Q takes us from Lost Maples to Seminole Canyon. The drive begins through TX hill country and gradually morphs into desert. The hill country roads are curvaceous and sometimes steep - or have steep drop offs to the side of the road.
Deer or antelope alongside the road? It is hard to tell from Q. We drive into Seminole Canyon State Park and see a big jackrabbit running through the campground. We're a little sad that the guided tours of the petroglyphs occurs only Wed-Sun, and hikers are not allowed without a guide. However, it is a stunning sunset. The beauty of the place is enough to bring us back again. It is 20 degrees outside and 32.5 degrees inside Q. The little heater rapidly brings the inside temp to toasty.
On the drive to Big Bend National Park, we find a grocery store in Del Rio. Alex sings "Take me to the River". Del Rio seems to have a healthy sort of prosperity - not wealth, but doing well. There are border checks on roads going into and out of town. At some, the agents want to open Q's back doors. Others just wave us through with the question, "Anyone in the back?"
Our solar resources are sufficient to recharge both the camera battery and the iPad, and to run the refrigerator & lights when we stop.
We stop in Sanderson for fuel and gain some good info at the chamber of commerce/museum. The museum docent mentions that we should be sure to stop by the gas station in Marathon to get gorditas. He's right, they are delicious. He also shows us his Christmas cards featuring a javelina wearing a Santa hat. The javelina is a pet of a Sanderson resident who rescued him.
We test some Lone Star to get a better sense of the local population and culture. The only grocery store in this artist-colony town is the French Grocery. There is free wi-fi but it is pokey so after an attempt at posting the blog we opt to wait for another opportunity.
We enter Big Bend National Park by way of Persimmon Gap and get permits for Ernst Teneja and Ocotillo Grove (ET 1 and OG 1 in the photos). Both are primitive backcountry sites that can be easily reached by Q without use of 4-wheel drive option.