December 25, 2008 GMT
Cowhead Christmas

Christmas was drawing near, so we decided to spend it here in Big Bend with our new friends. We hung around the ranch, rode around on the bike, took Chris’ Cadillac out for a little spin, and spent time with Voni and Paul. We left the ranch for a couple of days just before Christmas for a ride out to Marfa and some of the surrounding towns, and had a look around Fort Davis, and even went for a swim in the natural pools of Balmorea, before returning to the Ranch in time for the Christmas eve party at Voni and Paul’s.
The Natural Pools at Balmorea, in the middle of the desert
The road to Marfa

guitars@xmas.jpg The party was great fun, many of Paul and Voni’s mates were also bikers, and they were all really interested in our trip. I made a Christmas Punch, Chris and the Sheriff played their guitars and sang, and in true Christmas tradition, we all ate and drank too much.


Christmas morning, Jacquie and I were woken with breakfast in bed, served by Chris and Sonny. It was ridiculously chilly, our Honeymoon shed constantly whistled with the cold air rushing in from all sides, and the little heater was totally overpowered by the forces of nature.
Nevertheless, the sun shone, and after the coffee clicked in a cleared our fuzzy heads, Jacquie and I set up some empty beer bottles and practised our shooting with Chris’ cowboy guns.
Chris had seen I had a video camera and had asked me if we could make our own mini movie, just for kicks, on the ranch. We decided we would make a little Cowboy Shootout, and Chris went rummaging through his stuff to see if he could get us in a suitable outfit.
We played dress up for a bit, and finally, after the wardrobe was properly raided, Jacquie and I emerged Cowboy’d up to the max. We spent the afternoon running around, guns popping, as Jacquie and Chris took turns in directing and filming the action.
We all had such a laugh making Chris’ movie, and finished the day off with a cowboy bath, before heading out on the bike for a little run around the park in the sunset, bumping into our friend Ara, with his dog, Spirit, out for a ride in their BMW sidecar combo.

The following day, on Boxing Day, we had a visit from the Sheriff.
“I hear you done been shooting guns on this here ranch, and I gotta tell ya, if you gonna shoot in Big Bend, you darn well better come shoot with me, you folks come round my house this afternoon, and we’ll have ourselves a shoot ‘em up, sound good to ya bowy?” said the Sheriff.
With an offer like that, how could we decline? An hour or so later, we were at the Sheriff’s house, looking through some of hi sguns that he kept in a big safe in his garage. He really did have quite a collection, from small bore pistols right through to AR15 assault rifles.
We were invited to “grab a load o’ guns” and help load them in to the Sheriff’s truck, and then we drove round the back of his house and down to his “range”.
Paul and Voni had arrived and when we unloaded some of the guns off the back of the truck, and after a few words of warning from the Sheriff and a few simple instructions, we were blasting away with Glocks, Magnums and rifles.
pikagun.jpgsheriffsgun.jpgGetAttachment-16.jpg We demolished a few plastic bottles and destroyed a couple of targets before heading back up to Ara’s for an early evening stew and to watch the sunset from his patch.

The next few days we spent really exploring the park, which was just magnificent, huge canyons, mountains and rivers, no cars or buildings, it was fantastic. But we had to move on. We easily could have stayed longer in Big Bend with the wonderful people we had met there, but, we still had a lot of country to see, and not much time in which to see it, so , 4 days after Christmas, we headed through Terlingua, and out of Big Bend.

We rode through some more spectacular scenery, and stopped by the banks of a river for a stroll. We were walking back to the bike when we saw our old mate Ara, riding along the road with Spirit.
Ara pulled over and we had a chat, it seemed Ara was heading the same direction as us, so we rode along together to the Mexican bakery at Presidio, where we stopped for some fine cakes fuelling up before we left Ara and headed off on our way westwards once more.

Posted by Dan Shell at December 25, 2008 07:26 AM GMT

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