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  #1  
Old 03-08-2018, 09:14 AM
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tcard tcard is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 258
Default Big Bend - Lajitas Golf Resort & Spa

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!


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Last edited by tcard : 03-08-2018 at 10:18 AM.
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  #2  
Old 03-08-2018, 09:23 AM
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tcard tcard is offline
 
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Default Big Bend - Lajitas Golf Resort & Spa (2)

After a couple hours, we decided to make our way to Big Bend National Park. The drive was about 30-40 minutes and went by quickly as we watched the terrain out the windows. We kept looking for more bluebonnets, but they did not appear. As we entered the park, Marti asked the ranger where we could find the best bluebonnets. He replied that there weren't many this year due to the very low rainfall rates, and he was correct as we saw absolutely zero in the park itself. But hey, that just means we'll have to go back in a year with perfect conditions. We did hike to Balanced Rock and the Lost Mines Trail that took us up to about 7000 feet, with a 1200-1600 foot vertical change (depends on the reference).











Monday morning included a sunrise hike through the golf course. And then it happened, the prefect desert bluebonnet oasis. Did I mention we were lucky that the lodge in the park was already full? The bluebonnets were scattered in a dry creek bed where holes 11 and 17 intersect. Of course, Marti didn't bring her good camera, so we hightailed it back to the room, grabbed the camera, and the young man in the pro shop took pity on us. He let us borrow a golf cart for 20 minutes and gave us the shortest route to our destination. Marti was able to get some money shots. The rush, you ask? We had to make a spa appointment for massages. After a little pampering, it was time to pack a PB&J sandwich and head for home





From the porter that picked us up to the activities desk, everyone was extremely friendly, helpful and patient with us. Well, maybe one exception, the porter back to the airport clearly hadn't been there long enough yet as he was still a bit high strung, but I bet he'll settle into the west Texas pace soon enough.



Shortly before our departure, two charter jets brought in a group of 60 golfers. They had all made their way to the resort by the time we arrived at the airport, and Two Two Charlie looked like a child sitting on the ramp. Chuck was on duty today and greeted us like we were just as important as those two jets that actually pay their bills. He helped me fuel up the airplane, and we went in to hand over some green stuff. Marti grabbed what seemed like a drink with some grapefruit juice in it. She says it was quite tasty and asked Chuck what it was as she finished the last sip. Chuck replied calmly with 'a margarita'. Well, it was going to be a good flight for Marti! I'm glad I was dealing with the paperwork, or I might have had a glass as well. They really do need to label that one!



After all the logistics were completed, we saddled up for the ride home. We took a slight detour to fly over the main part of Big Bend National Park, and for the first time, Marti got to see by air where she had been exploring the day before on the ground. It is par for the course for many of us, but it was extremely gratifying to share that experience with someone else.

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Last edited by tcard : 03-08-2018 at 09:38 AM.
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  #3  
Old 03-08-2018, 11:34 AM
jbDC9 jbDC9 is offline
 
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Great report! Desolate, remote, beautiful country out there. I've had my eye on doing a Lajitas Resort trip for years, but reading the hit or miss reviews about the place, I've never been able to pull the trigger. Or it could be that golf just ain't my thing...

What seems to be eons ago (2009?), the wife and I parked the RV in Alpine, rented a car, then stayed a few nights at the park lodge and did some local day hikes and sightseeing. Then, drove to Marfa via Presidio. Stayed in MRF a coupla nights (Hotel Paisano) , did a McDonald Observatory star party, checked out Fort Davis, then a night at the Holland Hotel in Alpine... overall was just a great time. Gotta do it again some day, and maybe even stay at Lajitas.
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Old 03-08-2018, 01:28 PM
flyinga flyinga is offline
 
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Cookie, check your PMs
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  #5  
Old 03-08-2018, 02:15 PM
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DarylT DarylT is offline
 
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Default Big Bend - Lajitas Golf Resort & Spa

Don't worry John you won't be staying there. Cookie got a great deal at the price she got. I flew there in 2016 for the chili cook off. When i ate at the resort I checked the prices then. Way over your Cheap Captain prices.

But Jack will take care of ya at the airport.
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  #6  
Old 03-08-2018, 03:46 PM
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I notice that she didn't post a picture of the huge hole in the instrument panel. Big enough that you could stick your whole head into during flight .

She says: "What's the problem? It flies just fine."
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  #7  
Old 03-08-2018, 04:13 PM
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DanH DanH is offline
 
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The burning question is "What is so crazy about Marti?"
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  #8  
Old 03-09-2018, 07:09 AM
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Jaypratt Jaypratt is offline
 
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Default Good one

Thanks for take read! Itís fun tagging along when you canít be there
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  #9  
Old 03-09-2018, 07:42 AM
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MikeyDale MikeyDale is offline
 
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Thanks for the great report! I love Lahitas though haven't been in a long time. I used to fly there and play in a band that played the New Years Eve party almost every year in the 90's!
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  #10  
Old 03-11-2018, 12:39 PM
RV fan RV fan is offline
 
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Great Amerika.... no Question.
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