreamy. I wanted to ride my bike all over that place, but unfortunately thats not allowed in national parks. I did however slip into my third, and likely not my last, hot spring of the trip. In a cool little zone, immediately adjacent to the Rio Grande sits this old hot spring. It was built up for commercial use back in the early nineteen hundreds and was charged 10 cents a day for soaking. Now the park owns the land and its free to use the therapeutic springs that are contained by the remnants of foundation and rock. (after paying your 20$ park fee).
I rode bikes in Terlingua, but it was really windy and I sliced my tire open so I didn’t take any photos. Then it was back to Presidio and into Ojinaga, Mexico.