When last we met, (last Sunday) old Doc Yanoff was driving through the quaint town of Marathon, headed for the most western point of South Texas. (And believe me, there are plenty of western points down yonder!) Prior to our arrival in Lajitas, which is on the border, we stopped in Alpine, which is another one of those places with a name that doesn’t quite fit. There was no snow, no ski trails, and only one or two people yodeling in public. (Actually they were howling at the moon, but that’s almost the same thing.)
I think the name Alpine came from the town’s elevation (4,475 feet above sea level) and from the mountain peaks that surround the metropolis. (By the way, the metropolis has about 6,000 full-time residents.) There is also a university, a fine-looking campus known as Sul Ross State University. (I thought it was named after Saul Ross, who owned a famous bagel shop in Brooklyn, but I was wrong.) Mr. Ross was a Confederate States Army general during the Civil War, and also a former governor of the state. The university is housed within 600 acres of prime real estate, and there are roughly 2,000 students, three herds of cattle, and a prairie dog. (The unofficial school mascot)
Incidentally, Sul Ross U was the founding home of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association in 1949. The student body reflects a great love of the rodeo life, and many of the students are bow-legged. I didn’t see anybody with chaps, but I did spot a young coed applying chapstick. All in all, folks seemed quite happy, if not downright giddy. (They like to giddy-up on weekends!)
I suppose that the highlight of our adventure was a death-defying drive along the River Road, which offers some of the most spectacular scenery in the west. The road starts in Terlingua and follows the Rio Grande River north, up to the bustling town of Presidio. (The town wasn’t really bustling, but several cowboys were busting out of their jeans after too many plates of frijoles!) The locals know the road as FM-170, and if you decide to take a drive, be prepared for some stunning viewpoints.
There are plenty of striking rock formations (a few of them in the road!) so drive slowly and bring a good camera. (A first-aid kit and a Bible would also be helpful) I’m not quite sure how to describe Presidio, but it did remind me of Roswell, New Mexico. Very similar. There were a few spots that looked like “Area 51,” surrounded by high, barbed wire fencing. There were also some heavily armed military-looking individuals that supposedly worked for the Border Patrol. (Patty thinks they were MIB agents.) Come to think of it, she may have been right about the Men In Black. I did hear them talking about aliens!
Well, in any case, the trip was a complete success and I will never forget the incredible beauty of West Texas. If you travel west, have fun but NEVER answer the call of nature near a prickly cactus. (I will explain, if you wish, through private correspondence!)
So what else is new? Well, for those of you who crave brilliant lectures, I shall be appearing (or should I say, re-appearing) at the Lakeway Men’s Breakfast Club this coming Wednesday, September, 25. My oration will entail a synopsis of my newest “Adam Gold Mystery,” which is titled, CAPONE ISLAND. After a brief, but enlightening summation of the book, I will be answering some questions and then participating in a book signing. Books will be available for purchase, or if you can distract my security detail, you can simply steal a copy. (Stolen books will not be autographed!)
For those of you who enjoy great photography ….. try another blog. My photos are a little lame (like my jokes) but I have nonetheless attached several shots from my recent outing. Nobody will ever confuse me with Ansel Adams, or any other member of the Adams Family, but I have posted some of the best pictures of the trip. (My photographic skills are still “developing.”) So enjoy!
Have a wonderful week and smile as much as possible. Love to all,