Day 16 – Texas to New Mexico

We woke up in heaven and drove out of it and now I want to go back.

Sunglasses would have been helpful

Apparently Brady, Texas is pretty close to the center of Texas. We woke up and it was warm and sunny. The wind was blowing and we sat outside and had coffee listening to the quail coo. I just feel happy when I’m warm and it’s sunny. Siah climbed this HUGE tree while we had breakfast.

I ADORE the trees down south. They are so gorgeous and sprawling.

Jon walked around the property and found a field of cacti just about ready to bloom.

I wish we could have seen an entire field of flowering cacti. It must be stunning.

We left Brady around 11am. I really was in no hurry to leave; although Siah and Jude are not the hugest fans of the heat and they are starting to talk about getting home soon.

Got the arm wrapped up and in the photo

It’s been a good trip. For 4 people living on top of each other – 2 introverts. 2 extroverts, meeting people, eating food that’s not typical, living in a different place most nights, with iffy wifi connections, iffy toilets, random showers, way too much fast food, no personal space and WAY TOO MANY HOURS in a vehicle – we have done spectacularly. I’m kind of proud of how well we’ve done. You can tell how tired the boys are by how much bickering they do ;but they’d bicker at home, too. Honestly the only difference is they don’t have the luxury of going to their own bedrooms.

We drove and drove and drove and drove. Texas is really pretty. I kind of love it. The wild flowers, the open spaces, the wildlife, the warmth, the wind……I don’t think I’d want to live in the city but put me outside the city…….oh man.

We weren’t exactly sure if we were going to make it into New Mexico but considering that we crossed a time zone, we decided doe go for it. We crossed over from Texas into New Mexico at 6:55pm and then gained an hour.

We pulled into the Clovis RV Park around 6:15pm and got set up for the night. It was SO cold and windy. The park was quiet but had horrific wifi according to the boys. It would have been better if it had none, because it was like teasing them with wifi bars and then they kept dropping the signal.

I have done pretty well at planning out our routes the day before or at the very least in the evening but I was really struggling to get the next day planned. I think I’m just sad about leaving Texas and both options – Denver and New Mexico – are cold and windy with overnight temps dropping below zero. Not cool. Seriously not cool! Maybe a good night sleep will help me gain some clarity. I certainly hope so.

Day 15 – Texas Trouble

We left Round Rock around 10am with plans to head to Inner Space Cavern which was only 20 mins away in Georgetown.

When we arrived, the parking lot was FULL, the overflow parking was filled with school busses and there were millions of little children running around like feral cats.

We tried to find a place to park our truck and trailer in the overflow lot but it was difficult to navigate and in our efforts, the brake cable got pinched and short circuited, triggering the brakes to lock in place.

At that point, we were parked, whether we wanted to be or not. So in a super avoidant maneuver, we decided to go for the tour of the caverns and deal with the issue after.

We sidestepped through the chaos and went inside, only to be told that the next public tour was at 12:50pm.

So, it looked like we were going to deal with the trailer electrical first. I looked up RV service centres and there was one 2 minutes up the road. With the brakes being locked up, Jon cut the brake cable to release it and we carefully drove up the street and into the RV lot.

Jon took the cut piece of cable into the shop and bought a new one…..rather than doing a hack job and splicing the new cable onto the old cable, Jon decided to replace the cable properly.

Once replaced, the lights would turn on but not the turning signals.

While Jon was working on the truck, I was eating my feelings.

So Jon checked out the fuses and sure enough, we had blown fuses. So we had to buy and replace 6 fuses. But, Jon got it all figured out and working and at this point it was 1pm, so we decided to head back to the caves. Oh what fun!

We paid the admission and the next tour was leaving right away. So we headed into the caves.

The tour guide was funny and interesting. You walk further and further underground and it gets darker and warmer and more humid. They warn you to not touch anything in the cave because the oils on your hands destroy the formations ability to grow and develop. There is this one place where you are allowed to touch the formations as it had been touched when the caves were first found.

The ground is wet and damp and they have railings to hold onto and rugs nailed down into the ground so that you have better grip and don’t slip.

About half way into the tour, Jude did slip and fell onto his right arm, hurting it. And then he started to panic. Jon took him back above ground and got him an ice pack from the trailer.

Siah and I finished the cave tour and found Jon and Jude waiting for us.

It’s a good thing that we had a light day of travel planned because these two events, while nothing huge or horrible were unexpected and wearing. We packed back into the car and headed towards Brady, Texas where I had reserved a spot at an RV Park.

As we travelled further into Texas, it got hot and windy. It was beautiful with the wild flowers and cacti growing and the wide open spaces and rolling landscape.

We pulled into “The Heart of Texas RV Park”. It is such a cute little place. The wind blows warm. There are quail in the neighbouring yard cooing along with the hooting owls. The grounds are filled with wild flowers and brush and the most gorgeous trees.

We sat outside in the sun for a bit, before each of us ran through the shower in the guest house; and then made some dinner. After dinner, I had time to put the trailer in order – it felt a bit chaotic as we had spent time with family and friends over the past few days, rather than stay on top of keeping it neat.

Jon did a bit of schoolwork with Siah and then we settled for the night. A chaotic and unplanned day ended much more calmly than it began and for that I am so thankful.

Day 14 – Texas

We started the day a bit slower than usual as we were up so late the night before. We had plans to meet up with some friends in Dripping Springs around 11am and it was about an hour away from where we were staying. We got on the road just at 10:30am. We pulled into Dripping Springs and found our way to Mazama Coffee Co. & Roastery

We met up with Darren and Lori and we’re treated to delicious coffee and scrumptious baking and the absolute best friendship & company. The boys were thrilled to be on their own connected to wifi. And we went and sat outside on the patio under a huge sprawling tree. It was magical. We talked and talked and caught up and it was another incredible moment of soul filling connection.

After a couple of hours the boys started to get antsy and so we had a quick tour of their roastery. It’s fascinating, truly.

It’s an art form. It’s another beautiful craft that results in a delicious, perfect cup of coffee.

We headed back to Round Rock and found out that not only was it one cousin’s birthday but Jon’s cousin WAS available for dinner. He hadn’t been previously, but events worked out and he was free.

We spent the afternoon chatting with Tammie while Burton finished work.

They have a fabulous covered back porch and the great company and the warm wind blowing through combined with the incredible bird sounds made for a magical afternoon.

Their kids and our kids spent the entire afternoon chatting and laughing and sharing. When Burton finished work, we got ready to go to Chuy’s – a delicious Tex-Mex Restaurant.

On the drive there, Siah shared that he was so enjoying spending time with the cousins and said, “I am loving this. These are my kind of people.” It’s so good to hear and it was amazing to see how quickly we all connected.

It really was incredible how well our families got along. We talked and listened and our hearts were knit together. I’m filled with gratitude that we had this special time to connect. We chatted much later than we should have, knowing that our time together was short. Eventually we hugged, made plans to have coffee in the morning before we took off and headed to bed.

Day 13 – Texas

We had the most incredible thunderstorm roll through last night between 1am and 4am. So much rain and thunder and lightening; and our trailer weathered it like a champ.

Gorgeous white sandy beaches

We spent the day traveling from Bay St Louis, Mississippi to Austin, Texas where we were headed to see family. It was a mostly uneventful 12 hour day of travel.

As we left Mississippi and headed into Louisana the sun came out and the sky started to clear.

There was a wind blowing from the north and we were heading west. The cross winds made for a wheel griping ride for Jon. The trailer really wobbles in the wind and there was a tremendous amount of road work which meant that they had the road shifted over into the shoulder which mean there was little to no shoulder to handle the trailer wobble.

I find the forest to be so interesting in the south. It’s all the same height and when the highway goes up high over low lands or rivers you can see the tops of the tress and it looks like an ocean of green puffy clouds extending forever. As you get into Texas, the entire height of the forest shrinks by a few feet.

We stopped in Lake Charles, Louisana for lunch, a bathroom break and gas. We stopped at Wendy’s which was next to this crazy building that was mostly boarded up. Apparently it used to be the IRS and FBI but they’ve relocated. No idea what happened here but it’s crazy looking. The blue panels are glass the but brown panels are all boarded up wood.

I don’t know what I was expecting Texas to look like but it’s a lot greener, at least the parts that we’ve seen so far. I understand that it will change as we travel further west.

There are miles of these fields filled with colourful flowers that just look so beautiful. And I’m not the only one who thinks so as there were tons of families and photographers out taking photos in the flowering fields.

We stopped in Brenham and got chicken fingers and fries from Jack in the Box and we can finally check that restaurant off our list.

As we drove into Austin, the sun was setting and it was so incredible beautiful. The photo doesn’t even begin to do it justice.

Our first stop was to see Tyrone – one of Jon’s cousins. We’ve met Tyrone before when we came and stayed with us in Abbotsford. I can see Josiah, in Tyrone’s look and it’s always fun to see family resemblance. We also met Tyrone’s oldest daughter, Alishah. We chatted and hugged and our visit was way to brief. It’s been an incredible experience for the boys to meet family from Jon’s side of the family. My family is mostly all near by in Canada and we are close but Jon’s family, on both sides, are spread all over the world so this is a truly special experience.

We hugged and said good bye and headed out to Jon’s other cousin’s place where we are going to park for the next day or two.

We arrived in the dark and got about parking the trailer. We received such a warm welcome from family that we’ve (Patti and the boys) never met and Jon hasn’t seen in 40 years. We sat and chatted until midnight. The boys were so happy and comfortable talking with the extended family and it was just incredible to see.

I feel like a broken record but there are so many soul warming moments. Our hearts just feel so full! We are so very thankful for this incredible experience to see the States and visit family.