Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Texas Recap Part 2: "Family Torture Trip"

After my visit with my Momma, I went up to my Dad's to get ready for our "Family Torture Trip". When my sister and I were younger, our family vacations were always to Big Bend National Park in West, Texas. Linda, Sam and I deemed these trips the "family torture trip." While they were enjoyable, you never knew what my Dad was going to get us into (stuck on 10 hour hikes, lost in a mountain, in a car for 12 hours) and thus they had a definite degree of torture associated with them.

It had been 10 years since our last FTT so Linda and my dad decided it was time organize one asap. This time around I was incredibly excited (back when I was teenager I think I used to grown when the trip was mentioned), and Josh was going to come along as well.

The trip started early Tuesday morning at 7am. We loaded the suburban and hit highway 281 to pick up Josh in San Antonio. After a near death experience and some road rage from a San Antonio driver, we safely picked up Josh and made it to Cibolo Creek Ranch after about 11 hours in the car!

The long drive was worth it because CCR was gorgeous. I had looked at everything on the website, but it did not do the grounds justice. The mountains were in the backdrop of a lovely Fort turned resort with lush foliage and lots of exotic wildlife. 

All of the meals at CRR are served family style with a set menu, and we arrived just in time for dinner. I soon learned that meal time would become my favorite part of the trip because everything they served was incredible. We would finish a meal, and I could not wait till we ate again just to try more of the delectable food. Some of my favorite dishes while at CRR were: chorizo and eggs (I ate it everyday for breakfast with homemade tortillas), chicken mole, grilled quail, and fresh pacific salmon with pineapple salsa. After dinner every night, they also light big fire bits around the pond. You can watch sunset while make gooey-yummy s'mores. 
1. Starting the Road trip...Daddy was always on the phone
2. We made it and it is beautiful!
3. Josh and I before dinner on the first night.
4. Sam and Cody making S'mores. 

On our first full day at CRR, we went on Humvee ride throughout the mountains all around the ranch. Linda also presented us with high socks that we put on and surprised my dad by matching him. He always wears these on vacation and we thought it was time we made it a family affair. 
1. Before the Tour started with our matching socks.
2. Buffalo
3. Me and my Daddy
4. Socks
5. The Humvee
6. In Front of the ruins

After lunch, Linda also arranged for us to go trap-and-skeet shooting. It was the best shooting course I have ever been on and had lots of stations. My dad put us all to shame! 
Trap and Skeet Shooting

That night we got dressed up for dinner, and then enjoyed a relaxing evening by the fire pit!
All dressed up and ready to eat!

The next day (4th of July), we drove to Big Bend State Park to go canoeing through the mountains. It was absolutely breathtaking to go through the mountains on the river, and hilarious watching my Dad try to paddle. That night, we had another exceptional meal and then watched the fireworks display over the pond! Well, we watched. My dad slept. 
1. Sunset
2. Sam and Cody
3. Linda and Josh
4. Daddy napping during the fireworks.
5. Sisters
6. Fireworks

The next morning, after one more round of homemade tortillas with chorizo and eggs, we packed and the surbuban and sadly left CRR. We were so sad to leave such a beautiful/relaxing oasis in the middle of the mountains, but my Dad had a full day planned for us in Terlingua and Big Bend National Park. 

Terlingua is a "ghost town" in between Big Bend National Park and Big Bend State Park. It has a population of several dozen "free thinkers, artists, and musicians" who like to spend their day welcoming visitors on the porch of the town store. Josh is pretty determined that we will live there one day. I am admittedly protesting. 
1. Stuck in Terlingua Jail
2. Josh and the Starlight Theatre
3. Josh on the porch where he plans to run for Mayor.
4. View from the Porch
5. Daddy and me
6. Random stop for some Mexican Food

Later in the afternoon, we finally made it to Big Bend National Park which was the main event of FTTs of the past. We drove through a lot of the park and made stops at both the "Window" and "Mule's Ears". 
1. Josh and me at the Window
2. "This way Mike!"
3. Big Bend National Park
4. On the way to the Window
5. Daddy and Linda
6. Me and my Daddy at Mule's Ears

That night we checked into the Gage Hotel in Marathon, TX. The Cage is one of my favorite places in Texas, and I told Josh he can live in Terlingua but I am living in Marathon. The Gage is a historical hotel and you feel like you are walking into the Wild Wild West when you visit. Since this was the last night of the FTT, we had a grande finale dinner at the Hotel Restaurant and stuffed ourselves with steak, chicken fried steak and homemade blueberry pie! Luckily for Josh and me, we are going back to the Gage in September for a wedding and I am already looking forward to it. 

The next morning, we packed up the suburban one last time, and got back on the road. The FTT was winding down, but not without a final stop at Whataburger for Josh and me to get our fix! It was everything I wanted and more. 
That afternoon, Linda, my Dad, Sam and Cody dropped Josh and me off in San Antonio to catch our flights back to DC. I was SO SO SO sad to leave and pretty much cried until we took off. This trip to Texas could not have been better, and Josh decided we should rename FTT to "Family Awesome Trip" or FAT for short. That was exactly what it was...AWESOME, and I am already looking forward to the next one.

Thank you Daddy and Linda for including Josh and me. We had a blast, and we cannot thank you enough for planning, organizing and orchestrating the entire week!

Happy Hump Day Everyone!

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