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We were determined not to leave West Texas without swimming in the Balmorhea State Park spring fed pool. We tried to go on a Saturday, but that didn’t work. Thank goodness for normal people who go back to work on Monday and leave all the fun stuff open and available for weirdos like us. When we got there, we were starving, so we got the camp stove out and made some hot dogs at a picnic table in the park. I have to say – having a mobile kitchen with you at all times is pretty damn cool. We even have a 12V fridge that plugs into the car and keeps our cold foods cold without ice. Ice chests are for amateurs.

After lunch, we changed into our bathing suits and headed for the pool. To say this pool is HUGE would be an understatement. The spring has a constant flow of 22 to 28 million gallons of water per day and is up to 30 feet deep in some places! It’s so big, you can take scuba gear there to dive. Crazy! The kids were most excited about the fish, the turtles and the diving boards. They have two diving boards – one high and one low. Rox and Kai were both determined to jump off the high board. When we got there, though, they both looked pretty nervous and I wasn’t sure if they’d actually do it. A bunch of big kids were taking turns doing crazy flips and jumps off the board, which was fun to watch. With every belly flop, a crowd of onlookers would yell “ohhhhhhhhh!” at the same time. Rox said “okay, I’m going” and headed for the line. When it was her turn, I saw a little bit of hesitation, but Roxy isn’t the type to change her mind in front of a crowd. She’d be way more embarrassed to turn around than to do a terrible jump. I followed her up to take a picture with my phone (see below!) She walked out to the edge, looked over, winced a little bit, held her breath and jumped! Everybody cheered! When she got back to the side of the pool, I asked if she wanted to do it again and she said “nope! That was terrifying!” Ha! After a few minutes of trying to convince Kai he could do it, he finally said okay. We walked over to the line and waited our turn. When he got to the front, he turned back to me and said “I can’t do it!” I assured him he’d be fine and climbed the ladder with him to take a picture. When he saw how far down it was, his eyes got huge. The crowd noticed his hesitation and started cheering for him “You can do it!” As soon as he realized everybody was watching, he burst into tears. I handed my phone off to the girl behind me and climbed onto the board with him. I asked if he wanted me to jump with him or if he just wanted to come back down. He couldn’t stop crying and clearly wanted to come back down, so we backed down off the board and back down the ladder. Poor Kai was so embarrassed and I felt awful for trying to convince him to do it. I knew he’d be glad if he did, but he just wasn’t ready. After a few minutes of sitting on the side of the pool, he was calm enough to get into the shallow end and splash around a little. He hated the slippery walls and floor, though, so he didn’t stay in long. Rox went over to the low board and jumped in about a hundred more times. Marley spun around in her floatie, looking for fish. I think it’s hilarious that Marley will FREAK THE HELL OUT if a fly lands on her, but she’ll happily swim with millions of minnows all around her.

After we swam for a few hours, we changed back into our regular clothes and headed for a new campsite. We finally left Texas and got into New Mexico just before sunset. We pulled over at the state line to get a picture and Roxy said “let’s take a picture of us half in Texas and half in New Mexico!” Marley didn’t quite get it. Hahahaha! I just about DIE laughing every time I look at this picture. Oh, how I love my little comedian.


Our next campsite was in Lincoln National Forest. It took hours of driving in the dark to get there, which meant we missed the amazing views going up. All the kids were asleep by the time we got there and we had to set the tent up using the car’s headlights. Henry carried the kids into the tent and then we laid down next to them. About five seconds later, everybody was snoring.


(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!)


Some of my favorite photos from Day 4 :



And some iPhone photos, too! (Remember – to see these posted in “real time,” follow us on Facebook and Instagram!)


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