Texas! Where you can travel 11 hours straight without ever leaving the state. When Darren first suggested we head to Big Bend for our anniversary back in December, I thought he was crazy. However, now I can’t believe I’ve been in Texas all my life & never made the trek. Aside from the unrivaled scenery and laid back pace, there is just something so serene about the place. We’ve found a great RV park at a world class golf resort that is situated right between the State Park & National Park.
This year the kids chose Big Bend over snow skiing for spring break. I was secretly grateful to not be heading to a cold climate. The older I get, the less I can handle it. Plus, the metal in my back doesn’t play well with cold climates.
We delayed travel for a day trying to avoid high winds & storms, but didn’t succeed. Cool Hand Luke successfully navigated the rig through 70-75 mph wind gusts for the duration of the 11 hours it took us to make the drive. The poor guy's arms were so sore when finally arrived after fighting the winds bucking our rig the whole way. We pulled into camp with an hour of daylight to spare, set up, and threw some burgers on. The kids immediately took off to the the pool since it was 80 degrees but quickly found out that wasn’t warm enough for enjoyable swimming weather and decided to ride bikes and throw the football around instead. They were thrilled to see this campground full of kiddos on spring break! "Mom! There are so many kids here! This is the best place we've ever stayed!" They told me.
The next morning, we headed out for 9 holes of golf on one of the most beautiful courses I’ve ever seen surrounded by the Chisos mountains, under a clear blue sky with hawks soaring over head, and the Rio Grande meandering its way along the course. The game went the same way it typically does. By the 5th hole, B had thrown a club and was totally over it while D had just warmed up. Lucky for me, I had the happy kid on my cart... The scenery on this course is second to none! Even if you're not a golfer, if you find yourself visiting Lajitas do yourself a favor. Rent a golf cart and ride around the course to take in the views. But, be smart. Follow golf etiquette and for goodness sakes, do not stand in the middle of the fairway snapping selfies while actual golfers are trying to tee off....
That afternoon was B's number one request for spring break: horseback riding. Neither the hubs nor D were very excited about it, but they indulged us. Darren has never been a fan of horses and had a bit of trepidation about the whole experience. As we received our pre-ride instructions, he leaned over and asked, “Have you ever been bucked off?” I assured him I hadn’t and there was no way these horses would buck. I explained to him that these are trail horses, ridden by novice riders multiple times a day, every single day on the exact same trails. They follow the leader and are totally calm. It was so fun to see B grinning ear from ear to ear in the saddle and watch Darren relax enough that he seemed to almost enjoy it. I loved being back in the saddle and taking in the scenery in. The landscape of the state park was perfect, the group was quiet, and I was able to talk to God while soaking in the serenity of it all. And then, after a gorgeous 2.5 mile ride through the desert mountains, the wind blew a plastic bag loose from a bush & across the trail in front of my horse.
Smoky (or Fred as his saddle tag read) jumped left & bucked me right. As my ribs took the full impact of hitting the ground, I threw my right arm up to protect my head & felt the full impact of a horse’s hoof stomp down on my forearm. I quickly scrambled to my feet and stood up rattled and doubled over in pain trying to regain the wind that had been knocked out of my lungs. The other riders, along with my husband and kids stared at me in horror as the guides tried to catch my horse.
I struggled and gasped to regain my breath as I gathered my bracelets that had been busted & ripped by the horse’s hoof along with my hat & cell phone while the guide brought my horse back to me. Every eye in the group was on me as I stood there rubbing Smokey’s neck and talking calmly to him. I could let the fear keep me from getting back on that horse, or I could eat my own words and get back on the horse that bucked me off. I remounted Smoky & my kids witnessed their mom practice what she preaches. I had to literally get back on the horse that had bucked me off. The horse remained spooked for the rest of the ride, and I'll be honest, I was happy to be back to the stables. Initially, my arm was the biggest source of pain, but as a few days have gone by the cracked/bruised ribs have been incredibly painful. I’ll live but I took some seriously injured and sore ribs home with me as a souvenir. I have to say that I was very surprised at the lack of concern on the resort's behalf. Having witnessed unrivaled customer service, I assumed they would have done whatever possible to make this right. However, I was told they would be happy to arrange me a doctor's visit but would be unable to refund the trail ride since, they had done nothing wrong. It was just simply a spooked horse. In my experience, tourist trail rides consist of incredibly docile well broken horses that wouldn't get spooked by a plastic bag blowing across the trail. I understand they are simply unpredictable animals, but coming from a place of hospitality, I would have appreciated the resort being a little more taken aback by the accident. Thank goodness it was me and not the kids, otherwise, the resort would have seen an entirely different side of this Mama, worthy of being covered by the evening news!
Back at camp I kicked back with ice on my ribs and arm while Darren taught the boys how to ride a bicycle backwards. Of course the oldest mastered it and spent the rest of the trip riding around the campsite like a circus monkey inciting people to point and laugh.
My social butterfly kiddos gathered other kids around our campsite to throw the football, ride penny boards and bicycles, and drink Dr. Peppers. While getting ready to take the kids up to the club for movie night, D stuck his head in asking if Brayden could go to the movies with us. “Brayden who?” I asked. “My new friend Brayden he’s outside,” he told me. I stuck my head out, introduced myself to him and asked if his parents knew he was going with us. He assured me they did and it was fine, but I told him we would go by and introduce ourselves first. This is how we met our new friends Jen & Justin who had just pulled into camp after driving straight through the night & didn’t actually realize their kid was going to the movie with strangers. We invited them up to the club with us while the kiddos met up with all the other campground kids and enjoyed hanging out at the theater watching Indiana Jones. This is my favorite part of the RV life. I love that our family is not only experiencing new destinations but making new friends also.
The last day consisted of Jeep riding through the state park visiting Dom Rock from the movie Fandango, & stopping on the roadside for the boys to throw rocks across the Rio Grande and in to Mexico. We topped it off with dinner with our new campground friends, visiting around the campfire, and s’mores roasting. The kids said this was the best camping trip we’ve been on yet and one of their favorite places. They’ve already, along with their new friends, requested we do this next spring break as well. So thankful for these experiences with our family, making new friends, and experiencing new places.
Who am I?
Hi! I'm. Brandi, founder of The Power Project. There are a few things I'm passionate about in life, and one of those happens to be my LOVE of travel! We enjoy traveling the world with our kids as well as the continental United States in our motorhome. I hope you enjoy some of our most memorable adventures!
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