02-Feb-2002 -- Having failed to get to 29N 99W on to my real target for the day.
I took 57 out west, through to La Pryor and beyond. The internet map shows a turning two exits after Turkey Creek, and I can confirm that it is there, blocked by a gate with a rotary lock mechanism bearing 8 padlocks! The map shows you run up there, hang a right at the end, next left, next right and it is right on or near the road. The problem is how do you get on the land....
While I was examining the signs by the gate (Pic 1) - 3.95 miles from the point - for a clue as to whom to contact a truck and big rig came down the lane towards the highway. I explained my quest but only got blank looks and a "sorry we can't help". Ohh. I backtracked to La Pryor and left onto 83N. There were some hopeful County Roads leading west, but the closest point was again locked (Pic 2) - 5.96 miles from the point - but gave contact details. Of course there had been no cell phone coverage for the last 40 miles....
Back to the approach from the South again, this time I met someone going in, I explained I had to get about 4 miles up the track. "Oh yes, that is the Greens from Victoria, TX". He checked for a phone number but hadn't got one, he did say though that it was the third ranch up the track. He pointed me to the High Chapparo ranch opposite.
I went through the entrance arch, and ten minutes(!) later arrived at a ranch house. It was the ranch manager, unfortunately their property didn't stretch across to the other side of the road...but he informed me that the land I wanted to enter was owned by some family from Missouri...a bit of a conflict here, who knows who was correct?
I had thought of walking through the big gap in the gate and proceeding on foot, but as the conversation continued I learned three things:
- Texas has a trespass law (criminal as opposed to civil)
- A lot of Texans are keen upholders of the "right to bear arms"
- It was still hunting season
Discretion took over and I decided that perhaps today I would not become a pedestrian! I looped back through La Pryor and up 83N to Uvalde, where I spotted this (Pic 7) - the significance? My daughters are Rachel & Danielle. Then left on 90W, turning onto Farm Road 481, which angled southwest back to 57 again. There was an entrance to the Turkey Creek Ranch - 5.84 miles -, but the warning sign (Pic 3) spelt out in no uncertain terms to stay out or face the full weight of the law!
Continuing on down the road led to the closest approach from the north (Pic 4) - 5.01 miles - and the gates were open. There was no sign posted stay out or anything similar, but it was approaching 5pm, sun beginning to get a little lower in the sky. In view of the other warnings and the risk of getting closed in I passed up the chance. Yes I know, a coward, but when you are 5000 miles from home, trying to explain this project to the local Law Enforcement is not a tempting prospect for a Saturday night!
A few miles further on and I am due west of the point - 13 miles - (Pic 5). A few miles further and there is a little roadside memorial to Marisa L Benavides 1982-1998.
I have drawn a diagram showing the layout of the area (Pic 6); everywhere else in Texas so far is riddled with County Roads, apart seemingly from this 10 mile square block. Perhaps someone with local knowledge or access to building and/or county land records can determine who really does own the land the point sits on and get permission to visit. If you do, please let me know; I'd love to see what it looks like.
I drove to Junction on US90 for the night - via Eel Pass and Del Rio. Never seen a border patrol 30 miles from a border before.
512 miles today and 1204 in total. I will head back towards Austin tomorrow and see if 30N 99W is reachable.