Wednesday, August 4, 2010

After putting 5,600 miles on the car, we're back

And that is officially the last major road trip I will ever go participate in. Not because it wasn't fun and we didn't get along in the car, only because long-haul road trips really take it out of you, and believe me, we've done our share of them.

The whole point of our road-trip vacation was a family reunion for my husband's side of the family, which was held in Austin, Texas. And so we packed up the car and headed there from northeast Ohio.

My son kept a wonderful travel blog during the trip with great pictures and top notch commentary, done mostly from his iPhone. I would recommend taking a look, to get there, click here.

The first week of the trip was dedicated to the reunion. We experienced some of the Dallas area, the Austin area, and the San Antonio area of Texas.

Here's the aptly named Buckhorn Saloon, not far from the Alamo in San Antonio. Our funky shirts were mandatory reunion wear on this particular day:

The Buckhorn Saloon has a great museum covering interesting tidbits of Texas lore and history, and a huge collection of stuffed and mounted game animals (which was interesting, but creepy).

If you've ever wondered what exactly Prince Albert in a can is, here's your answer, it was among a display of old west artifacts:

I made a little friend in the game-animal rooms:

After the family reunion, we headed further west. The prickly pears were turning ripe. I've always wanted to make prickly pear jelly. The fruits are sweet and yummy, and so is the jelly. I was tempted to don some gloves and gather the thorny fruit, but alas, we had no way to store it on the journey home and so they stayed on the cacti:

We stopped for an underworld foray at Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico. Here's the entrance:

Here is just one of the beautiful sites within the huge expanse of the caverns:

It takes almost a hundred years for these formations to grow a fraction of an inch, so you can imagine how long these things have been around. Those stalagmites are much bigger round and much taller than a person:

Some things in the cave looked like frozen swarms of jellyfish:

Or dripping and oozing goop, only it was all stone:

Not far from the caverns is the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. We went for a hike, which was cut short by a downpour, but there were beautiful trees there with peculiar bark:

The bark seemed to peel off in layers, red, and cream, eventually hardening into a dark, charcoal bark:

The downpour caught us about two miles into the trail. There was thunder and lightning around so we turned tail and ran back down the twisting, climbing trail. Along the way, I was stopped in my tracks by the sight of these trees wet with the rain. If I thought they were beautiful before, they simply came alive in the rain:

Click on the this image for a closer look. It's a bit blurry from trying to hurry the shot in the rain, but the beauty is still there:

What are these trees, you ask? At the visitor's center, where we stopped to dry off, there was a plaque by one with it's name:

I'll have more pictures of our further explorations in my next post.


jo said...


That's going to take me a while to read through. Glad you are safe and enjoyed the standing still part of it :-)

ICQB said...

Hi Jo!

It was a great trip, but it's nice to be home again.