Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Awning is UP!


Jeff Davis County Library Terrace Project
The awning is up!
We recently received a note and an update from our friends at the Jeff Davis County Library about their awning project...this project was a grant recipient in the Texas Historical Commission's Heritage Tourism Partnership Grant program, as its purpose was to create a 24 hour public space for residents and tourists alike....a quiet place for folks to enjoy and relax.
 
From the Friends of Jeff Davis County Library: 

"We are not talking about a field goal on the football field, we are talking about another goal -- the awning over the Library Terrace in Fort Davis. This project has identified some significant historical artifacts and preserved them. It will provide the residents of and visitors to Jeff Davis County a pleasant, welcoming, outdoor seating area and local area historical information in a permanent kiosk, as well as WIFI access 24 hours a day, every day. Please come by and see the progress we have made through your donations.
An early photo of the building showing the awning in use

As the construction phases near completion, additional funding is required to purchase the period-look furniture and planters. Your 100% tax-deductible donation to this project is a perfect, perpetual way to honor your love of libraries and books, your support of education, a wedding or anniversary, the memory of a loved one, a special family occasion, a birthday, or a new graduate. Please send your check to "Friends JDC Library, PO Box 425, Fort Davis, TX 79734," or use your Paypal or credit card online at http://friendsjdcl.org/support/. All donations will be gratefully accepted and acknowledged."
In 1908, Whitaker Keesey and his brother Otis sold their business
to a group of stockholders at which time it became known
as the “Union Trading Company.” It had merchandise
that included ammunition, guns, windmills, coffins, lumber,
and hardware. The Union complex contained a general
store, stable, post office, gentleman’s club with bar,
machine shop and feed store, and had the first electric
company and telephone exchange in this area,
becoming the largest mercantile in the Trans-­‐Pecos and Big Bend.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Great Silence by Beau Peyton

We received this lovely email and photo on Sunday...thanks, Beau!

"Love your sites, especially your "mountain trail" blog with the photos. Here's a picture I took in April of 2010, if you're interested. There'd been a good amount of rain that spring, so the ocotillo was really magnificent. Penned the poem in the Starlight…"

Beau Peyton
Germantown, TN

------------------------

The Great Silence

beneath
ancient monoliths bronzed
standing firm
on
waves of sultry sand
softly shifting
beside
fiery ocotillo
stretching sunward
faint sounds
like gentle notes in a song
punctuate
the grand silence
the immensity of space

Monday, October 29, 2012

What does the Texas Mountain Trail do? Please Join Us!

What does the Texas Mountain Trail do, and how can you get involved?  Watch the video above (produced by our wonderful friend, Dave of DAKVideo of Abilene!) to learn more.

This morning, our Executive Director, Beth Nobles and Board Member, Randall Kinzie appear on Marfa Public Radio's "Talk at 10" to showcae our work--how we connect travelers with their own adventure in Far West Texas, and benefit the economies of our communities in the process.  You can listen online here:  www.marfapublicradio.org

We're getting ready for a the full launch of our membership program, the first-ever for our organization.  You can get an early JUMP on it by sending in your membership support.  Click here to learn more about our benefit levels! 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Glimpse at Early Commerce

Click on the photo for a closer view

Though the photo is a bit damaged, click on the image above to catch a glimpse of an early store in Van Horn.  We're not sure of the date, but the store seems simple and straightfoward.  If you visit the Clark Hotel Museum in Van Horn, you'll see a similar structure--that building is a block wide, as this one appears to be.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Are you staying warm, traveler?

Now that cool fall temps upon us today (but we'll have hot days yet again this fall!) we thought we'd show you some pics from the Clark Hotel Museum in Van Horn that speak to travelers' experiences in the past.  Upstairs there are rooms made up as old hotel rooms where we found old quilts and a sign about using a gas stove for heat. 

These photos were taken by our intern this summer, Van Horn native Dan Baeza, who also created the museum's website, and these lovely images.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Last night's moon

We have the darkest, clearest, beautiful night skies!  Many thanks to our friend, Monte Riggs of Marfa for this lovely image of last night's moon!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Going back to 1875: Magoffin Home

The beautiful adobe Magoffin Home in El Paso is a great place to get a sense of early city life in our region.  As our entry on the Texas Mountain Trail website reads:

"The 1.5-acre site offers a glimpse of the past as visitors explore its lovely grounds and renovated rooms. The historical significance of the home lies in its unique architecture and in the history of the Magoffins and their descendants who lived in the home for more than 100 years. A multicultural family, they were active and influential participants in their community, served during military conflicts and witnessed important historic events. Their home is a prime example of Territorial style architecture and features a center courtyard and peaceful landscape. Numerous authentic artifacts including furniture, textiles, photographs, art and documents are on display in the home. These are supplemented with period pieces to give a more complete view of what the home looked like in different time periods."

The holiday season can be a great time to visit the Magoffin Home.  Right now, they're getting ready for their annual candlelight tours!  Click here for more information on those!


From our event listing:  "Enjoy this special living history event and tour the Magoffin Home by candlelight. Step back in time and experience what life may have been like in 1895. Meet Joseph and Octavia Magoffin, their children and extended family as they prepare for a life changing event! After your tour, enjoy refreshments and hear tales of spirits. This is a night you won’t forget!
Tickets are limited and go on sale October 2nd at the Magoffin Home. The event is sponsored by the Casa Magoffin CompaƱeros. All proceeds go to support the preservation of the Home."

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Visitor Photos of Fall Color!

McKittrick Canyon in late September
by Jim Mackey of Houston
One of the highlights of visiting our region this time of year is the the true fall color in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, and we're eager to hear your experiences on the trail.  Our friend, Jim Mackey of Houston took some pics on his trip to the park in late September, when color was JUST beginning to show.

Fall color by Jim Mackey
First up, the start of color on McKittrick Canyon Trail, one of the trails in the Peak Fitness Challenge and a Texas Mountain Trail Heritage Hike.

McKittrick's history:  "McKittrick Canyon is thought to be named after one of the first settlers to stay in the area, Felix McKittrick, who worked cattle in the area in the 1870’s. Distinguished oilman and geologist Wallace Pratt was taken by the beauty and geology of McKittrick Canyon, when he first visited the area in 1921. He built a cabin of local stone in 1930, at the junction of north and south McKittrick Canyons, and used it as a summer home until 1960. Wallace E. Pratt donated nearly 6,000 acres, which included McKittrick Canyon, to the National Park Service, forming the core of the Guadalupe Mountains National Park."

Click here to read more about McKittrick Canyon!

The peak of color is usually late October through early November; plan to visit Guadalupe Mountains National Park soon!  Thanks for the photos, Jim!

Upcoming guided hikes in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, here!  (Including hikes THIS weekend!)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A ride to imagine....

There's a GREAT story hanging aloft the main exhibition hall of the Museum of the Big Bend in Alpine.  The Museum's Historian/Curator, Matt Walter, tells us:

"In 1892, F. P. INGERSON rode that bicycle from Sycamore, Ohio, out to Barstow, Texas. There, he married a Miss Carson, a schoolteacher in Pecos, TX. She is the one who donated the bicycle to the museum, in 1938. It’s an EXPERT COLUMBIA, made by the POPE MANUFACTURING COMPANY of Boston, MA. These bicycles were nicknamed “Pennyfarthings” because of the size difference between two English coins, the penny and the farthing."

Mapquest tellls us that's a journey of 1,500 miles...in a car, they estimate it would take 23 hours today.  What do you think the journey was like for Mr. Ingerson?  We understand that since he was a carpenter, he carried his tools on his bike, so he could work with him for his journey....that would have been quite the load!

Our thanks to Matt and to the entire staff of the Museum of the Big Bend, who are terrific friends and supporters of our Texas Mountain Trail organization.  The Museum is one of the best small museums you'll find anywhere.  Plan a trip there soon!

Monday, October 22, 2012

What Fun! Wheels for Meals!

Earlier this month, one of the neatest cycling events in our region took place, the Wheels for Meals ride for the Food Pantry of Jeff Davis County.  (Hint:  Next year's ride will be Saturday, October 5th...will you take part?)

Here's the report from the Food Pantry about this year's ride...sounds like GREAT FUN!!

"On Saturday, October 6th, at 8:00 a.m., thirty-five people and their bicycles lined up in front of the Food Pantry of Jeff Davis County to ride to Valentine and back, an 88 mile ride! While a few only rode to Valentine, and another group rode fewer miles than that, many of the riders did the entire distance. ALL of the riders raised funds to support the Pantry’s efforts to provide supplemental food to 20% of our county’s residents. The bike ride brought in donations over $32,000, including sponsorships from many local businesses and individuals, far exceeding expectations.
Over 40 volunteers manned the “Pit Stops”, placed about 15 miles apart, providing the cyclists needed respite, snacks, water and Gatorade. The Valentine lunch stop volunteers, led by Sul Ross Theatre director, Dona Roman, greeted the riders in costume and played Halloween-themed music to which the riders enthusiastically danced while chowing down on PBJ sandwiches and Maria Grubbs’ famous deviled eggs.
At the end of the day, riders, volunteers, sponsors and guests were invited to the fabulous annual post-ride cook-out at Rick Herrman’s and Margaret O’Donnell’s home, where riders were rewarded with their “collectible ride dog tags” and all were treated to dishes from some of the best cooks in the area!
The Food Pantry of Jeff Davis County also provides lunch food for the children of these families since the schools have no lunch program. Food is becoming more costly and less available. The monies raised will make a great difference in the Pantry’s ability to continue its food programs. It took 35 riders, 46 volunteers and 28 generous sponsors to help make this the most successful event ever for the Food Pantry of Jeff Davis County.
To find out more about the Food Pantry and how you can become involved with next year’s Wheels for Meals go to www.foodpantry-jdc.org"

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mariscal Mine View

Here's another image from the wonderful 2013 Big Bend Calendar our friend, Derrick Birdsall is selling to celebrate both Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park, AND send a portion of the profits back to our own Texas Mountain Trail!  (See yesterday's post!)

Mariscal Mine is in a remote and scenic part of Big Bend Ranch State Park, and not only provides a scenic vista of the entire area, but an insight into the human and mining history of the region.  To read more about that history, click here!

Link to the calendar is here.

Derrick's photography blog is here.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Big Bend Every Day of the Year

Our Texas Mountain Trail organization has GREAT friends, TERRIFIC friends, TALENTED friends!  Among them is a frequent contributor to this blog, Derrick Birdsall.  Derrick recently contacted us with an idea:  he wanted to produce a 2013 Big Bend area calendar for the holiday season and he wanted to share a (generous) portion of the profit from sales with Texas Mountain Trail!  We were thrilled! 

Today's Daily Photo entry is an image from that very calendar!  Would you like to browse through the other images...and perhaps purchase a copy or two for your holiday shopping?  Follow this link!  (We'll show other images from the calendar in coming days!)

From Derrick:

"I can't say enough about the benefit of the Texas Mountain Trail to travelers to a fantastic part of the state. Let's face it, Texas is HUGE. If Texas were tiny like those little east coast states, we wouldn't have need of things like the Regional Trail system. However, as we all know, Texas is huge. What that means is that someone like myself, from north Texas, up in the DFW area,doesn't have the local knowledge that can make or break a hard earned vacation.

As it is, I have received help from the TMT on lodging, travel and eating options and I have yet to be let down. The fine folks at the TMT help me to ensure that my well deserved breaks from a hectic work life are relaxed and stress free - and you just can't place a value on that!!

In addition, I have had two occasions in the past six months to travel to the region on business, to show folks from out of town all that the area has to offer. Once again, the TMT was able to assist in planning and lodging - allowing me to show visitors such a wonderful part of our state."


There are 13 images in the calendar in all....one for each month, plus a bonus!  All from our beautiful Texas Mountain Trail region....enjoy!  And big big BIG thanks to Derrick for supporting Texas Mountain Trail!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Thinking About the Holidays Already?

Every year, Van Horn puts on a wonderful holiday event, the Lighted Christmas Parade.  This year's event will be December 1 on Broadway, the main street in Van Horn.
The entire community comes out to work on a float or line the street cheering the participants.

Put December 1st on your calendar for one of the most charming small-town holiday events anywhere!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

One Day of Marfa Sky

Dawn looking east
Sunset looking west
We've been enjoying pretty spectacular skies lately, and yesterday, one of our terrific volunteers, Monte Riggs, captured greatness at sunrise AND sunset.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Getting there by wagon

click on the photo for a closer view

Another image of early life in the region from the Clark Hotel Museum in Van Horn

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Terlingua Ghosttown's Starlight Theatre

 When we head down to Big Bend National Park, we try to work in dinner at the Starlight Theatre in Terlingua Ghost Town.  The building was the performance hall for this mining community in the 1930s, the Starlight now has a fine menu and often live music and performances.
 
 
From our Texas Mountain Trail website, on Terlingua:

"Originally a small Mexican village on the banks of Terlingua Creek three miles above the creek’s confluence with the Rio Grande River, Terlingua changed rather quickly in the late 1800s due to the discovery of quicksilver. Quicksilver, or mercury, is a rare element occurring in the Earth’s crust and may be derived rather simply by heating its host ore – cinnabar. Quicksilver often occurs in environments once highly volatile like the volcanic country comprising the mountains around Terlingua. Its use was at one time particularly prevalent in medical and scientific instrumentation, making its Terlingua source the conduit to prosperity for this community during the early part of the 1900s.



The Chisos Mining Company provided employment for hundreds of mine workers, many who occupied the simple, stacked rock structures that still stand in the Terlingua area today. Quicksilver mining peaked by the end of World War I but it didn’t spell the end for this desert community. Today, much of the original buildings are filled with saloons, eateries, and small shops and many of the tiny rock structures have been restored and stabilized and serve as private residences for Big Bend’s desert dwellers. The entire collection of structures and ruins constitutes the town’s own historic district, earning it a National Register listing. Outdoor outfitters, specializing in mountain biking and river rafting, dominate the community character and the annual Terlingua Chili Cook-off, a not-to-be-missed pilgrimage for many Texans each November, never fails to raise a crowd."

Click on the photo for a closer view
of Stonewear Designs, Rockin Capri
and Jacket and Lynx Pullover!

How to get there?  Head west from Terlingua/Study Butte (those two towns are intertwined so much it is hard to tell where one ends and the other begins) on the River Road, Hwy 170.  About five miles west of the intersection of Hwys 170 and 118, turn right at the sign for the Ghost Town.  Here's a map from our friends at Visit Big Bend, with a list of businesses in the area.

We send thanks to our friends at Stonewear Designs for letting us try out some of their activewear, which doubles as terrific travel clothes...perfect for relaxed destinations, such as Terlingua!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cinco Tinajas after a Rain

Click on the photos for a closer view!
Photos by Monte Riggs
Just a short drive from Sauceda Ranch in the center of Big Bend Ranch State Park, along the main road is the Cinco Tinajas trail.  Lately the park has had some good rain, and yesterday, the tinajas had water! 

What's a tinaja?  Here's the Wikipedia definition:

"Tinaja is a term used in the American Southwest for water pockets formed in bedrock depressions that occur below waterfalls or are carved out by spring flow or seepage. Tinajas are important sources of surface water storage in these arid environments. These relatively rare landforms are important ecologically because they support unique plant communities and provide important services to terrestrial wildlife."

Want to find the trail yourself?  Here's a link to a map of the park, and the trailhead is noted just to the left of Sauceda Ranch.

The park's interpretive guide also talks about the importance of water to wildlife.  Download the two page guide here.

 Thanks to Monte Riggs for sharing his photographs!  Looks like it was a perfect day for a hike yesterday!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

An Early Meet-up Hiking Group, Perhaps?

Click on the photo for a closer view!
We love this photo of a group of hikers from early Van Horn and the collection of the Clark Hotel Museum.

If you'd like to join a Meet-Up group and hike with others, you CAN do it!

Here's the Meet-Up group for Guadalupe Mountains National Park!
Here's the Meet-Up group for El Paso hiking!

Both groups organize hikes for our Peak Fitness Challenge, a free and fun program that awards prizes for getting out on the trail!  You can hike on your own, or as part of an organized outing...either way works!

We also encourage folks to check out the wonderful Celebration of our Mountains in El Paso, a great way to explore all that is great about our region! 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Salt Flat and the Salt War

Guadalupe Peak and El Capitan of
Guadalupe Mountains National Park as seen from the west
 
Approach Guadalupe Mountains National Park and a vast area of white covers the landscape.  This is salt, left over from an ancient sea that covered the area.  Because of salt's importance, it was considered sacred to Native American tribes, including the Apache and Tigua Indians of the area.  It was used to tan animal hides and in food as a condiment and preservative.

From the park's website:

"In 1692, Diego de Vargas led an expedition in search of salt deposits in and around the
Guadalupe Mountains. An Apache prisoner led de Vargas and approximately 20 Spanish soldiers from Socorro, through the Hueco Mountains, eventually arriving at the base of the Guadalupes after a four day trek across the desert. After discovering the salt beds, de Vargas collected a sample of the salt and returned to New Spain (Mexico). This expedition helped pave the way for future Spanish expeditions to the Guadalupes."


Over time, people traveled long distances to harvest the salt,

"Mexicans and Mexican Americans from the El Paso Valley communities would make a 70 mile, two day journey from San Elizario to the salt beds. The salt would then be transported by mule drawn wagons south to Chihuahua and Sonora, where it was an important trade item. In addition to traditional uses, in Chihuahua the salt was used in the smelting of silver.

Prior to 1848, the salt beds, under Spanish law, were common land not owned by any one individual. After 1848, under American law, these were unclaimed lands, available to anyone who filed there. The Mexicans, believing that everybody had the right to the salt, never thought to file claims to the salt beds in the name of any one individual or group."

Which led to the El Paso Salt War:

The El Paso Salt War began in the late 1860’s as a struggle between El Paso businessmen W.W. Mills, Albert J. Fountain, and Louis Cardis in an attempt to acquire title to the salt deposits near the base of the Guadalupe Mountains. Mexican Americans of the valley communities, who had for years collected salt there for free, were now faced with the threat of being charged salt collection fees.

For the rest of the story, click here....

There's a hike in the park with great views of the Salt Flat and of El Capitan.  The Salt Basin Overlook is part of the free and fun Peak Fitness Challenge.  To see the trail's page on the Challenge website, click here.  Join the Challenge and join the fun, and learn about our Texas Heritage at the same time!

Friday, October 12, 2012

El Capitan to El Capitan Heritage Bike Route

1910 photo of the R.P. Bean Ranch along the route
The historic and completely restored Hotel El Capitan in
Van Horn, at the start of the bike route
Now, back online after a brief hiatus as we upgraded our website, the "El Capitan to El Capitan Heritage Bike Route," connecting Guadalupe Mountains National Park to Van Horn. 

This route is great for cycling, motorcycling and driving, too!


El Capitan in Guadalupe Mountains National Park
At the end of the bike route
Fifty-five miles of unspoiled frontier and mountain scenery past historic ranches, important battlefields, by stagecoach routes, near salt flats....this ride is on smooth road rarely traveled by others.  No traffic!

Click here to see more photos and details on this heritage bike route in Far West Texas!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Early El Paso

McGinty Gardens around 1890-1900
Photo from the El Paso County Historical Society
Click on the photo for a closer view!  We'd love to take a stroll in this park, wouldn't you?

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Friends of Big Bend National Park doing great work!


Back on National Public Lands Day, we were happy to take part in the Friends of Big Bend National Park's work projects down by Rio Grande Village.  Our task involved clearing disturbed land--an old agricultural area--so a more natural habitat could be reestablished.
 
Park Biologist Raymond Skiles explains the work ahead
Friends of Big Bend National Park work on clearing land
and getting rid of unwanted vegetation
 
From the Friends of Big Bend National Park:

"This project will restore Rio Grande riparian bird habitat to a five-acre disturbed site near the Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park. Agricultural-era earthen berms constructed prior to park establishment that alter natural surface and ground water conditions will be removed, natural soil contours will be reestablished, and native riparian vegetation, including cottonwoods and willows will be established on the five-acre site. Riparian bird species native to the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico will find valuable habitat at the site following restoration. The site is adjacent to the popular Rio Grande Village campground, thus birdwatchers will find the site particularly valuable and accessible. Additionally, restoration of hydrologic conditions benefits the federally endangered Big Bend mosquitofish by restoring natural surface and groundwater dynamics to the site, which is just upstream of wetlands containing the fish. "

 
Scientists were on hand to show
work day participants the tiny Big Bend
mosquitofish
It was a terrific day with terrific people, and it felt great to help the park.  The Friends of Big Bend National Park welcomes new members...please consider joining.  And next year, do yourself a favor and volunteer on National Public Lands Day for more (muddy) fun!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Color on Big Bend's Lost Mine Trail

Last weekend, we spent some time in the Chisos Basin of Big Bend National Park, and with all the rain we've been having, there were flowers -- many flowers -- along the trail.  The startingly blue sky set off the colors perfectly! 

Here are the trail details from the park's website:

"Lost Mine Trail
Difficulty: Moderate; Distance: 4.8 miles round trip
Begin at mile 5.1 on the Basin Road, limited parking

This trail serves as an outstanding introduction the flora and fauna of the Chisos Mountains. With limited time, hike to marker 10 (about 1 mile), where a saddle offers stunning views of Casa Grande and Juniper Canyon. The remainder of the trail climbs steeply in and out of juniper, oak, and pine forest. The trail abruptly levels out at the ridge with superb views of Pine Canyon and the Sierra del Carmen in Mexico. A brochure is available at the trailhead."

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Yesterday, the Guadalupe Mountains in a Cloud

click on the photo to get a closer view!
Yesterday, we had the great pleasure to visit Guadalupe Mountains National Park and participate in their 40th anniversary party.  The weather to the west of the park was clear, and atop Guadalupe Peak it was clear, but much of the park was in a dense cloud.  You can see that cloud off to the right of this picture!  Fog and chilly weather, unlike the weather we're accustomed to this time of year didn't seem to dampen the festivities.  These mountains are beautiful always! 

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Early Van Horn

Click on the photo for a closer view
Another great image of early life in Van Horn from the collection of the Clark Hotel Museum.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Painter/Cyclist Carola Locke and our Texas Mountains

Carola Locke at Fort Davis' Indian Lodge
Through friends, we met painter/cyclist Carola Locke who's impressed us with her story as well as her startingly realistic works about cycling...take a look!


"36 Trinity" by Carola Locke

"My grandparents lived in Midland and we would visit every year. Well, as there is almost nothing to do other than look at a crater and go to an oil museum in Midland/Odessa, they would take us on road trips to Balmorhea, Carlesbad, and especially, McDonald Observatory. As we were traveling with senior citizens when we would go to the observatory, we would just tour it and then leave. I always wanted to hike the trails and scramble on the big rocks, but we never had the time. As a kid I loved visiting these areas, but as an adult could never remember quite where anything was. So, I told my husband about these lovely mountains somewhere my grandparents had taken me long ago, but I never thought I'd see them again."

Why do I ride?

"My husband did it. I had ridden a bit as a child, but never even considered it as an adult. It was one of those "impossible" things that gifted athletes did. However, shortly after being married, my husband found me an old steal road bike, rebuilt it, and gave it to me. I fearfully started riding it, but soon enough remembered what to do, and was thrilled with the rush and freedom which riding invokes. That was about 10yrs ago. Riding a bike, whether for exercise, to commute, for socialization, or for therapy, has encouraged me to tackle fears which, otherwise, I never would have been brave enough to encounter. Riding has taught me to pace myself in life, and not to expect instant results. It has helped me learn that like riding up a hill, sometimes everything sucks, but it is only for a time; you will eventually fly down the other side.

"The Guru" by Carola Locke
Now flash forward to 2006. My hubby decides to go to some ride called Cyclefest with one of his buddies. When he returns to Fort Worth from the ride he tells me "Pack up! I'm taking you and the kids to the mountains!" So we drove out there. Let me tell you, when I realized where we were, my joy knew no bounds. We camped at the state park and I hiked, and hiked, and hiked. The kids love it. I loved it. We love the cactus, the rocks, tarantulas, the cool ants that trample the grass. The next year my husband and I came out together to ride Cyclefest, and while it is the hardest ride I've done yet, it is also my favorite. The clean air and clear night sky, being able to see for miles, this area is my favorite in Texas. I've ridden the 75m route three times now, and hope to ride it many more times. (I rode it last in 2011. We were there last September, but I opted to spend the wet day hiking instead of on the bike.)"

Now to the art:

"Calf, de calf"
by Carola Locke
"About 10yrs ago (oddly the same time I began riding), I picked up a paintbrush and began trying to hone my skills. I painted a lot of people, beer, and nature themed pieces, but it wasn't until three years ago that I found my niche in painting bikes and their riders. The first piece I tried, "The Guru", floored me with how well it turned out. Usually, when I finish a painting I stand back and am amazed. It doesn't even feel like I painted them sometimes. I began showing my work 2yrs ago. I love watching people enjoy the work I've done. Art allows me to meet people and travel and connect. As I meet cyclists at events I am flooded with new ideas and inspiration. Sometimes, I'll be at a ride and see a really neat bike and will walk up and say "I don't know you, but you have a great bike. Can I photograph it and paint it?" Let me tell you, that's a great way to make a new friend! There is much truth to the term "starving artist", as it is a difficult field to make a name in, but I consider myself lucky that I've managed to incorporate my gift (painting) with my passion (cycling). If I make money at an event, great, but if I leave having talked to other cyclists and gained new inspiration, that is often better.

At this time my cycling paintings are exclusively displayed at Knobbies and Slicks in Colleyville, TX. It's website is http://www.knobbiesandslicks.com/ My website is www.artistcarolalocke.com My email is artist@artistcarolalocke.com I have 2013 calendars available and prints of most of my paintings. Most of the originals are for sale as well. Also, I am on Facebook at facebook.com/artistcarolalocke "
"Chain Gang" by Carola Locke
 Did you hear that?  2013 Calendars!  Sounds like a holiday gift idea to us!  Thanks to Carola for sharing her story of her love for our mountains as well as her wonderful paintings!