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Lonestar Beer is for Tourists - Part Two

The National Beer of Texas? -- ummmmmm, no.

These days you can’t take much at face value or at least it seems that way.  That nice lady with cancer in Nigeria that emailed you really doesn’t need your help getting that US $35 million out of the country.  Lone Star is now owned by Pabst Brewing and they haven’t brewed it in San Antone since 2000.  Get my drift?  Smoke and mirrors.  Talk and lies.

Terlingua is chock full of its’ own challenges.  First, it seems purchasing the land in the first place can be problematic.   The land is cheap – less than $500 per acre is not uncommon at all.  Many people are lured by ads saying stuff like “If you love the outdoors and nature, West Texas offers you some of the finest fishing, camping, and hunting land for sale in the country. Being incredibly scenic, West Texas and the Big Bend Area is often a tourist stop, with tens of millions of visitors to its parks every year. You don’t have to just visit, you can live here and enjoy the thriving Texas economy and vacation-like lifestyle!”  A little embellishment here and  some half-truths there and the next thing you know, you have bought a piece of land over the internet sight unseen.

Miss K and I have been following the Terlingua goings-on via various blogs and online forums for over two years now.  We have read the stories about people venturing out to their property for the first time and spending days just locating their little corner of paradise.   One lady located her property, she could see it but spent days trying to figure out how to cross the various draws and canyons to actually get on the property.  She never did figure it out.

Big Bend- It really is this spectacular

I keep an eye on property for sale  in the same area where our property lies.  Bargains are to be had if you just keep looking and I would not be adverse to adding a few more acres.  An ad came up on  eBay this week for 20 acres within a half mile of our current location and it was a no reserve auction…. but it just did not read quite right. The ad insisted the only means of communication was through eBay- no phone numbers, no outside email addresses and no physical business address would be shared.  This ad also had a particularly long section regarding arbitration of any problems.

All the red flags were waving and the alarms were jangling so I fired off an eBay communique.  “Does this property have any unsatisfied liens, assessments or taxes?  Is the auction for 100% interest in the parcel listed?”    The reply came some hours laterNo liens, past taxes or otherwise. This is for “1/4” “recreational acreage” for related use on all 20 acres. ”   Hmmmm, seems you were only buying 1/4 interest in the 20 acre ‘recreational’ property.  No where in the ad was this mentioned so I reckon someone is in for a big surprise.  I reported it to eBay but 24 hours later, the ad is still active. To be on the safe side, I sure would recommend a boots on the ground approach if you think you might like some land out that way.  That is what we did.

Sometime last year a new internet forum came online about Terlingua.  The guy that started it was in his late forties and kinda followed the Terlingua Dream template.  He was looking for an escape of the madness in Houston and Terlingua seemed to fit the bill.  In due time, a trip was scheduled and just as he hoped, he fell in love with the area.  In one short weekend,  he bought a small acreage and set his future plans.  I followed his progress on the forum as he returned to Houston and openly discussed his plans for the move to Terlingua.  As often happens, funds were short and he was overly anxious;  he would be moving to Terlingua on a perilous meager shoestring budget.  Real life is always more interesting than the most original work of fiction. 

2 months went by and the Houston emigre was finally on the road to Terlingua.  A  small economy car of questionable utility packed with worldly belongings and a basic tent camping kit was about it.  A few hundred bucks to fuel the dream rounded out the package.  The plan was to tent camp until some basic hard shelter could be built;  our man thought 3 weeks to accomplish that task was reasonable.

January in the Big Bend area can get pretty tough.  The weather is liable to change on a dime and that High Desert gets cold at night–especially if the wind is blowing.   I checked into the forum daily to see how Mr. Man was doing as he forged ahead.  He was in for some hard core boondocking and I knew it.  It was obvious from his posts that it was not all peachy keen.  Sleeping on hard ground with a cold wind blowing at night is a miserable affair.   The realization that building supplies are more expensive in the area  and hard to transport in a Korean hatchback was a rude wake up.  By the third day, things were deteriorating.   The wind is what did it in the end.  The cheap Wal Mart tent was not up to the job and a camp stove had not been in the budget.  Repeated attempts to keep a fire going long enough to cook something were unsuccessful for 2 days running just because of the wind.  When he did get a fire started, the wind just took it up and blew it off toward Lubbock somewhere. He was hungry and cold and almost out of money.  Mr. Man returned to Houston to rethink,  regroup and replenish the building account.    The forum went offline a few weeks later.  I still check from time to time to see if the forum has come back online.  It has been a year now -and nothing.

Anything accomplished out Terlingua way is hard won – most people just do not accept the gravity of that statement.   I hope Miss K and I have more successes than failures.

 

End Note: Long Tall Texan by Lyle Lovett from the Road to Ensenada cd.

 

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7 comments to Lonestar Beer is for Tourists – Part Two

  • Joel

    Interesting read. Hope you have better luck.

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  • Oh, I think Andy & Kathy can manage a little better than a wally-world tent.

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this one. I’ve never set foot in Terlingua, but there is simply no way in hell I go there equipped like that. Fellow must not have ever been a Boy Scout.

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  • Don

    Shiner Bock!

    Made in Shiner by people made in Shiner.(and its good too)

    Just reading your blog is evidence enough that you will have a successful transition to Terlingua time. Good Luck to you both.

    Don

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    • Andrew

      Thanks Don,

      Shiner Bock is the beer of choice of Miss K.

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  • I could use a shiner ’bout now!

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  • LJ

    Miss Kathy,
    numerous relatives still living near Shiner, as a kid and visiting gran’maw and Uncle’s in nearby Smithville, only beer I was aware of was Falstaff, and Shiner (when it was Still only ‘Shiner’ and not all the variety’s now offered after the sale to the big producers) That original Bohemian/Czec.style beer reminded me of something stored in a old sweaty boot and filtered through an equally sweaty, well worn sock. But Bock is the choice here. Pacifico and Shiner Bock fills the needs, but the kids keep dragging home all manner of flavors, which just sit in the beer fridge till they come to visit again. Back in the day Long necked LoneStar from SanAntone washed down many loads of BBQ and Beans. Like Andy noted, it is a tourist beverage now for most part, like Billy Beer back in Pres.Carter days.

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  • LJ

    comments on the Houston dreamer:
    Similiar dreams of being more self reliant, part of the farming community, helper of friends, beat my own drum, etc. until reality,heavy work load and big time mortgage payments, came roaring down that dusty, potholed road. I was not prepared was an under statement: root cause of delusion and poor thinking, was turning age42, and tired of things that were. Made do as best we could, learned to cut hay, fix constantly broken machinery, mend fence, delt w/ all manner of adversity, thieves, crooks, lawyers, weather, even had to run off a couple idiots w/ a drawn weapon. But making a decent living (defined as one that at least paid most of the bills) was not to be. Got back to Texas and hunkered down to cover up the hole(s) dug by poor choices, didnt have enough sense to bankrupt, or apply of food stamps,didnt see the government for a bailout. Life is good now

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