This article first appeared on the One80Out Adventures site HERE!
Mike R back here with another guest contribution post to One80Out Adventures. I am excited to share that throughout 2019 I’ll be featuring my road trips that I am taking to go out and experience outdoor adventure in the world as an ongoing series on the blog.
Is there anything better travel wise than a long road trip? Or even a short road trip?
Road trip days can have no agenda (or perhaps too much of an agenda!), the tunes get to be cranked up as you cruise the open road, and the wind ripping through your hair reminds you that YES you are alive. I love road trips and I believe America is one of the best, if not the best, country in the world (apologies to Iceland for a 2nd place finish) to experience and explore road trips both far from your home and very close to where you live.
The first road trip I took this year was in January and it was after a work conference my wife had in San Antonio Texas that I tagged along to.
I want to share some highlights of this road trip in hopes that it will ignite excitement and energy in yourself and those close to you and get you planning a road trip of your own!
10 Southwest Texas Road Trip Highlights:
Total Days: 4
Total Mileage: 922.8 Miles Roundtrip.
Final Destination: Big Bend National Park.
Favorite stop along the way: Marathon, Texas.
Top Outdoor Adventure: Climbing to the top of Big Bend National Park via Emory Peak.
Biggest Surprise: The gentlemen who came in to the general store in the park and reported that he had just seen “one of the cats” out on a main trail during the middle of the day. When he said cat he actually meant mountain lion, a reclusive and rarely seen nocturnal animal!
Eat: Brick Vault Brewery and Barbeque
Best Song on Road Trip Playlist: Sucker MC’s by Run DMC and Paul Revere by The Beastie Boys
New friend: The couple from South Carolina that we met at a gas station in the middle of nowhere that were headed to Sedona Arizona and were stopping in Big Bend and the Grand Canyon on the way!
Read: Under the Stars: How America Fell in Love with Camping by Dan White
I am on a quest to visit all 61 of the US National Parks and when my wife said that she had a work trip in San Antonio I let her know we also had a road trip afterwards to Big Bend National Park.
It’s about a six hour drive from the city to the park but it’s the 2nd closest city to Big Bend (only El Paso by an hour) is closer. Basically...living in Ohio we weren’t going to be getting much closer anytime sooner to Big Bend than this. It was our chance to go!
Big Bend National Park should honestly be mentioned in the same breath of Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier and the other “big boy” National Parks of America. It is that amazing, wide open, and diverse. It’s just a tad harder to get to (400 miles from any major city) therefore visitor totals are much lower than deserving of this magical place.
We hiked our butts off, saw amazing wildlife, walked the border between the US and Mexico along the Rio Grande, connected with wonderful folks from all over the world, and had some random and fun road trip stops along the way in small towns, little nooks and crannies of rural Texas, and plenty of wide open views with not a building or human to be seen for hours!
If you make a trip to Southwest Texas to Big Bend make sure you hit some of the following:
-The Fossil Discovery Exhibit on the fringes of the park.
-The Santa Elena Canyon region on the Rio Grande.
-A day trip to Boquillas Canyon with a visit to our friends south of the border in Mexico, passport required!
-The star filled evenings in the Chisos Mountain Range.
While we returned back to San Antonio due to our time constraints there are other great options to continue the road trip. Heading up to El Paso gives you the chance to visit this wonderful city, the Guadalupe Mountains, and Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico (where millions of bats fly out of the cave at dusk and you can witness during the evening “Bat Flight” program.)
If you open your eyes to what is around you the opportunities to discover the unexpected on a road trip are endless. Leave a little extra time in each day to not feel rushed and get to take in that unexpected finding.
This is one of several road trips I’ll be taking this year and I can’t wait to share the next one with you. I recently got a new One80Out shirt & hat and I can promise there will be a pic of me in this gear in the next post in this series. I’ll be hitting the road again in late April with a focus on North & South Dakota, until then throw some road trip questions down in the comments on Big Bend/Texas and I’m happy to share more.
Thanks for reading and supporting the One80Out family and community!
Because Adventure Travel Feeds the Soul,