Big Bend’s 5 Star Hotel, Gage Hotel: Manifest Of The Refined And Somewhat Compulsive Perfection

On September 27, 2020, our visit to the Big Bend National Park area was over. It was time to go back to Houston.

Our adjusted plan was to drive 8 hours straight home because we had some unexpected experience at our Airbnb stay in San Antonio, which was our place to catch breath coming to Big Bend. Please read my article about what happened in San Antonio if you are interested:

Leaving “Our” Adobe Home Behind
Leaving “Our” Adobe Home Behind

An eight hour driving in a day is intimidating nowadays for us. We are more used to an easy lifestyle. I decided to book a hotel room in Del Rio, which is three hours from Big Bend and five hours from Houston. As soon as the decision was made, I felt relieved immediately.

It turned out to be a good decision.

White Buffalo Bar
White Buffalo Bar

Pay a Visit to the Famous Gage Hotel

Before leaving Marathon, not only did we have time to enjoy our homemade breakfast at our adobe home, but also we got to pay a visit to the famous Gage Hotel.

It is very impressive to find a 100-year-old 5-star hotel in a remote town with only 500 population. The hotel has gone ups and downs with the passage of time. It was built on the speculation of big growth and was almost abandoned for a period of time, reduced to empty hallways and dusty rooms. And now the hotel has been remodeled and refurbished by the Texas State founder’s descendants, partly for business development and partly out of a sense of love and responsibility.

The hotel is doing really well, fully booked most of the time. Quite a few celebrities have lodged there. Wild West, the famous novel, was penned in the hotel…

In the Big Bend National Park, nature is so overpowering and a person feels subdued easily.
However, the very presence of Gage Hotel, the refined and somewhat compulsive perfection is human’s manifest in front of the broad wildness. For over 100 years, the hotel has been almost single-handedly representing the civilized world conversing with the broad wildness. That somewhat eccentric spirit is touching…

Well, I was going to write about our journey from Marathon, Texas to Del Rio, Texas today, but I got sidetracked by writing about our tour of the Gage Hotel.

Well, I promise that I will write about our trip from Marathon to Del Rio and our visit to Judge Roy Bean’s original saloon.

Until next time, please take care!

San Antonio: Having an Easy Good Time Without Internet

San Antonio Subaru Adventure

On Wednesday, we arrived at the reserved San Antonio loft around 3:00 pm. The suite was nice and clean. Everything was as expected, except for one thing: no wifi connection. I texted the owner of the suite, assuming we would get a response way before our return from sightseeing.

It took our Subaru fifteen minutes to get to the Pearl District, one of the best shopping, eating and biking areas of San Antonio.  To my surprise, there was plenty of free parking. Pearl, located north of downtown San Antonio, as a former brewery operating from 1883 to 2001, reflects a vivid past while transforming itself to modern multi-use sophistication.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, Pearl was pretty quiet when we got there, and it was not even 4:00 PM. We walked around and admired the beauty of this charming region. Here are some photos of Pearl I took:

1. The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio

The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio
The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio

2. Hotel Emma

Hotel Emma, San Antonio
Hotel Emma

3. Restaurant La Gloria

Restaurant  La Gloria, San Antonio
Restaurant La Gloria Skeleton
Restaurant  La Gloria, San Antonio
Restaurant La Gloria Guitar Man

Another hot spot we wanted to check out is the Historic Market Square. From the Pearl District to the Market Square, it took us 12 minutes by car. We got there around 5:00 pm, and all the curio shops were closed.

Only some restaurants and bars were open. We did window shopping literally, admiring the colorful and exotic curios and artifacts. Even though the streets were empty, the blooming flowers still made the streets look vibrant.

Historic Market Square
Historic Market Square
No call, No text, No Internet

By the time we returned to our bnb, it was about 7:30 pm. I checked my phone: no response from the owner of the loft. I sent her another message. Still no answer. The truth is that I have never heard from her again. Even when we checked out the next day and texted her goodbye. Not a word from her. Strange. 

Life without the internet is different. And life away from home without the internet is very different. You feel more alone and isolated but more observant at the same time.
Now we are connected again and I will write about our new Subaru adventure after San Antonio.

Until next time, please take care!

Escaping the Storms, Westbound to San Antonio and Big Bend.

San Antonio, here I come!

We are heading to West Texas tomorrow, visiting Big Bend National Park and the little towns in that area. It will be an 8-hour drive from Houston, a little too long of a drive for laid-back people like us.

To make things easier, I decided to spend a night somewhere in the middle to catch our breath. I am the one in the family to make those arrangements. Good thing is that I have the liberty to choose a place that caught my attention, and bad thing is that I have to do all the research, weighing the pros and cons of a location. I considered Del Rio first, which is a US-Mexico border town, 5 hours from Houston. However, even if the town is reasonably priced for a longer stay on Airbnb, it is expensive for a one night stay. The cleaning fee for one night is normally the same as for three nights, which is a deal-breaker.

Hotel rates in Del Rio are not too bad, however, during the pandemic period, we choose to have a more isolated place to ourselves as much as we can, keeping as much social distance as possible.

San Antonio
San Antonio trip in 2019
a charming place to visit

Almost convinced to have to drive straight to West Texas the same day, suddenly it occurred to me that I should take a look at San Antonio’s accommodations. To my delight, San Antonio, which is 3 hours from Houston and 5 hours from the West Texas area, has a lot of properties to choose from, a tourist town after all. I patiently read property descriptions and reviews from other travelers, taking these elements for consideration: rating, neighborhood, facilities, price, and parking. Since we have been to San Antonio many times, we don’t need to be right by Alamo and River Walk area. With that said, I don’t want to be too far away, just in case we are in the mood to hang out in the River Walk area. It is always a charming place to visit.

With our car parked at our nearby Airbnb home, we could get Uber rides and San Antonio is a good place to get around that way. Maybe we will have a couple of Margaritas on River Walk, lol…

I found a perfect loft in San Antonio for our tomorrow’s stay: highly rated; in a nice neighborhood, not too far into the outskirts; free parking and reasonably priced!

A tale of two crosstreks

Another choice we have to make for tomorrow’s trip is which car to take. We have two Subaru Crosstrek, one white and one red. The white one has fewer miles on it, even though a 2018 model, while the red one is 2019 model, having more safety features, such as a eye sight, adaptive cruise control, blind spot detector etc… We are still undecided at this very moment.

I am excited about staying in San Antonio Each time I find something new there. Oh, I have not been to the Pearl Brewery yet and the Mercado. I am looking forward to visiting both.

Until next time, please take care!

San Antonio River
San Antonio River in 2019
San Antonio River Walk
San Antonio River Walk in 2019