This morning we got up at the Guadalupe Mountains National Park and saw U.S. Border Patrol special forces. They were ready to go on a hike with all their gear, it was super cool to watch.
Then we headed down the road toward Alamogordo, New Mexico. When we were driving through El Paso we pulled over at a gas station. There they had a fair amount of Mexican candy, things that Andy and I had been looking for like tamarind flavored candy. We also got a mango chili icee that was amazing. I like the flavors of the Southwest. We also passed Fort Bliss, an Army base that specializes in tanks and artillery. They have a ton of space to train in the New Mexico desert, and while we were driving in the middle of nowhere, we even saw some tanks and APC’s practicing and it totally look real! We also drove by Holloman Air Force Base where Germany trains some of their Air Force (we heard over 3,000 Germans are stationed here!) We saw a couple of fighter jets flying over us too, that was really cool.
We went to the first KOA we have ever been to in Alamogordo. The guy working there said that they have sleds for the White Sands National Monument that we could borrow. Just down the highway, WSNM is where you can sled on beautiful sand. When we got there we started looking for a place to sled. We found a perfect place and started sledding. We sled until we were tired of sledding. Here is a video of that: https://youtu.be/bV04_ZwOKZw
Then we started jumping down the dunes and rolling down the dunes. It was a blast and I think Gunner loved it the most! It was nice that dogs could come into the park. Then we went home and took showers and got all the sand off our bodies. Mom made a really good instant pot meal, she has been a great cook in the camper! (WT)
Today (January 31) we started the day off with a bath in the hot springs right by the Rio Grande. When I dipped my head into the cold water of the Rio Grande, I immediately hopped right out and into the hot spring. It felt like pins and needles. Here’s a link to a video of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5DPSPZE5wI&feature=share
We wanted to go to Mexico and so we drove to the Boquillas crossing. We then went to the border protection on the USA side. We took a boat across the river and after that we rode burros to the Boquillas village. My burro was a pretty one with white fur. For lunch we went to the Boquillas restaurant, one of the two restaurants in Boquilla. The menu was cheese enchiladas, tamales, and goat tacos. I got the enchiladas, my brother got the tamales, and my parents got the tacos. The enchiladas were the best I have ever had because of the sauce. I also made a video there: make sure to check my other ones out too.
Today was probably the best day I have had this year. (WT)
Today I started the day off with a good run with Gunner by rip-stick, he likes to pull me up and down the road. He gets good exercise and it makes him happy. When we got to Austin the first thing we did was the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library. The library was awesome. There was even an animatronic LBJ. It was right next to the University of Texas football stadium. The stadium could hold 110,000 people, it was HUGE!
Then we went to the other side of campus onto “the drag” and had some hot dogs at “Frank”, a DDD (Diners, Drive ins, and Dives). I have been doing research on where interesting DDD’s are and saw it out of the corner of my eye. I shouted at my dad to stop(we were looking for a quick lunch) and I think it was a good pick to eat. We then went to the Texas state capitol building. The rotunda is huge. The Senate and House of Representatives was just like the United States capital building.
Later we picked up a family friend, Tim Martin, from Fargo that was in Austin for work. For supper we went to Saltlick BBQ which was the best barbecue place I have ever been to. It was a couple of miles out of town, in the middle of nowhere. They had a huge smoker pit full of meat. The sausage was my favorite.
We have been going to a public library near our “house” to do our homework. It’s a good place to have a school working atmosphere, and they’ve let us check out books and movies. There have been a lot of movies filmed in the town that we are staying including Hope Floats, The Tree of Life, and Bernie. We watched Bernie, and realized that we sat in the exact same spot as Jack Black when he was having BBQ in the movie. That was pretty cool, and a neat memory of being in a small town in Texas. (WT)
Today (Tuesday) we started the day off with a haircut that my mom gave me outside of our camper. I think it looks amazing. After that we played a game of shuffleboard before my Pappy Ron and Nana Marilee left. They had followed us here on a trip of their own. Me and Pappy were on a team and my dad and Nana were on a team. The final score was 75-73, my Pappy and I lost. Then they had to leave. It was already 11:00 by the time they left, so we went back to our camper and got ready to go to the beach.
We went to Rosemary Beach and almost no one was there. It was beautiful and it had white sand with an amazing view of the Gulf of Mexico. When we got to the beach we started playing catch with a football. My brother and I went swimming next. The water was FREEZING but I really wanted to swim in the Gulf of Mexico. I started making a little pool and canals from the ocean to it. I had Gunner help me dig and I think he had a lot of fun. Gunner also ran around hunting little birds. By near sundown, it was almost time to go but we got a little more football catch in.
On the way home we stopped at a cafe named Donut Hole with one of the 10 best key lime pies in Florida. My brother and dad got key lime pie, I got donut holes, and we shared all of our food with my mom because she did not get anything. We ended the day off with some warm New England clam chowder and garlic bread at our camper. (WT)
Today we started the day off by dropping Gunner off at a nice dog kennel so that we could do the stuff you can’t have dogs for. Next we went to the National WWII Museum. I learned that Normandy was bigger than just one beach. I also learned that the Allied Forces set up fake tanks, planes, and radio signals at the Pas De Calais, which was the narrowest spot between England and Hitler-ruled Europe, to fool the Germans. It definitely fooled them too. They had most their power and defenses there waiting for an attack. My favorite part of all though was learning about the huge battles going on in Asia, because I had always learned so much about what was going on in Europe so I didn’t know about what was going on in Asia.
Also at the end of the day we drove through a traditional NOLA cemetery with a whole bunch of beautiful mausoleums.(WT)
Today (Saturday) we woke up at 5:00 AM to go tailgating for the FCS National Championship. We hooked up our trailer and got on the road. Some Bison fans tried tailgating the day before but the security had to kick them out. But the city felt bad so they opened the gates to tailgating at 5:30 AM. We learned this at the pep rally and we were excited. Since it was the Bison fans that went early the JMU (James Madison University) fans had no idea the tailgating opened at 5:30 because it was originally supposed to open at 7.
We got to the tailgating and immediately started settingup. I was so tired so my parents let me sleep for 30 more minutes. By the time I woke up breakfast was ready and a lot of people were set up. My dads cousin and uncle came and visited our camper for a while. Then me and my grandpa went to a mechanical bull and rode it. After that was the widely anticipated football game. The game was so heart thumping and the Bison won 17-13. My favorite part was how hot it was. It was 61 degrees. My voice is sore because I was yelling so hard. After the game we ran down onto the field for the receiving of the trophy. We were up front on the field. When we were driving to Marshall, Texas, our next stop, we drove by the Bison team buses which were going to the airport to go back to ND. This was my third championship game I have gone to and by far my favorite. I loved watching the Bison play again and all the green and gold in the stands. -WT
Today we started in downtown Hot Springs. The first place we stopped was a bathhouse that was now the headquarters of the National Park and a visitors center/ museum. We got to walk through an old bathhouse and see how the process of the bathing went. The waters were said to cure arthritis and many other ailments. Then we went on a 3 mile hike up and down the hill behind the springs. We then had lunch at a bathhouse turned brewery. It is the only brewery in a national park. I had a gyro and some root beer that was brewed there. We then tried to go to the Buckstaff Baths, but they were not open so we did not get to bathe in the hot springs. We did get to drink from the hot springs though through a street side water fountain. When we were there people were bringing huge water containers and filling them up. After all this I took a pledge and became a Junior Ranger.
Another cool thing we did tonight was Garvin Gardens and the Anthony Chapel. The gardens were decorated with millions of Christmas lights. The chapel was made with only wood and glass and looks outdoors because of the glass.
Today we took off from Dallas heading to Hot Springs, Arkansas. I have never been to Arkansas before. The ride took 5 hours. Along the road we stopped at Crater of Diamonds State Park. It is the only public place in the country where you can dig for diamonds yourself. The most common gemstone is Jasper. We got a huge rock of Jasper. We unfortunately did not get any diamonds. My parents thought they found diamonds but they were just quartz, calcite, and barite. I will be learning about rocks and minerals in science soon. (WT)