David and I visited Austin, Big Bend National Park, and Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas in the spring of 2015. We stayed in an Airstream while in Austin and rented a house in Terlingua, outside of the parks. It was a very nice trip. We got the taste of Austin and enjoyed our time in Big Bend country. We hope to be back some day.
We couldn’t have found a cooler place to stay in Austin. We rented an Airstream trailer through Airbnb. It was, I believe, a 35-ft trailer with one slide, something you don’t see in newer Airstream. It was a great 4-night stay.
This was our first time being in Austin, not counting my business trip. We visited the State Capitol, went to see the Congress Bridge bats, enjoyed food truck meals, drove around…tourist stuffs. We also took time to check out truck campers from an RV dealer in the area. At the time, the idea of full-time RVing has not materialized and we still considered truck camper as one of many options for RVing.
We went for a long walk along the river/lake front in one afternoon. Austin has a well-maintained biking and walking path system named Ann and Roy Butler Bike and Hike Trail. It can be combined with a series of boardwalk along the river near the downtown and any of bridges to create a beautiful loop walk and that’s what we did.
Big Bend National Park
I never heard much about Big Bend National Park until about 5-6 years ago when I saw photographs by QT Luong capturing agave plants on the cliff edge of the South Rim. I remembered being mesmerized by them. How could this huge national park seemingly in the middle of nowhere with this beautiful scenery escape my attention for all these times?
I learned after talking to several of my colleagues in the company who were from or lived in Texas that they never visited the park either. It was clear that Big Bend National Park is in the middle of nowhere, even for Texans. However, after having visited ourselves, we have discovered that it is in the middle of awesome desert and mountain landscape.
We spent 6 days at Big Bend National Park. There were a lot to do there for a much longer stay, but I found that we did enough in 6 days to have a feel about Big Bend. On first day we did a driving tour on Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive which ended at Santa Elena Canyon. It was a good thing to do to get the lay of land. We did many great hikes during this visit — Santa Elena Canyon Trail, Window Trail, Lost Mine Trail, South Rim Loop, Grapevine Hills Trail to Balanced Rock. We crossed the Rio Grande to the village of Boquillas Del Carmen in Mexico. Yes, we brought our passports with us for this.
Big Bend Ranch State Park
Big Bend Ranch State Park is a next door neighbor to the national park. We spent only 2 days at Big Bend Ranch State Park, just to have a taste what it’s like. We would like to come back to explore the park more when we make our RV route this way in the future.