“Hey, Holly. Wanna go to Texas?” my mom asked me as I was getting ready for my exams. “Well,” I said, “when would we leave?” She replied that it would probably have to be almost as soon as I returned to Indiana. Geesh, I thought. That gives me no time with my friends. It would actually give me less than a week, but I said “sure”. If I hadn’t then we (my parents and I) would get the same, less than a week time period, to see each other and this would be the first time I’d seen my dad since June 7th for less than 12 hours.
I’m going to tone down squabbles we had trying to figure out the departure date and the mode of travel because you, my dear reader, don’t care about that angst. Let me just say that there was some, and we finally agreed that we would leave the day after Christmas, drive down to Canyon Lake, TX, spend a week, and then I would leave on a 30 hour train to go back to Indiana, and then finally Wisconsin. 30 hours is a long time on an American train and I wasn’t looking forward to it, but let me back track and tell you about the trip itself.
The big diesel truck was loaded up, our stuff was stowed away in the back or in the camper we towed and our little traveling party left at 2:00 am. I thought I’d hate the backseat, but it was surprisingly comfortable to sleep in, which is what I did for most of the trip. We passed through Indiana, bits of southern Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, and then Texas. The last three states were brand new to me!
On the way I got to see artsy rest stops and lots of gas stations, I got to sleep in a Wal Mart parking lot, and visit Hot Springs, AK, birthplace of President Bill Clinton. We actually went out of our way a little to see Hot Springs so that Mom and I could, “take in the waters”. This basically means that people have, for decades, been coming to drink, bathe, and soak in the pools that come naturally from the center of the Earth piping hot. I wanted to “take in the waters” when I was in Bath, England remember? There was just no time during that trip with Meret. Well this time, there was, and Mom and I had a wonderful “couples” soak at the Quapaw Bathhouse. Yep, a couples soak with my mother. That sounds weird, but it was just both of us sitting in a hot tub and getting a cheaper rate than had we done it alone! Plus we got to talk, giggle, and relax. So all of you reading this who thought, “ew, a couple thing with your mom” can just stop!
FINALLY, on Sunday evening we made it to the Joint Base Recreational Facility at Canyon Lake. I’m not going to say it was beautiful, but it had some moments. I will say that I think it’s horrible how poorly this place was kept up, especially since it’s a military campground. Why can’t we show some respect for our men and women in uniform who have served or are currently? The sites themselves were ok, but the bathrooms barely worked (no heat, not clean) and the laundry was almost always in a state of dysfunction. The scenery however, was gorgeous! Rolling hills, cacti, lots of weird little deer, and trails aplenty all of satisfied my desire to see something new.
During the trip Mom and I went to Gruene, home of Gruene hall, the oldest dance hall in Texas to see some live music. I thought there’d be some dancing but everyone only tapped their feet.
I saw cowboy boots everywhere and Southern drawls and “Yes sir, no ma’am” were mandatory. All three of us drove to Wimberley one day to do some shopping. Luckily for my wallet and my friends I only found presents for other people, but it was still fun to play tourist for a bit. My parents introduced me to real Barbeque and Tex-Mex (which is basically like Mexican food that I was used to except less cheese and sour cream). Needless to say both were a little spicy for me and my mouth did a little crying for sugar or at least milk, but I survived!
I’m really glad I went on this trip with my family. I haven’t been able to travel with them for a while, and it’s also been a bit since I’ve experienced anything totally new or foreign. (Yes, Texas does qualify as foreign to me). I loved the hikes we took through the wild brambles and the goofiness we got into.
Overall my favorite part of the trip was probably my mom and I’s Scrabble games. I won 5 times in a row! She didn’t win a single game the entire trip and while I don’t want to gloat, that’s pretty impressive.
I’m now rolling away from Texas on that 30 hour train ride. I’m seven hours into it and so far we’re still in Texas. We should be here for over a majority of the trip but that should be no surprise. Texas is as ginormous as the amount of fun I had!