Terlingua Dreams

Thursday, October 3, 2013

CASI Chili Cook-off Questions - Part 2

I previously wrote a post for RV and camper attendees to the Terlingua Chili Cook-off... http://terlinguadreams.blogspot.com/2013/07/casi-chili-cook-off-questions.html

On this post I will attempt to address tent and car camping ..something I am quite knowledgeable about as this has been my form of camping for the last 17 years that I have been in attendance.

First and foremost, when you come to this event bring a lot of water.  While in the past I have brought Terlita (my camping van) and was able to fit a fair amount of this precious liquid...for the past three years I have not had the benefit of my roomy van.  I have had to make do with the space afforded by a sedan...which is not  much!

Besides water you will need shelter.  I would recommend you to bring a good quality tent...you may get away with a cheap one but be aware that the desert has some hurricane force winds that can make their presence felt without any prior notice and pretty much shred your tent to pieces. I had this experience in 2011 when my tent shower suffered this fate after a very fierce wind storm that lasted all night.

Terlingua is located in a very rocky area, so if you can fit a rock rake in your vehicle you will be glad you did.  There is nothing more annoying that sleeping on top of a rock or having to walk on some after you have put up your tent.

If your tent comes with plastic yellow stakes...throw them out!  This advice was given to me on my 5th cook-off when I finally broke down and bought me a tent.  There is no way you can set up a tent in this area using plastic stakes.  Invest on some good metal ones and they will pay for themselves many times over.

Bring some kind of ground cover to lay your sleeping bag on and keep the cold and again the rocks from letting you get a good nights rest....you will need it to keep up with the pace!  If you can afford it, invest in a good quality sleeping cot or in my case I use a zero gravity chair since I have a bad back.

You will need a table, chairs and some sort of a shade structure.  While it may be late October the sun is unrelenting during the day.  Your ice chest will also appreciate the shade as ice is expensive and sometimes they run out of it as it happened last year due to the exceptional hot temperatures.  TIP:  If you have old sleeping bags or old blankets bring them so you can drape them over your ice chests. If you have the room bring two ice chests...one for your food and one for your beer.

If you are car camping you might consider a tent shower so you can change clothes, shower or put your port-o-potty in there.  While on the subject of showers there are several ones in the area some are quarter showers (BBMI and LaKiva) some are regular showers at one of the high priced trailer parks in Lajitas.

While I have showered at both, I do not leave CASI campgrounds after Wednesday as the State Troopers descend on the area and will pull you over for the smallest infraction.  If your vehicle does not have room to bring enough water for the duration...I would advice you to purchase water in town, it is really quite inexpensive and something that was not available when I first started attending.

Bring your milk jugs as they serve three purposes:
  1. To carry the liquid
  2. To heat water in the sun
  3. To gift any left over water to locals
I personally use Reliance green containers capable of holding 6 gallons and that take up less space in my vehicle. I also take empty milk jugs into which I transfer the water, as one gallon milk jugs are easier to handle than a six gallon container.

Bring along plenty of your favorite beverages.  Terlingua has a way of making even the most stressed out folks relax ( I know I was one of them)  so you might consume a little more than you would back at home and besides you will meet a lot of people and beer is rather expensive at this event.

Do not bring your Sunday finest...this is the desert and there is dirt and dust everywhere.   Bring clothes you feel comfortable in and that you would not mind very much if they got ruined.  No one is here to make a fashion statement and if they are... they are at the wrong event!!!

If you are a sandals type of person...that is fine but I would politely suggest you bring along another type of shoe like tennis or hiking boots.  There are a lot of thorns and pesky desert cacti that will sober you up in a New York second after your sandals have the misfortune of stepping on them.

Bring plenty of sunscreen lotion, a large brim hat, sunglasses, lip balm and Aloe Vera (in case you over due it in the sun).  If you have left over Mardi Gras beads this is the place to bring them, as well as your binoculars...you will thank me later :D

Make no mistake it gets chilly at night even if it was 100 degrees during the day...so bring along plenty of warm clothing, blankets, a heavy jacket, gloves and heavy duty socks.  If you have the space you might bring some wood for a campfire.  If you do not have the space then bring along a bottle or two of your favorite liquor so you can go enjoy your neighbors campfire and contribute in a small way to the ambiance.

If you have any questions you may leave them in the comment section or if you prefer you may also e-mail me at terlinguadreams@gmail.com


  1. These are really useful tips. I'm not sure we are ready yet, but maybe in a few years.

    1. Thanks Dave. I want this year's virgins to be prepared.


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