TRAVEL DAY TEN :
Left New Mexico and headed for Colorado! On the way out of camp, the kids spotted a field full of GIANT dandelions as big as their faces and begged me to pull over so they could pick some. Texas has dandelions, but nothing like these! Stopped to mail some postcards. Wrote a nice note to my mom and Henry’s mom and had everybody sign them. Put on stamps and dropped them into the mailbox! About an hour later I realized I didn’t put any addresses on them. Hahahaha! Whoopsie! Postcard fail.
Stopped just past the Colorado border at an awesome little splash pad for the kids to play and for us to cook some lunch. They hadn’t been in the water for five minutes when the girls came running over to tell me they needed to pee. Of course they did, since there wasn’t a bathroom in sight. I figured, hey, we’re at a splash pad. They can duck behind a bush, pee in the grass and then go rinse off. Of course as soon as they finished peeing, they complained that they were too cold and didn’t want to go back in the water, so they climbed back into the car smelling like pee. NICE. Luckily there was a laundromat across the street. While we waited for the clothes to dry, an old guy with one tooth walked by, looked over and waved. Henry waved back, so he made a quick u-turn to come over and talk to us by the car. Out of every ten words he said we maaaayyyybe understood one. I’m honestly not even sure everything he was saying was in English. Something about his brother being a cop and busting somebody for marijuana. At one point he said something about somebody smoking crack. Henry nodded and said “cool” because he didn’t understand him. The guy’s eyes got big and he said “noooo! NOT COOL!” Ha!
Finally our clothes finished drying and we got back on the road, headed for Great Sand Dunes National Park, hoping to find some open camp spots. They’re first-come, first-serve, but book up fast. Since it was a Sunday and rainy, I thought for sure we’d find an open spot. Wrong. Before we even got to the front entrance there was a sign that said all camping was full. Damn! We drove into the park anyway to see the dunes. BEAUTIFUL! Snow capped mountains sit right behind the dunes, which look awesome from far away, but AMAAAAZING and HUGE from up close! Since it was almost dark, we decided to drive on out of the park and find another place to camp. Our first plan was the KOA 30 minutes down the road, but it was $40 a night, which seemed like a bit much for a tent space. Just down the road from Great Sand Dunes, I saw a sign for Zapata Falls and pulled into the tiny parking lot to take a picture of the mountains. After a quick google search I found out that Zapata Falls has campgrounds! And a tent space is only $11 a night! We drove up (and up and up) a rocky, bumpy mountain road – only 3 miles, but felt like 10 – until we got to the campsites. We drove through looking for a spot near the bathrooms and stumbled onto the most amazing camp spot ever with mountain and dune views and an unobstructed view of the city below. It was right before sunset, so everything looked like a dream. We couldn’t believe this spot was only costing us $11 a night! If they had showers here, we might have stayed forever. The kids ran up and down the hill and drew pictures in the dirt with sticks. Rox and Marley and I stood outside and gazed up at a sky full of constellations. At every campground, the stars looks so bright in the sky. Every night we try to take pictures of them with our phones and when the phones can’t pick up the light, we’re always surprised.
When the sun set, the temperature dropped, and before we knew it we were freezing cold! We went into the tent and layered on as many clothes as we could. Tights under sweatpants and shirts under hoodies under jackets. Still shivering, we snuggled close together and dozed off, chilly but happy. Tomorrow, we climb the dunes!
(NOTE : I’ll be posting each day of our travel adventures here on our blog and would love for you to follow along! To keep up with us on Instagram, follow my personal Instagram account here : SarahQ on Instagram. You can also follow along by visiting our Facebook page here : The World School on Facebook. I’ll also be posting my thoughts on traveling with children, family tent camping, world schooling, unschooling and home schooling. Have a suggestion or just want to say hello? Use the contact form above to send us a note! We also love comments! Leave a comment below or on Facebook! Thanks so much for coming along on this crazy adventure with us!)
A few of my favorite photos from Day 10 :