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Old 02-14-2015, 11:12 PM
 
Location: Indiana
1 posts, read 3,439 times
Reputation: 10

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Hey everyone,

I may be coming down to the Terlingua, Texas area this May to look at some land that I have some potential interest in. Right now I've only seen it on Google and Bing maps. It appears to be a nice large plot.

About me: I'm a single guy in my late 20's. I currently work from home doing remote IT work. My interest in Terlingua stems from my desire to build a small earthern home (most likely will be an earthbag house) and my love of the desert. While I've not personally been to the area yet, I lived the Valley of Fire region of Nevada for a while and quite enjoyed it. I understand the two places can't be compared, however.

I've been looking at photos posted on the Terlingua photography page on Facebook and other Terlingua / Brewster County pages for the past year or so and it really seems like quite a nice area. Having watched some videos on YouTube of the local scenery and people (Personal favorite being the John Wells videos and "The Field Lab") the area really appears to offer what I am seeking: A place to live an affordable lifestyle within my means, lax/no building code restrictions that would prohibit me from building an earthern based home, and from what I have gathered the people seem nice.

I'm just posting this hoping to find some people in the area that can communicate with me and help me make my decision. As mentioned I may pop in down there in late May to look at the land that is for sale and spend 3 or 4 days there to explore Terlingua, Alpine, and the Big Bend National Park area.


Questions:

How welcoming are the folks in Terlingua to outsiders? The property I am seeking is actually about 25 miles north of Terlingua so not directly in or near town but that's where I'd go on the weekend or to get random supplies.

Telling people up here where Terlingua is located, they seem to expect a level of confrontation due to it's close proximity to Mexico. It doesn't look like the Big Bend National Park area would be a very easy border crossing due to the cliffs. Am I correct in understanding that the area isn't a hotbed for illegal crossings that are common in other border areas?

I've read that if you want to travel to Alpine, or to Terlingua from Alpine that you've got to cross a border checkpoint each time. How big of a hassle is that? Only checkpoints I've ever driven through were when travelling from Nevada to New Mexico and having to cross the Hoover Dam each time. Sometimes it'd delay your travel by an hour or more. I don't suspect it'd be that bad but certainly an inconvenience I'd like to not have to deal with often!

I've read or have been told that internet is actually widely available in the area and it's not uncommon for the company to dig straight out to your property to bring it to you. What are the options for internet and is it reliable? (Remember, I work from home doing IT work. Stable internet is a must. Speed isn't all that important though).

Generally a safe area? Kind people? Type of place that if I leave town for a few days I won't return to find stuff missing from my property?

While I'd probably lean towards powering most things from solar, the option to have grid-powered electrical services is desirable as well. Looking at the map it appears that there is power at the main road but the property I am seeking is about 1/8th of a mile from the 'main road' that has the power polls. Any idea or resources available to figure out costs associated with having it brought to the property?

Thanks for taking the time to read this, much appreciated!
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Old 02-15-2015, 09:10 AM
 
448 posts, read 805,833 times
Reputation: 807
Quote:
Telling people up here where Terlingua is located, they seem to expect a level of confrontation due to it's close proximity to Mexico. It doesn't look like the Big Bend National Park area would be a very easy border crossing due to the cliffs. Am I correct in understanding that the area isn't a hotbed for illegal crossings that are common in other border areas?

I've read that if you want to travel to Alpine, or to Terlingua from Alpine that you've got to cross a border checkpoint each time. How big of a hassle is that?
I can't really help with most of your inquiry, but thought I'd give you my answers for these two questions.

Compared to all other spots on the border, Big Bend sees the fewest apprehensions and has the fewest border patrol guards. Anywhere along the US-Mexico border, you're going to deal with issues of illegal immigration, checkpoints, etc. - that's just the way it is. That said, the towns nearest Big Bend probably have the least impact from that activity than anywhere else along the border. So while it's not a 'hotbed' of activity, there are still thousands of people apprehended every year in the area, having crossed illegally. Most choose not to, however, due to almost everywhere else being easier to cross and once you're on the other side, you're connected to US infrastructure and get to safety farther north.

Checkpoints are variable. It really depends both on your attitude and that of the officials and the traffic load for that day. I've only had limited interaction with them, largely during my time travelling to Big Bend or a few towns further south in the Rio Grande Valley, but I haven't had any problems and things were pretty quick. Of course there are many anecdotes telling of lengthy hold ups and intransigent officers. I would hope that having a local address on your driver's license and possessing a positive attitude would negate most common issues, but I can't guarantee that would be your experience.

I'd also characterize people as friendly - it's Texas after all - but I'm not sure how different it is being nice to visitors dropping money in their stores, than it is greeting people moving in. Everyone I've met out there was very nice, but they also knew I was leaving in a few days.
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Old 02-15-2015, 10:39 AM
 
Location: Kaufman County, Texas
11,819 posts, read 26,698,662 times
Reputation: 10541
The biggest thing you need to consider about living out there isn't electricity or Internet service; it is WATER. That part of Texas is extremely dry, and you must have a well in order to have drinking water on your property. Drilling a well is priced by the foot, so you could easily be looking at $20k to drill the well, then set up your pump and filtration system. Not having a well means you'd have to pay to have potable water tanks hauled in, or do it yourself. There not enough rainfall in that part of the state to make a cistern a reliable water source.

Border Patrol inland checkpoints are not a big deal, but if the traffic is heavy that day, or they have a BOLO to watch for, then there can be delays. (We have to pass through a checkpoint when we go to/from our in-laws house in Del Rio.) If you even look Hispanic, you should keep your passport with you whenever you have to go through one. Usually the agents just verbally verify that you are US Citizens, and you're on your way. Now, to actually cross the border and go into Mexico, or to return to the U.S. from Mexico, is completely another matter. But in that part of the statement there's nothing in Mexico worth crossing over to see, especially these days.
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Old 02-18-2015, 05:39 PM
 
2,382 posts, read 3,473,877 times
Reputation: 4915
Just spent the Christmas holidays in the Terlingua area with my son....had a great time.
As far as the border patrol checkpoints go, it's no big deal. From Alpine to Terlingua there is 1 checkpoint that you must stop at when coming from Terlingua...going down there, they don't check or stop you. The stop going to Alpine took all of 1 minute. They ask you if you are a U.S. citizen, and ask how your trip was....giving them enough time to walk the drug dog around your vehicle....no big deal at all.

Most of the people that live down there on acreage property are on a solar powered system and have water tanks.
A lot of trailers with an awning built over them to keep them cool in the summer.
We stayed at the Terlingua Ranch, which is a large ranch that has several hundred homeowners. Sounds like your land is on, or close to it. Some of them transport their water from the Terlingua Lodge headquarters on the ranch. They have a large well and tank there that they pay a small fee for their water and transport it back to their home.
Great place to be if you are looking for a place to stay while looking around. 16 miles from the hwy in the Christmas Mountains.
Great cafe at the headquarters called The Bad Rabbit Cafe...good food and great friendly people. Say hi to Jo. In fact, every single person we encountered down there was as friendly as can be....good folks.

As far as internet service, it's spotty, depending on where you are. I imagine your best bet would be Direct tv's internet service. They had internet service at the Terlingua Ranch Lodge and at the Starlight Theatre in Terlingua, but it was spotty.

Must check out the Starlight Theatre in Terlingua....it's where the locals and tourist go on a friday or sat. night to eat good food and listen to live music. Get there when they open at 6, or you will have a long wait to get in.

1st weekend in November is the Terlingua Chili Cookoff. Thousands of people camping and partying....lots of fun.


Check out the Marfa Mystery Lights between Alpine and Marfa.....they have a viewing area 9 miles east of Marfa on hwy, 90. Interesting place. Make you go hmmmm....

Needless to say, the whole area is beautiful....all thru the National Park, the Big Bend Ranch State Park, and the drive from Terlingua down past Lajitas towards Presidio is breathtaking. Drive down to Santa Elina Canyon....Make sure you have good brakes!

The drive to Ft. Davis and the McDonald Observatory is wonderful too...lots of interesting history all around the area.

I myself am considering moving to the area in a few years...absolutely love the scenery, the people and the weather down there.We had snow Christmas day in the Davis mountains and in Alpine.

And yes, you are correct about the illegal immigration down there....no way they are going to climb those cliffs to come across...wayyyyy easier elsewhere to cross. Not a problem with that at all.

Any questions let me know....will be glad to help. Have a great trip!
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Old 02-19-2015, 06:24 PM
 
368 posts, read 828,707 times
Reputation: 371
I also enjoy John Wells videos and his blog. OP you will have to keep us updated on your plans. This is a part of Texas that I am completely smitten with.
Txtea-yours was also very fun and informative to read.
Please anyone tell us more about this wonderful area.
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Old 02-19-2015, 07:35 PM
 
1,190 posts, read 2,622,213 times
Reputation: 1413
Big Bend Natl Park and Terlingua are GORGEOUS! It is definitely a slower pace of life, but everyone we encountered was super friendly and welcoming.

As you check things out, really dig into water, electricity and internet. The regular cellular signal was spotty at best. It was great to be "unplugged" but that doesn't work if you rely on it for your job. Maybe a satellite service? We stayed at a place about 15 miles north of Terlingua. It was completely solar. Very cool but they advised us to be aware of utilization. (I guess its a good thing that our electronics didn't work)

There is tons of hiking and exploring for your free time.

Good luck.
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