I have a friend, 'crazy Marti' according to Scott, that is an amateur photographer and bluebonnet fanatic. We've been talking for a few years about trying to fly down to the Big Bend area in Texas that has a different variety of bluebonnet than what we have in Central Texas. Ours grow low to the ground in dense fields, but in the desert they are sparse with flower stalks that get several feet tall. The stars finally aligned in 2018 for a 3-day girl's get-away weekend. The lodge in the park was already fully booked, and as it turns our that was good luck for our bluebonnet hunting crew. The option of flying into Alpine or Marfa and renting a car didn't sound very entertaining. The winning selection was to stay at the Lajitas Golf Resort and Spa and land at its 6000' x 100' private airport. Luck was shining down upon us, and I think we got the cheapest room in the joint at $210 a night.
As departure day approached, the weather didn't appear too friendly. Once gain, good luck rolled in and we had about a 2-hour window to get out of dodge, which happened to coincide with our most preferred departure time. It was time to say goodbye to Scott, pat Skylar on the head, and roll on over to the airport. I loaded up my gear in the plane, made a run to the fuel pump, and was completing my pre-flight as Marti parked her van next to the hangar. Load up a couple more bags and start the engine!
Once again, the RV magic carpet did her thing and turned an 8 hour car ride into a 2.5 hour flight. We arrived at the RV-friendly Lajitas International Airport late afternoon.
We had made our arrangements with the airport manager Jack a few days before our arrival, and he directed us to our tie-down spot as we taxied to the ramp. He had already called the resort for us, and transportation was waiting before we shut down. Jack helped us offload and secure the magic carpet as well as offered a host of beverages and snacks in the terminal building. And a nice terminal building it is! This is the place you want to get stranded for a night. Jack lives on the airport to add a little more security to the space. They do have a landing fee and security fee, but they waived the security fee since it was our first visit and the landing fee was waived with a purchase of at least 13 gallons of fuel. The fuel was a bit on the high side, but even the car gas was twice as much as at home, which was reasonable considering how far a tanker has to drive to get to this remote area. Thanks for all the help, Jack!
It was a short ride to the resort. We promptly had keys and settled into the room. The lobby and a set of rooms are in an old saloon (or brothel/saloon as my friend and I speculated). They have several other buildings with newer accommodations, a spa, a movie theater, a nice restaurant, and the Thirsty Goat Saloon. The pro shop is down the hill from the main buildings and is set up in the original Lajitas trading post. We didn't get any sideways glances as we walked the golf course, so apparently that isn't verboten. It would also be a good place for some bird watching.
We finally interrupted our tour with dinner. The food was quite good, with even the fried green tomatoes decked out in golf resort style, and the prices were reasonable. We had a great waiter that even waved to us a couple more times throughout the evening as we wandered through the resort and he was running between the restaurant and Thirsty Goat Saloon (same menu and kitchen.) The sun did its pre-sunset dip below the mountains on the Mexican side of the border, so we settled up with dinner and grabbed Marti's traveling hammocks to find some trees and watch the sunset. We found a great set along the birding pathway, which also happened to be at the edge of the driving range. It isn't someplace you'd want to hang out during the golf playing time of the day, but it was peaceful for us. The sunset was spectacular. There was a storm moving in off in the distance, and the pinks of the sunset followed the sheets of rain down to the ground in quite a glorious spectacle. We lounged for a bit until the raindrops started, and then wandered back for a good night's sleep.
We got up Sunday to accomplish the main mission - take some great photos of desert bluebonnets. We rented a jeep from the resort and headed out to scout the area. The main plan was to do our hunt in Big Bend National Park, but one of the resort employees told us there were quite a few bluebonnets along the side of the road toward Presidio. So, we adjusted the plan and went west for a while. We didn't know it at the time, but good luck was again on our side with that bit of advice. It wasn't long until we had mission success. We found several stands that were worthy of being models for Marti, and she went to work snapping pictures.
We stopped in several spots, with one being by a day use area that we shuffled through to sit by the Rio Grande for a few minutes. There was nobody around for miles, and all we heard were the birds, crickets, and flowing water. Yeah, that's what a vacation is supposed to be!