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Big Bend

Big Bend is a great place to go in the spring or fall. We went in August. Wow, was it ever hot.

Big Bend

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August 1980 was one of the hottest months on record for Texas weather, with 30 straight days of 100 degrees or more, even here in Austin.

We couldn't stay in the nice mountain lodge on park land, because we had Pirate with us. So we stayed in Terlingua. Cool name. Unusual place, with scary abandoned silver mines. The entrances were just unmarked open shafts in the middle of nowhere. You could be strolling along looking at the lovely distant horizon and drop out of sight forever, something I am well trained to do, being a doctor of philosophy.

We stayed in the only motel. It was nothing more than a cluster of small trailers with window units. We drank bottled water, as the tap water was brown and sulphurous. A bird was staying in a nearby tree. A local storekeeper told us it was a Rain Bird. It turned out to be a Scott's Oriole. The picture (right) is from the Golden Books Field Guide to North American Birds.

I took pictures with my father's then 30-year-old German camera:

Rock

Rock Formation
El Capitain
Ocotillo
Isolated Storm

Driving back, it was so boiling hot in the car that I kept ladling ice-water onto Pirate's head for fear he would die of heatstroke. A young couple on a motorcycle whizzed by us in skimpy little shorts and tee-shirts heading east out of Dryden. Half an hour later we whizzed by them at a rest stop, where they had collapsed in the meager shade of a picnic bench. Outside of Eagle Pass, we saw a man outside a trailor sprawled on his back like he was dead. We sped up.

We got home on the five-year anniversary of our arrival in Texas. It was hot as hell. We'd lived in our house on Caswell for those five years without air-conditioning, but something had snapped. We went to Sears and bought a big ole window unit the first night back in town. Ahhhhhh.

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