It doesn’t get much better than spending some time in the Big Bend area and we didn’t need to ponder very long about another trip to Big Bend after hearing about Ten Bits Ranch Cowboy Inn, the grand opening of Black Jack’s Crossing Golf Course, and a two day music festival with one of our favorite Texas singers, Jimmy LaFave, plus 8 of his favorite singer songwriters! So I called my brother -in-law and his wife (Doug & Reine) in California and invited them to join us, packed our bags, put the bikes and golf clubs in the motor home, added some beer and Advil, and starting the 10 hour trip to golf our way to Big Bend and back.
Golf & Music
After some fantastic golf at Black Jack’s Crossing Golf Course in Lajitas and two outstanding days of music at Jimmy LaFave’s Singer Songwriter Rendezvous, we found our way to Ten Bit’s Ranch. We had no idea what to expect and to be frank we didn’t have high hopes – we thought it would be a little hokey and touristy. And as we dove out of Study Butte and on the winding dirt road into Ten Bits Ranch we were really starting to have second thoughts – Doug and Reine kept asking “are you sure we’re going the right way, this is all desert, and who would build a B&B out here?” Wow, our first impressions of what to expect were way off base – we loved Ten Bits Ranch and when we left a couple days later we started saying much much fun the kids would have here and how we need to get back with both families in the near future!
Entering The Ranch
As soon as we turning into the gate and saw the view, the setting and the accommodations, and were warmly greeted by Jennifer Wicks and her huge and friendly great dane as well as her husband Steve, we knew we were in for a special treat. Ten Bits Ranch is a very unique and well done bed and breakfast that is the creation of Jennifer Wick and her husband Steve. They purchased 250 acres (hence the name Ten Bits) of rugged and beautiful terrain and built Ten Bits Ranch in 2004. They both, with some help from the locals, designed, laid the foundation, hammered nails, wired outlets, laid tile, added a roof, picked furniture, piled rocks, and did just about everything else to create four unique guest rooms, plus their lodging and the kitchen and dining area – all of which was built to resemble the old west town of Chimney Rock.
Guests can sleep in the Bank, the Gunsmiths, General Store, or the School House. Each of these very spacious rooms is uniquely decorated with western motif and each room has a private bathroom, very comfortable double or queen beds, gas fireplace, and a large porch with stunning views. Sitting on the porch with a cup of coffee enjoying the sunrise or a cocktail with a stunning sunset is well worth the trip. We stayed in the General Store and loved it – two very comfy double beds, large bathroom, ceiling fan, gas fireplace, period amoire, and a fantastic porch with a majestic view. It was meticulously clean and well decorated with some period artifacts.
My brother in law also enjoyed their stay in the School House – well decorated including an old school desk, fireplace, queen bed, and more plus an equally fabulous view. After a day of hiking those beds were marvelous (and hard to get out of the next morning) and there is no city noise or distractions (dogs barking, kids crying, police sirens, trucks buzzing by, air conditioners buzzing, street lights) to keep you awake! Just a huge sky loaded with stars, a big moon, and silhouetted by jagged mountain peaks. Ok, I must admit I thought I heard a coyote howling at the moon just before I dozed off.
Food & More
A few steps from each of the rooms is the La Casa Huggo Cantina where you’re served a great breakfast each morning, can get together with guests or family for games or socializing, and can buy a Ten Bit’s tee shirt. The Cantina is also home to the remains of duck-billed hadrosaurs, sideneck turtles, and rhino-esque chasmosaurs plus some other artifacts that were found on the Ranch property by Steve, an avid paleontologist. Adjacent to La Casa is the Jail, Prospector Hotel, and Corral which is the Wick’s residence and garage. In the center of Chimney Rock are several western artifacts, a stone walled structure the Wicks built to keep busy while waiting for supplies, and a fire pit for cool nights with songs, stories, and marshmallows. A truly unique and well done western town with a lot of charm and character.
Off The Grid
Whether it’s on purpose or by design or the only choice, Ten Bit’s Ranch is off the grid and the Wick’s strive to maintain their unique identity as a remote, expedition outpost. As such, the road to the Ranch is dirt, there is no cell or TV service or air conditioning, and solar power generates the needed electricity, and water comes from a very deep well. At first, this seems like an inconvenience but you quickly start to appreciate the remoteness, peace and quiet, and the get-away-from-it-all feeling!
The views from the porches or the deck of the Cantina are stunning with vistas of mountains and desert and Mexico to the west, the needle or finger to the south, and rugged mountain peaks east and north. You could sit the porch and enjoy the piece and quiet, the sunrise or sunset, or the warm days for hours, but don’t do that – you need to get out and explore the Big Bend area and the unique towns of Study Butte, Lajitas, and Terlingua.
Hitting The Trails
The first must is to book an off road tour or hiking tour with Jennifer and her Big Bend Expeditions company. They offer several different off road tours in 4x4s plus guided hiking tours as well as a tour called “Wacky Terlingua” which focuses on the local history and legends, Terlingua’s mining days, living on the border, and the eccentric modern culture of Terlingua.
We thoroughly enjoyed a 4×4 tour into some stunning, diverse, and unique parts of the Chihuahuan Desert and surrounding mountain ranges of all shapes and sizes and colors.
Things To Do At Ten Bits Ranch
If you’ve got time durning your visit to the Big Bend area, here are some other fun things to see and do, all of which are easy to get to from Ten Bits Ranch:
- Play golf on Texas Outside’s Top Rated Golf Course in Lajitas – Black Jack’s Crossing if phenomenal, fun, challenging, scenic, and a blast play
- Take a day trip to Big Bend National Park and enjoy the stunning scenery, hike any of several trails, and have lunch at the Chisos Mountain Lodge
- If the Rio Grande is flowing, schedule a rafting or canoeing trip with Big Bend River Tours – on a previous trip we had an outstanding raft trip through the majestic Santa Elena Canyon’s sheer narrow 1500 foot walls
- Go horse back riding at the stables in Study Butte or Lajitas
- Take an ATV tour back into the hills at Lajitas Resort
- Explore nearby Terlingua
- Have a drink or dinner in the Starlight Theater or La Kiva
- Play golf on the nine hole Big Bend Resort Golf Course in Study Butte which is labeled the hardest nine holes of golf in Texas – could be because you can’t tell the desert from the fairways
All too soon it was time to hit the road to head home and we started planning when we could find some time to get back. Give Jennifer a call and book a room – have fun!