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Road-tripping parallel universes: riding with the wind

Updated: Jan 30


Apologies for the recent lack of posts. I stepped away from constant electronic connectivity for a while in mid January.

A (cancelled due to omicron bah humbug virus) planned trip to Costa Rica was translated into an impulsive (solo) roadtrip through west Texas following the great, grey-green Rio Grande to the Texas Gulf coast.

First bivouac was the former cinnabar mining, now ghost town of Terlingua (population 110) which has been on my to-visit list for a very long time.

In 1984 Wim Wenders made a movie called Paris, Texas. When I left the old country, my dearest friend Robert the Incomparable sat with me in (what was then) Port Elizabeth airport. To my “meet me in Paris…Texas”, he replied along the lines of “better to make it Terlingua, where the opening scenes and first section were filmed.” The librarian filed that detail, and flew (like an eagle), through the night, over the North Pole and apparently set her spirit free in the parallel universe of the new world.

Thirty-five years later, that airport conversation came back, when I found myself working, in the Texas Hill Station period, alongside a person trying to sell a derailed retirement dream in Terlingua.

I saw pictures of a beautiful half finished stone structure on a hilltop. Asking price was a little more expensive than I imagined property in a ghost town should be. And/but it was in Texas.

However I liked the colleague. If she and her partner had wanted to retire in Terlingua, there must be something in the place. The librarian filed Terlingua in a “attend to later” classification. Again.

Mid January, the librarian went back to that file. I found the dot on the map, navigated a way there and spent three nights in Terlingua. Not enough time at all, I was to discover, to explore the ghost town AND Big Bend National Park, for which Terlingua serves as a bedroom community.

My particular bedroom was Electric Ladyland (“have you ever been…”)a retro reproduction vintage travel trailer with an outdoor courtyard perfect for stargazing and lazing. It was a tad cold and pretty cloudy much of the time so neither really happened in this lovely space.

The interior of Electric Ladyland had everything I needed: stove, fridge, shower, toilet, very hot water and a REALLY comfortable bed. Memory foam mattress topper for the win.


Of course the traveling shweshwe yoga mat bag was there.

Electric Ladyland is just one of the options in a gathering of travel trailers undergoing reincarnation as short stay accommodations, spread around a dusty, desert ghost town site.

The Jungle was alongside. I would have continued the Jimi Hendrix theme and called this “Fairytales “ (…butterflies and zebras, fairytales are all she ever thinks about…”) but then I have a junk attic head full of words from poetry and see the world through a lace curtain of lines from long ago songs.

Yellow Submarine hunkers down behind a blue wall. Beautiful desert inspired landscaping is evolving between the accommodation sites, both screening and delighting.

My old friend Larrea Tridentata (creosote bush) was there, because, yes, Terlingua is also in the Chihuahuan Desert.

Opuntia too. I see you.

And yucca.

Obviously this encampment is a work in progress. I like the vision.

I look forward to returning.

Somehow I feel we are not quite done yet, Terlingua and I.

Have you ever been, have you ever been

To Electric Ladyland?

The magic carpet waits for you, so don't you be late

Oh, (I want to show you) the different emotions

(I want to run to) the sounds and motions

Electric woman waits for you and me

So it's time we take a ride

We can cast all of your hang-ups over the seaside

While we fly right over the love-filled sea

Look up ahead, I see the loveland, soon you'll understand Jimi Hendrix 1968 on the Experience album

(I wanna show you)

The angels will spread their wings, spread their wings

(I wanna show you)

Good and evil lay side by side while electric love penetrates the sky Jimi Hendrix 1968 on the Experience album

More explorations of this dusty Chihuahuan Desert ghost town to follow in next post.

Like the sign says, Not like Marfa at all, but definitely a peaceful and excellent base camp for exploring the area around Big Bend National Park.

"Little Wing"


Well, she's walking through the clouds With a circus mind that's running wild Butterflies and Zebras And Moonbeams and fairy tales That's all she ever thinks about Riding with the wind When I'm sad, she comes to me With a thousand smiles she gives to me free It's alright, she says it's alright Take anything you want from me Anything Fly on little wing Jimi Hendrix 1968 on the Experience album

Take anything you want from me.

Anything.




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