Sunday, June 11, 2017

Brookses in the Wild, Wild, Wild, Wild, Wild West: Days 8-10

Day 8

Disclaimer: We went to Sea World.

It was extremely evident to us they were trying very hard to be PC and recover from the Blackfish documentary that came out several years ago, which we had never watched. Their actions and obvious efforts to inform us about the changes they made and the open statement that they have "been through a lot the last few years" made me curious, so after everyone went to bed that night I watched it on my phone. 

Now I feel really guilty and bad for all the orca pictures.

But they are beautiful, massive, take-your-breath-away creations of God, and I am thankful we got to see them up close. 

So I'm posting the pictures. 

Sea World made it a point to repeatedly point out these are the last generation of killer whales they will have as they are ending their breeding program. If you look online there are some people who claim they are simply moving all that overseas and are trying to recover in the U.S. by rebranding themselves as conservationists and animal rescuers. I don't know. But we enjoyed our day, the girls swam with dolphins, and life is all downhill from here.

This beluga whale is the oldest and heaviest of all the beluga whales at Sea World San Antonio and happens to be named Martha which one man in the crowd found a lot funnier than his wife did.

Our girls don't do big roller coasters much to our chagrin, but they still like the fair-type rides and did several of those. 

We were hot and exhausted and thrilled at the end of the day. So many beautiful creatures seen and lifelong memories made. 

The campground had a game room we used that evening, and I have to say I am pretty amazing at foosball. Probably gonna train for the Olympics or something.

Day 9/10

We spent the morning hours of day 9 getting out of San Antonio and heading across west Texas. 

*sidebar - Preston is an amazing driver. For real. When we were out with friends a few weeks ago he paralleled parked my barge in a spot which moments before had been occupied by a compact car in one smooth move. One of the guys we were with described it as "beautiful." (Which was probably a touch hyperbolic. A touch.) And he has driven this enormous rig through downtown metros at rush hour, winding through the interstate exchanges, merging and maneuvering with ease. Sandwiched by semis and staying cool. Navigating narrow construction zones in blinding rain and never flinching. And during the drive across I-10 from San Antonio towards El Paso, there were constant signs about gusting and high cross winds. And he was steady. The man may be clueless in the laundry room but if it has wheels, he can drive it.

I'm thankful anew for his dream to do this with our girls, and his ability to lead us. I told him how much I appreciated him and how we would never do this without him. He doesn't take compliments well and laughed when I said that. I misinterpreted his laughter and said, "What? Do you really think I could be doing this?" His head whipped right and he goes, "No. No, there is no way you could be doing this." So I snapped and told him if it was just me and the girls we would be rich (life insurance!) and we would be flying everywhere ordering room service. Compliment session over. 

The landscape changed a lot as we headed west, becoming much more deserted and flat, oil pumps and windmills being the main scenery, miles and miles between dots of civilization.

After about five hours there is an oasis known as Balmorhea State Park, and within the park is the coolest pool ever built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. It is fed from a spring, so it is incredibly cold, which is needed seeing as the temperature is above 100 degrees daily. People line up on the street well-before the 8 am opening time because they only sell 1000 passes a day, with another 300 being sold at 3:00 pm. If you look on a map, this park looks like it is in the middle of nothing, and it is, but people drive from far away to enjoy the cool water. Several people even wanted to know how we were lucky enough to be able to secure one of the thirty campsites. Planning, people. It pays to be Type A! 

We spent all day yesterday swimming and watching turtles and fish and eating ice cream (which melts QUICKLY in 103 degrees) and jumping off the high dive (Well, for some. Some people watched from the rafts.) and diving down as far as we could to watch the deep sea divers who were training in the 29 foot pool and basically gearing up for the second half of this trip. We also watched a thunderstorm roll across the plains and into the mountains without ever feeling a drop of rain. The lightning was truly spectacular. It was a restorative day. 

While we were at the pool Preston saw a bird he had only seen in cartoons, so 
when he incredulously asked a kid next to him, "Is that a road runner?" The kid looked at him funny and goes, "Um, yea. Have you never seen one before?" When Preston said he hadn't, that he is from Tennessee, the kid was stunned. We might as well have been from France. Tennessee is exotic lands here in southwest Texas! 

We are currently driving north and just crossed into New Mexico, a new state for all five of us. (My brothers have a life-long competition going to see who can visit all fifty states first. When we were kids we all went the same places so no one could get ahead but whatever. I have never been a part of their game because I am completely noncompetitive and couldn't care less, but I do believe I now have this state on my list and they don't. Insert tongue sticking out here.)
We are headed to visit Roswell, so this could be my last post...from this planet.

Grace for Alien Enthusiasts,

1 comment:

  1. Pretty sure you've now covered more ground in Texas than this Texan!


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