Big Bend National Park
Where we stayed: Rio Grande Village (National Park campground) not to be confused with the Rio Grande Village RV Campground
We ditched our little dirt patch campground in Terlingua to explore the eastern side of the park. On our way over stopped at the Panther Junction Visitor Center (because we just can't drive by a visitor center without stopping to check out their gift shop and displays). We discovered my car that was being towed had a flat tire. Thank goodness for vistor center stops! Super driver/mechaninc/dad threw on the spare (with some help from a certain 3 year old) and I drove the car back to Terlingua where there was one mechanic shop who said he could look at my tire (luckily it was only 30 miles away and not 60 or 90 like the next closest towns).
Thank goodness for Terlingua Auto (aka Outpost Auto Service). While I chatted with the owner Archie about everything from water conservation, to Vietnam (you can check him out here on the National Geographic show Badlands, TX), the guys in the shop worked to patch up my tire. In the end, the tire couldn't be saved, but they were able to scrounge up a gently used Goodyear for me in the back. $35 and I was back on the road.
Matt took the kids in the RV to the campground, so I had a few minutes to myself (ahhhh). I pulled over a couple times on the drive to take a few pictures. It's amazing how fast one can get in and out of a car when you don't have to buckle a 35 lb kid in a carseat.
The clouds were amazingly fluffly!!!
So a little info of the campgrounds. If you are driving an rv and want to have full hookups, you're only option is Rio Grande Village RV Campground. It's run by the park concession. It's basically a parking lot with hook ups. Blah. But there is a free wifi connection at the little village store a few steps away. Throughout the day you'll see people hanging out at the village store picnic tables checking their email. If you want to take a shower or do laundry, that's all here in the little village store too. Do not use the last shower in the women's bathroom... you put your quarters in and get 5 minutes of a luke-warm mist. Not very satisfying. Acutally, a bit like torture if you actuallly want to wash your hair. Apparently the other showers have better water pressure as I heard one person singing and enjoying their shower.
The idea of camping in a parking lot in a national park did not appeal to us, so instead we headed over to the Rio Grande Village Campground which is run by the National Park Services. You can book a site in advance at recreation.gov or you can show up and get a daily spot (which is what we did). This campground was great...there were trees, picnic tables and a little more space between neighbors. There are no hookups, but there's a water fill station and dump station at the entrance to the campground. And you can use generator for the good part of the day. Kaylie liked that she could climb up into a tree and paint. Just have to watch out for pokey mequite trees.
Hike: Rio Grande Village Nature Trail (.75 mile)
From the campground we did a little hike up through some wetlands and then up a hill to watch a glowing sunset.
These mountains are to the East...the setting sun makes them turn pink. If you have passports, you can take a burro, horse or walk into this little Mexican village from the national park.
This Great-horned Owl was posing for us in the wetlands area of the hike.
I'll be sharing our travel plans, some reviews, cooking ideas (because I know you are all jealous of my easy-bake oven), and ... oh who am I kidding?! I'll be lucky to get our photos posted!