Monday, September 12, 2011

Camping Weekend at Brazos Bend State Park

I'm going to apologize in advance. This is a picture intense post and there's a good chance your computer may lock up permanently from trying to load them all and/or you'll get very tired of seeing so many camping pictures before you reach the end. :)

Got up early for my run. Nothing stellar. Just a 25 minute, 11:33 pace run.

Then off to Brazos Bend to pay for and reserve our favorite camp spot. As I got closer to the park there was smoke everywhere and I wasn't sure we were going to be able to camp. I got to the office and they said they weren't letting anyone in because they weren't sure if there was a fire within the park! Yikes.

I asked if I could come in and give her my number because we were supposed to camp there this weekend. While I was doing that a ranger came on the radio and said they had confirmation that it was just smoke from the Bastrop fires rolling through. It was so strange to see that much smoke. My heart goes out to those who have suffered from the fires. The animals too!

Smoke rising in the distance.
 Smoke on the road as I got closer to park.
 Smoke in the park.

So we almost didn't go camping because I didn't want to camp in the smoke. Eventually it blew through so all was well. But my car smelled like barbecue for a while.

Ran all over the place trying to get a jack for the trailer. We bought the wrong size and it had to be replaced before we could go anywhere. Found an electric one and Chuck installed it after he got off work.

We finally got packed up and to the park arriving around 9:30pm-ish. Backing up in the dark is difficult. Chuck backs up while I direct. But in the dark?

So he puts his phone on speaker in the truck while I talk to him from my phone behind the trailer. No problem. All is working great until I hear things rustling in the bushes all around me. Then I see a shadow dart out. And I start screaming. Little squeals really. And they all think it's hilarious in the truck but I'm pretty sure my life is coming to an end.

I'm running around behind the trailer being chased by a raccoon and trying to direct Chuck at the same time. Nothing like a little comedy relief.

We get settled and pass out after laughing about raccoons for a while.
Friday Rachel has a dance committee meeting in town so we get up early to go there. Plus we needed some groceries for the trip.

Back at camp we get to relax.
 Come on in. Let me take you on a little tour.

This is the living room. Has a sofa sleeper and dining table. Storage is everywhere even under the table. The dining table makes out into a bed too but I don't recommend it. Only for those with the toughest backs. ie. kids!
 The kitchen has a sink, stove/oven, fridge/freezer, pantry and microwave. In case you're wondering, that's my soda stream on the counter with some sugar free Red Bull mixed up.
 There's a bathroom with sink, toilet and shower.
 More of the living room/dining area. The big clear tub contains Spike the bearded dragon. I neglected to make arrangements for him before the camping trip. So he got to come along.
 Hard to get a good angle to show you the whole room but this is the bedroom with a queen bed. Cabinets on either side and there is storage and a safe under the bed. I sleep on the red pillows, in case you were wondering.
 There is also a room in the back that has 4 bunkbeds and a cabinet where the kids sleep. Well, they sleep in the bunkbeds, not the cabinet. That didn't sound right. When I was taking the pics they were still asleep and I didn't want to wake them. I love them to death but I do enjoy my quiet time in the morning to just relax in silence with a cup of coffee and/or a Rock Star.

Rachel's dog Rusty had to come along for the trip as well. Let's just say this will be the last time that I forget to make arrangements for him. He hates camping and lives in a constant state of stress the entire time. He needs some Xanax and wash it down with some tequila. That might help him out. ;-)
 A lot of my weekend consisted of this. And there may or may not have been a cold beverage in my hand. (there was)
 What is camping without crappy food?! Rachel is having squirt cheese (I'm sure it has a name but it will always be called squirt cheese in our family) on Ritz. Check out the screaming tree in the background. Do you see it? I think it's shocked at our eating habits that weekend.
 That evening Chuck fired up the grill (even though there is a burn ban we could cook on the grills) and made hot dogs. Gotta have hot dogs when camping! We're all about teaching healthy eating habits to the kids.
 That evening the raccoons that chased me the night before came over to make peace. They let me know that they were really just hungry and thirsty so I shared a bit with them. They were so cute!! I'm pretty sure Charlie was plotting how to take one home with him.
 My Snow White impression. The raccoon is doing my nails. You just have to know how to talk to them.
 After a tiring day of relaxing it was time to go inside and spend some time with Spike. Such a sweet lizard.
Saturday I set my alarm to get up at 6:30am for my run. Only I set it for weekday instead of weekend so I ended up waking at 8:30! It gets hot fast. I debated whether to go out and run but I figured I should do it. Got geared up and headed out the door to be greeted by a beautiful morning.
 I ran the roads then decided to hit the trails. Being the first on the trails I got the privilege of clearing spider webs by running through them. Lots of squeals and dancing around trying to check for spiders. I think the hikers owe me a thank you or something! Jumping around really messes up my pace.
 I got to see deer (who would stand still just long enough for me to get my camera ready then run off!) and squirrels and rabbits. Oh and let's not forget the up close and personal encounters with several spiders. *shudder*

4 miles, 12:44 pace, avg HR 167 bpm (though it was a bit higher when running through spider webs)

When I got back I cooled off and Chuck had a great breakfast waiting for me. Yum! I'm starving after the longer runs.
 You haven't seen a lot of Charlie pictures. He found a group of Boy Scouts (or CLUB scouts as he thought they were called. LOL) and they were busy building forts and having wars. Boys. Then Charlie fell off a log and ripped his pants. Being the loving mom that I am I told him to be still and let me get a picture.
 I felt like a million bucks after breakfast and still had energy to burn. So we took off on bikes to explore the trails. Can you tell that I love this place?
 The drought is really hurting the wildlife. I've never seen the water dried up here. If you're familiar with the park, this is the corner of Elm Lake at the Spillway Trail. Very sad. Didn't see many alligators. I guess they had to go to the Brazos River.
 Spillway trail. Wish I could take you there in person. Would love to share it with you. Whenever you want to go..... We can hike, bike, look at wildlife. It's just a great place with so much to see.
 Lance and I at the entrance.
 Went back to the trailer and had some lunch. That ride was 6.7 miles in 38:26 minutes.

Friday all I wanted to do was relax but Saturday I was bouncing off the walls wanting to go, go, go! So back to the trails. This time for a solitary ride through the woods.

A very happy Texan. What more could she want?! besides losing her belly.
 The leaves were falling on the quiet trails as I rode along. It was so peaceful.
 That ride was a little shorter at 5.05 miles in 35:06 minutes. My "saddle" area was very sore. Need to get used to that bike seat or get another one. Ouch!

Rachel had a birthday party to go to that night. It required us driving back into town, dropping her off at a pizza place then giving her a ride to the movies and going back to pick her up at the movies.

While she had pizza we went to Cafe Adobe where I may or may not have had a few of these blue margaritas. (I did!)
 We eat outside so Charlie can run around doing things like picking up turtles and feeding the ducks. (I do make him wash his hands before eating though.)
 After a long night we finally arrive back at camp around 1:20am-ish. Time to crash.
Sunday I debated long and hard whether I should/could stay the rest of the week out there. But, alas, responsibilities call and sometimes I like to act like a responsible adult.

Chuck cooked breakfast for us. Charlie ate his eggs and was gone to play fort again.  (Please pay no attention to the can of Coke for breakfast. I really am a better mom than this. LOL)
Chuck and I decided to go for one last bike ride before packing up. This is when things started to get strange and yet funny at the same time.

We're riding along having a good old time  (except for the bumps killing the rear) when we come across a man hiding in the bushes just standing there with his bike. Strange, indeed. I didn't make eye contact but peddled a bit faster. Were those banjos I heard?!

A little further up I can see in the distance a man that appears to be pushing his bike. Great. I hope he doesn't need help because I don't even know how to change a flat. As we get closer he gets on his bike, which turns out to be a giant adult-sized tricycle, and struggles to peddle along the trail! As we pass he mumbles something and I say, "Good morning," and continue to peddle very quickly.

The large man was wearing a white undershirt and a baseball cap. Chuck made the comment that he smelled like Spaghetti-os! Gross!!! Big dude on a tricycle oozing Spaghetti-o sweat. Gag. 

So we laughed about that for a while (strange guys hiding in trees and another spaghetti-o man riding a tricycle) when I scream as I run over what I thought was a vine but turned out to be a snake!!!! After realizing what happened I had to stop my bike for a good laugh. Way too many weird things not to find the humor in it. The snake was fine, in case you were curious.

In all we biked 7.5 miles in 50:07 minutes before I was so sore that I couldn't ride any further. My legs felt fine but other parts were not happy. Why do they make those seats so uncomfortable anyway?!

Then packed up and home.

It was a great weekend. Lots of laughs and exercise and wildlife. But it's always good to be cleaned up and sleeping in your own bed. Can't wait for the next trip in October. That one will be a paddling edition!


  1. Love that RV - I could live in that.
    Love the Soda Stream!
    And you get more beautiful with each new adventure and run and hike you take us along!

  2. Great post - I love all the pics! I am so so so so sad about the Bastrop situation. Aside from the tragedy of all of the people displaced, homes lost and the thankfully small number of deaths, the loss of Bastrop State Park tears at my heart. As much as you love Brazos Bend, I love the Lost Pines in Bastrop. My parents honeymooned there, I went camping by myself for the first time there, we took my dog there so many times that it was the #1 place we had to take him in the week before we had to put him down....I am heart broken at its loss.

    I have loved on Brazos Bend more than once though. :) I grew up in Sugar Land, just a couple exits down the freeway from BB. Sad the alligators aren't out and about, but hopefully they are all riding out the drought somewhere more hospitable.

  3. LOVE all these pictures Kelly. Looks like an amazing weekend.

  4. I am busting up at the raccoons scaring/helping you with giving back up instructions! Too funny!

    Your camping set up is awesome. Almost my idea of perfect (ok, my idea is a hotel).

  5. Club Scouts has me rolling off my ball! LOL! So cute!

    What a great time! I am no camper...but I might go camping with you.

    Just remembered the alligators...changed my mind.

    Looks like a really nice time...can't wait for the next trip.

  6. What a great weekend, loved seeing all the pics.

    Your trailer is a little home, it's so big. Trailers here are much smaller.


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