How quickly things can change. Yesterday afternoon, we were all celebrating New Year’s Day under partly sunny skies, and today everyone is hunkered down under a winter storm advisory. Conditions are ripe for some incredible, and incredulous, tales of survival over the next few days, and I look forward to hearing them. The factual material is terrific, and with a little elaboration, could be turned into some high quality fiction.
Here are the basic facts. All roads in and out of the area are closed due to ice, and quite a few tourists are stuck down here. To make matters slightly more interesting, ice has claimed approximately thirty power poles up near Alpine, so there is no electricity anywhere in southern Brewster County, including Marathon and Big Bend National Park. Best estimates from the electric company are that power won’t be restored until sometime on Tuesday – maybe. The only reason I’m able to write and post this is my house is on solar power, and by some miracle, the DSL lines are still working. Then there’s the little matter of gasoline. There is none. None in Terlingua, Alpine, Marathon, or Marfa, and none expected to be delivered until the roads open back up. Now add in the issue of groceries and other items that are generally delivered over roads that are now closed and refrigerated using that now non-existent electricity. Dining options will be somewhat limited over the next few days.
It may seem that things are looking pretty desperate, but most residents seem to be bearing up quite well. The local store was doing a booming business this afternoon with people laying in supplies – the wine aisle seemed to be the hardest hit. As for the numerous stranded tourists, some will find a way to enjoy their extended vacation, and then there will be those who are determined to bitch, gripe, and complain their way through the next few days. It will be interesting to see how many of those bitching and griping tourists eventually change their attitude and end up actually enjoying their enforced confinement in South County. The most interesting, however, will be hearing all the tall tales from the survivors of The Great Brewster County Ice Storm. I know there will be some good ones.