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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Re-JUUUUUUU-Vinating in a Hot Spring

Let's see--- what day is it today?  Is it Wednesday? Is it Friday?  We had to turn on the laptop and check the date to be sure! Oh.. it's Thursday!  Okayyyyy  LOL ... that is when you KNOW you are in "Vacation Mode".  Once you forget what day of the week it is.  They ALL feel like Saturdays!

We decided we wanted to head over to the western side of the great big park of Big Bend, and figured if we can get set with the motorhome on an electric site before the weekend, we could move over that a way and have a place to be plugged in when the temps rise up.

I am feeling better now, but needing a place for the dogs out of the heat is a must.  The temps are due to creep back into the 90's again by the weekend.  Oh my!

So we got online and found a site at Big Bend Resort and Adventures .. its a motel, rv park, motorcycle rental, horse stables and who knows what all else!  It's over on the western border of the park by Study Butte Terlingua.   http://bigbendresortadventures.com/  The rates are higher than what we have been paying at Stillwell Store and RV park over on the east side of the park.

Don't get us wrong, we really liked Stillwell, but after four days there, now we want to explore more western areas of the park.  The distance between the two campgrounds is 60 miles which allows us more access to the SW area of the park that was a half day's drive if we wanted to tour it and go back to Stillwell.  

So we said our goodbyes and paid our bill, and hooked up the Tracker... away we go!   We covered 60 miles through the park and got over to the new campground by noon.  Luckily they said we could have our site early, as check-in isn't until 4pm!   Strange....  

Anyhow, it doesn't have the charm or the quaint characters like Stillwell did.  (like lined up rockers on the porch with various guests sitting and telling tall tales and having a beer and chomping on a Stillwell burrito!)   But all good things must come to an end.  If we ever return to this area, it's Stillwell for sure!   Here is the route we took through the park, mostly 45 mph.  Sometimes less.

This new camping place was more a long gravel parking lot behind the motel with rows of posts and little tufts of grass here and there... but nice power of 50amp hookups to plug in!  When we got here, it was well into the high 80's.   We got the dogs settled, grabbed some lunch and took off in the Tracker....  we had a place in mind... to go... to...


This is the hot springs along the shores of the Rio Grande at Big Bend National Park. 
The hot water burbles up in the far upper right corner, 
and there are various "tubs" around the perimeter that are cooler... 
you can sit or lay in the tubs... and soak it all in! 

We came prepared with our suits on underneath our clothing..
so we didn't have to try to change in the tiny outhouse by the parking lot 
(thanks for that hint, Travel Bug Susan!)

We slathered on the sunscreen on our shoulders 
and wore our hats to protect us from the sun on our noses and ears... 
we had on our sunglasses and sat back... 

(can you feel it?) 

The water was light and tingly and refreshing
it was not sulphery at all
but almost minerally sparkling as you swished your hand through it

We ran into a batch of six fun ladies from France.  They were there with a tour group and having a blast.  One gal went out in the middle of the Rio Grande, laid back and spread her legs to share herself I guess with both the US and Mexico?   I don't know but all her friends were giggling and encouraging her and taking pics!   So I took a pic too.

My high school French is very rusty, but I could tell a few of the words they were saying to each other. Oh boy what fun.  They even took pics for us while we were in the hot spring.

The water from the spring runs right out into the Rio Grande.  Just across that narrow expanse of water is Mexico.  It's not deep and you can wade back and forth. If you chose to.

The park pamphlets warn you to NOT go into the river nor over to the other side,  as it is not an official crossing entry and does not have border crossing status.  Thus you are breaking the law.  So we stayed out of the river.  Others didn't and waded around back and forth.

The other item that might cause a bit of controversy here, but I will write about it anyhow.  There seems to be enterprising young artist who brings his wares from in Mexico up to the border and camps out across the river in a camp with their horse and tent.

Why is he there? We watched him for a while in our binoculars.  A woman in the hot spring explained:  He has brought many little artistic items to sell to the US folks on our side of the river!  She said he lives in a village 200 miles south and comes a long way to get into that spot and camp. He rides a horse out many miles to get new supplies.  He crosses over (wades across) and replenishes the supply of items for sale, and removes the American cash from his jars,  He has 3 little stands set along the path that we tourists take from the parking lot to the hot springs.

Soooo why is this a controversy?  Because the park rangers have posted a VERY serious sign on the path saying  DO NOT PURCHASE ANY THING FROM ILLEGALS, IT IS AGAINST THE LAW TO DO SO, RESULTING IN $5,000 FINE... JAIL TIME...    yadda yadda yadda

Ack!  This guy is making these little artistic items from beads, copper wire, fashioning little scorpions, road runners, cacti etc.  We can see him over there whittling down the wood on walking sticks, brushing them with paint, shellacking them and turning them over in the sun to dry.  He is working his craft and he has found an eager customer base. They sure are cute and I was really tempted to buy some!

I admired his work... but the threatening sign was enough to make me change my mind.  I know he is not from our country, but he is finding a good way to make a living while camping out in the tent.  Working on his art.   He probably only has 2-3 months of good tourist trade time to make this effort, and the rest of the time the park hot springs doesn't get this much traffic... or the heat is unbearable to camp out there.

One lady in the hot springs said she tossed in a few bucks as a "donation" to him, 
but didn't take any articles in return.  So she felt it was not a "sale".  
I don't know what the rangers would say about that.  

What would you do?

Support an artist?

Break the law?


  1. The way my luck runs, I would be caught and sent to jail. LOL I would be too chicken to buy anything from him with signs posting not to. I would be more apt to accidentally drop some money.
    The hot springs do look enjoyable.

  2. Just another asinine U.S. law in my opinion. The gov't would rather see him come over here as an illegal than stay on his side of the river, use his talent and sell a few trinkets to tourists. He's WORKING for heaven sakes,and wants to earn his way, why discourage him by threatening tourists with big penalties for buying his creations?

  3. You ask tough questions, Karen. But my faith tells me to support the law of the land insomuch as it doesn't go against the Law of the Almighty, so I would have to go with that.

    I am jealous! I need a good soak in the hot springs. The weather here is changing as a storm rolls in and my back and hips are not happy about it.

    Keep on enjoying!

  4. What a nice soak in the hot springs.

    I don't see any reason not to put money in the jar to support him. It's true you are not buying anything.

    Would it be breaking the law if you didn't buy anything?

  5. I love that little area, we were there last year when it was colder, sure would like to go back again. We didn't buy anything either but I left a dollar. Now I sort of wish I had bought something to remind me of the area.

  6. We've been at that mineral pool, but not in it. Hiked on by but there were about half a dozen people in the water. Small Mexican boys on the other side of the river were selling walking sticks. They would wade out to the center of the Rio Grande & meet the buyer. A quick exchange of money & both parties would return to their respective countries. We spent Christmas of 04 there. It's a really scenic drive if you continue on the highway west. We slipped up to Fort Davis that way when we left. And Fort Davis is another nice area.....

  7. how ridiculous is that....he is trying to make a living, nothing more, guess our govt would rather have him cross illegally and go on welfare here than try to make a living for him and is family...he's not selling drugs...just artwork..I probably wouldn't buy either, but would make a 'donation'.
    looks like you guys are really in the 'relax' mode.....tell the pups Riggs says "woof"

  8. You two sure are covering a lot of ground. Glad you have 50 amp power with that heat and those fluffy doggers!

    The artist seems pretty harmless, but I guess it's kind of like feeding wild animals. You start feeding them, they hang out and then multiply.

    I probably wouldn't have bought any of his art due to the big sign telling me there was a $5000 fine! Too chicken!

  9. Looks like a great way to spend a Tu..ah..Satur..ah .. Thursday.

    On the international trade - maybe he needs some wool socks - barter, not buying. And then you become Karen-in-the-woods-International.

  10. Refrain! I am not coming down there to bail you out! LOL!
    It sure is hard to want to help someone and then you can't. I would almost be afraid to put money in the jar and not take anything. Be safe.. Do nothing but pray for them.

  11. When we where in that area, we stayed at BJ's RV park just east of Terlingua.

  12. The hot tub soak sounds really neat. As to the other part, these are the really tough questions. He may be coming over, setting his stuff up, and then going back but he is still crossing illegally. And, if it is okay for him, then pretty soon the question gets pushed....why is it not okay for others? Illegal crossing is still illegal crossing. He could be selling his goods to tourists legally in the Mexican border towns. Those who live in the border states have to deal with these illegal crossings and their ramifications way too frequently. Tough issues but glad you chose to stay legal so we don't have to come bail you out.

  13. From what you said, it sounds like neither donating to, or stealing from, an Illegal is actually illegal .
    How about this:
    1.) On the way to the springs, make a donation.
    2.) On the way back........ steal something!

  14. Nice hot tub! Too bad you're both looking mighty pale in that picture. Doesn't the sun shine in WI? ;c)

    1. Yup.. us two pale Gringos sure stand out with our pasty white Wisconsin skin! LOL ... no time or inclination to head to tanning beds for months before we left~



  16. I recently spent 4 weeks close to the border and crossed over the Progreso bridge many times. (even got me some new teeth). So many people begging under the Mexican side of the bridge but what really got to me were the children who would come up to us trying to sell candy, etc. The poverty is overwhelming.


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