Carlsbad Caverns

After a great day of hiking we took a short drive and stayed on some BLM land about 15 miles from Carlsbad. For those that don’t know BLM is Bureau of Land Management. This is all government land that comprises lots of the West. Much of it is used for grazing. You can camp for free. We found a great spot on a hill overlooking the desert. The kids found a small abandoned fort made of stone and worked on improving it by moving rocks to expand the walls. We all saw some great stars and headed to bed early.  Here is a shot from the beautiful sunrise.

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After the sunrise we drove down the dirt road from our BLM campsite. We thought all was good until Brent heard a “whallup” sound. We pulled over and found a baseball sized rock wedged in between our dually tires. After 3o minutes of trying to knock it out with a hammer, axe, drill , chisel, etc, etc we drove slowly into Carlsbad National Park. We decided to walk down the natural entrance.

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Here is our happy Mei on our way into the cave.

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We saw some beautiful structures inside the cave including some huge columns, delicate soda straws and mightly stalagtites. The kids were amazed by the size of some of the rooms.

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Once we got as far as possible into the cave our smallest boy, Makai, uttered the famous words “I gotta poop”. Brent grabbed him and they hustled back to the main part of the cave to the restroom. Eva, Marco and Mei enjoyed a leisurely walk and enjoyed some sibling love.

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After the end of the cave all three kids finished their second Junior Ranges badges of the week and we headed back East.

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We needed to get East as fast as possible for a doctor appt on Jan 12 in Atlanta but had to make sure we found a campsite that had cable. This was so Brent and Marco could watch the BCS National Football Championship game between Georgia and Alabama. Notice Marco’s sweatshirt.

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San Antonio and Guadeloupe Mountains

San Antonio and Alamo, Texas

We drove from Louisiana to San Antonio, Texas, which was one of our planned destinations. We went to see the Alamo and to use it as a lesson on American history. We took the paid tour of the Alamo and were a little disappointed as most of the tour was outside of the walls of Alamo and we could have read most of that ourselves. There was good movie about the history of the Alamo inside of the fort that the kids enjoyed.

 

We also walked River street which was nice, but we ended up at Schillo’s for lunch. It was a cold day and Eva did not want to sit outside for lunch. Most of the restaurants on River street had only outside seating. Schillo’s is a place known for their root beer, so we had to try a pitcher, which was huge. The kids are always happy to eat somewhere other than the camper.

Somewhere in Texas overlooking the desert:

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Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas

The next day we drove to Guadalupe mountains, which turned out to take 3 hours longer then expected. We hit road construction, tons of oil trucks on the roads and some not so nice roads. Eva drove on most of the ugly roads while Brent was teaching the kids. The terrible long drive was worth it. We loved it here. We stayed in the little campground in the National park (no hook ups, no reservations) and it was pretty quiet and isolated. After a quick stop at the visitor center we attempted a late afternoon hike to The Devils Den. We never made it as it got late but he kids wanted to get of the trail after they heard there might be Mountain Lions around. Before we went to sleep we all went outside for a quick look at the stars. Without any light pollution they were amazing. That night was fairly noisy from the 60 mph wind gusts that shook the camper but we all slept OK.

The Next morning the kids all earned their first junior ranger badge. Kids can earn these in all the National parks around America learning about nature, hiking etc. They all got officially sworn in and had to recite the oath.

Later we drove couple of miles to McKittrick canyon for a hike and it was great. We all hiked 4.8 miles, which is the longest hike they have ever done. It was a pretty impressive distance especially for our youngest, Makai. We crossed some steams, looked for fossils and walked through beautiful canyon where all the sedimentary layers in rock were visible as it was carved over millions years. The scenery and views were unbelievable and we saw only a couple of people on the trail. We would have loved to stay longer but we have to head back east and get closer to home to take care of some medical issues. Off to Carlsbad Caverns tomorrow.

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IMG_6119Once done with hiking we couldn’t resist and went camping on BML land a couple miles outside of Carlsbad Caverns National park. We drove up a windy rocky path onto higher ground overlooking the desert. Again we got a view! I am going to miss that. Our best campsites are usually in state parks or out in the middle of nowhere, just like this spot. Don’t take me wrong, beeing hooked up with electricity, water & sewer is nice, but rarely is it so peaceful and offering the vistas as parks or wilderness do.

The view out of our camper overlooking the desert in New Mexico:

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The Plans

So we had the Plan, well we had one for a while. All this started just over 5-6 years ago when my husband stumbled on the blog/website for the bumfuzzle family who were traveling around the world first by themselves and later with 2 children. They sailed or motored from place to place in a sailboat they purchased and knew nothing about. Brent followed them for few months before he presented this idea to me. I started with old posts and quickly went ahead. At first I thought this was a crazy idea. The more I read and the more other sailing families blogs I visited the more I felt it’s not so crazy. (Now as we sold our house, business and most of our possessions I think “crazy” was the right word😉)

Five years ago Brent wrote on a yellow sticky note our tentative departure date as November 2017 and we almost made it. Why did we do that? The blogs and advices we read said that you need to put down a date, otherwise it may not happen, so we did. A few things (actually a lot of them) had to come together for us to be able to do so and we are thankful that it all worked out.

So the Plan was to move on our boat right after Christmas. That was all good until hurricane Irma came around in September and decided to hit our boat, Walden, with 225mph winds and did some fairly major damage.

So here is Plan B – we moved in the camper and we’ll spend our time on the road for the next few months until our boat is fixed.

Currently we are in Lafayette Louisiana. We spent our first few days saying goodbyes to our friends in Gulf Shores Alabama. Tomorrow we will be going on a Swamp tour.

We have also started homeschooling. I will let you all know how I feel about it later. I just wish I had more background in teaching as some of these things I have to re-learn first.

Go Dawgs! Yep Marco was pretty excited last night when Georgia beat Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl.

Below are a Couple of families we follow:

http://www.sailingtotem.com

http://www.gonewiththewynns.com

http://www.bumfuzzle.com