Travel

Texas Car Camping Part 3

I’ve fallen in love… and not with my husband.

I have found a new love in car camping and hiking. The simplicity of the experience and freedom it allows me is everything I didn’t know I was missing.

I told you how I prepared for my trip in my post Solo Car Camping. I told you about the first night in my post Texas Car Camping and my second day in my post Texas Car Camping Part Two. Now I’ll detail my third and final day of my weekend away.

As the sun began to rise Saturday morning I was feeling all sorts of things.

  1. I felt a stiffness in my shoulder that I wasn’t sure if it came from sleeping on it wrong or if it was from climbing in and out of the cave the previous day.
  2. I felt the four blisters on my right foot and the one on my left from hiking 13 miles in new shoes.
  3. I felt excited to move on to Enchanted Rock State Nature Area where I would hike to the summit of a massive pink granite dome.
  4. I felt a little gross and dirty from not showering for a few days. Thank goodness for dry shampoo and baby wipes.
  5. I felt disappointed this would be my last day of my adventure and I would have to return to work on Monday.

All of these feelings energized me for the day ahead. I hit the road by 7:45am to drive the 1.25 hours to my destination. I arrived 30 minutes after their opening time of 8:30 to this sight: About 50 cars lined up on the side of the road trying to enter the park. I underestimated the number of people who would be interested in hiking and this fantastic natural location so early in the morning. Watching every car briefly stop to talk to the park rangers lined up at the entrance only to either continue on down the road or u-turn and head in the opposite direction, I finally got to the front of the line. They already reached their max capacity for the morning, but I was offered a voucher that guaranteed admittance at 1pm when they reopened.

With a little over 3 hours to kill, I fortunately had many options to occupy my time before I would be able to return to the park. I decided to travel the 17 miles to Fredericksburg, TX. What a fantastic town! This destination is known for its German immigrant culture mixed with Texas pride. There are tons of shops, restaurants, wineries and entertainment to keep you occupied for days! The town was bursting with activity and tourists participating in egg hunts, shopping and sight seeing since it was Easter weekend.

I’m not really much for large crowds or spending money so I did some quick research and found a nearby wildflower farm that was free to visit. Sign me up! Wildseed Farms was perfect! You can’t help but admire all the Texas Bluebonnets lining the roads as you travel through Texas, and to have a location with acres of them growing in on place was absolutely gorgeous. They have a shop, winery, an event venue, cafe, and of course the fields. If you’re in the area, you really need to make it a priority to stop.

As the time drew closer to 1pm, it was time to head back to Enchanted Rock.

It was worth the wait.

My intentions were to hike to the top of the dome and then complete a loop around the base of the mountain as well. You can see the trail map here. The climb to the top was tough, but doable. My shoes gripped the granite easily and even a simple tennis shoe would probably do the trick. The views were breathtaking. Nature truly is amazing.

My feet and blisters were not happy though. I laid down and smiled through the pain.

After basking in the sun at the top, I finally decided to make my descent, skipping the longer hike I had planned and headed home.

I don’t think I could have had a better time on this trip. Everything exceeded my expectations. I know there were a few people concerned for my safety, but not once did I feel unsafe. Cold? Yes. But never, unsafe. I really need to get that sleeping bag for next time.

Travel

Texas Car Camping

My first adventure into solo camping was quite the experience. When I brought up the idea with friends and family, the majority of responses included:

  • That’s not safe!
  • Aren’t you scared?
  • Do you want to die?

I did get one:

  • I’m so excited for you, and jealous!

Now either I’m too naive or stupid to be scared of solo travel, or there’s nothing to be scared about. I guess time will be the judge of that conundrum!

You can read how I prepared for my trip here, but I’m so excited to share where I went in this post!

I started my trip right after work Thursday evening. As soon as I had my little chitlins(students) on the bus and I was free of responsibility, I filled my cooler of ice from our break room, jumped in my Toyota RAV4 and hit the highway. 4.5 hours later I reached my first destination where I would camp for the night. An amazing little (free!) campsite, Cedar Point Recreation Area, was the perfect spot to sleep for the night. This location is first come, first serve, so I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find a spot in one of their 9 campsites, but when I arrived at 8pm with the sun setting and deer frolicking in the fields on either side of the drive, only 3 of the 9 sites were claimed. I backed into site number 9, directly on Lake Buchanan, and started to set up camp as the camp host pulled up to write down my tag number and let me know about the rules of the campsites. This elderly gentleman was so kind and reminded me of my grandfather as he let me know not to try to drive around the speed bumps when I leave and if I planned on drinking to make sure I do it from a koozie. Reasonable requests in my eyes. And can you be mad about the view? Sunset from my campsite

I honestly cannot rave enough about this lucky find for my first night camping. They are grossly undercharging for their product, but don’t tell them that.

Some lessons learned from my first night:

  1. The temperature drops significantly at night in the spring in Texas. It was 90 during the day, 40 when I woke up.
  2. Leaving the windows down is a mistake if the temp is going to drop 50 degrees.
  3. One quilt is not enough to provide warmth if the temp is going to drop 50 degrees.
  4. Why didn’t you check the weather and temperatures you would encounter, knowing you would be camping?
  5. Add to shopping list: sleeping bag for cold temperatures.

This may have been my first time camping in my car, but it wasn’t my first time camping. Apparently I was so excited for adventure I forgot about common sense things like: it’s cold at night.

Any questions on my setup or experience?

More on day two coming soon!

Travel

Solo Car Camping

I’ve been camping many many times in my life. I’ve camped in a ground tent. I’ve “glamped” in a camper. I’ve camped in a rooftop tent. And now I’ve camped in my car.

I decided to go car camping because I’m spending the next two months separated from my husband and I wanted to go camping, but I didn’t want to buy a tent since we have an awesome roof top tent already, it would just be 600+ miles away from me so not exactly useable for my camping trips.

So I spent some time making lists, while perusing Pinterest and Amazon to strategize what I would need to make these trips a success.Solo Car Camping

To prevent this post from being ridiculously long, I’m going to let it focus on getting ready for my trip and write another post on my experience while camping

Anywho, this is what I came up with:

  1. Needs:Camping Needs
  2. Destination: The next step was to determine where I wanted to go. I only have a couple more months in Texas so I wanted to be sure to adventure into some gorgeous places. I found Colorado Bend State Park and Enchanted Rock on some blog in the obscure vastness of the internet that I can no longer find to link to. Whoever you were, thank you!Camping Destinations
  3. Itinerary. Once I had my list of needs down, and my list of places to go, I then focused on creating an itinerary for my trip. I decided I would leave right after work to get a bulk of the drive under my belt before dark, and so I could hopefully score a campsite at a free camping location, Cedar Point Reserve. The next day would focus on the Colorado State Park, camping that night at the state park and then head to Enchanted Rock the next day. After spending the day there, it would be time to head home so I’d have a day of rest before having to go back to work on Monday.Camping Itinerary-2
  4. Menu. Food is a priority. I wanted to only bring things I didn’t need to heat up, so I didn’t have to start a fire or buy a campstove. Here’s the food I came up with:Camping Menu
  5. Car Organization: I hate clutter. So I wanted to be sure I could fit everything on the back of my car so I could pull privacy cover over and hopefully prevent theft and maintain my happiness. It was a rousing success.fullsizeoutput_12a8.jpeg

I can’t wait to write about how the trip went! Spoiler: despite my greatest efforts, not everything went according to plan!

Military

Inconsistency is Key

  1. Be flexible.
  2. Keep your expectations in check.
  3. Don’t drink all the wine.
  4. Breathe more.
  5. Woosah.

I am trying to keep each of these tips in mind, but the struggle is proving to be very real. I have thrived on controlling as much of my life as possible since I was probably 16. This has a lot to do with the lack of stability I had growing up. I grew up very poor. Not as poor as some, but probably poorer than most. The kind of poor where you didn’t know if you would have electricity when you got home from school. The kind of poor where part of the food at your house came from a food pantry, and part was bought with food stamps. The kind of poor where your family didn’t have a vehicle for transportation, despite living in a rural area lacking in an abundance of public transportation.

This upbringing was the perfect condition to build resilience though. Which would definitely come in handy at the age of 16 when my last standing parent decided to move to the other side of the country in a rented minivan. What didn’t fit in the mini van didn’t go, which included me. Ever since then, I’ve planned and scheduled my life down to the minute as much as I possibly can. Anything I can control, I do. When I was working my way through college, I had my entire course schedule planned out as soon as possible. I took as many credits as possible (even getting special permission from the dean to take additional credits exceeding the normal limit). I excerted the same control over my career once I completed college. I currently spend a great deal of time planning out my day to day life, as even my short term life is very much in limbo.

I’m currently anticipating a move to Florida from Texas in 8 days. However, nothing is official in the military until you have hard orders, which we have not received yet. Soooooo there is a chance that our move date could be post poned. I’m told it isn’t likely, but there is a chance. This lack of reliability is driving me insane.

  1. I have a plane ticket I’m waiting to book.
  2. I have a moving truck I’m waiting to reserve.
  3. I have a vacation I postponed because of this.
  4. I have a career I’m trying to build.
  5. I have a life I’m trying to live. Inconsistency is key

I think that rant will hold me over for a few days. I am not currently the smiling smiley face. Fingers crossed we get those hard orders soon, preferably before airfare prices increase-really that’s my biggest concern.

Health

Weight a Darn Minute

Yes, I am aware that I used the homophone for wait. It’s my attempt at being punny.

My struggles with healthy living and weightloss are an ongoing battle. I haven’t written about it recently because I’ve had so much more fun writing about my travel obsessions and also preparing for this wonderful move I have coming up in less than two weeks.

But, I have made some progress in getting to a healthier weight for myself and I have 5 reasons why! Weight a Darn Minute 5 tips for consistent weightloss-2.png

  1. Money Incentive– Remember my post about using Trump to motivate weightloss? Well refresh your memory here. I’m doing a little bit of this again, in partnership with my best friend and my brother. I sent my brother a check that he will get to cash and then donate the money to somewhere less than desirable if I do not lose 5 lbs monthly. We started this in December and every month we have consistently reached our goals!
  2. Daily and Weekly Weigh ins– Every Friday we submit a photo of us on the scale with our current weight. It’s the one on the 1st of each month that really matters, but the weekly weighins helps to keep us on track. I actually weigh myself daily, because I’m a tad obsessive. It works for me. Don’t judge.
  3. Weight Watchers– I joined weightwatchers again. I did weightwatchers for about 6 months last year, and was very successful with it. I decided I didn’t need it anymore and then I gained back 3/4 of the weight I had lost. I’m back on it now and steadily working towards my end goal. Love weightwatchers.
  4. Getting Physical– I’ve tried a myriad of different excercise routines over the last 3 months. Walking long distances, at home work outs using Tone It Up’s app, and C25K interval training app. I’ll stick to one for a period of time, and then switch it up to another. I canceled my gym membership to save myself the $50 monthly bill. I do miss some of the classes, the pool, and especially the sauna, but $50 dollars……. money talks.
  5. Lists– I make a list everyday of my meals for the day and my to-dos. This includes workouts, and chores that need to be completed. There are few things in this world that I love more than being able to cross something off of my list as accomplished.

I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made so far. I’ve lost over 15 pounds since November. I also just booked a trip to Europe in July and I’d like to have a more comfortable flight by being a more comfortable size. That’s really my motivator in losing weight. Smaller clothes, means easier packing for travel, and also a smaller body, means easier traveling on public transportation! ha!

Travel

100 Travel Destinations

Today is the 100th day of school. I work in an elementary school, and the 100th day is kind of a big deal. Kids and teachers dress up… students complete themed activites based on the day… there may or may not be a parade for the students to show off their 100 day apparel, arts and crafts. It’s so cute! It also got me thinking, why do they get all the fun? Why not use this opportunity to take a 100-themed idea and put my favorite spin on it? Travel. So, what are the 100 places I’d like to travel before I’m 100?100 travel destinations before you're 100-2

In no particular order:

28 Destinations in the United Statestravel destinations in the US-9

24 Destinations in Europetravel destinations in Europe

20 Destinations in Asiatravel destinations in Asia

19 Destinations in AmericaTravel destinations in America

9 Destinations in Africa, Antarctica, and OceanaTravel destinations in the world

Whew! There are definitley a lot of places on my list. Just a few more than my typical 5. I literally cannot wait to start checking some of these off in the very near future. In fact, I’m getting ready to take a road trip in March that will take me through 4 states in the USA that I’ve never been to.

Are any of these places on your list? I thought it would be hard to come up with 100, but it was actually hard to narrow it down to ONLY 100!

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