Today we did it! We finally got all 5 of us in a canoe (seems like a camping MUST especially for Canucks) and took what the lady told us was a 2 hour float down the South Llano River. Well I can tell you it was a 3 hour canoe ride (not 2hr), but it was a gorgeous and monumental day for this FreeSpirited fam.
We saw a ton of Texas wildlife again, water snakes (non venomous...but nasty right), fish, crazy hawks and eagles (not a bird person, but the wing span on these birdies tell me they are big enough to catch a cat), TONS of turtles and a heard of deer!! Will fill you in on that in one sec..
So kids were pretty excited and Alex and I took the oars of course while munchkins sat in the middle and helped pick out wildlife and stuck there hands in the cool, clean and clear river. Every once in a while Madden (of course!) would try to jump out and rock the canoe, but the river is mostly very shallow with a few deep spots. It was a glorious day and I personally was having a ton of fun. We banked at a rocky beach for a quick snack, water fight and of course we all took turns peeing in the river (you-all-do-it too!)
All was bliss until we hit what seemed to be a harmless rapid and it pushed our canoe into a thorny ass shrubbery that took us out! We bailed into the river with all our shit flowing downstream and while Alex grabbed kiddos (Shyla was standing in the shallow water and the boys grasping the canoe freaked out and unsure), I gathered most of the missing stuff and held the now water filled canoe til Alex got all kids on shore. Big thank you to Shyla bear for being such a pro big sis and keeping them 'safe' on the banks. Poor Alex's shin that was just starting to heal and he had so delicately wrapped in gauze and plastic tape to make sure it would stay dry was ripped off and banged up against the canoe during our 'rescue'! Needless to say he may have dropped a lot more F bombs today again. After about 10 minutes of bailing and back breaking emptying the canoe water out we now had a nervous Lennon, soaked backpack including car keys, snacks, towels and diapers (gross) and one missing princess water cup now someone else's treasure to find when canoeing down river.
Our reward though for the craziness that just happened...a heard of beautiful deer galloping and jumping along the bank of the river only a few feet away. Bambi and his mother and entire family so close, quiet and magical. It was AWESOME!!! the kids were soooooooo stoked and I was too just seeing how happy they were to see deer in the wild.
After another long hour of paddling and sun burns and with no more water or snacks we were all grateful to hit the end of the not-two-hour-river tour and make it to our truck. Once we pulled back in to our 31 foot trailer home it was popsicle, hammock and chill out time for us all. I cannot tell you how great it feels to come back to a campsite and rest after a great outdoor adventure. Sadly, the kids were not as tired as Alex and I so it was short lived as dinner had to be made and bike rides to meet the new kids in the park was a must and then s'mores around the firepit. Now I can gladly say it was a great day, but I'm glad to be in my comfy bed under the stars with windows wide open and canoeing checked off our list! Hoping that's our last capsize for the trip.
I could easily spend 6 months exploring Texas and all it's amazing state parks. So far it's people, weather, roads and state parks have been above and beyond what I expected. At every park we've been to the people are warm and welcoming, and I love how they say "yes ma'am, no ma'am, how can I help you ma'am" when answering and addressing me! So polite that now Alex and I are like, " kids, you say yes or no ma'am or sir when talking to adults from now on!" lol Texans seem happy, proud and confident.
We did a geocache adventure hike with a bunch of friendly Texans who invited us along and thought it was neat talking with "real Canadians" lol as they put it. The kids had a great time and so did I until I somehow managed to get a cactus thorn wedged through my shoe and into my pinky toe! OUCH!
Like everything in life, Texas is not perfect as I've been told that come April-September it's "hotter then hell on fire" down here and the plant life is hostile though cool looking but thorny and full of sharp thistles. There is also the venomous snakes, gators (glad we are out of the alligator territory finally) and a bunch of other crazy wildlife lurking around all the campsites we've been at. Despite it's "roughness" we just love it's vast amount of parks, trails, rivers, and sunny weather.
Another crazy thing is the DRIVING!! Wowza, I mean I at times have a lead foot in my honda minivan and the kids tell me to slow down, but the speed limit on the interstates here is starting at 75mph and goes up to 80mph (112-130 kph)! Which just like home means the average car goes a few mph faster then that! Now try pulling a travel trailer and having all cars fly by and trying to merge in to that speed limit is like playing frogger at times. While hauling, our max speed is 70 mph, but we like to hover around the 64 mark to save our tummy's with less sway.
Did you know Texas was one of the last states to join the USA and they put in their constitution they could leave the USA whenever they like if they feel they don't like it anymore?! That's probably why they seem like they like things the way they do and ain't nobody gonna tell 'em no!
Anywho, today we plan to canoe on the South Llano river and star gaze tonight as there is a law preventing light pollution so we can all see the heavens above us each night! It's pretty amazing just how many stars you can see without any city lights interfering. We can also hear coyotes howl nightly and the kids freak out despite our reassurance...except of course for Madden who barks and howls back calling the coyotes to find him! lol
Yes sir we love this big beautfiul, rugged state and wish we had more time to explore all of it's cool state parks and what they offer. We are making our way west in a few days to the last Texas stop on our journey before entering New Mexico, but honestly, I thought about changing our plans to stay here a bit longer, however that would require a lot of plan changing and camp rebooking so not gonna happen.
Alrighty, happy Sunday y'all from Texas!
Yes, that's my shin which now has an inch and a half gash in it!! Hooking up and disconnecting this massive trailer is not for the faint hearted. While I was in the process of tightening the chains on my anti-sway bars on my trailer hitch, the steel bar that I use for leverage flew off and smashed into my shin like a hammer hitting an anvil. Not sure if you've ever had one of those moments where you're kinda left bewildered that this even happened for a few seconds? After the steel bar flew off and struck my leg what felt like a few seconds went by where I asked myself "did this steel bar really just smash into my shin?". You know its bad when you look down at the wound and you can see the inside of your leg and no blood has poured out yet? A few seconds go by and blood starts coming out like a slow moving faucet. I limped back inside the trailer and asked my lovely wife Wendy to bandage this up while I try not to pass out (yes I'm one of those guys who doesn't really enjoy seeing these types of injuries especially to myself). Thank God Wendy excels in these types of moments and she bandaged me up quite nicely with the first aid kit that I knew would come in super handy. After some antibiotic cream and some gauze I think I've managed to avoid a hospital trip for stitches and whatever else. I'm sure I will be blessed with a major scar to commemorate this trip which will look like a permanent tattoo on my body that'll never let me forget that exact moment.
In addition to my bad luck, a few days earlier our brand new RV encountered a few problems as well which we needed to get fixed so we opted to drive back into San Antonio to get it looked at before we headed further west on the I10 where you are literally in the middle of nowhere in Texas. Unfortunately both of the slide outs on the RV were not opening properly and I also needed to fix a scissor jack that I smashed when I bottomed out coming out of a gas station a few days earlier. As a result we decided to bring in the RV and stay at the Marriott (yeah we get double the travel points!) to enjoy the pool, fresh clean sheets, towels, showers and all the amenities we take for granted while traveling in the RV. Also managed to get an oil change on the Dodge Ram (woo hoo) before we head on the next leg of this journey into the desert. Lennon and I also had to do some much needed grooming as both our hair was getting way outta control and we thought it would be easier finding a decent hair place in San Antonio vs rural Texas.