Family Gathering

34One of the nicest things about our travels is the greater ability to visit with the friends and family who live on the western half of the U.S. Both my parents turned (will turn) 70 this year and to celebrate this milestone, we all met up near Big Bend National Park in Texas. We chose this remote location for several reasons:

  1. It would be warm (a bit too warm in the end of April as we found out)
  2. None of us has been there
  3. It fell in line with our travels
  4. Several people recommended this park

1 13 Instead of lodging inside Big Bend, we rented a very cool adobe in Terlingua, about twenty minutes west of the park entrance. This gave us more space and a kitchen to make meals in. It was more enjoyable to come back from exploring the park and hang out in a relaxing place while cooking dinner.

12Terlingua itself has a lot of character, thriving off of the many ruins scattered around. Once a mining town in the mid 1880’s, this area peaked with a population of about 2,000 people. The draw was cinnabar, from which mercury is extracted. Now the attraction is its location to Big Bend, drawing in tourists like us.

36 21 8Situated on the Texas/Mexico boarder, Big Bend is a nice quiet park compared to places like Zion. It’s a long but scenic drive through western Texas to reach it. Their long strait open highways encourage a heavy foot as you cruse from one isolated town to the next. Marfa is one such town, surrounded by stretches of open country. This unique destination will be covered more in its own blog, but if you ever get a chance to visit Marfa, take it.

5 33 27Out of all the states we’ve traveled through, I believe Texans to be some of the most welcoming and friendly folks we’ve encountered. Texas is full of friendly faces, welcoming smiles, and honest hospitality. Once while in Zion, I was inquiring about getting a tire patched at a gas station. The stations mechanic wasn’t in that day but the gentleman waiting in line behind me said he’d be happy plug my tire for me. He was a Texan, visiting Zion with his family, and was kind enough to help me out.

3 4 32I think the last time we as a family all vacationed together was when I was just a kid. It’s always special to have everyone together, and even more so in a new place. Though the main reason for this gathering was for my parents 70th, Alexis and Andrea also had big birthdays as well, both turning 40. There was plenty to celebrate and there was no shortage of food and drink to do so.

20 24 23 22I use to think 70 was old, and it use to be, but now not so much. We’ve met many retired folks on the road, active and enjoying a full life. I’m happy both my parents are able to do the same. I value now more than ever that time spent with them. Living on the East Coast, our visits are usually once a year. I’ve seen my parents three times already during our travels and my Dad four. I plan on seeing them at least two more times before we head back. It’s been really memorable to spend so much time with them. It was also a special treat to see my sister twice in one year; that rarely happens. So I’ll end this blog how I started it, saying how one of nicest things about our travels is that it has enabled us to visit more with friends and family in this neck of the woods. As our time wends down, I hope to see more of them before heading back east.