ft davis 056 We were falling in love all over again (doesn’t this get boring???) with Saltillo. Since Ellen steadfastly refused to leave Saltillo (and who wouldn’t blame her, the windy roads, the 2 hours of travel) Jamie and Michael first headed to the canyon, then Jamie, Michael and 3 kids, and then an extra day was needed as the boys were ADAMANT that I see the canyon. So, the day before we left, the boys and I headed into Los Lirios and Laguna de Sanchez and The Canyon. On the way I picked up a couple hitchhikers (well, in Mexico, it is rare to hitchhike, it is simply expected that when you’re in a rural area and have a giantesque vehicle, OF COURSE you’ll pick people up. That’s how, one day, the kids and I ended up with an extended family of some 20-25 people in the van. But I’ve already told that story…

I asked a LOT of questions and had a really good time getting familiar with the area from locals. I was asked to come and drink membrillo wine with them and had to turn them down a few times but it was an incredibly enjoyable ride. And I remembered how beautiful we found this area last year. It is indescribeably beautiful. Green, green EMERALD green grass and it is everywhere. Perhaps in Veracruz or Michoacan or Chiapas your eyes aren’t starved for emerald green, but everywhere we’ve been, the green is from cactus and corn and chile plants. Here are acres upon acres (almost all for sale) of blowing, long, green grass. And fat cows. And fat horses. And row after row of lovely little apple trees. And membrillo trees. And interspersed, tiny little towns perched in tiny valleys, barely able to climb the steep slopes of the valley walls. Or even more tiny towns perched on the tip top of a switchback. And wood. Never, anywhere in Mexico, have I seen wooden homes. They are ladrillo (brick) or cement block or cement block covered with cement “paint”. It was so terribly odd to see wood homes and I felt like I was in Chicken Alaska. The mountains we drove through were not gentle giants; these were fierce, jutting, jabbing, thrusting pinnacles forcing the landscape higher and higher. They were such a contrast to the soft and flowing valleys of windblown grasses, dotted with small apple farms.

Jamie was SO ready to buy up whatever we could afford, and once we’ve been through Veracruz, should he still want to, I’d be all for it. This year, instead of heading to La Laguna de Sanchez, we headed towards Santiago and The Canyon. It has a name, but everyone I talked to called it “The Canyon”. And it is a spectacular canyon. A tiny strip of crumbled white granite serves as a road, but it is not a road to be taken in the rainy season. Rivers swallow the road and cliffs pour down upon it. We were lucky to have dry days to explore.

So, we had a little difficulty leaving Saltillo, but eventually, the mail, horses, English language and library awaiting us in Ft. Davis called to us and we headed northward. For some reason, I remembered last years travel to the border as being much shorter than this years. Last year we had lovely cloudy skies, some rain and low temperatures. This year it was terribly hot once we descended from Saltillo’s saving 5000ft. We left late, to avoid the heat of the day, but this placed us about 1.5 hours from the border at sunset. I hate driving at night in Mexico as the cows, goats, donkeys and horses will meander on the highway and stopping the long long trailer is not for the faint of heart. As neither Jamie nor Michael feel comfortable navigating, I am in the lead, with the trailer, driving and navigating. A long drive is quite stressful and by the time we reached the border town of Ciudad Acuña, I was beat. It was 10pm and about 97F but I was done; made an executive decision and parked at a Pemex.

It was a noisy, hot, miserable night and only Ellen got decent sleep. Everyone was tired and grouchy the next morning, but I was so glad I had stopped. The bridge to the border is easy to miss in the daylight and I had not been looking forward to crossing and navigating twists and turns in the blackness of night. (has someone cued the violins yet or what?) We actually had less hassle and one of the border guards SMILED!!! Oh My Goodness, I was astounded! She was quite nice but still took our membrillo and found 2 eggs and got our limes. We didn’t have to go through the building redtape of proving who was whom and we were gone in about 20 minutes.
ft davis 080 We have been in Ft. Davis since last Sunday and I have been spending a good portion of each and every day on the phone (pay phone at the office), sitting in a camp chair, swatting flies and attending to business. I had the boys Xmas presents sent that sat in rain for two days, a router to arrange the return and replacement of, brake controllers to return and replace, the list seems endless and I add more to it each day. But we LOVE it here at Prude Ranch and we love the tiny community of Ft. Davis. The libaray is a gem, the thriftstore has already taken some $20 for clothing and books, the weather is superb, the MacDonald Observatory is amazing and the ranch itself is a paradise. We are camped in a field of grass that we share with a universe of flies. The girls feed and pet horses everyday and on ocassion, horses run through camp. The office/restaurant area has a lovely seating area to simply sit and read or watch TV or play many of the board games they have available.
And WE GOT MAIL! Oh it was lovely to get all our mail. So we are happy and loving it here at 5000ft in Texas. We’ll stay for another week (waiting for the replacement router, but enjoying the hell out of life here) and then head to Santa Fe. And now, I MUST get back to work and earn some money for the family.