Tuesday, June 6, 2017


Big Bend Country (West Texas)

Summer vacation started immediately with our family as the kids' last day of school was on Friday and we were off on a road trip the following day, which also happened to be Memorial Day weekend.

The trip officially started when we left home at 9 a.m. to begin the long drive to West Texas. Nothing eventful on this day, just nonstop driving with the usual pit stops to pee, poo, and eat. We spent the night in Fort Stockton, TX. It's a tiny town that had "big name" places like Walmart and McDonald's, places I tend to avoid like the plague but will later take for granted.

Lunch at Freddy's in San Antonio.

It's off to Big Bend National Park. From Fort Stockton, it's only 1.5 hours away but being so vast, it took over 3 hours to drive to the first hiking location! It was hot (nearly 100 degrees) at the Santa Elena Canyon by the Rio Grande River. In contrast, the temperature dropped in the 60s in the Chisos Mountains where we spent the night.

We made it!

Ready to hike in this blistering heat...

But access to the trail was closed. :(

As Andrew would say, "Jacob, the unsatisfied hiker."

Elliot running to catch up with the boys.

Family picture at The Window.

My big girl is so tiny!

Spines stuck in her little finger when she thought it would be fun to slap a cactus.

The view at our lodge.

One of the trails in the Chisos Mountains.

The Window.


The Milky Way!

In the morning, we wanted to do a hike in the mountains but the clouds came rolling in and visibility was pretty much nil so we went for an "easy" hike in the dessert in search for the "Balanced Rock". The majority of the hike was easy except for the last quarter mile which required you to go straight up onto rocky terrain. We eventually made it but the little ones (Tyson and Elliot) made it exceptionally difficult.

In the morning, the clouds came pouring over the mountains.

In search of the Balanced Rock.

All smiles before the tough climb.

The Balanced Rock.

Taking a little break before heading back down.

After we thoroughly exhausted ourselves, it was off to Marfa, TX. We got into town by 5 p.m. but the problem was everything was closed! A lot of eateries were closed on the weekdays, if not permanently closed. The only food options were either Dairy Queen, Subway, or gas station food. DQ it was, bleh. But we did discover some awesome ice cream, Henry's Homemade Ice Cream, which we later found out was based in Plano (a much easier drive than Marfa).

"OK Google, find the closest Target."

Finally, good food... if you consider ice cream food.

Marfa had a weird vibe, in my opinion. Transplanted hipsters embedded in this tiny town, trying too hard to be like Austin. The people here don't seem very friendly. I don't know, maybe it's just me but I didn't like it and I was ready to leave.

Breakfast burritos.
Our next destination was Fort Davis, TX where we got lunch (more burgers and chicken strips) at the Fort Davis Drug Store. Afterwards, we headed to the McDonald Observatory to learn about space and the universe.

More ice cream at the Fort Davis Drug Store.

McDonald Observatory.

Elliot's favorite part of the observatory... the rainbow colored slide.

"Only you can prevent forest fires."

After increasing our knowledge, we headed to Davis Mountains State Park, where we would spend the last night of our trip at the Indian Lodge. Sporadic rain and thunderstorms prevented us from taking any hikes but we still managed to find our own fun.

Our lodge is the tiny white building on the upper left.

On top of the world!

A little pool time at the Indian Lodge.

Time to go home. Over 600 miles and 12 hours later, we finally made it back. Whew.

Tyson drawing first thing in the morning.

The Indian Lodge.

One last family picture before heading back home.

I think I might.

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