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Ghost Towns and Border Crossings

Posted by on February 13, 2016

We spent two weeks in the Big Bend area and while Big Bend National Park was what brought us to the area, we were pleasantly surprised to find that there’s so much more to do!

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 When we planned this part of our trip we didn’t plan to cross the border to Mexico, but when everyone (including the Park Rangers) kept mentioning that it was a fun and safe part of the experience in the Big Bend area…well, we decided to try it. We crossed over at the Boquillas Crossing which is right in BBNP.

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We went through the Border Patrol building where we learned what to expect and what we wouldn’t be allowed to bring back into the U.S. and then we headed out the back door to the Rio Grande River where we rode in a row boat across the river to another country.

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We then rode burros up to the town. Now, we could have ridden horses or in a truck or even just walked…but come on…look how cute those burros are! And, we felt like it would add to the whole experience.

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When you cross the river you get assigned a tour guide. We got Omar. There was a slight language barrier, but we got a long fine. He stayed with us the entire time, showing us his town and telling us a little about it. The entire town pooled their money and have switched to solar power! IMG_2425

We got a tour of the town, then stopped for lunch at Jose Falcons. The food was amazingly good!

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We had to try the sopapillas.  They were crisp and covered in cinnamon and sugar and they were gone fast.

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They’ve set up souvenir stands along the road usually right outside their homes and the prices are very fair. We bought several souvenirs on our way back to our burros on the edge of town.

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It was one of the boy’s favorite days. They ranked it right up there with Alaska, so y’all know they had a great time!

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In the mid 1800s the discovery of cinnabar, the metal mercury is extracted from, brought miners to the Terlingua area. Today, as you drive through the tiny town, you can see one of the largest concentrations of mining architecture in the area.

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I’ll admit that when we first pulled into the “ghost town” I got a little worried. I’d heard the stories of Terlingua being unsafe. It’s a good 80 miles to the nearest city and it’s right next to the Mexican border and we’ve all heard the stories about border towns being violent.  When we got to BJs RV Park where we had reservations …we immediately felt a since of community.

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Don’t blink. If you blink, you’ll miss the town. What I found so interesting is the fact that people still live in this “ghost town”. They build their homes right out of the ruins of the homes left there by the past residents so you’ll have ruins hooked to newer structures.

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The blend of old and new-ish gave the town an old movie lot look, but there’s a real feeling of community here. People come for the novelty of seeing a ghost town and maybe venturing into Big Bend or to cross the border into Mexico, but they come back to Terlingua for the community.

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There are a few businesses in Terlingua.  The Starlight Theatre is a great little place to eat.

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Make sure to stop by on Mondays when the whole town shows up for the 2 for 1 burgers! The burgers a good, the decorations are quirky, and the locals are friendly…and there’s live music later in the evening. There’s a great pizza place too, but Littlest will be doing a post about that so I’ll let him give y’all the details on the Long Draw.

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If you’re looking for a place to stay while you explore the area…

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I would suggest BJs RV Park where the hookups are good, the wifi is excellent (and you’ll need it with no cell service), and the community is welcoming.  Some of our favorite memories of our time in Terlingua are of the nightly community campfires at BJs.  We never once felt that we weren’t safe while we were in the area. I know a lot of people shy away from coming here because of things they’ve heard or seen on television, but we didn’t feel or see anything but a small close knit community that welcomes any and all to come visit them.

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I can’t leave out the sunsets. They were absolutely breathtaking.

See y’all down the road!

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