Following the routine we got up and walked the dog after coffee. Where the hell are we? Oh yeah... Fort Stockton. The days blur together after traveling for so long and it doesn't help that we showed up at dark. Waking up to new surroundings is a surreal feeling. This place gave us what we needed for the night. We had used Roadrunner RV park just for parking and WIFI. Now it's back on the road to keep slamming through the mile markers. Big Bend National Park is on the agenda and it is a long way out there. With the rig warmed up and ready to roll we start counting down the 140 miles in front of us. That doesn't sound like much when you are in a comfortable car with the cruise on. For me it's driving 70 ft of billboard on an air suspension against a stiff headwind. It's three hours of total focus on the back roads of Texas. Elevation gain and the headwinds wreak havoc with the coolant temp.
Skirting the outlands of the park we hook a left into Stillwell. It's a 6 mile commitment down a narrow two lane road in order to get to an RV park. Our arrival was less than glorious. No cell signal, no cable, and more importantly no class. No class? The mobile homes surrounding the office had old tires holding tarps down on the roof to stop leaks. I hook my phone to the store WIFI (the intelligent owners put the password on the outside of the building) and made a phone call to the National Park. Now let me preface this by saying I checked the park's webpage before we left. It said they were all booked up. I ring up the office and the scholar behind the phone let's me know someone left early and a spot is available for just one night. I proceed to ask the genius on the other end, "Full hookups?". He resounds with an enthusiastic "oh yes". Sounds good to me. We'll take it.
It's back on the road and towards the park. Once past the front gate it's just a meager 40 miles to the bottom of the park. We finally arrive and get checked in. The genius scholar behind the desk walks us through the whole speel about where to go and how to hook up. It's not until AFTER he finishes his speech that he points out a few key things. "Oh. We don't have water. So the laundry room and bathrooms are closed" I look at him a bit puzzled. "Any water at the site?" I inquire. The man with a masters degree looks back at me " Oh I don't think so". Strike one against Big Bend National Park.
The mighty Rio Grande is a couple of hundred feet from our parking spot. On the other side of the bank are some horses grazing the shore. Not just any horses. Oh no, those would be Mexican horses. This river serves as the border wall for the entire park. Unimpressed we hop into Shirley and drive down the road to check out a quick trail. An old abandoned post office and school remain on the park grounds from the early 1900's. It's getting dark so we decide to call it a day. Tomorrow we'll hit a few key places and see some more of what's around.