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Terlingua, Texas: Visit before reality TV screws it up

I always enjoy the blank stares I get, even from some Texans, when I bring up Terlingua, Texas.

Me: Hey, have you ever been to Terlingua?

Other person: What's Terlingua?

Terlingua is a community near the border of Mexico and Big Bend National Park that has become well known to those looking for an off the beaten path place to visit that also comes with plenty of things to see and do.

It is a uniquely weird place, which is one of the great things about it. One resident referred to it as the world's largest open air asylum in the very good, but painfully too short, documentary Terlingua Ghost Town that was released several years ago.

It's a place for hippies, libertarians, and people of all sorts of varying backgrounds can co-exist. The Starlight Theatre is a restaurant that features live music and great food. Attached is a store that sells beer. Most people who visit enjoy nothing more than just sitting on the porch while watching the sun set against the Chisos Mountains. It's a memorable experience that is decidedly low key.

But Terlingua's uniqueness is being threatened by a reality TV show currently being filmed in the area. Some residents have decided not to cooperate as much of the show's storyline is supposed to center on bar owner Glenn Felts.

Felts was the popular owner of La Kiva in Terlingua until his Feb. 2014 murder. The trial of the man charged with killing him begins soon and the cameras will be rolling.

Glenn was beloved by those in the community and some are understandably upset about his death being used as a backdrop for what promises to be a lame reality TV show.

The good news is the show hasn't aired yet. Which means people haven't seen it. Which means Terlingua's uniqueness will remain, at least for now, undisturbed by masses of people looking to find the next big thing.

It's about 10 hours from Oklahoma City through some of the bleakest parts of Texas before you get to the pot at the end of the rainbow, but it's well worth the journey.

Bottom line: Visit now. And hurry.

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Matt Patterson

Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman's sports department for five years. He previously worked at The Lawton Constitution and The Edmond Sun.... Read more ›

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