International Chili Championship November 2015
Getting ready for a chili cook-off is no easy task, even when it’s held locally. Just imagine the time it takes to prepare to fly across the USA with all of your chili stuff!
Were heading to the Great South West and we couldn’t be more excited! The preparation actually began a few weeks ago, and parts of it a couple of years ago. Our friend, Roger Koltz, drives his RV motor home from Palmyra, VA down to Terlingua, TX. Because we are friends and he is our neighbor, he offers to take some of our wares in his RV with him before we leave. This typically means he will take our cooking stoves, cowboy hats, sometimes cooking pots, and whatever else we need. This can be such a life saver. There was one time we were traveling to the World Food Championships in Las Vegas, NV and the airlines would not allow us to take our stoves. (There was no propane in the stove!) Boy was that a challenge when we got to our destination.)
We also have a wonderful friend, Jim Ezell- former president of CASI, who lives in Terlingua. He has a garage that he lets some chili cooks store supplies in for the year duration. Here we store canopies, tables, tents, sleeping bags, and stoves. And you know what’s AWESOME??? The only rent he charges is a bottle of bourbon! What a great and serving heart Jim has!
It’s no easy feat getting to Terlingua because it is so remote. It is near the Big Bend Ranch State Park. There are no airports nearby. In order to get there we first have to fly from Richmond to Atlanta. (Did you know that Atlanta is the busiest airport in the world? I couldn’t believe all of the people I saw!) From Atlanta, we fly into El Paso, TX.
Were Heading to the Great South West!
From El Paso to Terlingua, you have to rent a car and drive another 5 hours to get there. We decided to break up the trip and stay at the Wyndham Hotel which is literally located right at the airport. You can walk out the front door of the airport and walk right over to the hotel. It’s so convenient when you have been traveling all day. This is a good clean hotel that needs some décor updating, but they have a good bar and good Mexican food. (Yummy Huevos Rancheros!)
Word to the Wize Tip
One tip I will give you is to really check your rental car over really well here. Last year when we rented a car here we were down the road one hour before we realized we had no license plates and had to drive back. When we got back, they gave us a new car, but we got down the road 2.5 hours and had a flat tire in the middle of nowhere, with no cell service to call for help. That was a bad day. A very bad day. We ended up having to stay in a “nearby” hotel and wait for them to bring us ANOTHER car the next day.
This bad boy piece of luggage has served us well thus far. Inside it are pots, pans, colanders, bowls, choppers, knives, cutting boards, spices, wind screen…, you name it baby! And it all must fit and be under 50 pounds.
BUT WAIT- THERE’S MORE TO DO BEFORE DRIVING TO TERLINGUA
Needless to say, there are no chain grocery stores near Terlingua. We want to make sure we can get good meat for the chili, and fresh produce for the salsa. (Oh yeah, beer and wine too. ☺ )That means before we make the long drive, we need to go to the grocery store and stock up on supplies. Navigating around El Paso near the airport is not too bad if you have a GPS. We got around fine and are excited to head to the desert! Look out chili friends! The Virginia peeps are on their way!