Southwest Texas Trip
DC and Katrinka March 19 - 27, 2013
3-28-13 - That was a great trip. On the 26th, Katrinka and I hung out till 11am at the atmosphere rich Spanish architechtured but Dutch named (for the street it's on) Holland Hotel in Alpine then walked through the Big Bend Museum at Sul Ross State University learning more about this obscure part of the US - was fascinated with the Cabeza de Vaca story - he and three others were the first Europeans there - staggered in from Florida. The Indians there received his highest praise. On the way home we tripped and trudged some through the Monahans Sand Hills.
3-27-13 - Off to take Katrinka to the airport. Alone again in Fort Worth. - dc
3-26-13 - Katrinka and I joined the Morning Glory Sangha last night in Alpine, TX, for their regular Monday eve zazen at 6pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 1308 N 5th St. Before the meeting I gave Jean O'Quilinn who leads it a copy of Zen Is Right Here. She glanced at it and after zazen and some chanting read a selection that she'd opened to. It is the one that happened to be up next to post here on cuke today on the What's New page [the 50th anecdote - absorbed]. If you're interested in sitting with them Jean's email is jean [at] bigbend [dot] net. More on Jean and her lineage in yesterday's entry below. On our way back to Fort Worth home today.
2-25-13 - Early morning in one of the sitting rooms off the spacious, generously furnished lobby of the historic Holland Hotel in Alpine, Texas - altitude 4200. Just me. Katrinka and I watched the sunset over the high dessert mountains last night from the third floor fire escape, no lock on that door - can come and go that way. Must have low crime. Seventh day of our trip to southwest Texas. Tonight we sit three periods of zazen with the zazen group that meets in the Unitarian Universalist Church near the Bahai center. Katrinka checked the yoga center schedule on the door - none today and we've got to leave early for Fort Worth tomorrow. She can do yoga there on Wednesday before flying back to the Bay Area.
Visited yesterday with the couple that started the sitting group, Kevin and Jean. She got ordained by a Chinese teacher in San Francisco. They both studied with Maria Kannon ZC's Ruben Habito in Dallas and at the Bays' Great Vow in Oregon. Jean teaches flying and does acrobatics with planes. Kevin flew ten years in and out of remote Navaho country - supplies in, the sick and dead out. If a Navaho dies in the plane they have to leave the it with them for a while so their ceremonies can free up the spirit of the departed. Kevin also spent fourteen years as a rep for an East German company. Spent a lot of time there. Good friends. Everyone honest. No homeless. Couldn't talk freely with friends unless in his car our the country. A few years ago he sailed from Maryland to Texas. Got stuck in shore along the way, was trying futily to dislodge the boat by wiggling the rudder when he felt movement, looked overboard, dolphins on both sides were pressing against the boat and splashing their tails. The freed him and swam off. Good veg dinner and well water.
In Carlsbad the first night ate well at the Yellow Brix served by a waiter named Staggerlee by his parents. White guy. Lloyd Price made the song by that name a number one hit that I bought in 1959. His favorite version was an early recording by Mississippi John Hurt. He also loved the later Johnny Rivers version.
Carlsbad to Ft. Davis took us through Balmorhea and the Balmorhea State Park with a large, irregularly shaped spring fed swimming pool with fish in it and diving boards. Just stuck our toes in and drove on.
In Fort Davis stayed at the charming Butterfield Inn, ate twice at the old-fashioned Drugstore. Visited the Fort. My brother-in-law Don Koue's father was architect in 1961 restoration and now it's called the "best preserved fort in the West." I'd just mentioned to Katrinka that a failing of all the Western movies was not including African Americans as cowboys and soldiers. Turned out that Ft. Davis was the main home of these Buffalo Soldiers. The fort, the city, and the county are named after Jeff Davis, the US Secretary of War at the time of the fort's founding in 1854. Later he became President of the Confederacy.
The drive from Ft. Davis to Big Bend took us along the Rio Grand River (Rio Bravo to Mexico) on the River Road: Texas FM 170 - Presidio to Terlingua Do that hour drive in twelve minutes on a motorcycle. - Thanks Jerry Ray for that link.
In Terlingua Ghost Town went to the famous Trading Company porch where Dr. Doug conducts Borderline Mental Therapy and Uh Clem presides. Here's a trailer for Ghost Town which has a bit from each of them and some others that hang out there. There were three signs that said "No Dogs on the Porch" and there were three dogs on the porch. People drank beer, smoked cigarettes, played guitar, and looked out over the mountains in the Chihuahuan Dessert. Jerry told us to buy Uh Clem some beer and listen to his stories. They said he was down there in a gray trailer by the community garden and wouldn't be there till five. I said we had to move on and noticed as we drove off that it was one minute to five.
Night before last we attended two events at the McDonald Observatory sixteen miles from Ft. Davis, the first an indoor show on the moon. Learned that the moon doesn't have a dark side, just a side we can't see, a side light and dark the opposite of what we see. Of course. At night a couple hundred of us sat in a windy cold outdoor amphitheater and learned about the night sky from a man with a laser pointer whose beam went right up to its target. The North Star, he pointed to, doesn't always have that role because the earth is on a 25 thousand year wobble. Just then an exceptionally bright meteor tore across the sky right where we were looking.
3-24-13 - Hot spring by the Rio Grand river, soaking, swimming, waving to Mexican cowboys on the other side. Out of Big Bend on the way to Marathon car searched by Border Patrol officers with dog - and we'd never left the US. This is government spending that could be cut. Reflected on the strong arm of government seeking to crush the harmless while ignoring and creating major harm. US Border Patrol and Immigration for instance. - also filed this in Engaged Buddhism/Current Events with the following
3-22-13 - At Chisos Mt. Lodge in Big Bend National Park. Beautiful.
3-21-13 - In Fort Davis, Texas. No time now to tell about yesterday or the day before. Will try to report from Big Bend National Park where we'll end up later today - some cool stuff on the way.
3-20-13 - In Carlsbad, New Mexico. Soon to the caverns.
3-19-13 - Off for Carlsbad Caverns today, then back to Southwest Texas, a week break to see a part of my home state I've always wanted to.