Welcome to the State of the Lone Star State: Part 2! If you haven't already, check out Part 1 of this series and you'll get caught up with our time in Texas. When I left off, we had been in Waco. After visiting Waco, we moved to Houston.
Houston was the first big city we'd been in since Denver, and there was quite a bit to do there. The highlight of our stay was definitely the Space Center. It was super interactive, and the whole family enjoyed it. We took a tour of the grounds, and got to see one of only three Saturn rockets that were not launched due to lack of government funding. The rocket was stored in a warehouse, and filled the entire thing! We also got to ride through NASA's office buildings where the driver pointed out where certain aspects of a rocket were developed, and tour an area where they train astronauts!
Following Houston, we met up with my mom's (Beth's) parents in San Antonio. They stayed in a hotel about 10 minutes down the road from where we were staying. With them, we visited the Alamo, which was smack down in the middle of the city! When folks think about the Alamo, they think about it being on a hill overlooking plains. I was disappointed to see that San Antonio grew around the Alamo. It was neat, however, to see the history in front of us. While staying in San Antonio, Nate and I each separately spent the night in the hotel room with our grandparents. I think that the room itself was bigger than the RV! :) My mom's (Beth's) dad is a handyman/jack of all trades, and he helped fix some broken parts in the RV. It was really nice to help him out like I used to back home. We really enjoyed San Antonio's campground, where both Nate and I met some friends.
After our stay in San Antonio, we moved to Fredricksburg, a small town founded by the Germans. It was very similar to Helen, GA, for those of you who know what I'm talking about. On their very large Main Street, quaint shops showed off candles, clothes and cutlery, along with many other items. Fredricksburg was our stop during the holidays, and we enjoyed a quiet Christmas in the RV, and ate an amazing ham from Opa's Smoked Meats. We also liked being in an RV park that was right next to a small airport, and we could see the planes from our windows taking off and landing. About 25-30 minutes drive away from our RV park was the 2nd largest exposed granite rock in the world: Enchanted Rock. We have now visited the two largest exposed granite rocks, seeing as Stone Mountain in Georgia is the largest. We did a moderately difficult hike around some of the base of the rock, and caught some terrific views. And no, we didn't see any cities on the horizon like you can with Stone Mountain.
Fredricksburg was one of our favorite stops, and we were a little sad to leave to go to Dallas. Our campground was right in the middle of Dallas suburbs, nestled between a small collection of stores and an empty lot. Ahh, the peace and quiet. One of our main reasons for stopping in Dallas was so that my dad could volunteer as a door holder for the Passion Conference, a Christian event for 18-25 year olds that our church back home hosts annually. This year it took place simultaneously in 3 cities: Dallas, Atlanta and Washington D.C. The conference draws around 40,000 young men and women yearly, and my dad was excited to volunteer. Also, while in Dallas, we met up with some old neighbors of ours, the Rappon family, who now live in Dallas. They graciously welcomed us in their home to eat and hang out, and we very much enjoyed our time there.
Our final stop in Texas was Abilene. Abilene is a fairly small town on the west part of Texas, and it was there that Nate had his birthday. He chose to spend his special day at Prime Time, a laser tag/arcade/bumper cars place, and he thoroughly enjoyed his time there.
We checked out the town of Abilene itself, and found a "Wild West" museum that taught us what it was like to live in the West during the pioneer days. Also in Abilene, Nate and I both made friends, and we were sad to leave.
When all is said and done, Texas was (so far) one of our favorite states to visit. Following our time in Texas, we headed to New Mexico and are currently in Arizona. But that's a story for another time!
Welcome to Stories Behind the Pictures! This post series will introduce you to new pictures, and some fun facts about where they were taken and what we were doing there. We hope you like it!
Let's get started with Picture #1- The Kite
This picture was taken on January 8th 2019 in Abilene, Texas. You can see me, my dad and Nate on the ground. Nate's holding the kite, if you can't tell. This was taken on Nate's birthday, and he received the kite that morning. We enjoyed watching the kite soar for at least an hour in total that day, although it was chilly.
Now let's go to Picture #2- White Sands Serenity
This picture was taken in White Sands National Monument. I thought it amazing that, although you can't see it here, we could see a variety of different terrain such as mountains, sands (obviously), and grassy plains. White Sands covers 224.6 square miles, and we only covered about 1/2 of a square mile! It was amazing to see the dunes, and sled down them on the discs that our very kind RV park owners let us borrow. You can see them in our hands. (They're orange) White Sands is truly awe-inspiring.
Last but not least, I present Picture #3- The Saguaro
This picture was taken in Saguaro National Park. The Saguaro cactus is the classic cactus of western movies. They can grow to be 40 feet tall and can live to be 200 years old. I was surprised that the inside of a dead Saguaro looks like a tree's insides. We took a couple of great hikes in Saguaro, including one that led us to some petroglyphs, which are carvings in rocks made by Native Americans between 550-1550 years ago! We enjoyed checking out the Saguaros.
We had a fun time at each of the picture sites, and I hope that you enjoyed reading about our times in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona!
We left Denver about two months ago, and headed into Texas. We went all over the massive state, and I'm now going to recap our time there.
We entered Texas through Amarillo. We met with some family, Ureshkaka, and Bharatikaki, my dad's Aunt and Uncle. It's always nice to meet family and friends who you normally don't see, and we've enjoyed having access to that luxury.
During our time in Amarillo, we found a hidden gem: Palo Duro Canyon. It was amazing to see a canyon (it was the first time I had seen one), and was great preparation for the days to come at the Grand Canyon. We went on three great hikes, each progressively getting better and better. The first was a nature trail, running through the bottom of the canyon. It was an easy, enjoyable hike. The second hike was even better. We saw a roadrunner, and a cowboy dugout (see top picture) while we walked along a creek. It was also an easy hike, and was well worth it! Our third hike was a moderately difficult one, and, in my opinion, the best. It was 3/4 of a mile in to an area that appeared to have experienced a landslide involving lots of rocks falling down a slope many years before. We had to climb up this hill of boulders to get to our reward: a cave. Granted, the cave was shallow, but the views of the canyon were well worth it.
After visiting Amarillo, we moved on to Wichita Falls. It's ok if you've never heard of this place because it's a pretty small town. The only thing we saw worth putting in the blog was a stump of a Sequoia tree. You can see the picture of it in the gallery below.
Our next destination was Waco. Most of you will have likely heard of Waco for a number of reasons. The sole reason that we visited was to go to The Silos, an area created by Chip and Joanna Gaines, the hosts of the TV show Fixer Upper on HGTV. If you haven't heard of them then definitely look these people up. They have made it their mission to help the city grow and become more vibrant. In the heart of the city thrives a family friendly area known as the Silos. The Silos is made up of the bakery, the store and the lawn. The bakery was packed when we were there, and we really enjoyed their cupcakes and cookies. The food trucks parked around the lawn housed a variety of foods, and we were pleased with our food there as well. The lawn was very kid-friendly, and had bouncing balls, building blocks and corn hole. The store sold home furnishings as well as a lot of "Fixer Upper" type products. We bought a book, T-shirt and some ornaments.
Another (small) highlight of Waco was that we were able to try In-N-Out Burger for the first time. For those of you who have never tried this great place, it's like the Chick-Fil-A of burgers: Great service, clean bathrooms and above all, tasty burgers! You must try this place if you go out west!
Well, folks, I've blown through our first couple of weeks in Texas, and I'll fill you in on more of our time in Texas in the State of the Lone Star State Part 2!
P.S. I really don't feel like a woodsman anymore, since the west seems to have a deficit of trees.