Saturday, March 27, 2010

Ruidosa; Chinati Hot Springs

On Tuesday, after a long day of vaulting and plastering, we went on a field trip to the little town of Ruidosa and a nearby "resort," Chinati Hot Springs.  That is, Chinati Hot Springs is fairly near to Ruidosa, but neither Ruidosa nor Chinati Hot Springs is near anything else.  It took about an hour and a half to drive from Presidio to the tiny hamlet of Ruidosa.

There was an adobe church there that we wanted to look at.  It is being restored, slowly.

The view toward the mountains from inside is very beautiful.  Too bad it will get closed off when the church is fully restored.

I had driven through Ruidosa several times before and never saw a soul so I assumed nobody lived there. I was wrong.   The whole town turned out to talk to us.  The inhabitants are:  a schoolteacher who has lived up the road for fifty years and taught school to the children of Ruidosa and Candelaria years ago, when there were more people around;  a contractor lady who is working on the church and lives across the street from it; and an innovative builder who has built a house out of tires, bottles, chicken wire, and cement, next door to the church.

He also has an art installation along his fence, made out of doll body parts.  It's a little scary.

Undeterred, we continued on to the Chinati Hot Springs.  This is a very laid-back, affordable, family-style "resort" built around some ancient hot springs.   A volcano erupted here 35 million years ago, and caused some unique geology that pushes very hot water to the surface here.  You can stay in one of the rooms here, you can camp at one of the sites, or you can be day-users like we were that day.

On the day we were there, though, the air was so cold that the big public tub was just lukewarm.  Usually it's so hot that you have to get out once in a while to cool off. But we couldn't stand to get out at all.

Fortunately, there was beer.  And GOOD beer!  Notice Tom's choice of beers.  Milwaukee's Best is the official beer of Brangus Lane, and of this blog, then, of course.

Eventually we had to get out.  It was freeze-assing cold.  I ran up to the bathroom, changed into dry clothes, went and got the car, turned the heater on full blast, and brought it tub-side so that the sissies in the tub could stand to get out and run to the warm car.  There, they quickly peeled off their wet clothes, trying not to ogle each other too much.

According to an article in The Big Bend Sentinel, the hot springs are for sale, and there's some concern that a private buyer might close it to the public.  But people who have done this in the past have been cursed.  For example, Donald Judd bought it in 1991 and closed it to the public.  He died in 1994.  Just sayin'.

All this can be yours for $1.2 million.  The owner wants to sell it to somebody who will "take it to the next level."  But as Dave Sines, the caretaker of the springs says, "There is no next level."

We had our supper in the nice group kitchen, with some other spring break enthusiasts.

The stars at night
Are big and bright
Deep in the heart of Texas.

1 comment:

  1. Sharon, when I built Terry Bishop's house back in '84, I made several visits to Chinati Springs and soaked in the old tubs inside. The whole place was wonderfully funky. I'm pretty sure I met the same school teacher in Ruidosa, although I don't remember the old church. I might even have gotten up to Candelaria, and I remember drinking some sotol in a handmade clay bottle, stopped with wac and tied with string made from what looked like yucca fiber.

    Does Carlos Armendariz still have the hardware store in Presidio? Does Rose still run the restaurant at the corner by the highway? Her hubby was the local AC tech. I heard from Simone that the lovely hidden restaurant run by the two ageing queens (can't remember their names, but I sure remember the food and the place and some good times there.

    Thanks for jogging my memory
    Claude Hayward