Monday, July 30, 2012

Camping With the Cousins, Abiliene State Park

Abilene State Park

Hi there folks! It's me! Amy's little sister and now guest blogger for Ruby's road.  Couldn't be more excited to write about our adventures to Abilene State park.  These plans to go camping all started in early spring when my kids, Ellen (6) oh no sorry, she is 6 1/2  :) and Joey (2), and I started to plan out annual Texas trip.. Initially plans were to fly to Amarillo, but as it turns out flying to Austin from San Diego was oodles cheaper,especially when flying x3.  My brilliant older sister suggested that we fly to Austin (o' twist my arm) and drive up to the AMA together...ROADTRIP! Heck ya! Oh wait... The 2 year old?! 9 hour drive, no can do kimosabe! Are you crazy? Do you like pain? In the form of crying that only a 2 year old strapped down in a car seat can dish out?  Oh wise sister what's that you say? Camp half-way there in your new snazzy Eurovan? Yep, were in! Right kids? Wanna go camping with Auntie Amy in Texazzzz?  Yeah!! from the 6.5 yr old and a Who-Hawww! from the 2 year old.. And that's dear readers how it began...

We started off on Thursday morning 9am... (sounds like rocket man from Elton John, no?). Eurovan packed..I watched Amy one day prior make a dozen lists or so for this trip, so I'm pretty sure we had everything.. I was busy chasing kids, which is probably why again we don't camp.  On the road again, just can't wait to get on the road again (thanks Willy!) headed to Brownwood, Texas for lunch...  At a place called Underwoods, they are famous for their cobbler and yes it was indeed yummy! Yes, go there for cobbler! and nothing else... :/ we landed at Abilene state park around 3pm, checked in at the park ranger station and received a signed personalized map of the park! Only in Texas dear readers!  As we entered in the camp it was so green and lots of shady trees.  As we entered the screened shelter areas we were pleasantly surprised, as it was very cute and almost completely shaded.  We jumped out of the van and opened the screened shelter... Hmmmm?... So the floor was swept and reasonably clean, but dark, and the corners of the room just seemed that there may been small creepy crawly creatures lurking there, not to mention the little critters that might be crawling underneath the door.  So sleeping plans were rearranged...we emptied out the van and decided that Amy and Caleb would sleep up in the top part of the eurovan and my kiddos and I on the bottom.. Problem solved!
Next on the agenda was to swim!  The park had a swimming pool! Perfect for us to chill out from the hot Texas midday sun!  An historical tidbit about this pool was that it was built decades ago by the Civilian Conservation Corp, it was cool to see the retro-ness of this pool and to imagine all the summer memories this pool brought to the area, not to mention cool relief from the hot summer.  But that was not the best part... The best absolute part was the...(drum roll please!) the 12 foot diving board! I mean when was the last time you saw a diving board like this?  They don't exist anymore! I assume they are just too much of a liability these days... What a shame!  The kids made a beeline for the diving board much to my surprise! With no hesitation the kiddos climbed up and jumped! Even my baby girl!  I was nervous, shocked and sooo proud!  Everyone had a turn at the board except Joey, who was content in the little toddler pool until he wasn't, and was held in the big pool.  After swimming we headed back to our camp ground, rinsed off at the bathroom near our camp site and hung the swimsuits to dry.  The adventure seeking Caleb, a pro at camping I might add, sought out the nearby bird blind.  Poor kid loves birds and my kids well, they are loud and didn't get the memo that one must be quiet to see the birds.. But after traipsing back there multiple times, we finally all went back to see the bird blind and it was super cool.  One sits inside this little cabin on a bench and watches out a large window onto this playground for birds.  Once everyone quieted down the birds would fly to their 'playground' to eat, chase each other or simply sit there looking amazing.  At this point it was getting to be dinner time so we took the short walk back to our camp site and as we were getting closer what did out wondering eyes should appear but 3 ant-hungry armadillos. So cute! The kids loved them! And by the way, armadillos don't run away, they sort of waddle away. And they weren't that startled we had arrived. What a neat-o sighting!
Next was the gourmet dinner! Hot dogs and chips for the kids. A charcuterie of hard salami and goat cheese for the sisters, oh and wine! Fancy! Yum and perfect for a warm summer night...and the s'mores! Not camping without s'mores..
As things were settling down for the night, pj's on, teeth brushed.  Amy walks back from the bathroom to say that she saw a bobcat, which I imagined as a mountain lion. Yikes! As she saw my freak-out level rise, she mentioned quickly that it was the size of a large house cat... Whew.. I could totally take that on! No worries!  Eventually, tired young kids were sawing logs while older kids and sisters stayed up, circled around the kerosene lantern watching for low flying owls.  Finally, everyone headed to bed, unfortunately the eurovan was much warmer than being outside.. After blasting the air conditioner, it cooled down, but was still warm inside the van.  In the middle of the night, amy jumped ship to sleep in the shelter *shutter*..  As the morning sun rose, kids looked bright-eyed and bushy tailed and moms needed some coffee STAT!  We quickly packed up the van and headed out of the park at exactly 8:05am.  On the way out we saw some momma deer and baby fawns. We ahhh-ed at them and snapped some photos..
Abilene State Park! You are a gem in the middle of Texas!  Loved the trees, had lots of nature, and although we didn't get to experience the lake, it was for certain a great time and a very well-kept State park.  P.s. don't take down the diving board!!  What a fun experience for us San Diegans!
Thanks to my wonderful sister for arranging this camping trip and making some lasting summer memories for my children!  Until next time.... :)

**I loved taking you and Joey and Ellen, sis! Until next summer or this fall-possibly? xoxo