By Nicole Goldman
The Lone Star State of Texas is huge. This land of cattle, oil fields and tall pickups seems even bigger from the seat of my 2015 Porsche GTS. Between the Rio Grande and New Mexico, this state features some of the best riding Texas has to offer. With tumbleweeds, world-class canyons, rare birds, starry nights and Old West folklore, Big Bend National Park is definitely worth a few visits.
It was Friday morning, November 9th, when we left the house at 6:30 AM in the pouring rain and the temperature was a near freezing 35°F. We were to meet others in the Tour at Buc-ee’s in Waller, Texas. Surprisingly, we only had 2 cancellations due to the bad weather.
At 8:30 AM we left Waller in 2 groups. Group 1 had James Garrett as lead and David Foley as tail. Group 2 had George Bishop as lead and Edwin and I were tail.
Group 2 was going to Fredericksburg first to pick up one of the tour attendees. We had a break in Luckenbach, Texas, an unincorporated community 13 miles from Fredericksburg, Texas in Southeastern Gillespie County. This area is well known for its Country & Western music.
Lunch was in Junction, Texas at Lum’s Bar-B-Que (where George Strait eats free!), a popular spot for previous LSRPCA tours. After lunch, we still had a 4-hour drive to Marathon, Texas and it was still freakin’ cold even with the sun high in the Texas skies.
When we had some 30 minutes left on the road to reach Marathon, the sun was setting on the horizon and that gave us an amazing view of all the beautiful Porsches in front of us driving into the dark. That’s when I took this photo.
We arrived at the Gage Hotel in Marathon on time. The hotel was built in 1927 by acclaimed architect Henry Trost. This legendary hotel is located in the beautiful Texas mountain region and offers real authentic laid-back luxury.
Both groups sat down for dinner at 8 PM and had a fabulous time together. We shared experiences of the day, got to know each other a little better, and refreshed memories with those we haven’t seen for a while. At 10 PM we called it a day. Breakfast was at 8 AM the next morning and the group would leave the hotel at 9 AM sharp.
George Bishop commented, “Everyone that stayed in Eve’s Garden was amazed by the rooms and the extraordinary breakfast served there. The weather was great throughout the trip. The drives were great, particularly the River Road, F.M. 170 from Lajitas to Presidio!”
At the Park Entrance
When entering Big Bend National Park one of the cars discovered that he had a pierced intercooler hose and lost coolant. Everybody helped to fix the leak, chewing gum and paper temporarily solved the problem.
We continued our journey and experienced the unparalleled beauty of West Texas!
We stayed that night in Terlingua, just a few exits past the end of the world. It is a quirky, fun, old mining town. We all had different accommodations around town and we all had some memorable experiences too.
We enjoyed dining in Terlingua’s Starlight Theater Restaurant and Saloon with its live music.
Sunday morning breakfast was at 8 AM at the Espresso y Poco Mas Café. Then we continued our journey at 9 AM. The weather was perfect that day.
The Special Viewpoints
We were driving for about 30 minutes when a Ranger showed up on one of our viewpoints, “who is the leader of the pack?” asked the stern Ranger. George Bishop came forward, gave the Ranger a firm handshake, introduced himself and asked him what was going on? The Ranger explained that besides the entry fee we should have paid another $5 per car to stop at the special viewpoints. We did not know that! After George apologized to him, the Ranger became very friendly and gave us a 30 minute talk on where we could find all the other special viewpoints. We were all very happy that we were not sent home!
On the Border
We stopped at Boquillas, now known as the Rio Grande Village. It is alongside the Rio Grande River and runs through Canyon de Santa Elena, Mexico on the left and Big Bend National Park, USA on the right.
About 75 million years ago, a 40-mile-wide trough sank along fault lines which resulted in the Santa Elana Canyon Cliffs and the Sierra del Carmen. The Park spans 1,252 square miles which couldn’t even fit in Rhode Island.
We visited one of the largest and finest historic adobe structures in Texas at Fort Leaton. It provided a glimpse of 19th century life at a fortified trading post on the USA – Mexico border.
Last Destination on the Tour
Another fabulous day was almost over and we continued our journey to our last destination, Marfa, Texas.
We had booked the Elizabeth Taylor Suite in Hotel Paisano, located in the Heart of Marfa. Warner Brothers came to Marfa and made this hotel their headquarters for the filming of the 1956 classic movie Giant, which starred Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and James Dean.
After a very entertaining late dinner with some befriended members of Group 2, we decided to have breakfast in Hotel Saint George, a contemporary hotel that made the Conde Nast Traveler’s 2017 Hot List. We then left Marfa at 9 AM to go home.
The Drive Back
When we left West Texas on Monday morning, we still felt thoroughly impressed with Big Bend National Park. We spent hours and hours of fantastic driving on great roads, visited historic towns, and viewed stunning scenery. It is worthy of a spot on any Porsche driver’s road trip bucket list.
Thank you, George Bishop, James Garrett, David Foley and Edwin Goldman (Tour Chair) for all your time and effort to create this extraordinary experience for the LSR PCA Members.
Besides the beautiful photography in this article by Nicole Goldman, there are many others who took some stunning photos along their journey. Thanks to participants George Bishop, Nick McClure, Edwin Goldman, David Foley, James Garrett, Andrea McMillen, Buck Floyd, Harry (Skip) Cain, Ernst Krueger, Rick Bellew, Gary Ford, Rob Van Landingham, Gregg Gohlke, Abraham Castro, Galina Roper, Elliott Kennedy, David Warren, and of course Nicole Goldman for any of the images they contributed to the library so other LSRPCA members can enjoy the 2018 Big Bend Tour.
Click on a thumbnail below to view the larger image.