November 17, 2003 Big Bend National Park

Riley and I have just spent six days in Big Bend National Park and have had no cell service or Internet connection. Horrors! We've had a wonderful time anyway. It's a beautiful park and we have enjoyed it immensely. Took several hikes and did some tooling around in the RV. The weather was great--not too hot. We even had some rain one night--not much but some. On one of our hikes we saw two tarantulas--I'd never seen one in the wild before. Huge monsters! We even saw one crossing a road. Another thing we saw that I hadn't seen before was purple prickly pear cacti. There was lots of the usual green stuff around but then there was also some that was a sort of grey-lavender and then the outright purple ones. Mineral in the sand, perhaps? The Rio Grande was low and though it didn't look to be polluted, the Park Service was recommending that one not swim or wade in it because of pollutants. There is a hot springs there but the day we were nearby was a hot one and we were not tempted.



Speaking of spiders, when we were in Mississippi camped near the Natchez Trace, we took a hike along a trail that had not been used recently. Riley took the forward position and was clearing cobwebs from the path with his walking stick, when I noticed a giant yellow spider (even legs were yellow) with red spots on his back. I had never seen anything like it and have no idea what sort of spider it might be. I didn't realize spiders came in such unusual colors. Anybody know? We did manage to get it off Riley without injury to either the spider or us. Yea!

Last night after leaving Big Bend, we stayed at the Prude Ranch in the Davis Mountains. Very nice and very cool. It's a working ranch, so when we took our morning walk, we had to watch where we stepped very carefully, as both horses and cows had preceded us. Right now we are between Van Horn and El Paso and I am hoping we will have a good cell phone signal in El Paso with which to fling this to the ether.

Riley and I have gone on a mystery book kick and we spent several evenings reading a Hercule Peroit mystery aloud to each other. It was "Death on the Nile," so since I had long ago seen the movie, I knew who the murderer was but had forgotten most of the story. It was a lot of fun, as most Agatha Christie mysteries are.

The sampler quilt top is all put together, and I am now embroidering the names of each block onto it. At any rate, it will be ready to be quilted when I am back in Houston for Christmas. My quilt boards are in the attic there.

We are looking forward to being with Riley's family in Tucson for Thanksgiving, then on to Seattle to visit family there. What fun!

Love to all,
Margie & Riley

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