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Tag Archives: road trips

Day 6: Big Bend > Balmorhea > Austin > College Station > Houston
Mileage: A lot.
Time: The # of hours I drove exceeded the # of hours I slept.

This is wayyy overdue. I wouldn’t post about the last day because our trip was cut short, but I had some post-camp thoughts that I wrote down.

The night in Big Bend was one for the books in an…unforgettable way. To say that it was windy would be an understatement. One of the tent poles broke. Luckily, it didn’t completely break, but when we broke down our campsite, we discovered that loud snap in the midst of our anxiety party. It got to the point where Hannah and I were both delusional, laughing and freaking out at everything. The next morning Hannah told me her vivid dreams about us getting swept away, eaten by black bears, and making newspaper headlines.

Here is my delusional windy tent picture.

Here is a picture of our tent that I took while feeling very delusional.

The next morning, we were serenaded by our classical guitarist while we sipped our coffee and ate our breakfast. Our next destination? As far away from Big Bend as possible. I think if our tent wasn’t so close to collapsing, I would be okay with staying a little longer. Since that wasn’t the case, we were headed to Balmorhea.

Here’s a huge PROTip: Don’t go to Balmorhea on a weekend. Ever. Unless you go really, really early. When we arrived, it was around noon-time? There was a 20-car line to get inside. I’m not sure how big the pool actually is because we gave up and headed to Austin. Bless you Austin and P. Terry- that’s where I headed first. Blah blah blah I miss Austin a lot, what else is new?

The loveliest sight after 100 hours of driving.

Post-Camp Thoughts:

  • I miss it already and a lot.
  • Never take showers for granted.
  • Early bedtimes are alright at camp. We slept at 8 or 9 PM every day.
  • The first night after camp- I slept like a rock. It was amazing.
  • Buy pull-tab cans or bring a can opener next time.
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fort davis and marfa

Day 4
Destination: Fort Davis, then Marfa
Mileage: ~195 miles + ~36 miles
Time: ~3 hours + ~.75 hours
Temperature: 60/94 (Low/High)

[This isn’t like the other posts, not many PROTips to give except to go to McDonald Observatory!]

We woke up that morning in El Paso struggling to leave. It felt homey, there was coffee ready for us, and Whataburger was comfortably around the corner. We kind of liked El Paso, but when we started driving into Davis Mountains, I was like, “El—what?” The Davis Mountains are beautiful, the weather was perfect, and I was playing Bon Iver in the car (obviously). Located in the Davis Mountains? The McDonald Observatory.

mcdonald_collage

And…I didn’t tell Hannah that it was actually The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory, but she stood in awe of the massive telescopes (that were founded by some Longhorn and Penn State alum). [ICYMI: Hannah is actually a current Aggie. Why? Idk.]

These observatories are really impressive, and I wish that we could have gone through the [2-hour tour] that let you see the facilities. We did the self-guided tour, watched the crazy, cheesey outdated videos and wandered around where we were allowed. No burnt orange shirt or gear could make me feel more proud of the school I graduated from than this observatory. It might be more inspiring than the Tower!

Another-Me wondered if I should have studied aerospace engineering so that I could have access to resources like this…and then I reminded myself of all of the theories that my brain can’t grasp. I like stars, but I’m better with people. Another life, maybe.

davis_crop

After playing outside of the Davis Mountains and “star-gazing,” it was time to go to Marfa, and I didn’t know what to expect. You hear so much stuff about Marfa and you know what? Whatever you hear, it’s nothing compared to when you’re actually there. It’s Bizarro World.
Our people-watching list goes a little something like this:

  • A boy with a pinwheel hat
  • The mom-crew that wore tutu’s
  • Jess and Ashley as we affectionately called them- the girls who rented separate trailers and have probably never been camping
  • The bachelor party crew
  • The retired crew who came for Marfa lights
  • The very real vagabonds
  • The hipsters (of course)
  • The couple who probably share the same wardrobe and wore socks and sandals
  • The lone artist man
  • The longhorns ( I saw a ton of people who were repping UT. Figures.)
  • Us

The Get Go Grocery in Marfa is cool, and I think the only grocery store around (?). It felt like Quickie Pickie in Austin sans a restaurant part and beer-on-tap (something I miss very much). That night, we grabbed a pack of Shiner Ruby Redbird, some chips & salsa, and headed back to camp. A campnight in Marfa seemed pretty tame… a ‘wild’ tabby cat to greet us in the next morning.

Our humble 'Bode

Our humble ‘Bode. Glamp.

As I’m writing this, I’m listening to Explosions in the Sky’s ‘First Breath After Coma‘, it will all make sense in a minute (or two). I love Texas. There are buckets of reasons why I can’t leave this place. The first being Central Market scones, the second being tacos (my family somewhere between those two). Anyway, that’s not why I’m writing this post, I am definitely devoting a whole post to reasons why I can’t leave Texas.

This post is devoted to an age-old tradition that I don’t see people doing much of anymore: road trips. Or maybe my head is in the clouds and people actually take road trips all of the time and I’m just not aware. Whatever the case my be, the road is calling me, I must pick it up, and go.

So this August, Hannah and I are going on a “Texas Forever Tour” (with hashtag included below):

photo

We love Texas so much, we’re going to travel inside of it and call it a road trip (because it totally is, Texas is large). Sidebar: We also really love FNL. Also, Hannah and I didn’t have much time to go on a cross-country tour before school starts…we’re saving that one for the wintertime.

We’re traveling up the panhandle and trickling back down to our hometown. We’re going to Balmorhea, we’re going to Amarillo, we’re going to Marfa (I know, I know) we’re going places, y’all. Please, if you have suggestions as to where to eat, grab a coffee or a brew, leave me a reply!

Clear eyes, full hearts…

First I want to say thank you for sticking around for Part 2- this is where it gets interesting.

On our way to South Mineral Campgrounds, we went into this sweet town called Silverton. “What a way to live,” I thought to myself, “it’s like, oh hey, look at those humongous mountains from my backyard.” I’m from the Texas suburbs and in our backyard, we see our neighbor’s yard, not the Rocky Mountains. And when we get to our campsite and finish setting up, we go for a hike…to go find waterfalls. It was a bizarre experience. The gradual change in altitude, crossing of creeks, ascending into the mountains until you hear that familiar sound of rushing water. But it’s not coming from your bathtub or sink or pool; it’s flowing out and crashing into the bottom of the creek naturally, not man-made. Something you’d see while you’re flipping through your options for Desktop Wallpapers.

I was here a week ago. And yes, I thought of TLC’s “Waterfalls” during my time here. You know what was so delicious after we hiked? Ramen noodles. The hot broth soothed my soul and so did the chai tea my brother made. We slept under the stars, between mountains, and possibly among bears (it was bear country after all…). Oh, and in 45 degree weather (Did I mention that it’s August?). This campground is beautiful and it is actually well known for being right next to the trail head that leads to the Ice Lake Basin (Google it, you’ll want to come). The next day we woke up early again, stuffed in another hike to more waterfalls, and then headed on our way to our next destination: Estes Park, CO & Boulder, CO.

My only picture of the cabin with my web cam..

Estes Park and the cabin we stayed in (hosted by my wonderful friend) was pretty special. Clear skies meant a guarantee sea of stars. Many people that I admire have made their way to that cabin and I was pretty honored that I was able to spend some time there too. From there, it was only 45 mins to Boulder, CO which was our day-trip the next day.

Pearl St

And this is finally where Austin comes in. The city, not a person. I live in Austin, TX and I love this place to pieces. The food, the culture, the possibilities, the food- I love Austin. When we entered Boulder slowly but surely that place captured my heart too. I heard that this place was like our great city but I didn’t know in what way. Infinite bike lanes, beautiful Pearl St, constant cyclists passing through, tons of coffee shops, multiple bike shops, beautiful parks, a pretty great Whole Foods- at times, I’d have to remind myself I wasn’t in Austin but the similarities were almost uncanny. Boulder, I love you but when we were driving our way home and I saw that iconic Austin skyline, tears almost streamed down my face. It wasn’t just the exhaustion and delirium that came from 17 hour continuous driving from Colorado to Texas either, I think it was genuine love.

I didn’t know what to expect out of this road trip so I tried to prepare for everything. I’m that kind of girl, but even then, I felt like I encountered things I didn’t know would come. You can’t prepare for a road trip like you prepare for a test. I realized that as we drove along. I end this post with my last little spurts of thoughts and tips:

  1. Know you can’t do everything so embrace wherever you are at that moment. I reflect and I realize there were times I didn’t do this. It’s difficult but at least know that.
  2. Songs from Flight of the Conchords are like secret, mental energy bars. They kept us awake and entertained us while driving through the mountains.
  3. Try to journal at least 1 sentence at the end of your day or whenever you’re free and think of something. You don’t need a journal, write it on a post-it if you want, just write it down!
  4. Don’t watch videos about how to respond to bear attacks at midnight- it doesn’t relieve your stress, it just makes you more paranoid. Watch them during the daytime.
  5. Be thankful if you get to go on a road trip.
  6. Don’t be afraid, just go.

newAnthony.jpg

 

So I know it’s been awhile but I’m going for quality posts and not a large quantity of posts. Also, brainstorming consistent ideas to follow this theme for my blog is more difficult than I thought it would be. Also…most of my ideas come when I’m in the shower and I forget to write them down. Note to self: write down everything.

Like the title says, I went on a road trip! It feels like I left a month ago but I just got back a couple of days ago. Before I have panic-attack about school and forget to write this post, there are a couple (or a lot because this is Part 1, oops) of things I want to share about my trip. And I have pictures! Everyone loves pictures.

So as far as road trips go, I think this was pretty “spontaneous”. We had planted this idea about a month ago but the actual planning didn’t come until the week before. I had never planned a road trip in my life so naturally Google became my best friend those couple of days. Road trip tip: try and ask people you know who have been to the places you are planning to go to, it might be faster than shuffling through countless Google posts.

Sand for miles.

One of my “bucket-list destinations” was White Sands National Monument in Alamogordo, NM. Inspired by Invisible Children‘s Spring 2010 Legacy tour video of “jumping first, and fearing later” that was set to the soundtrack of my life (“Cosmic Love” by Florence + The Machine)- I knew we had to stop there. And I have never seen anything like it. Where did this white sand come from? Why does it feel like I’m the only person on what feels like another planet? Why didn’t I bring a sled? Probably the #1 tip I’d give to you if you come here: bring a sled, cardboard box, something to slide in- it will be worth it…from what I saw from the smiling children anyways. Kids – 1; Me – 0.

White Sands, NM

So that’s our tent in the monument. You can camp inside if you hike to your camping spot. There are only 10 camping sites and on the usual, they fill up quickly. That day? None. We were the lone backcountry hikers that glorious day. Night 1- done. I’m betting that there was a mountain lion circling our tent at the top of the dune at night but that is something I’ll never know…except for the PAW PRINTS! It could easily be a dog too but I’m pretty sure it’s the mountain lion. We woke up early to drive to our next destination: Colorful Colorado**

**To be continued in Part 2!

A suggestion for camping food/road food: breakfast tacos. Make them ahead of time, wrap them in foil, put them in the freezer. On the road and you’re hungry? Take one out and let it defrost. They are good cold or you can throw them in your campfire to warm them up. Breakfast tacos are a beautiful thing.