After leaving the Lonesome Dove Senior RV Park in Del Rio, Texas on Wednesday the 15th, we had a good laugh about a conversation Charlie had with the campground host. While she was getting a cup of coffee for the road, the host replied to Charlie’s pleasantry about their stay by saying “If would be nicer if we were straight.” Not knowing what he referred to, Charlie asked why. He pointed to back of the room and showed how the floor slanted to the rear. “Guess they didn’t have a level when they built this place,” he concluded. Charlie assured him that being straight wasn’t all that important and then she quickly left.
On route to Big Bend we stopped at Seminole Canyon State Park. The limestone cliffs have many overhangs and caves that were used by early Native Americans, who lived in the area for many, many hundreds of years. Several of the caves and overhangs are decorated with pictographs dating back at least 4,000 years. Unfortunately seeing the caves involved a 2 mile hike down into the canyon over steep terrain with numerous uneven steps and the next tour wasn’t until late afternoon, which wouldn’t have given us enough time to get to a campground, even if we could have physically endured the trek. We later met a much younger, more fit man who assured us we were smart not to try the tour as he was completely out of breath and exhausted on the climb up and out of the canyon. Fortunately the Visitor Center had a small but excellent museum portraying the early settlers of the canyon and the history of the region with replicas of the pictographs and an informative film. Neither of us had known of the existence of the Black Seminoles who scouted for the United States Army during the Indian Wars in Texas in the late 1800s. They were promised land for serving but, believe it or not, they were screwed by the government. What a surprise, the U.S. of A. screwing native Americans.
Our next stop was the office of Judge Roy Bean, better known as the hanging judge. He basically ignored the Texas code of law books and used them to start fires. Calling himself the Law west of the Pecos, he made up his own laws based on common sense. Court was held in his saloon and he often suspended it so everyone could have a drink or two or… He threatened lots of people with hanging but only sentenced two to hang, one of whom escaped. The rest were fined and the money went straight into his pocket. It was only after his death that he was known as the hanging judge.
As we left Langtry (named after Lillie Langtry who Bean had a made-up romance with even though he never met her), which wasn’t quite as well preserved as the exhibits and headed to our next stop, it felt like we had travelled so many miles since we entered Texas that we should be at least two states away. But, of course, we were still in Texas heading for Marathon on back roads with almost no traffic.