Tuesday, August 17, 2010

TGGN: Part III - Camping

We were driving along the highway when my mom saw a sign for Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

Mom: Are you going to exit here?
Me: I wasn't planning on it.
Mom: Isn't that where you wanted to camp?
Me: Yes.
Mom: Then don't you think you should check in and get a camp site?
Me: I guess.

And so we exited. And drove to the park. And checked in. And got a campsite. And stopped at the visitor's center.

And took some pictures.

And a few more pictures.

The views out over the area were beautiful. Especially with the storms off out in the distance. It's hard to imagine being able to see so far away. To see storms, but not have it be storming where you are at.

We stopped at the visitor center and gift shop and looked around. I picked up a western novel. It was a murder mystery set in Palo Duro Canyon. The author was on hand to sign it for me. I chatted with him for a few minutes as he told me about the book. Connor also helped me pick out a new book for the boys with wonderful illustrations called "There was a Coyote who swallowed a flea." Afterwards we drove down to check out our spot. Our campground was practically where the road ends.

Though the views were certainly worth the wait.

Our spot was flat, with a nice picnic area. It had electric hooks up and water.

And most importantly it was close to the bathroom.

Though none of that would matter. As we wouldn't see our campground that night. As it so happened when we lost track of time at The Big Texan restaurant we didn't leave until sometime after 9pm. We arrived back at the main gates to the State Park at a few minutes past 10 to discover the gates locked. Locked promptly at 10pm.

We ended up camping in the overnight overflow parking area. Down a gravel road. There were no defined spots. We picked a place to park in the pitch black with rain pouring down. And we camped without electricity, which meant without AC. In the rain. We had the windows open for a while in an attempt to keep cool. As the rain came down harder we were forced to close them some to keep the rain from coming in.

We camped in a small mini-motorhome. There wasn't room for the boys' pack 'n plays. They slept on the bed between me and the wall. It took them a while to settle down and go to sleep for the first time in a real bed. Connor especially flipped and flopped and rolled all around until he finally layed on the pillow and wedged himself into the corner. Ryan, the one who originally picked his spot and settled quickly cuddled up beside me when the thunder started booming. He slept soundly next to me all night.

When morning came I actually woke up before the boys. I sat up and watched the colors play across the sky. I ventured out to take some pictures and take a look around. Despite the best laid plans this is where we spent the night.

When I returned the boys were still asleep. Connor had stirred enough to crawl out of his corner before deciding to go back to sleep.

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