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Thanksgiving Week 2019: A Road Trip

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Offline Slimkitty

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Thanksgiving Week 2019: A Road Trip
« on: December 02, 2019, 08:46:54 PM »
I just returned home to Louisiana after another fun filled visit to the Big Bend area with my wife and son.  This time we stayed the entire trip in our camper trailer, which gave us a few more opportunities to avoid the Thanksgiving crowds.  This was definitely a road trip, as most of our hikes were brief and we covered A LOT of ground in my F250.  We hit the road 11/22, and didn't arrive home until 12/1. During that time there was only one day that I didn't spend at least 3 hours driving.  It was exhausting, but SO worth it!

11/22 - NE Louisiana to Canton, TX rv park.  We had planned to leave the next morning but wanted to knock out a few hours of driving on Friday since we had the chance to.  We picked my son up from school at noon and hit the road.

11/23 - Canton, TX to Monahans Sandhills State Park.  My son will be 3 in January, by the way.  I've heard a lot of horror stories about traveling with kids his age, and while we had daily accidents and tantrums, overall he has proved to be an excellent traveler.  I had shown him a youtube video of Monahans Sandhills SP, so he was really excited to get there.  It's a beautiful little park, sand dunes right in the middle of TX oil country.





11/24 - Monahans Sandhills SP to Rio Bravo Ranch, just east of Presidio - Rio Bravo is Westtexasrambler's ranch.  It's a beautiful piece of property off Casa Piedra road, just a few miles west of the entrance to Big Bend Ranch SP.  We parked the camper on a nice flat spot, and in the evening we had the starry sky over BBRSP to one side and the lights of Ojinaga, MX to the other.  There's something fascinating about knowing the lights you are looking at are coming from another country.



11/25 - BBRSP - Sauceda Station out and back on the main road.  Trailer unhitched for the first time, we set out across BBRSP.  In atypical fashion, I did very little research on what to do there.  It was our first time to visit (except for the areas along FM170), so really we couldn't go wrong no matter what we chose to do.  We ended up hiking cinco tinajas and stopped at a few other places that caught our attention.  It's a beautiful place that we will definitely be exploring more of in the future.

My wife and son at Cinco Tinajas:







11/26 - BBRSP to Tin Valley - another beautiful day spent mostly driving from place to place.  We traveled along FM170 with a quick stop in Terlingua, then down to Maverick Junction to get our park pass.  Then we u-turned right back out of there and proceeded north to Tin Valley, which is way out on the east side of Terlingua Ranch.  That evening we swung by the Ranch Lodge office to reserve a spot going up Christmas mountain for Thanksgiving afternoon.  We ate dinner at the Bad Rabbit Cafe. 

Came across this fella/gal near the cafe:



 11/27- My 38th birthday!  This was quite a day.  We set out in the morning down Marathon road, which we followed all the way into the park to the main park road near Dog Canyon.  That road is in good shape, and if youíre considering taking it I say go for it unless youíre in a sedan.  The weather that day was pretty spotty, and we were often in a light rain/drizzle.  After a cold, windy stop at the fossil exhibit, we moved on to Ernst Tinaja.  Ernst Tinaja was one of those major landmarks that I was determined to check off my list.  We only saw a couple of vehicles heading out as we made our way up Old Ore Road from the south.  When we arrived at the parking lot near the Tinaja around 10:30am, there was one other vehicle in the parking lot.  We never did see who was in that vehicle, and apparently had the whole area to ourselves for our visit.  The tinaja seemed pretty full, and some of the lesser pools also contained a good bit of water.  Kip, my son, decided then and there that he was a rock climber.  Iím continually amazed at how sure footed that boy is at such a young age.  As we returned to the truck around 11:30 or so, a few more vehicles arrived at the parking lot.





Up until this point I had pretty much planned our route.  I had intentionally left the rest of the day open for whatever, as we knew the park would be more crowded than usual.  As we headed south back down Old Ore road, we suddenly began to see many more vehicles, most headed towards Ernst Tinaja I assumed.  We probably passed 10-15 vehicles before we reached the main road.  By that time Kip was sound asleep in his carseat, completely oblivious to bumping and lurching that would probably give me whiplash.  Now we had to stay in the truck so he could nap, so why not head to Mariscal Mine?  There were definitely fewer visitors on river road East, and once we passed the Glenn Springs road turnoff, we didnít encounter another person all the way to the mine.  By that time, the boy was awake, and ready to scramble up to what he kept calling ďThe CityĒ.







The 360 degree view from atop the mine site is, for me, one of the most spectacular sights in the park.  We decided to head back out but take Glenn Springs road back to the main park road instead of doubling back all the way down river road.  As it grew dark, we noticed that a few of the campsites along the way were empty.  Soon we passed multiple vehicles headed in the opposite direction as us, probably headed to those empty campsites.  The park was really getting busy.  As we reached the end of Glenn Springs road and hit the main road, you could see many vehicles traveling to and from the south, and multiple sets of headlights scattered in the distance, way off somewhere else in the park.  We headed back to Tin Valley, which was still a good ways away.  I felt really bad for Kip, who had been a real trooper about such a long day in the truck.  After a well deserved ice cream cone from the Cottonwood grocery store near Study Butte, he conked out for the remainder of the ride.

11/28 - Thanksgiving!  After the previous day in the truck, we all wanted to spend the morning doing nothing.  A Tin Valley employee was making some kickass breakfast tacos for anyone who wanted them.  In true Terlingua style, somehow my conversation with him went from tacos to guns, and when itís appropriate to shoot a person  (Escaping convict? Yes. Your kidís teacher? No.)  For Thanksgiving afternoon, I had snagged us the last remaining spot of the week to drive up the Christmas Mountain trail.  I was worried that my F-250 was too wide and heavy a vehicle for the road.  The last thing I wanted was to get stranded up there with my wife and kid.  Or to go tumbling off the side of the mountain.  The day before, I had asked a couple of guys working at Terlingua ranch lodge what they thought of my truck going up there.  ďGo for it,Ē they both said.  I was somewhat encouraged, but also a little skeptical. Both of these fellows had a look in their eyes that suggested ďGo for itĒ was a common theme in their lives.  When I expressed my concerns to my wife, she thought we should go.  She had seen pictures of the trail online, and she wanted up that mountain.  Turns out, the F-250 did just fine.  I took it slow for the sake of my tires (brand new cooper a/tís, 10-ply), and got to use my 4wd and engine brake features in ways I just canít in flat Louisiana. The view at the top of the trail is absolutely stunning.  You are so high up, looking down at miles upon miles of mountains and desert.  Winding roads etch their way through the valleys like little ant trails.  And beyond all that, the unobtainable mountains of Mexico seem to loom over it all.





The following morning we packed up the trailer and headed back to civilization, to Austin to spend a couple of days catching up with some old friends from my UT days.  Then it was back home to Louisiana, where I would finally be able to get off the road for more than just a few hours and sleep in a separate room than my toddler son.  It was an exhausting trip.  I wouldnít have it any other way.

« Last Edit: December 03, 2019, 09:57:44 AM by Slimkitty »

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Offline dprather

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Re: Thanksgiving Week 2019: A Road Trip
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2019, 09:17:46 PM »
"My son will be 3 in January...we had daily accidents and tantrums."  This is not news! :icon_biggrin:

Great trip.  Thanks for the report.
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline Flash

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Re: Thanksgiving Week 2019: A Road Trip
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2019, 09:39:56 PM »
Great adventure, Slimkitty, you all covered some ground!  :great:

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Thanksgiving Week 2019: A Road Trip
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2019, 06:21:22 AM »
What a great trip, reminds me of our family when we would drive huge long distances with us 4 kids in the van, seemed like my folks took it in stride.

Tried to fix your pictures but the google links don't seem to work in the normal way.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

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Offline Slimkitty

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Re: Thanksgiving Week 2019: A Road Trip
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2019, 06:45:50 AM »
Can someone point me to the most recent discussion on how to embed photos on trip reports? I remember seeing it brought up in the last month or two but now I canít locate it.

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Thanksgiving Week 2019: A Road Trip
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2019, 07:32:43 AM »
Can someone point me to the most recent discussion on how to embed photos on trip reports? I remember seeing it brought up in the last month or two but now I canít locate it.

Here is the latest thread on inserting pictures.  Hope this helps
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

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Offline Jalco

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Re: Thanksgiving Week 2019: A Road Trip
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2019, 08:06:16 AM »
Great trip report.  I'm sure this trip will loom large in your son's mind for many years.  I'm trying to imagine what "The City" must seem like in a 3-year old's eyes.

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Online House Made of Dawn

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Re: Thanksgiving Week 2019: A Road Trip
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2019, 03:50:49 PM »
Kip is in school?!?!?!  Time flies.



Give him a hug for me.  Lucky parents; lucky kid.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2019, 04:08:33 PM by House Made of Dawn »
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline Slimkitty

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Re: Thanksgiving Week 2019: A Road Trip
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2019, 05:15:07 PM »
Can someone point me to the most recent discussion on how to embed photos on trip reports? I remember seeing it brought up in the last month or two but now I canít locate it.

Here is the latest thread on inserting pictures.  Hope this helps

Thanks for this!  I got the pics all inserted correctly now.  There's one of my son that shows up sideways on my pc, but looks fine on mobile.  I'm not too concerned about that. Here I am on a pc that I built, yet adding pictures on this forum has continued to stump me.  At least now it's pretty easy.

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Offline Slimkitty

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Re: Thanksgiving Week 2019: A Road Trip
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2019, 07:27:25 PM »
Kip is in school?!?!?!  Time flies.



Give him a hug for me.  Lucky parents; lucky kid.
Wow, Iíd forgotten about that pic! 

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Online House Made of Dawn

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Re: Thanksgiving Week 2019: A Road Trip
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2019, 08:01:19 PM »
 :icon_lol:

My quarter Chinese son's Chinese name is Ming - it means "bright eyes".  Both our sons have them.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline Slimkitty

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Re: Thanksgiving Week 2019: A Road Trip
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2019, 07:12:39 AM »
:icon_lol:

My quarter Chinese son's Chinese name is Ming - it means "bright eyes".  Both our sons have them.
At some point during this trip we did the math and realized he was only around 10 months old for that last visit!  Crazy how quickly things change.

 


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