Thursday started off as a perfectly beautiful Far West Texas day…
No, no, not in a covered wagon. In my new Mini Cooper.
Leaving behind the tranquility of La Posada Milagro in Terlingua, I followed the Rio Grande River toward the Chinati Hot Springs, driving deeper and deeper into the Chihuahuan Desert.
During the two hour journey to the Tex-Mex border, afternoon thunderstorms descended on the region, swelling the arroyos and flooding the road.
Could I cross this newly formed river in the Mini? Yeah, right.At this point, with my two-hour drive halted only seven miles from the hot springs, I got out of the car to snap a few photos and let the dogs out for a pee. In these few minutes the road I had just traveled flooded behind me, blocking my return.
Luckily, there was a house nearby…
Well, that’s what it used to look like 100 years ago. This is what it looks like now:
The place used to be a cantina. Could it be, perhaps, a future pie shop? Why yes, if you managed your expectations accordingly. With a population of 12, this “town” at the end of the road — and I do mean END, just look on a map — you wouldn’t be selling more than a pie a week.
The owner, Mattie (pictured below), offered me shelter to wait out the rain. As we sat on the front porch, drips of water falling from the edges of the tin roof, she told me of her recent purchase of 400 cactus-covered acres and the adobe house/bar/chapel complex. She moved from Austin to Ruidosa, she said, in search of a simpler way of life. If you define “simple” as shooing rattlesnakes out from under your washing machine, shaking Black Widow spiders out of your bed sheets, and residing 300 miles from the nearest Starbucks, not to mention 40 minutes from the nearest grocery store, then Mattie has found it.
By morning the sky cleared, the flooding subsided, so I bid my farewell to my kind host and this beautiful corner of the world. I hope to return one day and find Mattie still there, blissfully happy, with the cantina open for business and serving up pie. At the very least she’ll still be rescuing Mini drivers like me.