Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Jan 30 - Around Alpine

The wind kept blowing during the night last night, but not nearly as robustly as during the day yesterday. During part of the afternoon it blew hard enough to liberate dust and dirt from gravity's grip, loft it airborne, and totally obscure the mountains 10 or so miles from our camp... mountains that had been crystal clear just a few hours earlier. A nearby weather station recorded sustained winds of well over 30mph, with gusts over 50mph. But higher in the mountains to the west and north, the wind speeds were reportedly much higher. It certainly rocked our world for a few hours.

This morning we got going early (for us). First stop was a local restaurant and bakery for breakfast. Every so often I have a craving for a hot midwest style breakfast... eggs, hash browns, bacon or sausage links, and toast... and we found just that at a local joint called Bread and Breakfast on the main drag. My craving was satisfied for another week or so.

After that we ran a few errands and then drove west of town a few miles where we heard there was a new upstart micro-brewery... Big Bend Brewing Company. We found it, although it was tough... as signage hasn't been one of their priorities yet. What we found is a microbrewery... a beer factory that they're just getting set up. Not really open to the public yet, Steve the brewmaster invited us in to sample their first crop of beers... some of which are now on tap at a few local establishments. Of course, being a brewery, people are naturally attracted to it... like bees to honey... and before we knew it a group of 6 or 8 folks had wandered in and gathered 'round, sampling, and chatting about the craft beer business. It was a blast and if those samples are any indication, they've got more good stuff coming out soon.

Next on the agenda was a visit to the Museum of the Big Bend at Sul Ross State University. That's right... this little town of 6,000 people has an impressive State University with a student population of about 1,600 folks. Situated right in the middle of the campus is the Museum of the Big Bend... a gem of a facility that provides a great overview of West Texas and the Big Bend area. We enjoyed it immensely.

Tomorrow, Thursday, we're pulling jacks and heading west again. We've talked about making it a longer day... and perhaps making it to Las Cruces or Deming New Mexico. The weather looks agreeable, some wind but much lighter than it's been, and a slight warming trend out there in "high country".

Below are a couple photos from our campsite during the wind storm yesterday...

Usually these mountains are crystal clear from here. The dust was
already in the air.

But a while later... mountains are totally obscured. You could
smell the dust in the air.