Aris and I decided to take a road trip to Big Bend National Park, 10 hours away from Houston. We had the whole week thanks to the Thanksgiving weekend so it was perfect timing. We actually almost cancelled the trip because on Monday I was involved in a minor accident and I had to deal with the insurance. I had been so overly excited over the trip and so bummed about the fact that the whole trip might be cancelled because of me. Alas the carelessness of yours truly!
Fortunately, it turned out that the insurance thing could wait until we got back. We were using another car anyway so the trip was on again! On Tuesday afternoon we embarked on our journey to the west! Our Jeep (we named her Zeppelin) was full of things. Later on I found out that some things were not even needed. Aris had a great time mocking me for being so overly prepared. I must admit that I was doing too many research. Hey, I'm a writer so that's normal!
We arrived in San Antonio when the sun was setting and we decided to camp for a night at Kerville-Schreiner Park in Kerrville, Texas. It was another hour of driving from San Antonio and when we arrived we immediately found ourselves a campsite. There was only one other family besides us in the whole tent-only campsite so it was nice and quiet. There was no electricity and running water in the campsite, but the restroom and shower were 100 feet away. Later that night we found out that our bedding situation was not sufficient for the temperature and we were not putting the tent correctly. Our asses were freezing that night! Live and learn, we didn't do the same mistake twice. No siree! In the morning we did some mountain biking in the park and I think I did good for my first attempt though I was cursing during most of the steep inclines. Kerville-Schreiner Park was wonderful!
We continued our journey to Big Bend National Park after the biking session. It was a nice driving day that Wednesday. The road was just about to get crowded, but still rather empty for the most part. We stopped at Caverns of Sonora for lunch. We borrowed their picnic table and cooked (well, heated) our lunch. From there it was straight to Big Bend with necessary stops to fill up the tank and some Walmart shopping. I was not going to freeze my ass again the second night so we bought blanket and pillows. Yes, I brought a shovel and a 5-gallon bucket, but not pillows.
We arrived at Big Bend National Park around 5 PM and it was magical. Big Bend country was absolutely stunning. The sun was mellowing and the sky was blushing. All around there were layers of mountains, just like something one find in a painting. The farther the mountain, the surreal it looked. Because we didn't have a reservation we had to race people to get a site. Thanksgiving weekend has always been one of the busiest! The whole park has 45 mph speed limit. This is more for the animals than the humans. Too many animals got killed because they didn't see the car coming. A number of jackrabbits and one coyote were saved because we followed the speed limit. 'Yayyy' to us!
We finally settled in the Rio Grande Village. The campsite was in proximity to the Mexico-US border. It was more a mental border rather than a physical one. Again, we set up our tent in total darkness. Using headlights we assembled the tent and set up our bed then made dinner and started to try to get a feel of everything. Our nextdoor neighbor in the campsite was a family in an RV. It looked like they had moved their whole entire home to their site. To make us even more jealous, they had steak for dinner. We were too tired so we made a bowl of Indonesian instant noodle. Hearty and absolutely not nutritious, but was enough to make us full. It rained that night and I had one of the nicest sleeps in a long time. I was content with everything. With the rain, with our tent, with the absence of phone reception and the internet, with the man sleeping next to me. Everything was perfect.
After driving for 3 hours we decided to set up camp at the Caverns of Sonora. We had learned that the campsite there had electricity and a clean restroom plus hot shower. The night was cold, but we managed. In the morning a not-so familiar sound woke us up. It came from peacocks! How wonderful! At 9.45 AM we took a tour inside the caverns. Caverns of Sonora is acknowledged as the most beautiful cave in Texas and the most beautiful show caves in the world. It was designated as a National Natural Landmark by the US government in 1966 and the caves are still active. Ninety-five percent of its formations are still "growing". Unbelievable!
This year, I'm thankful for my adventures and Aris, my partner in doing those adventures. We may fight, bicker, annoy each other (a lot!), but in the end he's my home. Wherever we are, whatever we do, however we do it, as long as he is there, I'm good.