National park highlights Big Bend region

Speaking of George W., he did spend a bit of his early career as an oil “wildcatter” in the Midland and Odessa area in the far western “arm” of the state. At the most western point is El Paso (pop. 564,000), known as an entry point into the U.S from Mexico. Also, many US manufacturing companies are allowed to have operations just over the US/Mexican border in Juarez, which has been a boost to the El Paso economy. Combined El Paso and Juarez populations are about 2 million residents. El Paso has a strong Spanish heritage and Mexican influence, so be prepared for the multi-lingual environment.

The terrain in this area is sparsely populated and dominated by the 801,000 acre Big Bend National Park at the south and the 86,400 acre Guadalupe Mountains National Park to the north. In the Guadalupe Mountains is Texas’ highest point at 8,749 feet. The Rio Grande river flows along the border of this whole region. The region is perfect for rafters, hikers, hunters and fishermen who enjoy the isolation and natural beauty of the mountains, rivers, canyons and wildlife present there.

For those who are looking to carve out their niche in retirement, El Paso has plenty of public golf courses which are inexpensive, the University of Texas at El Paso, professional baseball, soccer and hockey (El Paso Buzzards?) and a moderate cost of living. Culturally, there are several museums in the area. On the opposite end of the region is the town of Del Rio (pop. 34,000), also a US/Mexican border town. The nearby Amistad International Reservoir is a popular fishing and boating destination.