Texas

Cross Country Road Trip

After an amazing summer in the Pacific Northwest it was time to start making our way back east for the winter. We had 6 weeks to get from Washington to Florida. This post will cover the stops we made along the way.

First we spent a quiet week in eastern Oregon on the Idaho border, recovering from a couple of very busy weeks in Washington. We stayed at Farewell Bend Recreation Area on the Snake River across from Idaho. It was beautiful and peaceful!

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The 2nd week we spent celebrating Jake’s 13th birthday in Park City, Utah which I already wrote about. You can see it here if you missed it:¬†Birthday Celebration in Park City, Utah.

Week #3 was spent in South Fork, Colorado where the fall foliage was gorgeous! Our campground was right on the Rio Grande River.

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We spent week #4 in Amarillo, Texas for a couple of days and then the rest of the week in Oklahoma City.

In Amarillo we used the complimentary limo service to go have dinner at the Big Texan. This was so much fun and a shining example of true Texas hospitality!

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We also stopped by Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo to leave our mark on the classic cars and to meet up with our good friends the Thomas family. Somehow we always end up on the opposite side of the country as them, and our paths crossed here in Texas as they were headed west and we were headed east. Someday I hope we’ll be in the same state again for more than a day or two!

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My beautiful friend Erica who I miss so much!

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After a busy 2 days in Texas we moved on to Oklahoma City. Our campsite here was interesting, right on the mini golf course!

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While in Oklahoma City we met up with my sister’s good friend Rene who gave us a personalized tour of the Oklahoma City National Memorial where she lived and worked at the time of the tragic bombing. This was a very sobering site to see, and so interesting to hear Rene’s story of the events that happened that day in 1995.

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We also visited the Science Museum in Oklahoma City which we could go to for free on our ASTC reciprocal membership. The boys enjoyed this science museum very much!

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We moved on to Arkansas for week #5 to visit Hot Springs National Park. I have to admit we were not all that impressed with this national park after all the amazing and scenic parks we’ve been to out west. This was basically just a town with historical bathhouses. Maybe were missing something, but it seems like it’s probably more interesting for adults… not including Chris and me, we’re not adulting right now. ūüėČ

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It turns out we were parked next to another Fulltime Family at the Hot Springs KOA and we enjoyed getting to know them. I hope we meet up with them again in the near future.

The Mid America Science Museum is located near Hot Springs and it is also included on our ASTC membership so we went there too. Another super fun science museum that the boys really enjoyed!

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After an overnight stop in Tupelo, Mississippi where Chris & I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary at a Japanese Hibachi grill along with our kids, we moved on for week #6 in Woodstock, Georgia where we were able to visit with my sister and her husband for the week. We stayed at Victoria Campground which had very nice and large sites and beautiful sunsets on Lake Allatoona. We had lots of fun with Cheryl & Chris playing games and just being our silly selves.

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And then finally, after 6 weeks and over 3000 miles we were back “home” in Florida at our happy place, Disney World just in time for trick-or-treating at Ft. Wilderness.

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We purchased new FL resident annual passes and got busy exploring our favorite amusement parks all over again. Lots of other Fulltime Families spend the winter in the Orlando area also, so it was fun to meet up with some of our friends at the Disney parks.

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We even enjoyed a visit from my parents at Ft. Wilderness one weekend while they happened to be in the Orlando area.

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As much as I love traveling out west, it is good to be home. We’ll spend the rest of this year hanging out with friends and family in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. I will probably be taking a break from blogging until we begin traveling again next year. Until then, I hope you all enjoy a blessed holiday season. Remember to make the most of your time with loved ones and be thankful. ūüôā

 

Categories: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Texas State Parks Part 2

This post covers the next two state parks we visited in Texas. If you missed part 1 you can view it here: Texas State Parks Part 1.

Monahans Sandhills State Park (my personal favorite of the 4)

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This park was all about sledding on sand dunes in the middle of west Texas, and it was so much fun! Our campsite was right at the dunes and we were able to head out and go sledding from our site.

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Notice Fat Cat on the sled with Jake. ūüôā

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The dunes were so pretty, they looked like snow.

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Resting… climbing up those hills is exhausting!

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The boys made their own water slide at our site.

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I loved the look of the ripples in the sand!

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The sunsets were amazing!

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Along with the almost full moon on the other side…

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Not to be outdone, the sunrise was pretty spectacular too!

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In the morning the moon was on the other side.

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Fat Cat came out to wander around with us while we were out in the early morning watching the sunrise.

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I hated to leave Monahans (I loved that park!), but it was time to move on.

Balmorhea State Park

Next we went to Balmorhea State Park. You can swim in the San Solomon Springs pool at this park. The spring-fed pool is a constant 72-76 degrees year-round, but if the outdoor temperature had not been so warm I doubt we would have been brave enough to go for a swim. Thankfully the weather was really hot while we were there so the pool was very refreshing.

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Jake jumping off the high dive.

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I loved swimming under water and looking at all the fish. Some parts of this pool go as far as 25 feet deep!

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This was my FAVORITE underwater picture I got! Jake and I tried so many times to get a good picture of him under water, and we finally got this one. I love it!

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There was a little wetlands area over near our campsite where we could watch turtles, fish and ducks, and a beautiful sunset.

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We loved visiting some of the Texas State Parks and hope to come back and visit some more another time. If you plan to camp for more than a night or two at any of these parks it is recommended that you purchase a Texas State Parks annual pass for $70. Otherwise you have to pay a daily entrance fee for each person in your party. That would add up quickly after just a few days.

 

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Texas State Parks Part 1

We recently stayed at 3 Texas State Parks and visited one other. This post will cover 2 of those parks.

Mustang Island State Park

Mustang Island near Corpus Christi was a great place to stay to visit both Port Aransas and Padre Island National Seashore on the Gulf Coast of Texas because the park was located halfway between each location. The park itself is just okay as it is basically a parking lot and the sites are very close together. We were blessed with the best site in the park though on the end so we did not have anyone camped on our outdoor living side.

We spent one day at Padre Island National Seashore which was beautiful. This park was about 15 miles south of our campground.

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At the visitor center we learned about sea turtles and why there is so much trash on the beach. Because of where this beach is located within the Gulf of Mexico, trash washes up on the beach constantly. The boys earned their Junior Ranger badges here and one of the activities was to pick up trash on the beach. This ranger was really nice and helpful as the kids filled out their booklets.

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Vehicles are allowed on a long stretch of this beach so we drove out onto a section and enjoyed a beautiful afternoon relaxing on the beach. Unfortunately some vehicles drive way too fast down this beach though, so you have to be really careful not to get run over!

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We spent some time on the beach behind the campsites where we stayed on Mustang Island also.

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Port Aransas is a cute beach town about 15 miles north of the campground. We spent the afternoon at Roberts Point Park which has a couple of playgrounds, picnic areas and lots of areas for fishing.

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I loved watching this huge ship sail by as dolphins jumped and played in the waves made by the ship.

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Two other Fulltime Families joined us at this campground which made it even more fun. We enjoyed a pot luck dinner, an afternoon at the movies to see Moana, a birthday celebration and more. The other 2 families each have 5 kids so with our 2 we had a total of 12 kids playing in the cul-de-sac at the end of the campground road. They had foot races and bicycle races and played games at the picnic table.

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After leaving Mustang Island we headed up to Kerrville near San Antonio and stayed at Jellystone Park of the Guadalupe River. This was one of the nicest Jellystone Parks we have been to. We had a beautiful site backed up to the river with a jump pad right behind us. Of course the boys loved that!

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Jesse and Chris playing catch

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Jake walking Fat Cat

This park also had a brand new mini golf course that was beautifully landscaped and an indoor pool with a hot tub. They are in the process of building a new water park with water slides and splash pads. It was not open yet when we were there, but it looks like it will be really fun once it opens in time for this summer.

Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and National Historic Site

While we were in Kerrville we spent a day in historic Fredericksburg and visited the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park which was fantastic.

At this park  you can tour the ranch where President Lyndon B. Johnson was born and raised. He and his family are also buried there.

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One room school house where President Johnson attended school.

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There was a hangar and landing strip right on the ranch property.

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Connected to the ranch is the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm. Here you can tour the farm house and property where costumed interpreters carry out daily chores as if they were living here in the early 1900s. We learned about what life was like there on the farm over a century ago. One of the Sauer children served as midwife at President Johnson’s birth.

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These ladies taught us about the farm and kitchen, as well as duties that kids would have had in those days like collecting eggs. They sent us out on assignment to collect some eggs, but we didn’t find any.

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Jake busy working on his Junior Ranger book

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Earning some more Junior Ranger badges:

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Posing with a picture of the former president and first lady

On our way back to the campground we passed by the town of Luckenbach and since we’re country music fans and love Waylon Jennings’ song “Let’s Go To Luckenbach Texas” we had to stop in for a couple of pictures.

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This post has gotten quite long so I’ll stop now and write about the next 2 Texas state parks we visited in the next post. Stay tuned…

 

 

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Amarillo Texas

Our last stop in Texas was in Amarillo, and we really enjoyed our time there.  There are several free things to do close to the RV park we stayed at.

Cadillac Ranch is free and you can’t go to Amarillo and not go see that iconic roadside attraction. ¬†We bought a couple of cans of spray paint and went to leave¬†our mark.

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The RV Museum is free and super cool!  Well, that is if you like RVs which of course we do.  But my biggest reason for wanting to go there was to see the Gornicke bus from the RV movie, which just so happens to be my favorite movie.  It was so neat to see this bus in person and get to go inside it.

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Another free thing we did was visit the Don Harrington Discover Center.  It was free because it is included in our zoo/science center reciprocal membership.

They currently have the Grossology exhibit on display which was a big hit with the boys. ūüôā

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We also visited Palo Duro Canyon which was awesome.  Not free, but only $5 per person over 12.  That needs its own blog post so please click the link if you are interested in reading about that visit.

We stayed at the Fort Amarillo RV Resort which was really nice. ¬†We usually prefer state parks and national recreation areas better than RV parks because typically you have a lot more room at your site and more privacy, not to mention they’re cheaper. ¬†RV parks usually pack RVs in so close to each other that you barely have room to breathe. ¬†But there were no state parks in the Amarillo area other than Palo Duro Canyon and there was no cell phone coverage there so an RV park was the only option.

I’m glad we chose this park¬†because it was very nice and had a reasonable¬†weekly rate. ¬†The people that work there are also super nice! ¬†They have an indoor pool, a nice playground and a fun game room which happens to be underground and serves as a storm shelter. ¬†I guess if you have to spend the night in a storm shelter the game room is not a bad place to be. ¬†I thought we were going to need to go there the first night we were there. ¬†It was so windy that night, the RV was rocking like crazy! ¬†I kept getting lightning¬†and tornado alerts on my phone, yet Chris was sleeping through the whole thing! ¬†How he does that, I don’t know. ¬†I finally woke him up to ask if he thinks we should head to the storm shelter. ¬†He didn’t so we didn’t, and shortly after that the storm quieted down and we were all able to get some sleep.

Anyway, the RV park is really cute.  There was a really cute duck pond where Jesse liked feeding the ducks.

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And at the front of the park is this set of cute, old fashioned shops.

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Did I mention that Amarillo is windy?  This town reminded me of Kansas.  It was very flat and windy.  No wonder we saw so many wind turbines as we got close to this area.

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Fat Cat liked climbing on the fence next to our site. ¬†There wasn’t much of a yard for her so I think she’s ready to get back to another state park where she has more room. ¬†I can’t say I blame her.

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We really enjoyed our time in Amarillo in spite of the wind.  Bye bye for now Texas, we have places to go and things to see!

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Palo Duro Canyon

Palo Duro Canyon is considered the Grand Canyon of Texas.  We wanted to camp there but there is zero cellular coverage in the campground, so we ended up just spending a day hiking there.  And it sure was beautiful!

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I love when they like each other!

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Jake is enjoying his new camera, he took lots of pictures!

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Back at the visitor center they earned Junior Naturalist badges (not the same thing as Junior Ranger badges that they earn at national parks). ¬†Jake looks really worn out. ¬†We did 4 hikes that day. ¬†It has been awhile since we have gone hiking, but it’s good to be back at it. ¬†It’s that time of year for lots more hiking for us!

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North Texas Jellystone Park

We had reservations to stay at Bear Creek Campground in Ft. Worth, but at the last minute our reservation was cancelled due to flooding at that location so we ended up spending the week at North Texas Jellystone Park instead.  The kids were super excited about that!

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We have stayed at several Jellystone Parks and I have to say this is probably my least favorite one we have visited. ¬†Jellystone Parks are not cheap so we don’t splurge on them very often, but when we do we expect it to be an awesome park, and this one just wasn’t. ¬†I don’t think it was worth the cost. ¬†The kids would disagree with me however¬†because they loved it. ¬†They are so easy to please, I should try to become more like them. ūüôā

They especially loved the Air Zone which had several bouncy houses. This was only open on the weekend so the boys were counting down the days all week waiting for it to open.

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We also rode the hay ride, fire truck ride and the boys loved this train ride.

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Most campsites at this park are super close together, but thankfully they put us on the other side of the park in between 2 cabins that were unoccupied for most of the week.  This site was really nice and at least had a bit of a yard unlike the sites on the other side of the park.

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Some places we stay have awesome views, but this one — not so much. ¬†We had a nice view of the parking lot and the water park that wasn’t open.

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We enjoyed a visit with another Fulltime Family.  We met the Thomas family in February at the rally in Tampa.  It was fun to meet up with them again in Texas.  We really enjoyed getting to know their family a little better, and we hope to meet up with them again later this summer.

Look how many kids they travel with! ¬†And all 6 of them are super sweet and polite. ¬†I have had people tell me they could never live in an RV fulltime like we do because they have 3 or 4 kids and it’s easier for us because we only have 2 kids. ¬†Well here you go. ¬†A living example of a large family making it work. ¬†We’ve actually met many large families living on the road. I think we’re in the minority with our small family of 4.

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I’m currently blogging at 60 mph on our way across North Texas on to our next adventure. ¬†Sometimes a place we go doesn’t quite live up to our my expectations, but I guess that’s all part of this unpredictable lifestyle. ¬†So it’s onward and westward!

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Cagle Recreation Area

We spent two weeks at Cagle Recreation Area in the Sam Houston National Forest north of Houston, TX.

This campsite ranks up there with my favorites.  We had lots of space to spread out, and the view of Lake Conroe right from the site was beautiful, especially the sunsets!

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Judy & Kylie visited us on the weekends while we were there and we always have so much fun with them.

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The kids set up what they called the “Museum of Bones” on the log by the lake. ¬†They found lots of animal skeletons and set them all up on this log and wrote signs to indicate what kind of animal it was. ¬†Anytime someone walked down the pathway they had to stop and check out the museum. The kids also set up a tip jar. ūüôā ¬†Their creativity amazes me!

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There are many hiking trails there and the weather was beautiful so of course we went for a nice walk through the woods.

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The kids were collecting pine cones for our campfire.

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We met some awesome friends last year while we were in Texas at Canyon Lake.  Neil & Beth and their kids Gabe & Marlie came to visit us here on Easter weekend and it was wonderful to see them again!  I just wish they had more time to stay and camp for the whole weekend.

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Jesse had fun playing ball with Gabe,

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and playing in the sand with Marlie.

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Time for s’mores!

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Chris is the master chef cooking up awesome meals in his outdoor kitchen whenever we have guests.

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Another great visit was from the Lundy family.  About 2 years ago when I first got the crazy idea in my head to sell everything we own and hit the road in an RV, I wanted to know if there were other families doing this.  So what do inquiring minds do?  Google it of course!  The very first blog I found of a family living and traveling in their RV was the Lundy 5.  I started following their blog at that time and I was so excited to hear that they were staying nearby and they came over for dinner one night.  We really enjoyed getting to know them and their amazing kids!

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Most of our time here was spent doing fun things at the campground with the kids.  We set up an Easter egg hunt for them on Easter weekend.

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And the next weekend Chris surprised the kids from the roof of the RV by throwing water balloons and buckets of water on them.  He is such a big kid himself!

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Fat Cat loved this place!  She had lots of room to roam around and lot of rabbits, birds and squirrels to watch.

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Fat Cat doing what she does best — being lazy and showing off her big belly!

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But she’s a pretty kitty. ¬†(Photo by Kylie. She takes great pictures!)

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This campground was awesome and I would definitely return again someday.  Here are some more random pictures of Kylie and the boys.

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Big Bend National Park

We just spent an amazing week at Big Bend National Park.  I heard this is one of the least visited national parks probably because it is so remote and far away from everything.  If you decide to visit, you should plan on spending a few days there.  Not only is it a long drive to the park entrance, but just driving around the park itself takes a long time.  This park is BIG!  It is bigger than the state of Rhode Island.  We spent 3 days visiting the 3 main sections, and each area is several miles away from the others.  The really neat thing about this park is that the 3 main areas are all so different.  You can visit the river, the mountains and the desert all in one park.

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The River: Rio Grande Village

We spent the first day hiking the trails at the Rio Grande Village. ¬†Big Bend is on the border of Mexico and is separated from Mexico by the Rio Grande River. ¬†One thing I found very interesting was how narrow the river is and how easy it is for anyone to cross over to the other side. ¬†Of course it’s illegal to do that so we didn’t but I was so tempted to just go stand on the other side of the river and get my picture in Mexico. ¬†I really didn’t feel like getting arrested though so I didn’t. ¬†ūüôā

Below are some pictures from our various hikes around the river.

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In the picture below there is a camp of people from Mexico with their horses.

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The people across the river sometimes sneak over and leave little trinkets for tourists to purchase (shown below). ¬†I guess they use the honor system expecting that you’ll leave money for any items you purchase. ¬†One of the park rules is to not purchase these items as they are considered contraband. ¬†And since we wanted to follow the rules we didn’t buy anything. ¬†However, I do feel sorry for these people. ¬†Before America started requiring passports for us to cross over into Mexico, people used to come and go freely and support businesses on the other side of the river. ¬†The passport regulations hurt a lot of businesses in Mexico because now it is so difficult to just cross over for dinner or to buy some souvenirs. ¬†I’m not trying to get into a political discussion regarding immigration laws, and I do see the need for border security, but visiting this park opened my eyes to other perspectives.

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The two pictures below are at the hot springs. ¬†This water was very hot and since it was so hot outside it did not feel very nice to sit in this. ¬†We ended up going in the river to cool off. ¬†I guess we don’t always follow the rules because we weren’t really supposed to go into the river.

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See how easy we could have just stepped over into Mexico?

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The next day we went for a drive on the “River Road” between Lajitas and Presidio. ¬†National Geographic described this as one of the most scenic drives in the United States. ¬†The views were absolutely breathtaking!

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The Mountains: Chisos Basin

Later that afternoon we went back into the park to hike in the mountains.

Doesn’t this sign make you want to hike there?¬† Don’t worry Mom, we didn’t encounter any lions or bears. ¬†Thankfully we didn’t see any rattlesnakes all week either which is what I was most afraid of seeing.

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The opening in the mountains below is called “The Window”.

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We tried to time it so we would get to The Window in time for the sunset, but we were a little early. ¬†We didn’t wait around for it because it was so hot and the bugs right at this spot were horrendous.

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The Desert: Castolon

On our third day we hiked in the canyons and desert.

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Cool fossil looking thing in the wall.  Looks like a big fish, shark maybe?

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Nice shady spot for a cool drink.

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I love when they act like they like each other! ¬†ūüôā

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The ruins of an old house at the Sam Nail Ranch.  We also saw a windmill with a well that the Nail family made which is still working today!

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This area looked like a ghost town.

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We saw some really neat looking desert plants. ¬†I’m amazed that these plants can grow and flower in such a dry climate.

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Colorful lizard. ¬†Doesn’t look like the lizards we have in Florida.

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We ended the day at the ranger station where the kids earned their first of hopefully many Junior Ranger badges.  At each National Park we visit we can get a Junior Ranger booklet that teaches the kids about the park.  While visiting they need to do the activities in the booklet and then return to the ranger station when they are done so the ranger can award them with a Junior Ranger badge and certificate.  They also have to raise their right hand and repeat after the ranger a pledge about protecting and supporting the national park.

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Visiting this park was such an amazing experience. ¬†I was in awe of the beauty of God’s Creation! ¬†I am so thankful for my family’s health so that we can do these hikes together. ¬†I am thankful that we live in an RV and can travel to these far away places that we otherwise would never have seen. ¬†I am thankful that I have legs so that I can walk around places like this. ¬†I am thankful that I have eyes that can see the spectacular scenery that my God made. ¬†Sappy? ¬†Yes, but after the incredible sights I have seen this week I can’t help it. ¬†ūüôā

It is also so rewarding to hear my kids say this was their favorite trip so far. ¬†I wasn’t sure how much they would like hiking around a National Park and learning the history, especially since they are so used to going to Disney World and riding rides. ¬†A National Park is so different since there are no rides and no artifical entertainment. ¬†I was happy to see how much they enjoyed themselves and how much they learned.

Next I just have a few tips about visiting. ¬†We were there during the off-season. ¬†The peak season is from November¬†through April. ¬†I realize now why this is the off-season — it is so hot! ¬†The nice thing about being there during the off-season is it is not the least bit crowded. ¬†But it would be nice to hike these trails in cooler weather.

Another tip: ¬†if you plan to RV here, there are several campgrounds within the park, but only one with full hookups that can accommodate a larger rig. ¬†We almost stayed at that one, but I’m glad we didn’t. ¬†It is literally just a parking lot with hookups. ¬†We ended up staying at the Maverick Ranch RV Park at Lajitas Golf Resort. ¬†It is about a 20 mile drive to the entrance to Big Bend. ¬†The longer drive each day was a little inconvenient, but the resort was so nice it was worth it. ¬†It also costs the same as staying at a¬†full hookup site within the park. ¬†And after those very hot hiking days, it was so nice to come back to a campground that had a pool to cool off in. ¬†Below are some pictures of the resort.

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Below is the view from our campsite.  Not crowded at all!  I guess we were one of the few people crazy enough to come here at this time of the year.

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Cute boardwalk of shops at the resort.

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The Lajitas town mayor is a beer drinking goat!

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I know this was a long post and if you’re still reading, thank you! ¬†I hope you enjoyed this post about Big Bend and I hope you’ll be able to visit yourself someday and experience all of the beautiful sites in person because my pictures just don’t do it justice.

Categories: National Parks, Texas | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Texas Hill Country Part 2

Our next stop in the Texas Hill Country was at Thousand Trails Medina Lake. ¬†This lake is quite different from Canyon Lake because there is no water in it! ¬†The lake is totally dry except for a very small section by the dam. ¬†It’s actually quite sad to see the area and hear the stories about how the lake dried up about 8 years ago. ¬†The campground has photo albums of years when there used to be a lake and how it even flooded one year. ¬†It’s amazing to think this area was once covered in water and now it’s totally dry. ¬†The picture below was right near our campsite and believe it or not it used to be a lake:

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There are several boat docks and ramps that are falling apart, and it’s hard to imagine there used to be water holding up the docks:

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The kids found a little cave:

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There are several homes around this lake that have boat docks that are falling apart and the homes used to be lake-front property.  It really is sad to see this and I feel bad for the people who live here and used to enjoy living on a lake.

We heard there was a little bit of water left down by the dam which was about 8 miles away so we took a drive to go see it. ¬†We found the dam but the entrance was all gated up and we weren’t allowed to go out to it. ¬†A little further down the road we saw a sign for Joe’s Marina so we decided to go down there and see if we could see the lake from there. ¬†We got to the entrance and the gate was open, but there weren’t any people around. ¬†There was a parking lot, a picnic area, a playground and a restroom so it looked like a public place and nobody was around to tell us otherwise. ¬†We parked and Chris & Jesse decided to use the restroom. ¬†While they were in there this guy comes up and asks me what we’re doing there. ¬†I immediately felt so uncomfortable like we had just trespassed on someone’s private property, but there were no signs anywhere indicating that. ¬†I told him we just wanted to see what the lake looks like, and he told me we have to pay him $5 for using his restroom. ¬†Seriously?! ¬†$5 to pee? ¬†Okay, so when Chris came out he paid¬†the guy $5. ¬†Then he told us we could look at the lake for 5 minutes, but if we give him another $5 he’ll let us look for 20 minutes. ¬†Definitely not the Texas hospitality that we had gotten used to! ¬†We decided to just hurry up and take a couple of pictures of the lake and get out of there. ¬†Below are some of the pictures we took. ¬†I guess we’ll always remember the story behind how these pictures cost us $5! ¬†ūüôā

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Strange Man was no where in sight when we got back to the truck. ¬†I still felt really uncomfortable though. ¬†When we first got there he was nowhere in sight and then shows up right¬†after Chris went into the bathroom. ¬†Then when we were leaving he was nowhere in sight again. ¬†Just felt kind of creepy to me! ¬†I looked up the website of that place and it sounds like it was a campground and RV park at one time, and some website testimonials mentioned how welcoming and hospitable they were. ¬†Not anymore! ¬†We won’t be back.

Anyway, in spite of the lack of water in the lake, this place is so beautiful.  The view from our campsite was amazing, and we had the perfect view of some spectacular sunsets.

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And the best part of this park was all the deer! ¬†So many deer — one day Chris¬†counted 22 at our site, and on the day we were leaving he counted 33! ¬†And they were so tame and friendly and would eat right out of our hands. ¬†Chris got lots of deer feed corn throughout the week for these new pets of ours. ¬†I think he’s going to miss them!

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Jesse wanted to make sure I included the story about how he tricked a deer into petting it. ¬†They didn’t start coming up to us and letting us feed and pet them until we had been there a few days. ¬†The first day, Jesse put some deer food in a pail and waited until the deer had its head buried in the pail eating, and then he snuck up on the deer and pet its neck. ¬†The deer quickly ran away from him, but he thought it was funny how he tricked it so he could at least pet it for a second. ¬†He was pretty happy once the deer got used to us and started letting him pet them without having to trick them.

We really enjoyed our time in Medina Lake. ¬†I think it’s so beautiful even without the lake, I can only imagine what it must have been like when they still had water.

Categories: Texas | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Texas Hill Country Part 1

I have to write about the Texas Hill Country in 2 blog posts because there is just too much to write about. ¬†This section of Texas is so beautiful! ¬†Since we started traveling this has been the first part of the country that I could actually see myself living in. ¬†The only problem is there is no ocean and I really can’t see myself living in an area that is not near the ocean. ¬†And at this point I can’t see myself living anywhere except in my house on wheels because there is just so much more to see of this country, not to mention¬†I think I have a serious case of wanderlust. ¬†It helps that my husband and kids feel the same way. ¬†Jesse (who did not want to do this) said just yesterday, “I want to live in an RV and travel for 400 years!” ¬†Okay Jesse, let’s hope you live long enough to do that. ūüôā

Anyway, when we first drove into this part of Texas, the kids were asking “are those mountains??” ¬†Being from Florida, we’re not used to anything higher than a bridge. ¬†I told them that I think they are considered hills not mountains since they call this the “Hill Country”, but they sure look like mountains to us and they sure are beautiful!

So our adventure in Hill Country began in Canyon Lake at Jellystone Park. ¬†We love to visit Jellystone Parks whenever we can, and this one was just as much fun as the others we’ve been to.

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Splash pad:

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Jumping pillow:

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Indoor pool that we went to every night.  We had the pool all to ourselves for the whole week until the weekend crowd came on Friday.

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Judy and Kylie came for a visit on the weekend. ¬†We have really enjoyed spending just about every weekend this month with them, but unfortunately we are getting a little too far for them to continue coming to see us on the weekends. ¬†It was such a blessing to have this time with them and we can’t wait to see them again.

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Fun laser tag activity:

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Speaking of catching up with old friends while we’re traveling, Chris got to spend some time with his old high school friend Pat that he hasn’t seen in about 20-something years.

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Staying at this Jellystone Park for the week was interesting in that we were just about the only ones there for the whole week until Friday. ¬†Suddenly the whole park filled up with so many people for the weekend! ¬†On Friday we watched a steady stream of campers pulling in and setting up. ¬†A camper pulls into the spot right next to us and the strange thing about how these sites are arranged is that they had them pull in the opposite direction as we did which means we share a common area. ¬†You can see what I mean in the picture below — we’re in the tan camper on the left and our neighbors are on the right. ¬†Well, initially this seemed like it could be a very awkward situation having to share our outdoor area that we had all to ourselves for the whole week. ¬†But it ended up being such a blessing in disguise. ¬†We could not have asked for a better family to pull in next to us! ¬†We had so much fun with them and their kids and now we have to make sure we get back to this part of the country again so we can see them again someday. ¬†It really amazes me how quickly we connect with people over a campfire. ¬†We never used to connect with people so easily and quickly before. ¬†By the time Sunday rolled around we were so sad to be saying goodbye to people that we didn’t even know on Friday!

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Jesse seemed to really enjoy playing with their little girl.  She was such a cutie!

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Just five minutes away from the campground was Canyon Lake and I don’t think I have ever seen a more beautiful lake. ¬†The water was such a pretty blue-green color just like the Gulf Coast water we saw in Destin. ¬†But the mountains hills surrounding it with all the greenery and flowers were just so incredibly beautiful.

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We were not far from San Antonio so we took a day trip to visit there. ¬†The River Walk has always been on my “bucket list” of things to see. ¬†We walked over 5 miles on it!

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A little section of the river walk has this really cool cave you walk through that looks like there is a monster inside:

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The kids were trying to get out quickly before getting eaten alive by the monster:

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We went to visit The Alamo while in San Antonio which was really cool to see since I have heard about it before but never really knew what it was. ¬†After we left¬†I couldn’t get that song about Davy Crockett out of my head. ¬†This is a picture of the outside, we weren’t allowed to take any pictures of the inside. ¬†I’m not sure why, I guess they want you to come and see it for yourselves.

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And we ended our tour around the River Walk at Rita’s Tex Mex restaurant on the river. ¬†Yummy!

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Stay tuned for Hill Country Part 2!

Categories: Texas | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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