Texas here we come!

RVingOne of just many pluses to living in a home on wheels is the way at which we are able to travel.  Traveling can be done as quickly or leisurely as we desire.

That said, when it came time for us to depart Phoenix, we allowed ourselves 2 weeks to travel 1,300 miles; destination Galveston, Texas.

Long gone are the days of Al and me pushing a drive like that in a day and a half.  Actually, more than once we’ve done 1,200 miles in one day… a very long day.  This slow meandering style of travel is the only way to fly drive.Heron

So let’s see …. In previous posts I’ve already talked about our stops in Apache Junction in Arizona, and Rockhound State Park and Alamogordo in New Mexico which leaves us with the Texas journey yet to talk about.

November 2nd we bid farewell to New Mexico and skirted around El Paso, Texas as quickly as possible on an early Sunday morning.  We were grateful traffic was light in what normally is a very congested city.   Knowing this, the early Sunday morning drive was planned well in advance.  The 4 ½ hour drive to Balmorhea State Park was uneventful and whizzed by.  Well, ‘whiz’ is probably an exaggeration because anyone who’s driven west Texas knows it goes on forever.  Texas is one BIG state…. bigger than a lot of country’s.

How big is Texas

Hey look – Balmorhea State Park is located in the same spot as Paris. Our destination is by the S in Austria

We first heard about Balmorhea State Park about 3 years ago from fellow full-time RVer’s.  What makes this place so unique and a destination for families is the large swimming pool.  But this isn’t just any swimming pool, this is the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool.

spring-fed swimming pool

world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool

The Civilian Conservation Corps built Balmorhea State Park and the swimming pool in the 1930’s and nearly 80 years later folks are still cooling off at the park.  Although this particular fall day the air was cool enough and thus no swimmers – including us. largest swimming pool in the worldSan Solomon Springs; water comes from a large underground aquifer flowing through porous limestone and fault lines.  Worker’s hand dug and constructed the pool using local materials. world's largest swimming pool

The water temperature averages 72-76 degrees Fahrenheit (22-24º C) year round.  The depth of the pool goes from a shallow 2 feet to as much as 30 feet (9.1m) deep allowing swimmers and scuba divers alike to enjoy this spring-fed pool.

Swimmers can expect to share the water with plenty of fish.  We saw lots of minnows and some large catfish swimming around.Texas State Park

As we strolled around the park we noticed a series of waterways and wetlands. The fresh clear water quickly moves throughout the park.cienga wetlands

San Solomon Cienga; a wetlands habitat for endangered fish and other aquatic life was near our campsite.Texas State Parks

I found myself strolling over there several times to observe the turtles.Texas State ParksAnd speaking of campsite, Balmorhea State Park offers 34 campsites.  Some of the sites even have cable hook-up which is something we’ve never seen before in any state park.  We didn’t opt for a ‘cable’ site but next time through I think we will because you won’t find any TV reception with the RV antenna…. ‘we be in the boonies, honey!’

Texas State Parks

our campsite at Balmorhea State Park

We enjoyed our one night stay at this state park. We did purchase the seasonal Texas State Park pass for $70 since we planned to stay at more state parks this season.

limestone

I loved the use of the local limestone used throughout the state park

Next stop South Llano River State Park.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 12.1 MP Digital Camera with CMOS Sensor and 24x Optical Zoom – Black

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44 thoughts on “Texas here we come!

  1. It’s warmer now. I love the deer and birds you captured in the S. Llano River Park. Great state parks in TX 🙂 Welcome to TX!!

    • Do you live in Texas? Somehow I thought you lived in CA. Yes, Texas has some great state parks and we’re looking forward to staying in more. I think I’ve fallen in love with Galveston 🙂

        • Ah…. that explains your knowledge on so many areas. Now that the weather has improved, I’m really liking Galveston. We’ll see how long it takes for me to miss my Colorado mountains 🙂

  2. We are with you Ingrid. No more long travel days. A 200 mile day is about as long as it gets these days. Well, these days, no dragging the home around is more in line with what we are doing LOL. I’m looking forward to your upcoming birding posts. 🙂

  3. You RV’ers have very keen eyes for awesome birds. HMP! 🙂 That Texas on Europe Map is comical. 🙂 Texas is a state I’ve been but never really explored.

  4. So glad you got to see this park. By that picture, I think you even had the same campsite we had in September. Sounds like you probably missed Davis Mountains, though. Hope you can see the Fort Davis area sometime. You were so close. 🙂 Loved your photos of the Cienega animals!

    • Davis Mountains remains on our radar. Can we get internet there? We may try and take in that state park on our return to AZ. Now that the weather has improved, we’re loving Galveston 🙂

      • No… and yes. We get pretty much nothing at the campsite there, except the water, 50 amp, sewer and about 40 channels of cable television. All of that is available in the full-hookup sites. To get a quick cell and internet signal, we just drive to the top of Skyline Drive in the park. The top of the mountain overlooks the town of Fort Davis, and we get 4g and full cell there. Of course, we also get it when we drive into town, too, which is only about five miles away from the park entrance. I think maybe Verizon customers can also get a little cell signal at the Indian Lodge in the park, too, but I would double check that if it is imperative to have it. When our friends went with us back in September, we just drove to the top of the drive about three times each day, which is really no big deal. Can’t take the RV up there, though. You can also get a cheap park permit to be up there after 10 pm go star-gazing, too. That was fun and interesting! 😉

  5. I’m looking forward to your Texas posts. We’ve traveled through Texas several times but we still have a few places we want to visit. Unless you have driven across Texas you can’t appreciate the meaning of “miles and miles of Texas.”

    • You are so right about the miles and miles in Texas. Takes a looong time to cross that state. The weather has warmed and we’re really enjoying Texas…. will post soon 🙂

  6. I’ve never driven in west Texas, but the drive from San Antonio to Del Rio was bad enough. I looked up the state park on Google Earth and you really are in the boonies. That pool really is huge and I like the covered tables.

    • It was a great place to spend the spend a night and break up the long drive…. but come stocked because there isn’t anything out there 🙂

  7. Yes..when Den worked at Cat and we go 2 weeks in the summer, we did a jaunt from Colorado Springs to Sandwich..toooooo long! We headed our camper for Davis Mt.s once in March..Our truck temp said “ice”, and we saw a camper coming toward us from there with snow on their roof…Needless to say, we turned around and went back to I-10..I do believe we stayed a Llano River once..If memory serves they had lots of Wild Turkeys there! Be safe!

    • Yes sirreee…. gotta watch those temps no matter where ya go in the winter. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve driven from Colorado Springs to Rockford and done it in a day. We always dreaded it but overnighting with a dog and an open bed pick-up seemed to always present problems. Next time back it’ll be with the RV and we’ll take a week to make the drive LOL.

  8. You definitely have the right idea about traveling. What fun is it to rush around places when you are retired…stop, breath, and enjoy the time:)

    That is one large pool, but not for me, especially after you mentioned the fish and 30 feet deep:)

    • The pool is huge and when we walked around it didn’t seem that deep. Once I read up on it I was a little surprised to find that they actually scuba dive and it’s 30 feet. The little minnows were every where making it just a little less appealing to me for swimming. It was the cold air that had me saying no way.

  9. Looks like another great place. You do find some of the best it seems! The Question is when is the best time to be in TX? Sounds cold and windy and then there is the threat of Tornadoes in the spring almost as bad as MO or KS, and the heat of summer. Not by any means being critical but curious? Is the weather now somewhat A Typical for this time of year there. Regardless, hope it warms and calms down a bit soon for you guys.

    • Yes, that polar vortex is making weather in a lot of places including Texas A typical. The last two days have been beautiful and back to ‘normal’ for this time of year. You’re right about Texas being similar to MO and KS. For us it’s a nice change from the AZ cactus since AZ is really second home for us with as much time as we spend there.

      • I knew it can get cold in parts of TX, seemed you were a bit south for real cold but I know it can happen there also. More than anything else, we are just out of touch with the outside world!!! Loving it here in the desert scrub, but if it weren’t for commitments with family and friends in Dec and Jan, we would be out-a-here! The Lack of good phone and WIFI is making me kind of – well did you see The Shining!!! LOL

        • No internet is a killer for us that has us moving on quickly. Now that the nasty weather has moved on, we’re loving Galveston and bad weather can strike anytime anywhere. We were in Tucson a couple of years ago during a ‘rare’ snowstorm 😉 Speaking of ‘The Shining’, did you ever make it to the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO? That’s where The Shining was filmed and supposedly the place is really haunted.

    • Balmorhea SP is a great place for an overnight breaking up the long drive across the state. It was like we were driving from Paris to Vienna LOL.

  10. I remember the days of long drives, been there don’t need to do that anymore. Thanks for the info of Balmorhea State Park on our list of places to stay one day. Got to love the Texas state park pass, with the free days it gives you pays for it’s self quickly. Man this weather is crazy on the Gulf.

    • We already used one of those free days when we stayed at Goliad SP and we’ll use another at Mustang Island SP next month. This weather is indeed crazy. When the sun came out today I got so excited to get in a walk but the wind was so wicked it went right through thus returned to the RV 😦

  11. Welcome to Texas. We had the best time at South Llano River State Park. The deer are plenty and beautiful.

    If you ever get a chance, stop at Davis Mountains State Park and visit McDonald Observatory. Be sure to sign up for the Night Sky Watch Party! It is awesome.

  12. Whoa — 1200 miles in a day! I can’t imagine! That must have taken about 24 hours, or is my math completely wrong? I’ll bet you’re happy to not be doing that ever again. I think the most we’ve ever driven in one day is about 450 miles, and it was awful. Now that we’re full timing, we think it’s a long day if we drive 200 miles. It obviously takes us a long time to get anywhere. Love your comparison map of Europe and Texas! Balmorrhea and Paris are so similar, aren’t they? 🙂

    • Those drives back to Chicago would take about 18 hours and yes we would drive it non-stop… well meaning no overnighting cause of course we had plenty of potty stops LOL. We’d start out thinking about staying in a hotel in Iowa overnight but usually pushed on. We haven’t driven back with the RV and I assure you pulling slows us way down.
      Still laughing…. ‘Balmorhea and Paris being so alike’ 🙂

  13. Howdy!!! 1200 miles in one day? wow… I used to brag that I did 1000 mile days back to back but never 1200 in a day. An endurance feat! And I loved the Paris map location… hilarious. Just hilarious.

    • Yes, we would drive from Pueblo West, Colorado to the Chicago suburbs to visit family. We always dreaded those drives. Isn’t that Texas map awesome? It was like us driving from Paris France to Vienna Austria LOL. Thanks for the comment 🙂

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