The Campaign For DA

9.28.2015

Random Monday Morning Thoughts




  • I had an impromptu trip this weekend. On Friday evening, I was thinking about how for the last three years I had wanted to climb Guadalupe Peak -- the highest point in Texas. But I also wanted to combine it with a trip to the Sun Bowl for my stadium bucket list. I had planned and cancelled three trip multiple times.  Was there a flight to El Paso on Saturday? Yep. And it was available with a reasonable price. Was UTEP playing on Saturday? Yes. And a night game and against Incarnate Word --- a ridiculous future Baylor opponent that has caused the Bears nothing but ridicule. I could scout them! Hotel? Holy cow, there was one almost on campus and walking distance to the stadium. Would the National Park be open? Of course. Weather? Beyond perfect. I'd be late for work on Monday, any problems? It's Texas judges seminar week so it's slower than usual. It was the Perfect Storm.  Baaaum! I pulled the trigger. 
  • I'll admit that BagOfNothing's post out of nowhere reviewing his climb to the peak a month ago really bugged me. Mom always thought I sat on my butt too much and would make her feelings known by telling me, "Live a little, boy!"
  • Side note: And for those who are about to beat me down for being high tone, I drive a beater of a car (like I always have ) and haven't had a car payment for years so I can take these quick solo trips once every year or two and without guilt. So you can shut down the orchestra music. 
  • But I started Saturday morning watching the Aggie Band and Corp of Cadets in downtown Fort Worth. Fantastic. (But someone needs to explain to me the different "groups" of cadets -- and there were a TON of them marching -- and their meaning.)
  • Near the Tarrant County Convention Center, where I watched the last of the Aggie Band, there is the fairly new JFK memorial celebrating his visit to Fort Worth before heading to his fate in Dallas. It is so well done. 
  • And I loved this photo which they have encased and is at least 8' tall. I love photos of crowds where I can look at the expressions on their faces. 
  • It dawned on me I was looking at a statue of JFK, it was early in the morning, and I was about to go to Love Field. 
  • And I made it to Love Field which is a great airport especially since all of the renovations (but I've got this weird flaw where I'll get lost in airport parking garages like nobody's business.)
  • I finally made it El Paso and went with Enterprise rent cars again. Love them. So quick and easy. (Not an ad.)
  • I was in my hotel room and watching the end of UT/OSU and Tech/TCU and forced myself to get to campus and stadium. Go see the Sun Bowl as the sun goes down.  I could always watch it on replay. Oh, my. What games. 
  • UTEP campus: I am really impressed. 
  • Sun Bowl: Holy cow! The place is small but may be one of my favorite stadiums in the history of ever. I had always seen the TV shots of the mountains in the background but they literally surround that place. And the one gap where there aren't mountains is a view of the lights of El Paso twinkling for miles. 
  • I'm not complaining, but I think the crowd had a great segment of overweight women who just happen to be Hispanic and who looked like they had Saturday night off from their stripper job. But I mean no offense
  • Oh, I forgot to mention that you can basically walk up and touch the football teams as they came out of the locker room although there was absolutely no interest in cheering them on by the masses. But one of the weirdest moments was when the visiting team walked out and one UTEP fans yelled, "Hey, Incarnate Word! You suck!"  (If I've ever had a Jim Halpert look on my face, I had one then.)
  • The next morning I left at 6:00 and head 111 miles to Guadalupe Peak. I felt just like Walter White once I saw a speed limit sign of 75 and the road was empty and desolate. (And, like BagOfNothing, I saw at least one old RVs in the desert.) 
  • That is, until I came across a border security checkpoint. It was just me and one guard motioning me to move towards him.  Beside me was a backpack with rope, duct tape, a knife, and zip ties. (Hey, you never know. I've seen 127 Hours.) He just asked one question: "Citizenship?" and looked through the window into my back seat. 
  • I'll say this about hiking to Guadalupe Peak. It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. There is no question that I'd do two half marathons on back to back days before I'd do that again. And I'm leaning towards three. It was steep and hard going. I would keep looking up thinking I was near the top and then walk another 30 minutes only to find a new and higher peak. And even it wouldn't be the top. However, less than 24 hours later, I feel like I do after completing a half marathon -- I've gone from "I'll never do anything like this again" to "I loved every minute of it."  The peak was glorious. 
  • For you hikers: It was 4.2 miles one way with a 3,000 elevation gain. That's pretty tough, right? And I felt like I was gasping for air but, with an elevation of 8,751, it's not exactly Pike's Peak. 
  • Shout out to the greatness of Merrell shoes and a trekking pole.
  • I came across very few people on my way to the top but one was an older couple who was resting. I told them this was harder that I thought. The guy said, "It's a beating." Ticket fan? 
  • And maybe the weirdest experience of my life occurred within 15 minutes of my making it to the top of Texas. Of the six people I saw on my seven hour journey, I saw two people heading down and one was a fat boy with his shirt off singing, "I love a parade!"  I seriously thought I was hallucinating at that point, and I'm still not ruling that out. 
  • Now I want to see Big Bend. Heck, I'd love to go into and camp for two or three days. But I would never do that without someone sitting me down and explaining exactly what to do and what to expect. 
  • The following is from Sunday but it was a Football Miracle.


36 comments:

Andy Stevenson said...

Except for the El Paso part we had identical Saturday itinerary. I'm a Red Raider but I love the A&M band. As I watched the cadets passing the review stand I thought about how young they were. I wonder if Earl Rudder looked that young?

Andy Stevenson said...

Great blog post today BTW.

Anonymous said...

I have made too many trips to count to Big Bend and can provide detailed information regarding the hiking. If fact, I will be happy to help you out with a loaner pack and gear if you need. You will be disappointed if you don't allow at least 5 days (2 travel/3 in the park).

Anonymous said...

Cool story BG sounds like fun. Anyone giving you a hard time about how you spend your money needs to mind their own business.

Anonymous said...

I never understood why JFK had to fly Air Force One a distance of 30-45 miles from Fort Worth all the way to Dallas.

Wouldn't it have been cheaper (for taxpayers) for him to take a helicopter or a limo?

If you think about it, he actually might have avoided that silly downtown Dallas motorcade and lived to see a second term.

Anonymous said...

Please, Barry, don't go alone to camp in Big Bend. I would worry about you. Kudos for the hike up the mountain. I my self don't believe in bucket lists...I take the path as it comes up.

Anonymous said...

http://corps.tamu.edu/corps-units/

Anonymous said...

JFK Memorial crowd photo doesn't load...

Tenzing Norgay said...

You don't have a photo of you at the summit of Guadalupe Peak? Okie dokie.

Anonymous said...

I've got your trekking pole right here, you high-toned sissy foot!

Anonymous said...

`You better watch out on the fat Hispanic comments they got me in a lot trouble.

DF Charles Barkley

Anonymous said...

Kudos on the Guadalupe conquest.
Try this one-I am going to attempt it on Oct 22nd or so on my way down from Medellin and the spine of the Andes- if the good Lord sees to it. It has been rumbling and belching of late.
I always go back to the saying that some unknown author penned.
"The best journeys end up answering questions, that at the onset of the trip you never thought to ask."

http://www.summitpost.org/cotopaxi/150311
Trivia answer--the summit of this one is closest to the Sun then any place on earth.
Inquiring minds would like to know.
Barry maybe you can look up the answer.

I am not Sam, but I love green eggs and ham!

Anonymous said...

How about those Bridgeport Bulls!# Ouch #embarrassing

Anonymous said...

Big Bend is just fine, it's just farther away. You will find that national parks have facilities that aren't as good as our state parks, though (but it doesn't sound like you do a whole lot of camping for comparison). However, there's a store in Big Bend where you can get wifi while doing the laundry after your pay shower. We take a West Texas camping trip once a year, and did Big Bend this summer, as well as Fort Davis, McDonald Observatory, Balmorhea, Hueco Tanks (an absolute must-see), and a few other stops here and there that you should only do once you've been a dozen times or so. Otherwise, stick to the big parks, but if you take the family you'll definitely want to spend some time at Balmorhea and Hueco Tanks. If it's just you and the Mrs., there's no need to camp at Big Bend, even. Just stay at the Gage in Marathon and drive in to do the hikes you want each day. It takes more time, but it's a nice drive and you'll like the views. Plus, the White Buffalo at the Gage serves a very nice margarita. Even then, you'll want to take the trip into Boquillas just for giggles. Go early so you don't get stuck overnight, and take some cash so you can tip the kid they send with you as a guide if you ride a donkey or horse--I suggest a horse, donkeys are bony and awkward. Food isn't great, but you can say you did it. Take your passport.

As for the Merrell shoes, they're good going up because they have plenty of grip, but they are terrible coming down because they have no cushion. Get some trail runners. Nike makes the best ones, but NewBalance has a decent pair too. You need the cushion for the trip down--coming down is always more punishing on the knees than you think it will be.

Of course, the last time I hiked Guadalupe I didn't make it to the top at all. I got stuck in a lightning/hail storm in the last stand of trees before the peak. The day before it was 104 in Big Bend, and the day after it was 103 in Seminole Canyon, but I damn near froze on top of Guadalupe in July, and had to get off the mountain during a break in the storm because more clouds were coming. It can be fun.

Rage

Anonymous said...

Try hiking Glacier Point in Yosemite. I hiked it up and down in one day a few years back, liked to killed me and I was in the best shape of my life. It is still my favorite day hike ever. Also, if you ever get a chance hike around the Linville Gorge in North Carolina...followed by a trip to Asheville NC, then hit multiple day hikes following the Appalachian trail with access from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Also Letchworth in western NY (Grand Canyon of the East) is a bucket list item for fall travel.


CT said...

Great blog posts today.

If anyone gripes about how you spend your time/money, tell them to F off.

Anonymous said...

This is a good place to get general, reliable info on travel in the Big Bend Region. http://www.bigbendtravelguide.com/ I know because I used to live there and supervise the publication of this very travel guide. I think the best time to go to Big Bend weatherwise is Jan/Feb--especially if you can get there for the Big Bend bluebonnets which are bigger and bloom earlier than ours in north central Texas. A nice option instead of camping is staying in one of the old CCC cabins, but they book FAR in advance. If you get out that way, it would be a shame for you to miss seeing McDonald Observatory and Fort Davis NHS. Mt Livermore (site of the observatory) has the highest point on a Texas highway--a companion to your highest peak accomplishment. But remember that Ft Davis is a mile high and the observatory is higher so it will be considerably cooler there.

BU '92
UT '94
TCU TBA

Anonymous said...

So enjoyed your post today! Glad you took Mom's advise & marked some items off your bucket list! Sounds awesome! And a part of the grieving process whether you realize it or not! Proud of you!

I have a few words to you about Big Bend! My circumstances were much different, but I asked God if he would get me out alive, I would never ever go back! Undercover Narcotics operation. Huge investigation of drugs being brought in to our area. There is a place just south f Marathon in which I wondered at the time if God even knew about! It is a living hell when you are running for your life chased by Mexican Cartel Hoodlums with automatic weapons! Mexican Federales are no where to be found & on the payroll! Reminded me of the old western with the Comanches on the hills and the Good Guys in the canyon below! Sitting ducks! God was good and got 3 of us out alive and I have never been so glad to see a place as Marathon Texas in my life! I kept my promise...God got me out and I will never go back! But that was a long time ago... maybe you will fair better?

Anonymous said...

If you ever need advice on hiking the Appalachian Trail, let me know.

DF Mark Sanford

Anonymous said...

Luv the geography of the Sun Bowl. Great place to watch football. And always enjoy a visit to El Paso. Like a whole different part of the world. Just watch yourself in Juarez. Fun for those who are careful.

DF Tony Lama

Anonymous said...

Guadalupe Peak is cool. Hike Big Bend and hike down to the Window and look out but don't fall. Had a friend that played for the Miners. He always complained about the chemical dust that came out of Juarez and settled on the field.

Anonymous said...

Bag of Nothing linked to a Dallas Morning News article which is full of lies. It's interesting how our friends on the left always side with Islamist.

Anonymous said...

Wow,

I never expected the fat Mexican stripper comment from you BG. There may be hope for you yet. Political correctness will be the death of this country. It looks like you are starting to come out of a leftist coma.

Miracles happen!

DF Robert Jeffress

Anonymous said...

How much did the Pope's 6-day visit cost, and WHO paid for it?

Anonymous said...

Shenanigans.

Rage

Anonymous said...

Hey, we like watching college football. Some of those boys are our clients.

DF Fat Mexican Strippers

Anonymous said...

RTG = super hot!
I don't care about the rest of the stuff on here.

Anonymous said...

Sorry 1:25, seemed to be a good article to me. And spot on how Texas schools operate. Some use common sense, while others get bogged down in rule minutiae. And many opportunities for wannabe Napoleons to flex their administrative muscle unfairly.

Don't see any hints of an ISIS disinformation campaign at work in the Dallas Morning News article at all.

DF Julius Truelson

Anonymous said...

@3:18

I hope for the rest of us you don't vote.

Anonymous said...

12:38 wins.

Thank you to everyone else for your entries.

Anonymous said...

I assume latitude and elevation make a difference; but climbing a mountain in the middle of the day can be dangerous due to rapidly changing weather.

DF Sir Edmund Hillary

Anonymous said...

Wow 3:58----

What exactly is wrong with that question? By the way, we're broke to the tune of 19 Trillion dollars and counting because nobody asks that question.

If you vote, by all means stop it. And quit taking food stamps you disgusting tub of lard.

Anonymous said...

BG,

Arkansas drill this past week. Thought you might like it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqhMaLTbmpM&feature=share

It will probably take you to a lot of other drills where they do not march straight.

Jarrin' John

Anonymous said...

If the 80's had called, they would look like Barry Green on the Jayvee team and they would want their foreign policy back. There would be a red line and you could keep your doctor. The entire thing would have been based on a Youtube video.

Anonymous said...

F the Pope!

Anonymous said...

Try to get your hands on Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine from May 2014. Good Big Bend hiking article.