West Texas News from the Road

By virtue of the higher speed limits, West Texas has been moved closer to Houston.  Most of the trip from Houston to San Antonio is now posted at 75 MPH.  Without being too abusive of leniency above the limit, a nice pace may be maintained most of the way.  West of Kerrville the limit goes up to 80.  Those little dots on the map just moved a little closer to each other.
Our caravan took the interstate, believing that average speed is the way to go.  After lunch in San Antonio at Jason's Deli, a group of four Porsches left us in Boerne.  They opted for the scenic and twisting roads followed by US 90 west of Del Rio which permitted speeds to help make up for the diversion. 
The interstate group arrived before the scenic touring group.  Unfortunately, a rancher in his pick-up truck traveling south on 385 between Ft. Stockton and Marathon didn't appreciate being passed by a string of Porsche's.  He contacted a sheriff's deputy from Brewster County.  The sheriff's deputy, a former game warden, had no sense of humor.  He made our acquaintance as we were unpacking at the Gage Hotel. 
Later his partner picked up the contingency traveling west on 90 from Del Rio.  This group was accused of speeding in Marathon, but they were pulled over right at the speed reduction sign.  Warning tickets were issued even though there was no infraction.  Both confrontations seemed like preemptive strikes to let us know we were being watched. 
The Gage Hotel specializes in rustic and great food.  We were now a part of the Wild West.  The first two dinners were outside and went quite well.  The fire place and gas burning torches kept us warm after the sun went down.  The stars at night are big and bright.
Our first day trip took us to Big Bend National Park.  The speed limit inside the park is 45 and they do enforce it.  We took a little liberty, but were very careful.  Another reason for lower speeds is the lack of fences and the abundance of critters.  Sadly the abundance has been diminished by the drought.  Playing catch up in the Park proved to be ill-advised.  One Porsche did get a ticket.  The stops at Panther Junction, Chisos Basin, and Santa Elena Canyon were delightful.  At Kandace's request, we did stop for a photo opportunity.  15 Porsches and exactly 15 parking spaces lined up with a spectacular view of Santa Elena canyon.  
After exiting the park we stopped for gas in Study Butte.  Premium was at a premium, but what can you do on the edge of nowhere?  This was followed by a stop for lunch in Lajitas at the Lajitas Resort. It usually pays to call ahead, but we tried that last year which only made things worse. 
We ran into one of those impossible situations.  We arrived at a couple minutes to two o'clock, their drop dead time for lunch.  They were unprepared, but we worked out a compromise and sat down to a wonderful lunch.  Improvise, adapt, overcome; sounds like a Clint Eastwood movie.
TX 170 west of Lajitas is one wild and demanding road.  The Porsche's performed beautifully.  We stopped at an overlook that towers above the Rio Grande and affords an excellent view of Mexico, the United States and the river.  Then it was back in the Porsche's and on our way to Presidio, Marfa, Alpine and back to Marathon.
The second day trip took us back to Alpine and the Sheriff's office for our annual visit.  We missed the Sheriff, but had a chance to express our feelings about our welcome on Sunday.  Then it was on to Ft. Davis and a loop through the Davis Mountains.  The visitor center at the McDonald Observatory made a nice stop.   It was both interesting and also may have thrown off the timing of a return to Ft. Davis on the loop, just in case the authorities were paying attention.
Lunch at the Reata, as always, was a treat.  We split the group between indoor and outdoor dining.  It was windy, but didn't seem to present a problem for the outdoor group.  Four ways were suggested to return to the Gage and at least three of them were taken. 
All Porsche road trips have that one special moment that puts everything into perspective.  Ours occurred in Ft. Stockton at the Exxon (exit 287 I-10 & 285), while preparing for the long interstate ride back.  A little old lady waddled over to the red Boxster and said, "What a beautiful car.  Is that a Fiat?"
The hardest part of any good road trip is the return.  The majority caravan back together at a crisp but not provoking pace.  We made very good time, but it's a little more difficult when headed away from the fun and not toward it.

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