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  • Please WAIT! Then SCROLL DOWN for Big Bend.    [ Are you in this picture? ]
    A Gentleman's Travel Notes.
    Big Bend National Park.
    Level spots alternate with washouts, dips, ditches, big rocks. Bang. Low hills, fantastical shapes, with rocks in layers each a distinct color, hardness and age (measured in mA, millions of years). I make a wrong turn at Telephone Canyon. Backtrack and luckily find the trail again. The road drops to a canyon bottom, high walls around and a wide wash, then climbs out again. Getting late. Worried. Low blinding sun. (From Souvenirs, March 5, 2009, A Gentleman's Travel Notes.)   CLICK & GO!  (On this page.)   Souvenirs, March 5, 2009    Connie Francis, Among my Souvenirs   "I would like to interest you in re-starting a relationship with this." (An Email Exchange.)     Mexico, a few facts.    Texas, a few facts.    (On the next page.)   Buzzard Roost, San Felipe, Seminole Canyon. Jan'09   Quinceanera, Flea Market, Blackbrush. Feb'09   Eagle Pass, Box Canyon. Feb'09   Big Bend National Park. March'09     
    (PHOTO ESSAY: Big Bend National Park. Scroll down. Click on image for full size.)
    Sanderson TX
    For a desert breakfast
    100-foot berms along the road . . .
    . . . to catch floodwaters.
    Big Bend NP
    Texas BXPCKers just off Old Ore Road
    Sounds good!
    Camp De Leon
    On Old Ore Road
    Desert and cactus
    Cactus at Camp Leon:
    and mountain views
    100deg heat no shade.
    Time for a nap
    Made it 3 hours
    then back on Old Ore Road.
    Juan de Leon, 1906-1932
    Old Ore Road.
    Alternating sequence of rhyolite (igneous rock) and tuff (volvanic ash)
    Mostly tuff.
    Mostly rhyolite
    Canyon and mountains.
    Navigating Old Ore Road.
    Big mountains
    Blinding sun
    Historic, luxury hotel Marathon, Texas
    Chevy and Jaguar
    Courtyard rooms
    with trees
    and flowers
    Old West Style
    a cat George took note of
    Butchers worktable
    Bath down the hall
    Box lunch
    Volcanic rock upfolded looks like
    the great wall in China
    An intrusion of glassy rhyolite about 20 feet high.(Looks like a fossil tree.)
    Great wall
    by ranch road.
    Rolling wall . . .
    . . . of igneous rock.
    Cerro Castellan Mountain containing late Eocene volcanoclastic sequence
    Site of Eocene swamp
    50 million years ago
    Upper jaw of Tyrannosaurus
    Human, 21C

    Wake up out of a dream. Some guy I know is showing me around his vacation place, like a B&B. There's a yard with grass and maybe a horse stable. I'm polite but not impressed. The tune is Connie Francis, Among my Souvenirs.

    All the way out to Big Bend the lyrics are running in my head and I'm sad, almost to tears. Surprised at the power of the emotion, especially as the general theme is recurrent, I reason it out. Better heartbroken, a loser at love, alone and lonely, etc etc than dead to it. Tristesse, a sign of psychic vitality. I'm happy.

    I meet backpackers at the Persimmon Gap entrance. Decide on backcountry. The ranger is helpful and gets me a permit for Camp de Leon. I find a geology book from the University of Texas that explains it all. At the Rio Grande Village store the best food is microwaved franks. Wine helps. However, I'm clearly without a good food plan.

    Two miles along a rough track I'm at Camp de Leon. A few yards of empty gravel in an immense heat. Remembering the evaporation technique for desert air conditioning, I wet some towels and nap in it. When I'm up I decide I'm clearly without a good plan of any kind. With what's left of my spirit of adventure, I pick the long way out, 20 miles on Old Ore Road.

    09030220.jpg Level spots alternate with washouts, dips, ditches, big rocks. Bang! The familiar desert scenery is unforgettable close up. The book comes to life. Low hills, fantastical shapes, rocks in distinct layers, each a unique origin, color, hardness and age (measured in mA, millions of years). A 1932 roadside grave, concrete cross with glass decorations and coins. I worry about keeping on the trail. The map names the campsites, but there are few signs. I make a wrong turn at Telephone Canyon. An unlabeled scenic lookout is just a turnaround. Both times I backtrack and luckily find the trail again. The road drops to a canyon bottom, high walls around and a wide wash, then climbs out again. Getting late. Worried. Low blinding sun.

    A ranger cop stops me for driving over the white line at the shoulder. Just an excuse to check me? OK. He's from northern NJ so he knows how NewYorkers think. Best meal is at Gage Hotel.

    09030236.jpg I economize on a room with bath down the hall. George is ok. Creative salad and sweetbreads with reduction sauce at the chef restaurant, wine, $65.82. Looking around I see there are Texans with money. Chubby Asst Mgr jaws with the table behind me tirelessly name dropping. Culinary schools, San Francisco, restorations, private Catholic school on tour staying overnight, etc etc. The diners respond flattered with the attention. Reminds me of eating out with Irene who always chatted up with servers. Horrified me. I'm not impressed by the middleaged un-welldressed foursome checking the artwork on the way out.

    Breakfast at the diner. Prepared this time with a bag lunch, iced tea, OK. Feeling good. Beautiful day. A little ashamed of myself for not doing Camp de Leon. Photos. Sit. Stop at one of the many points of interest, a fossil exhibit. Eocene.

    I converse with a botanist about geologic time. I show him the book. He says the majority get their facts from an old testament. I drop The Selfish Gene on him. He never heard of Dawkins, which is biology. He graduates with a Masters in '75. Best he can find is part-time at NPS in St Paul and turns to landscaping to live. His helpers are $15 but illegals work for $6. His son is a lifeguard, been doing that 8 years, drives a used BMW. The problem with government recession solution, it centers on construction projects, money goes to nepotism, and after that favoritism. 28 contracts let last week to cover storm damaged buildings with tarps in New Orleans. He waves when I see them later at another stop. I missed telling him about Murray, but there was no opening.

    Back in Del Rio, I'm at the fastfood chains, the all day buffets. Except for Mexican, there's not a restaurant in town, not even a diner. My stomach talks to me. I see natural chicken wings at HEB and make a passable terriyaki out of it. Homesick for a full kitchen with well-stocked freezer and pantry. Time to leave. Cleaning up my emails, I find another seed for the dream. Last in a series of failed attempts. I'll save this one. I already figured the place with the horse barn was the Stone House in '74. Dreams are an open book.

    Del Rio, TX March 4, 2009.

    Connie Francis, Among my Souvenirs

    There's nothing left for me
    Of days that used to be
    They're just a memory
    Among my souvenirs

    Some letters tied with blue
    A photograph or two
    I see a rose from you
    Among my souvenirs

    A few more tokens rest
    Within my treasure chest
    And, though they do their best
    To give me consolation,

    I count them all apart
    And, as the teardrops start,
    I find a broken heart
    Among my souvenirs

    I count them all apart
    And, as the teardrops start,
    I find a broken heart
    Among my souvenirs

               "I would
    like to interest you in re-starting a relationship with this." (An Email Exchange.)
    Subject: Re: Peugeot
    From: "Martin (Your Adirondack Guide)"
    Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2009 11:58:52 -0500
    To: louise.*****
    BCC: Murray@morgan****.com>, loser@****.org>
    Dear Mom,
    Looking for some re-starting point to reach you, I found this old email exchange with Murray. I like it because it shows us both with the same parental concerns. I would like to interest you in re-starting a relationship with this.
    I spoke with Maggie the other day. She was dogsitting, and she seemed sad. It made me feel sad. I realized I knew so little about her life while we were estranged all those years. I don't presently have the means to help her financially. And would that be a good thing anyhow?
    I don't mean at all that we should get into these or related matters. No. Certainly not at this time. I would like to get to know you as you are now. You need to decide about what can result, but I'll propose some stages. We can email and speak on the phone to start. What happened from July 07, 2002 to yesterday should be off the agenda.
    How is your work going? Your volunteering activities in Burlington interest me. Do you go to the theater? Music? Middlebury art? Do you know any good restaurants? Do you cook? Do you vacation? Travel? OK.
    I'm on a long Winter getaway. Last year it was a roadtrip to Florida, Texas and my favorite swamp. This year I found an old travel trailer. The trailer is too old for much travel. I parked it in an RV Campground here in Del Rio TX, a border town I like. I'm working, fixing the trailer, exploring the desert, and writing about it on my webpage.
    Do you remember Big Bend?

    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: Your Adirondack Guide []
    > Sent: Sunday, July 07, 2002 9:46 PM
    > To: *******, Murray (Research, Advantage Professionals)
    > Cc: Louise
    > Subject: Peugeot
    > > > Murray--
    > Mom wants me to get Arlo to buy the blue Peugeot.
    > Need information.
    > Year, Model #, VIN# and mileage.
    > Also, Is it running?
    > If not, what's wrong with it? Overheats? Why? Etc.
    > Need to know ASAP as I'm seeing him this week and it's best if I talk with
    > him personally.
    > Love,
    > Dad

    From: ****, Murray (Research, Advantage Professionals) wrote:
    To: Your Adirondack Guide []
    > 1991 Peugeot 405S (Mileage and VIN on vehicle)
    > It is running but overheating (relay to the electric fan?).
    > The drivers side window (that they fixed twice) and the door locks (that they also fixed) are broken
    > and it is rusting where they removed the tail-light (among other places).
    > > Love you dad,
    > Me

    P.S. Not really an email exchange. She never wrote back. Or, not yet.

    Mexico is a country in North America and the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world. It also has the largest number of American Indian language speakers on the continent (the majority speaking Nahuatl, Mayan, Mixtec and Zapotec). Human presence in Mexico has been shown to date back 40,000 years based upon ancient human footprints discovered in the Valley of Mexico [1] (previous evidence substantiated indigenous inhabitants at 12,500 years ago). For thousands of years, Mexico was a land of hunter-gatherers. Around 9,000 years ago, ancient Mexicans domesticated corn and initiated an agricultural revolution, leading to the formation of many complex civilizations. These civilizations revolved around cities with writing, monumental architecture, astronomical studies, mathematics, and militaries. After 4,000 years, these civilizations were destroyed with the arrival of the Spaniards in 1519. For three centuries, Mexico was colonized by Spain, during which time the majority of its indigenous population died off. Formal independence from Spain was recognized in 1821. France then invaded Mexico in 1864 and ruled briefly until 1867. A war with the United States ended with Mexico losing almost half of its territory in 1848 and the Mexican Revolution would later result in the death of 10% of the nation's population. Since then, Mexico as a nation-state has struggled with reconciling its deeply-entrenched indigenous heritage with the demands of the modern Western cultural model imposed in 1519. The nation's name is derived from the Mexican civilization (known in popular culture as the Aztecs).
    Much more at

    The history of Texas (as part of the United States) began in 1845, but settlement of the region dates back to the end of the Upper Paleolithic Period, around 10,000 BC. Its history has been shaped by being part of six independent countries: Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America, and the United States of America. Starting in the 1820s, American and European immigrants began arriving in the area; joined by Hispanic Tejanos they revolted against Mexico in 1836 and defeated an invasion army. After a decade as an independent country, Texas joined the Union (the United States) in 1845. The western frontier state was characterized by large-scale cattle ranching and cotton farming. In the 20th century, it grew rapidly, becoming the second largest state in population 1994, and became economically highly diversified, with a growing base in high technology. The state has been shaped by the interactions of Southern, Tejano, Native American, African American, and German Texan cultures.
    More about Texas including French Texas, Mexican Texas, and Republic of Texas at

    Cactus Flowers.

    A Personal Potpourri. A Personal Potpourri.
    Old photos, letters, clippings, greeting cards and other stuff too precious to discard. A Personal Potpourri is your Adirondack Guide's eclectic photo and writing place for stuff that just doesn't fit elsewhere in Fourpeaks Adirondack Backcountry Camps webpages. CLICK HERE for more Personal Potpourri.  CLICK HERE to meet Your Adirondack Guide.

    .Are you in this picture? CLICK HERE to find out. 
    Are you in this picture? Fourpeaks hosts now welcome paying guests to a 700-acre rest and playground for vacations in the Adirondack Great Camp tradition. Couples appreciate Fourpeaks secluded settings. Outdoor loving families have fun exploring our accessible wilderness. Folks with dogs enjoy the open spaces to run their pets. A private nature rereat. For a vacation away from it all.    Are you in this picture?  CLICK HERE to find out!    [More about this at Frequently Asked Questions.]

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