Midnight in Big Bend

We’re in Big Bend National Park in south Texas up against the Mexican border.  It’s our first night here and we’re a little worried about our electrical system.  We had to buy new batteries in Alpine when we were in Marathon.  They weren’t holding a charge very long or taking a charge while we rolled (that’s the truck’s job).  This begs the question:  is our problem the batteries, or something else that is supposed to re-charge them?  We plead guilty on two counts of battery abuse.  The first was last summer in Yellowstone where we went six days without any kind of electrical hookup.  The second was at the end of our stay in Kentucky when Big Dog turned off our shore power switch with her hinder.  We didn’t notice until the lights got really dim and Kat and I simultaneously realized the odds of us both having a stroke at the exact same moment were pretty slim.


We bet on bad batteries.  We’ll be in Big Bend three nights without any kind of recharge.  Soon we will know.


We had turned in just before 9:00 to save power, and because there’s no radio, TV, cell phone, or internet.  Boredom spawned the proverb “Early to bed, early to rise”.  Otherwise, that’s good stuff for farmers, hunters, and newlyweds, but just plain stupid for modern retirees.


It’s now 1:00 a.m. and despite sleeping well for most of that lapse in time, I am awake for old man reasons.  12 volt batteries can’t power 110 volt night lights, so I felt my way to the latrine.  You may guess from my choice of toilet terms that I am a by-product of the US Army, not Navy or Air Force.  A squid would have been conditioned to use the term “head”.  There is no such term in the Air Force.  They either don’t go, or more plausibly, The Right Stuff just means they don’t talk about it.


Outside it’s pretty damn dark.  The Moon Is Down (not his best novel, by the way).  I’m seeing stars I haven’t seen since that high school fight with Johnny Griffin.  Otherwise I can see very little.   Mostly you listen.  I hear Pink snoring softly inside the AirStream.  It’s an audible but pleasant little snore.  Kat snores very softly, or not at all.  I’m awake and not snoring at this moment.  Were I asleep I would snore something like a chainsaw idling.  Kat insists it sounds more like one sawing through an 18’ live oak log.  Congestion or drinking turn up my volume.  Better stay away from those damn head colds.  Anyway, I’m not snoring now, so “Shut * * Up, Donny!

It’s still dark.  I tried to take a picture of all those stars but the damned flash keeps spoiling the shot.  This means No Pictures in the Dark.  My bad.

4 thoughts on “Midnight in Big Bend

  1. Oh, the joys of insomnia.

    While I do enjoy the quiet and solitude found in the middle of the night, lack of sleep is not fun.

    I use a Jin Shin Jyutsu trick: Hold one or both of the thumbs.

    Sure hope your battery problems get worked out soon.

    I’m sure you and Kat will quickly get to the bottom of it all.

    More adventures of RVing. 🙂

    The term I tend to use most is loo.

    I always enjoy a good literary reference.

    Ha ha. It’s an odd thing to see those stars when knocked out.

    Depending on your camera model, might you be able to get a special lens attachment/filter for such photos?

    West Texas. What is it like now?

    Many moons ago, I did a number drives from New Orleans to California.

    My preferred routine was to drive up to Shreveport, where I knew of a safe place I could park, and sleep in my car. (This was a long time ago, when I was driving on a shoestring budget, and lots of caffeine.)

    After a good rest, I would strive to drive through all of Texas, stopping only for gas, snacks, coffee, and breaks for the loo.

    At a certain point, there was actually a sign that read “Last Stop for Gas” for x number of miles.

    The exact name of the place is long forgotten now, but it was around the end of central, start of western Texas.

    If one did not fill up then (and also wisely have some portable gas cans in the car), running out of gas in the very middle of nowhere was a real threat.

    Those remote parts of Texas were by far my favorite in the state. At that time, it was mostly undeveloped, wild land, and it was gorgeous.

    I also liked the fact that there were few people around to hassle me in any way, and I could begin to relax more, enjoy the driving.

    This was many decades ago, and I’m sure lots of things have changed.

    At the same time, in reading some of your other posts about Texas, certain things remain the same.

    Those are some of the things I meant to avoid in my way of driving through Texas. 🙂

    Whatever is next on your agenda, I hope it involves no problems of any kind, and lots of sound sleep for all. 😀



    1. I concentrate on the sound of my breathing. It’s boring, like counting sheep, but you don’t have to use any brain function to listen, and thinking might otherwise keep one awake.

      Texans love Texas which tends to keep them here, which is a good thing for politics in the rest of the world. You could electrocute people for shoplifting or being a welfare cheat, but that’s an idea that has so far not surfaced in Tejas. Still, such a stance could get someone who proposes it elected Governor. We are all entitled to a voice in how our states are run, but Texas is caught in a time-warp where all public policy depends upon the stick, never mind the carrot.

      It’s a big state, and we should only worry when it goes purple, which will happen pretty soon if the GOP doesn’t do something to befriend the Hispanics. Texas politics is already a contact sport, going purple could make it a blood sport.


  2. Darn it. I figured out why my links are being stripped out here, and yet I did it again just now.

    Out of habit, in e-mail, etc., I enclose links in the “greater than” and “less than” keys to keep them from being separated.

    That does not work on a blog like this because of HTML coding, or so I’m guessing.

    Here are the two links I had put in the above comment.

    Re loo:


    Re a good literary reference:




    1. Lord have mercy on me: I don’t know beans about HTML code or in non-algebraic settings. Should I go bowling or shoot myself?



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s