Thursday, November 08, 2007

Texas pt 4

I guess it is time for another installment. Last year I completed the summer-trip-posts in April, so I could still beat my time...

Back in July:

Friday evening, when it was cooling down in the Basin where we had some shade, we managed to get out of the chairs and cook dinner. We couldn't have a campfire in the desert of course, but we still managed to do the camping essential:

Mark seemed especially happy.
Too bad there are no showers there...On Saturday we went to the southeast corner of the park and this time the kids were awake and got to see the Rio Grande. Daniel and Anna found it fun tossing in dirt to see it splash in the muddy river. Mark thought it would be fun too, and tossed in his orange cup. I got a muddy sandal rescuing it.

We were hot and drowsy, so we had a snack under tall cottonwoods that had been planted by those who attempted to farm here. We found of respite from the oppressive sun.
And the kids played in the dirt. Elizabeth was a cool mom to let them.

Mark got sufficiently dirty. He was quite delighted.
Back in the car, he examines his knee-dirt closely.

Daniel and Anna were often most cheerful in the car

...where we had air conditioning. And indeed, we saw much of the park from inside the comfort of the rented minivan. We had good views: While finding a place to picnic lunch, Elizabeth and I caught a glimpse of something that we really think might have been a mountain lion. Then we took a walk on a trail that passed through a variety of ecosystems. We saw water, and desert, and great views of the Rio Grande.

Saturday evening was a highlight. After dinner we saw javalina at our campground. They were just grazing by the bathrooms. We learned all about javalina: they were the new animal for us at Big Bend. They aren't pigs! (There was a silly book at the NPS center called: Don't Call Me a Pig that taught us all.) They look a like like a p** though, because they have a snout and are about the same size. But they don't have a tail. And they eat cacti.
Mark learned about the javalinas. He could say something that sounded a bit like "a-na-nina." I wonder if he still remembers that word.

We took at walk to see the sunset (and saw some more wild life along the way) and we discovered how nice it is to hike when the sun isn't beating down on us!
After some photos at the sunset we went to a ranger talk on cacti. We learned a lot, and the kids handled it well, even though it was getting late. I learned a lot about cacti, but regret that it was our last evening, so we didn't have any more time to explore for those basically I forgot most of it. I learned that octillo is not a cactus. And I learned that you can eat the red balls on top of some prickly pear. Those are fruit. That's about it. I also remember learning about thefts: a lot of people sneak out rare plants from Big Bend- they catch them all the time. I can't think what you call that crime. I can't believe people would do that.

The next morning, we headed home.
Let's see what I can recount.

We left Sunday morning and drove to Dallas. We arrived at a friend's house very late and put the kids to bed. The drive back was difficult. Anna was having trouble understanding the geography of Texas and Dallas. I'm pretty sure she was convinced that Texas was in Dallas, and she didn't understand when we said we're not in Dallas yet, because she insisted that we never had left Dallas! I really didn't understand why she felt it profitable to argue geography with three adults when obviously she hadn't been to school yet. But that sort of logic doesn't really register with four year olds I guess (I learned a lot about kids...) and Elizabeth was very patient and let Anna get upset without arguing back.

Monday morning was our day of departure: it was stressful. We woke up rested and cleaned and had breakfast. Then we had to load the two cars with all the possessions of the Polak family (minus some books that were shipped to NJ). We finished around noon maybe? I forget. In the end we had my car packed, the Volvo wagon packed with its roof loaded and my green tarp over to protect it from rain (which we did have; the tarp was useful until about Alabama when I took this photo). The rented minivan was full of belongings to return to friends throughout the state of Dallas. And that meant goodbyes too. We began with borrowed camping equipment from a fire-fighter friend. And then a last lunch with Milan's dad. Drop off books that public library. And finally goodbyes to their dear friends.

We left Dallas (which actually we know is a city in Texas) probably around 5, in the rain. We drove till we did actually leave Texas. Just inside Louisiana the Polaks were ready to stop for the night. It was an interesting night what with one hotel room, a sister, a brother-in-law, two nephews and one niece. I believe experiences like that are ones that you treasure as "remember when" most of all. Elizabeth and Milan put Mark on the bed between them: not sure they got much sleep. I slept with Daniel crowding my pillow and Anna at our feet. This was most amusing. A few times I had to get up and move Daniel off my pillow, and then he would pick up and dramatically plop down on top of me again. sheesh. it was kind of funny. We splurged on a nice warm breakfast at ihop that morning, and then headed for B-ham.

The two older kids were quite happy taking turns in my back seat. Mark gave me a big smile whenever we stopped to rest. We had lunch in Vicksburg at a park by the River. It was hot, and there were red ants that bit hard. We got a nice Polak family picture though, documenting the span of years they were in Dallas: on the way to Dallas they took the same picture, but the kids were three years younger, and baby Mark was not yet.

That night we stayed with friends in Birmingham and on July fourth I headed home for two nights rest in my own bed. Then the journey north would begin.

No comments: