Sunday, August 9, 2015

Road Trip 2015 Part 6 - To Balmorhea

We left Pikes Peak around 3 pm. Without stops, it would be a ten hour drive from Pikes Peak, Colorado to Balmorhea, Texas. That was way to far for us to considering driving that late in the day. D & I searched for state parks in New Mexico to camp for the night. We wanted to head away from the Pikes Peak area because of predicted storms. We joked that the storms were following us south. Look at the right edge of that sheet of rain. Luckily we only got rained on for a portion of our drive.

We ended up driving until we arrived at Brantley Lake State Park in New Mexico. We stayed there last year and the kids really liked it. It was pitch black by the time we left the main road. There is a three mile drive into the park after you leave the main road. Hundreds of rabbits, actually about 50, kept running across the road and dodging my car tires. All of the boys were sleeping but D and I managed to wake them up by laughing so loudly.
A rabbit darted across the road and bumped into a rabbit on the other side of the road. The second rabbit jumped about four feet straight up into the air. It was hilarious. Maybe we found it so funny because we were so tired by that point in our trip. Here we are setting up the tent in the dark, AGAIN!
We threw the boys in the tent and went to sleep. The next morning, the sun was shining and it was warm. Yay! I took a little sunrise walk and a shower while everyone else was still sleeping.
 One of our little rabbit friends.
The boys played at the playground while we loaded up the car. Brantley Lake State Park has a very nice playground. When we went to find the boys, they were soaked. Instead of playing at the playground, they were playing in the water fountain.
We threw dry clothes at the boys and loaded into the car for a relatively short drive to Texas. What a wonderful place to be! We finally made it back to Texas.
Everyone was excited about getting to Balmorhea State Park. The boys loved it on our trip last year. Apparently, they have a new policy this year. Balmorhea is letting walk-ins into the park. They used to only let as many people in as there were spaces for the cars to park. It was horribly crowded. When we went in to register, the Park Ranger said they capped off entry at 2000 people. WHAT!?! That is crazy. There aren't any life guards at the pool and only 8 Park Rangers on staff. Last year, there were about 120 people in the entire place. The pool area was ridiculous. We started calling other state parks within a two hour drive to see if we could find somewhere else to camp. The camping area was not even full. So we decided to stay. We told the boys we would go swim at 4:30. The pool closed at 6:00. We figured a lot people would already start leaving by 4:30. Then, at  4 pm, the rain Gods helped us out. A huge rainstorm blew in with thunder and lightning. Everyone had to clear out of the pool. The Day-Use people left, it stopped raining, and we practically had the pool to ourselves at 4:30. Yes! We swam for a little over an hour. Even J4 (4-yr-old) went off the 12 ft. high dive.
We went back to our campsite, played a bit, had dinner, and made s'mores.
We took an evening walk down to the creek that flows through the park. The boys decided to try hand-fishing. A few of them caught some very small fish. It was a fantastic way to spend the evening.
As the sun began to set, the sky looked amazing. It was such a peaceful evening.
The storm earlier in the day had brought the temperatures down into the 80s. We had a good night's sleep.
When we woke up in the morning, we packed up camp, went to take a few pictures, and spent a couple of hours at the spring-fed swimming pool swimming with the fish.

We had the boys line-up in front of the park sign in same order as last year.
Look how much they have grown. Here is last year's picture.
D made road trip shirts for the boys. We had them pose with them at the end of the pool before they could go swimming.
The shirts showed the big stopping places on our trip. Everyone got to pick out their own color.
We stayed at the pool for about two hours before hitting the road to head home. The drive home seemed to take forever. We ended up calling 911 twice on our way home. There was a spreading wild fire on the side of highway I-10. We called 911 to report it. They told us it had already been called in. About five miles farther down the road, there was another wild fire, it was much larger than the first one. We wanted to make sure they were aware of both fires so we called in again. The 911 operator told us that crews were on the way and there were already 5 wild fires reported in a 15 mile stretch of I-10. She told us someone had been driving with a chain hanging down. The chain caused sparks that set the grass on fire in several different places along the highway. It was kind of scary. We were happy to leave that behind.
We made it home around 6 pm. This road trip was a wonderful adventure. I hope Boogs remembers it for the rest of his life. I clearly remember the camping trips I took when I was his age.

Here is a fairly accurate map of our trip. According to my car's odometer we traveled 3968 miles.
Thanks D for another fantastic and memorable trip with you and your boys. I thought I would leave you a few reminders of the trip:
*best trip ever
*worst trip ever
*parenting level expert - suck it
*nope, nope, nope
*5 finger camping
*hospital barf bags
*tissue please
*snack please
*popsicle penguin huddle
*cruise control rocks
*invisible white horses
*the great broccoli mystery
and last but not least
*it's for the kids

I can't wait to figure out where we are going next year so we can start planning!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


  1. It looks like you all had a brilliant time exploring some great parts of America on your summer road trip, I've really enjoyed reading about all the fab places you've been. The boys have all grown so much since your road trip last year. Hand fishing along the creek sounds like a brilliant way to spend the evening and you were so lucky that the crowds dispersed for you all to enjoy the pool. Thanks for linking up with me on Country Kids.

    1. Fiona, thanks so much for always taking the time to read thru my linked posts. I know they can be wordy sometimes. We had so many wonderful experiences on this trip.

  2. This looks absolutely amazing, what a fabulous experience. I can't get over how much they've all grown! My sister lives in New Mexico, it's a lovely place to visit. We're heading off camping next week, but just for a few days. Can't wait though, just getting away from it all with the kids will be great. #countrykids