How We Salvaged the Vacation that Red Tide Destroyed

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How do you salvage a vacation after a Red Tide Event like the one we faced?
First of all, you go to What-a-burger for a celebratory breakfast burrito because that’s the only thing open on the island at 2:30 in the morning.
Then you regroup.
We were 14 hours from home at a beach on which we could not stay.  We had packed for a 12-day electricity-free campout on the beach.  We had barely anything with us beyond fishing poles, bathing suits and flip-flops.  We needed a new plan.
My husband is very good at changing horses in the middle of the stream.  He whipped out his iPad.  Can I just take a moment to say how thankful I am for TripAdvisor.com?  He and his friend TripAdvisor came up with a whole new vacation in about 20 minutes while we all chowed down on What-a-burger.
We were headed to the polar-opposite of the beach.  The beach is humid and has lots of water.  At that point we all felt like we had seen enough (toxic) water to last us awhile.  We were going to a place that was arid and has barely any water.  That’s right, kids.  We’re heading to the desert.
The Chihuahuan Dessert, to be exact.  Land of Big Skies, Big Mesas and Big Bend National Park.
One the way, we saw strange and unusual things:
I can’t even begin to comment on this photo.
This guy stayed in this position the entire time we followed him.
Ouch.
But May-may’s former Ballet Instructor would have been impressed…
Things began to get more and more remote.  And that’s coming from someone who lives 35 minutes out of town.
We would drive for hours without passing a car or seeing a house.  We began to feel a little lonely.  It was so bad that when I’d see a car I would shout, “Kids!  A human!”  And the kids would press their faces against the glass to see.  You really can’t make this stuff up.
But the folks in Texas were kind enough to let you know when something important was coming up:
That’s right.  They had signs to let you know when a litter barrel was coming up — because there was literally nothing else.
 
We drove all day.  We drove late into the night.  There were no houses.  The only vehicles we saw were Border Patrol.  We didn’t think about the fact that there would be no gas or food when we sat at that What-a-burger at 2:30 that morning.  We could only think of getting away from the beach.  Now, we would see a sign that would tell us the next town was in 60 or 80 miles.  When we would get there, the one teeny tiny gas station that made that dot on the map a town — would be closed.
 
We were starting to get worried.  It was incredibly dark. You have no idea how dark it can be until you are someplace that is hundreds of miles from the nearest house.  I didn’t even know there were places this remote in the United States.  We were running out of gas.  The kids were hungry.
We got pulled over by Border Patrol.
I guess when you’re driving a black SUV and pulling an RV down remote, dark roads in the middle of the night right next to the Mexico border, you look a little bit suspicious.  Once they determined that we weren’t harboring any illegals, they let us go.
We drove 50 miles an hour to conserve gas, in hopes that there would be a gas station in Sanderson, TX.  We couldn’t go any further on the gas we had.
Sanderson.  Oasis in the desert.
When we arrived, both the gas station AND the hotel were open!  Oh, the joys!!!  We ate greasy food.   We washed the Red Tide out of our hair.  We slept.  I have never been so glad to see a cheap hotel in my life.
We saw more odd things.  Remember pay phones?
After a lot more driving, we arrived at the Maverick RV Resort in Lajitas, TX.  It had a pool.  In the desert.  Glorious.

 

I mean, THIS is the view from our campsite:

 

There was hiking:
We got to meet the Mayor of Lajitas:
Yes.  The Mayor is a Goat.  I told you there weren’t many people in these parts.
There was more hiking:

 

There was Nature Journaling:
There was the Rio Grande (which I never thought I would see in my lifetime and which kept reminding me of a certain Duran Duran song from my youth…):

 

The Big Bend area is beyond beautiful.

 

Then we went to Ft. Davis where we were visited by the locals:

 

The Great Stare-Down.

 

We topped off our new vacation with a visit to McDonald Observatory.
Amazing.
You might notice something a little odd hanging off this telescope:
One of the telescopes.  The tours were fabulous!
Here’s a closer look:

 

Which brings us to the moral of this post:
When your vacation is side-railed by strange toxic algae, keep an open mind and a sense of humor.
Or sentence a rubber chicken to death by hanging.  It’s guaranteed to make you feel better.
Have a great day!
Angela
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