A new year

It has been a couple weeks since our last update and there are a few things to get caught up on…

After spending Christmas in Carlsbad, NM, we were finally able to get the repairs done on the 5th wheel and get back on the road. The new leaf springs seem to have fixed our lean issue and, hopefully, the abnormal tire wear we were seeing with the tires on the passenger side. Also, the new front hydraulic jack leg solved the leaking hydraulic fluid issue but we now have some air in the hydraulic lines that is causing the 5th wheel to act a bit funny when we put the legs down or extend the slides. We’re hoping that will resolve itself after the air has time to be bled out of the lines but, if not, we can get it looked at the next time we’re in a big city.

With the repairs done we said goodbye to Carlsbad and drove down to Alpine, TX, for New Year’s weekend. It was a fairly quiet holiday but we did manage to stay up until midnight to ring in the new year. And then on New Year’s Day we made the 80-mile drive from Alpine down to Terlingua, TX, which will be home for the next month or two (or three).

Terlingua is a small community of about 200 people located just outside the entrance to Big Bend National Park. There are some remnants of a ghost town that was once the center of activity when this was a mercury mining area back in the 1880s. But today there are just a few restaurants, a gas station, a small grocery store, a post office, and some campgrounds and outdoor adventure businesses that will take you on river rafting trips or ATV trips through the hills.

Besides being the gateway to Big Bend NP, this area is also known for being an International Dark Sky location. With just a few hundred people scattered around the area, the closest town of any size being 80 miles away, and being surrounded by both the national park and Big Bend State Park, this is one of the largest areas of protected night sky in the United States. And it’s also one of the last places you can buy land in Texas for fairly cheap.

From November to March the weather down here is mostly sunny with highs in the low 70s and lows that rarely get below freezing so we’re thinking of having this be the place we spend our winters while living full-time on the road. And with Texas being somewhat centrally located, whether we’re spending the majority of our time traveling around the west or the east, we’ll probably always be circling back this way each winter to avoid the colder weather further north.

And if we’re going to be down here every winter we’re thinking we might as well buy some land of our own so we don’t always have to be paying for campgrounds and RV parks. I don’t think this would be a “forever home” location for after we stop traveling (the summers are way too hot down here) but I could see it being a nice winter retreat spot regardless of if we are still on the road full-time or not.

We’re thinking we’d start with buying 10-20 acres of unimproved land that we can use as our own personal boondocking spot for now and then maybe add some improvements like a septic system and a well or water catchment system down the road. We spent yesterday driving around to some listed properties to get a better feel for the area and what is available and we’ll probably give a local real estate agent a call next week.

There is obviously still a lot to work out to see if this idea makes sense for us but we really like the area and we’ll have the next few months down here to figure all that out.

4 thoughts on “A new year

  1. Terry

    Terlingua brings back memories to Carol Shelby who I met in the early 90’s. He was every boys race car idol in the 1950s and 60s winning many races and where he teamed with Ford to create the Shelby GT mustang series and the Cobra. He got interested in hybrid vehicles and wanted me to fund his company to develop them. He told me about Terlingua and his ranch and gave me some of his packaged chili where they held an annual event every year. Still have one of his signed chili packages kept as a souvenir from him. I think his ranch never panned out there and eventually was sold to another developer. You might even see some of those 20 acre parcels they’re still trying to sell today!

    1. The Duck Post author

      What a cool story!

      The chili cook-off is a VERY big deal down here. According to the sign in town, Terlingua is the birth place of chili cook-offs with the first one held back in 1967 between two cooks – one from New York and one from Texas. That first cook-off was determined to be a tie so they held it again the next year and now it’s a huge annual event every November. We missed it this year but we’re definitely going to try to be back down here in time for it next year!

  2. Sam Smirnova

    Hi guys! Happy new year! No pictures of this possible home base? It still feels so crazy when I think about how different your lifestyle is compared to my commute, work grocery store repeat. Oh and volleyball tournaments with 60 courts of screaming players and fans, My only out doors time is neighborhood dog walks. Keep enjoying it!

    1. The Buffalo

      Happy new year Sam! There is something to be said for the routine and stability of living in one place versus the unexpected detours and obstacles of living on the road! Residents in this area pay an annual fee for helicopter services if they ever need to be taken to the emergency room, for example, as the nearest hospital is like 80 miles away… But yes, it’s still pretty incredible to us that we can live and work on the road like this. Photos should be up within the next month as we move towards land ownership!


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