An excuse to head out of town

“I gotta get out of town a bit.”

“I love to travel but don’t have the time off from work.”

“What’s there to do there?”

Llama’s last post was about his one day visit to Big Bend. Some might think, “just one day!” Why yes, one day.

But Big Bend was the excuse to get out of town. Michael had taken a side trip while in the region on business and hadn’t taken Llama. Can you see the problem here?

However, that wasn’t the only thing Llama did on this trip and he made the most out of the time and budget he had.

Entrance to Alpine, Texas

Earlier in the fall, Llama and his travel companions sat down and looked at the calendar and budget and realized they they could easily take advantage of their days off between Christmas and New Year Day by employing their short-trip standard rules:

1. Travel within a 5 hour drive radius.

2. Budget what they would most likely spend by staying home and doing things here (eating out, movies, entertainment).

3. Utilize hotel/travel points or family/friends to stay.

Rule number one: Llama’s standard statement about his home of Lubbock, Texas, besides the fact it is so friendly, is that it is 5 hours from everywhere. So, when he got out the map and looked…

Albuquerque – been there, cold

DFW – been there, no hiking

Austin, San Antonio – been there

Abilene/Waco – been there

El Paso – been there but it was a strong pull

Anywhere north – Karol rejected that idea during winter. Too cold❄

Big Bend/Alpine/Marfa – winner, winner, chicken dinner

4 hrs 52 mins drive time from Lubbock to Big Bend National Park

With rule number 1 met, Llama looked at rule number 2. This trip would cover about 4 days and 3 people. Since during the holidays Llama can easily fall victim to lazy spending and eat out more, go to movies, etc. Llama figured a generous $100 a day budget, $400 total. This was doable, heck ya. Once the expenses were tallied, the trip cost right at $300. ✅ On budget.

We utilized our cooler with the local grocery store and had several picnic lunches. We splurged on dinners at the wonderful restaurants in Alpine, and our hotel provided a nice breakfast.

Our Rav 4 Hybrid gets really good mileage, so gas was only $75.

Finally we took advantage of free activities, Michael’s National Parks pass, and took more memories than trinkets. Though we bought our pins for our backpacks and a car sticker.

Checking out the famous Marfa Lights
Llama learned to play pool at The Lost Horse Saloon in Marfa

On to rule 3: could the sleeping be taken care of in a budget way? Not wanting to camp this trip, Llama and his companions choose to stay in Alpine as it was the closest town of size to Big Bend, had access to other fun towns around, is home to Sul Ross University, and had a Holiday Inn Express. They got a King Suite, 2 separate rooms with 2 sleeping areas, for 30K points. 

The HEI was very nice and clean, had free basic hot breakfast, happy hour at night, workout room, and heated pool. Check! That rule done.

Kokernot Field, home of the Alpine Cowboys Baseball team. Part of the Pecos League.

Being in this region of Texas allows you to investigate so much in a few days. In addition to Big Bend, Alpine with its surprisingly good restaurants and Museum of the Big Bend, and Marfa, you can check out Marathon, Terelingua, Ft. Davis, and Balmorea. We couldn’t do it all, but we did do a lot.

Historic Gage Hotel in Marathon
TexDOT-Rex giving all a very important reminder in Ft. Davis.
Courthouse in Ft. Davis
Fort Davis National Historical Site
Fort Davis
Checked out a meteor crater on the drive back.

Llama doesn’t stop traveling just because he can’t plan grand adventures. He makes even small adventures grand.

What are your criteria that will make that excuse to get out of town happen?

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