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Tag Archives: texas forever tour

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.

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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 We did the self-guided tour, watched the crazy, cheesey outdated videos and wandered around where we were allowed.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.

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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.

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day 2 guadalupe mountains national Day 2
Destination: Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Mileage: ~145 miles
Time: ~3 hours
Temperature: 60/99F (Low/High)
*Stopped in Pecos for water/gas/Walmart

Here’s a disclaimer: I’ve been writing these out of order, so there isn’t that much consistency. Yay me!

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I’ve been thinking about it, and I think maybe Guadalupe Mountains National Park was my favorite place on this trip. It was really beautiful, especially the morning. I saw a snake on my way to the bathroom, which wasn’t so beautiful but at least he was chill. I had a great sleep that night, and the view in the morning was the best. I don’t know, every place was different but I definitely want to come back here.

Look. At. This. View.

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Sidebar: Pecos is kind of the worst, BUT they have Walmart and it’s the closest city (in Texas) that has things you may need. They also have Dairy Queen, but obviously nothing matches Whataburger.

Some Tidbits and PROTips for Guadalupe Mtns. National Park:

  • El Capitan looks awesome. I want to come back and hike the full trail, we only did maybe a third of it?
  • The campgrounds are pretty posh. Numbered and each place has their own area. Tent site #14 was our’s and it was the best spot. There aren’t any showers though so…
  • Check your bathroom amenities. So on the note of bathrooms, check them! Meaning…check if they have showers, we didn’t know and we walked back and forth to each restroom to find out that we didn’t have showers.
  • There are big black raven/hawk-like looking birds. Just saying.
  • Smith Spring Trail is totally worth it!! There is a spring despite how bleak and dry it looks!!
  • If no one has told you, they should have: keep your food in your car. Let’s not attract bears to the campsite, capiche?
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Smith Spring Trail

west texas cover

After being away from a computer for 7 days, I have had a lot to catch up on and write.
I don’t know if you know this, but I just came back from a 6-day camping trip that features the West Texas desert.

Yes, I did stay at El Cosmico (which doesn’t count as camping at all).
Yes, I saw El Capitan.
And yes, I went to a Minor League baseball game where their mascot is the chihuahua.
And! I had my first AirBnB experience!

More on all of these as they will all get their own descriptive, detailed posts. Today, today we talk about the beginning, which I’m calling Day 0.

This day includes: packing for the trip, and giving you a lowdown of what the next few posts will look like.

We had no idea what to expect, here are some PRO tips and road trip essentials:

  • Make a list for your groceries, your supplies [esp. your tech stuff], your clothes, etc. So you can keep track, so you don’t lose anything, and you know what’s dirty/clean. (Pack a “dirty clothes” bag too!!)
  • Make breakfast tacos on Day 0. I know I’ve pushed this tip since my Colorado/New Mexico road trip, but it really helps for those lazy mornings.
  • COFFEE DRINKERS. I love to grind my own coffee beans right before I pour the water, but it’s a lot easier when I just did it all on Day 0, and then brought along the ground coffee beans for the next days. Also, don’t ever underestimate bringing your awesome coffee, s/o to Cuvée. My homies.
  • Over-packers. Because this is me sometimes. Pack all the stuff you [think you] want, then break it down and eliminate. There is a very high chance that you won’t wear everything. I don’t know if I’ll ever get this just right, but I’m getting there.
  • Music-listeners. Be well-equipped and well-supplied for your trip. Make your playlists offline, burn cd’s, add more tracks to your iTunes. I love my playlists and listened to them 20 times over, but I wish I made more offline because I barely had cell service!
  • Weekenders. If you are camping on a weekend, might I suggest booking your campsite beforehand? Because Hannah and I definitely didn’t realize this and had no place to stay on Saturday. We had to go drive home because of it. More on that later.

I think this is what I remember and what I can say about packing and Day 0.

The next few days will feature each place we stopped at which include: Monahans Sandhill State Park, Pecos, Guadalupe Mountain National Park, El Paso, Fort Davis, Marfa, Marathon, Big Bend National Park, and a touch of Balmorhea. I’ll have pictures and PRO Tips, the typical travel post format. Also included with no extra charge: commentary on how Hannah and I felt and dumb things we came up with, you’ll see.

Until next time,
Thu

I know I keep disclaiming my posts before I write them, but I promise this is my final one… I think. Today’s disclaimer is: it’s about to get actually vulnerable, but I guess that just means that my blog is showing growth… 

I often say “sidebar” in conversation. I would be in mid-sentence saying, “blah blah blah” then I say, “sidebar: yada yada yada.” Attempting to make this metaphorical to my life, like the sidebars I spontaneously sprinkle in my conversation, there are sidebars that spontaneously come into my life and disrupt it. But I choose the word “disrupt” in the most respectful way possible. I know it has a somewhat negative connotation but things happen, life happens, life gets disrupted. It’s nothing bad, it’s just life. Life goes on after sidebars just like my conversation. (Is that confusing enough for you?)

As I had mentioned earlier, Hannah and I are about to embark on a tour around Texas (cc: the “Texas Forever” Tour). We have been planning for months, making lists, and tweaking maps. But alas, a sidebar has come into my life and we have to postpone this trip. PTL that I have great friends who are understanding.

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That was a little sidebar of sorts because this is the actual vulnerable part of my life: the sidebar that has spontaneously come is my mom. She didn’t just come into my life, but the help she needs from me is something of spontaneity. For those close to me, y’all know she has been recovering from a gastric ulcer. It’s interesting because I was actually having a problem with prioritizing and then this sidebar came in and rumbled my priorities into perspective. Some might call this sidebar a sign but I digress.

It’s been a hell of a summer and I’m not just talking about the 1000-degree-heat. With school, two internships, the fear of growing up, friends, etc etc – prioritizing has been something I’ve been working on but struggling with especially these past 2 months. Never had I piled on a plate so full, never had I thought I would make it to the other side. It’s hard prioritizing, y’all. What is summer supposed to be like? All work? All play? What are we entitled to do? Are we entitled at all? Transitioning into adulthood, everything becomes blurry. I wanted to go on vacation, but I also hated taking off work. I wanted to go to $1 beer Wednesday’s, but I was too tired, did that make me lame? I wanted so badly to go on this road trip, but does that make me a bad daughter?

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I love my mom. I would do anything for her, but when she asked me to help her, I was frustrated and disappointed. Priorities blurred. It was a rough decision because I wanted to compromise. Sometimes sidebars aren’t meant for compromise though, sometimes they’re meant to shake you and ask you to adapt.

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):

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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…