At the end of July, we loaded up the kids in the car for our annual trip to West Texas, for Viva Big Bend, a weekend music festival in the mountains of west Texas.
We headed out late on Thursday, missing the first night of music and my good friend Summer Dean making her solo Big Bend debut.
After 4 stops on the side of the road because the oldest said he needed to throw up, we rolled into my sister’s house, at about 10:00, a little under halfway done with our trip. Here on the bluff overlooking the start of West Texas, we saw the open sky and full moon. Vacation had begun.
The next morning the cousins played and ate homemade biscuits my sister made while I did a little work. Then, we hit the road. We made just one stop, the Sonic in Ozona for an air conditioned lunch break with a play scape.
We rolled into Alpine just in time to unload and head to Marfa for the VIP party at the St. George. This beautiful patio and pool was the perfect backdrop to the start of vacation. We ordered a pizza from the Pizza Foundation, they have the best thin crust pizza, a close rival to the tasty Pizza Shack that I grew up in, but you have to put your order in advance in case they sell out. The kids fell asleep on the way home and daddy stayed out partying. First day success.
Saturday morning, the kids were wide awake at 6:30 so we started the day with a grocery store run to Porter’s for milk and strawberries. I grabbed McDonald’s breakfast for the kids and call in tacos at Alicia’s for the guys since they had an early show. The chile verde tacos are a road trip favorite – cash only though so find the ATM before you go.
The kid’s show that morning at Plaine was capped off with hotdogs from Cowdog and stroll to Front Street Books, one of my favorite book stores. Stocked full of local authors, kids books and Texana, I always find a good read. This time, I grabbed Bax a new excavator book and me a book by Jake Silverstein, Nothing Happened and Then it Did.
We took a break in the afternoon with a little nap time and then a snow cone before getting ready for the baseball game. The Alpine Cowboys, a rookie league team, were playing at the end of their season at Kokernot Field. Sunset over the mountains in the background and $4 Big Bend brews with parking right outside make this one of the most beautiful places to watch baseball in the state. Bax got a ball from the players and ran the bases after the game.
We had an early morning again on Sunday, but it was the first day Will didn’t have to work. He hung out with Lill while I took Bax for his first round of golf. Over the nine holes, I lost all of my balls, but Bax had a blast. He pulled the pin, loved riding in the cart and drank two bottles of Gatorade. You can’t say enough about good hydration in the desert.
For the last night of Viva, we headed to the Railroad Blues. This is not super kid friendly, but we had the kids there for about an hour for Chicken S&*% bingo and dancing to Dale Watson.
After a few ranch waters, it was time to head back to the motel and get the kids to sleep. They went to bed and I sat outside reading my book with a bottle of wine. I finished the night off at midnight with sun salutations in the courtyard under the moon and stars listening to the sound of coyotes in the distance.
The last morning of vacation, we had to double shower the sno cone off the baby and then pack it up to head back east. None of us wanted to go home and we are already planning our next trip. Between waiting for the whistle of the trains in town and seeing amazing music at venues across the Transpecos, it was a super weekend.
For the next trip, we’ll plan more fun and less work. We’ll go hike at the Chihuahuan Desert Institute, taste beer at Big Bend Brewery, and look at artifacts at the Museum of Big Bend. We stayed at the Antelope Lodge, the place where most of the bands stayed, but also love to stay at the Holland Hotel or the lofts behind them. One of these days we’re going to check out the Maverick in Alpine and stay at a teepee at El Cosmico
Always a good time. See ya next time Alpine!