Ep. 120: Big Bend Ranch | Texas State Park RV travel camping
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Ep. 120: Big Bend Ranch | Texas State Park RV travel camping

Greetings friends, welcome back to Grand Adventure! I’m your host Marc Guido, and last week we brought you to Big Bend
National Park in West Texas. This week we’re still camping at Maverick Ranch RV
Park in Lajitas, and we’ll not only check out some of the beautiful remote
property on this 27,000-acre private ranch, but we’ll also head west from our
campsite to see portions of Big Bend Ranch State Park and the border town of
Presidio, so stay tuned! This is our current home base of
Maverick Ranch RV Park in the Chihuahuan Desert border town of the
Lajitas, Texas. We provided you with a thorough tour of the RV park in last
week’s episode on Big Bend National Park, which we’ll link to right here on the
screen if you haven’t seen it already. One thing we didn’t get to show you last
week, however, is Maverick Ranch’s assortment of zip lines spread across
its 27,000-acre property, some of which span gaping chasms as riders speed
across the desert far below. Zip lines are just some of the
activities offered at Maverick Ranch, part of Lajitas Golf Resort. You can
also go horseback riding, rent a Jeep, paddle down the Rio Grande on a raft,
kayak or paddleboard, dine in some of the resort’s bars and restaurants, or play
around at the acclaimed Blackjack’s Crossing golf course. About ten miles northeast of Lajitas
sits Terlingua Ghost Town. The discovery in the mid-1880s of cinnabar, from which the
metal mercury is extracted, brought miners to the are,a creating a town of
2,000 people. Today the only remnants of the mining days are a ghost town of the
Chisos Mining Company and several nearby capped abandoned mines. The village was
abandoned when the mining company filed for bankruptcy in 1942 Today Terlingua is an eclectic collection
of shops and eateries, a tourist destination for visitors to Big Bend. Rafting and canoeing on the Rio Grande, mountain biking, camping and hiking, and
motorcycling are some of the outdoor activities favored by tourists.
Terlingua claims to be the birthplace for the chili cook-off, and on each first
Saturday of November over 10,000 “chili heads” convene in Terlingua for the two
annual chili cook-offs: the Chili Appreciation Society International, and
the World Chili Championship. You’ve seen Terlingua in parts of the movie “Paris
Texas”. We tried to eat at this taqueria —
really we did — but every time we returned they were closed.
It seems that in the off-season, folks around here are a bit lackadaisical
about opening hours. So tell us, where exactly do you go to buy a used
submarine conning tower? Big Bend Ranch — the largest state park in Texas —
encompasses 311,000 acres along the Rio Grande
River in Brewster and Presidio Counties of West Texas. It shares nearby Big Bend
National Park’s Chihuahuan Desert ecosystem, but is managed very differently. Within
the State Park are a number of cattle ranches raising Texas Longhorns, and
there is a semi-annual Longhorn roundup. You’ll find javelinas and wild burros
among the mammals occupying this land. In early 2011 the Texas Parks and Wildlife
Department relocated 29 desert bighorn sheep here to become the ancestral
animals of a self-sustaining population, after the last unmanaged population of
Texas desert bighorn sheep was shot or died around 1958. Numerous trails for
hiking and mountain biking crisscross this deserted landscape, and unlike the
National Park there’s a network of trails for OHV use within the State Park
as well. Because our time here is limited, our Big
Bend Ranch State Park experience is limited to the River Road, which follows
the Rio Grande westward for 50 miles from Lajitas to the border town of
Presidio. There’s only one way in and out of the interior portion of the park,
a lengthy dirt road that begins in Presidio, and our work schedule while
staying at Maverick Ranch won’t allow for that. It’s no small consolation prize,
however, for the scenic drive along the River Road, following the meanders of the
Rio Grande, is among the most spectacular drives in the nation. Numerous movies
were filmed here. The Contrabando ghost town off the River Road was the set for
no fewer than nine movies, including “Uphill All The Way”
and “Lone Star”. Fifteen miles west of Lajitas, to get around Madeira Canyon the
River Road climbs and then descends 15% grades known as Big Hill. Yeah, they put a
lot of thought into that name. Kevin Costner movie buffs may recognize this
spot as the site of the Dom Rock from the movie “Fandango”. Just east of Presidio you come across
the Fort Leaton State Historic Site. The original adobe structure was a private
residence dating back to the early nineteenth century, and was purchased in
1848 by Benjamin Leaton, who adapted it as a trading post and fortress. Leaton was
also a bounty hunter and engaged in some questionable trading
practices. Through murders, financial difficulties and abandonment, the
structure changed hands numerous times. In 1967 it was deeded to the state of
Texas and opened to the public in 1978 as a Texas State Historic Site. Presidio, population just over 4,000, is
the largest town in the Big Bend area. It sits on the banks of the Rio Grande and
shares a bridge and Port of Entry with Ojinaga, Chihuahua, population 30,000. The
first Spaniards came to Presidio in 1535, stopping at a native pueblo
situated here at the junction of the Rio Grande and Rio Conchos. White American
settlers came to Presidio in 1848 after the Mexican War. Today, Presidio’s local
economy is based largely upon employment at the local school district, US Customs
and Border Protection, and local retail businesses. Well, we truly hope
that you’ve enjoyed coming along with us on this two-part episode to the Big Bend
area of West Texas. As you can see behind me, we are no longer in West Texas — we are
now on the South Texas Gulf Coast, and we’ll be coming from here on next week’s
episode of Grand Adventure! So if you’re not yet a Grand Adventurer, make sure you
hit that little subscribe button, the red one down there in the corner right now!
And ring that notification bell. We’d be honored if you shared Grand Adventure
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to us: if you like this video please also down below give us a big thumbs up! Until
next week from the Texas Gulf Coast, remember … life is nothing but a Grand
Adventure! We’ll see you then.


  • Christine Ryan

    Loved it! We now need to do a little research to see when they get busy there and when we might have trouble getting a site without a reservation. The way you describe the parks make us so anxious to make our way down there. Our plans are to winter in southern Arizona but you sure are making us think about south Texas! Thanks for all your hard work. We sure appreciate your videos! ❤️❤️ Safe travels!

  • BenNstyle

    Marc, your cinematography and content ranks up there with Arial America! Ever gave any thought to Amazon or other media outlets for rebroadcast?


    Wish you would have invested more time in the production of this video. I was in this area in May & there is so much more that could have been shown. Disappointed.

  • Spell Madam

    I was half way expecting to see Clint Eastwood saddled up strolling into a scene. Great content. Thanks again. You have peaked our interest in Texas travel.

  • Stacy

    Would you consider tent camping at any of the national park campgrounds to be safe enough for a non-gun toting mom and a couple of teens? Both of your Big Bend videos make me want to visit that area, but the border area concerns me a little, as do the types of animals that roam the area.

  • Bruce H

    There sure is a lot of landscape. You gave a great overview, especially considering the short time you had to spend there.

    I hope they are successful in reestablishing the desert big horn sheep. It looks like mountain lion country so that could make things difficult. Mountain lions took out several sheep planted north of Tucson.

    I am looking forward to next week's video. There are some great birding areas so I would like to lean about the area. Hopefully I will be camped out in the AZ high country next week enjoying the fall colors 🍁.

  • Downsizing Makes Cents

    More great scenery and commentary from Marc, i love all the great historical information, Always looking forward to the next video

  • Texoma Road Trippers

    Most people think of west Texas as a flat and ugly wasteland. But as you've now shown those who have not seen the nicer parts of west Texas, it is not wasteland. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jerry A. Goldwire

    Just read about unlimited internet from net buddy do you know any thing about this
    I got the visible as you suggested but it looks like they have put the 5 cap back on

  • Sheryl Hendrix

    Ok taught me some things about Big Bend I didn’t know! Lol. Isn’t Terlingua awesome did y’all get to enjoy a night on the porch if the trading post?! Too much fun!

  • John Eagerton

    I can smell the salt air already. For the local cognoscenti, Gulf coast beaches in the Fall are the best time to enjoy the sun, sand and water. But don't stop in Texas, keep heading east, plenty of beaches to explore.

  • Meredith Frost

    Thanks for two great videos on the big bend area. We’re planning on visiting next spring and you’ve really peaked our interest and given us great ideas for our trip.

  • VanEtte Christian

    If you end up staying at Canyon Lake, try to make time to do the Canyon Lake Gorge tour. Reservations are made online. Burgers at Canyon city Grill (307 and Dam Rd) are good. If you go into New Braunfels have BBQ at Granzin's on San Antonio St. If you are a hot dog lover, like my husband, Mozie's in Gruene can't be beat. Have a great day.

  • Pismo Doug

    Wow! this is IMAX worthy. Great eclectic music. Safe travels -Thanks for an enjoyable insight to this part of the country.

  • thomas dipaolo

    New sub. Awesome video content. Looked thru playlist but couldnt find info on you truck and trailer. Interested aince we have a similar set up

  • Curt Higgins

    Marc, I want to thank you for sharing your great adventures… I watched all 120 episodes! They had special appeal to me for I was able to revisit many places I traveled to in past years. You also included a great deal more than I was able to due to time restraints.
    I found it especially interesting to compare camping now and when I camped 30-40 years ago. I envy your current lifestyle and wish I could do so too. I’ll look forward to seeing your future videos as it is the only way I can “travel” now.

  • Gavin Streetie

    Check out that zip wire that’s like my house tooo france wow could I have some fun on that ! Oh what are you serious “ the chilli appreciation society “ oooo that is brill and the best of it is I love chilli I really need to be at the cook offs
    Remember homers chilli 😂😂😂😂
    Nice one mark thanks Gavin

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