After months of planning we finally headed out for our 3 week photo adventure. Traveling west towards Ft. Worth to visit Ashlee, our oldest daughter.
A huge thunderstorm loomed nearby as we frantically unloaded for the night and strapped down the soft top on the bed of the truck. What would soon become routine was super slow paced as we fiddled with the as-of-yet unfamiliar straps and snaps. The next morning would tell us if the topper was pretty much weather proof as promised. (It was)
We had a nice time visiting with Ash, caught up over lunch and then we were officially off!
First stop Guadalupe NP in western Texas. This isn’t one of the oft-visited parks in the NP system. Annual visitors is around the 225,000 mark, so averages about 600 people per day. This is the park you want to visit for solitude. In comparison, Great Smoky Mts. NP sees more than 11 million people annually, or more than 30 thousand a day!* But what I have noticed after visiting many of the national parks is that if you get there at sun up, stay til dark and get off the main traffic routes, you can manage to see very few people. *(and please take the above daily numbers with a grain of salt. We all know visitorship can vary wildly depending on time of year, holidays, etc. These numbers are just for comparison.)
But first we had to get there.
Another Texas-sized thunderstorm loomed on the horizon. One of the problems with the huge skies in some states is that you can see what you are about to get into for miles and miles. And miles. This storm socked us with wind and rain, but thankfully no hail.
Once through the storm, Odessa and Midland were next. The oil business is boooooming in this area. Everywhere you look you see work pickups, oil machinery, oil equipment, oil workers, oil rigs, sand for fracking and high prices. Really high prices! On everything. Tons of road work slowed down the freeways. The roads are choked with 18-wheelers, oil field workers and us. We finally found a “reasonably” priced hotel and called it a night.
The next morning Amy drove, she is far more patient with gridlock, which I had not at all expected in the middle of Texas. And thankfully, the roads had cleared, the gridlock was gone, the storms were East of us and off we went to start our adventure.