But, after driving through the heat and monotony of roads, at least in places the speed limit on the interstate was 80 miles per hour (128 kilometers per hour), we finally made it into Big Bend National Park. This was a complete change of scenery and a real opportunity for the kids to experience a very different climate and ecosystem
. After flying down the interstate at 80, we putted through the park at 40. The first section of the park did not seem dramatically different from the road in, but as we turned the corner up into the Chisos Mountains and our campground, everything changed!!!! This was an amazing place as we wound up through the highest mountains in the park and then dropped down into a little 3 mile across 'bowl' and the campground was nestled in the bottom. It was nearly 7pm by this time and we were all tired but the view of the bowl around us inspired and enlivened us. It's hard to describe how incredible it was and hopefully the pictures tell the story. We had to put away all of our food and wash dishes and dispose of dishwater in the bathrooms due to the bears that lived in the area. We also slept in different clothes than we ate in so there were no food odors as we slept. We did not need to put the fly on the tent and fell asleep after a well-deserved dinner looking at the stars through the roof of the tent. The temperature dropped away nicely and it was a fantastic night's sleep for all.
After the lovely night's sleep in the hotel, we packed Odie, fueled up and left Fort Worth for the long drag down to the bottom of Texas and Big Bend National Park. There's not a lot to say about the first 10 hours of the day. Suffice to say, we travelled through huge expanses of land where the only sight on either side of the highway were the hundreds (maybe thousands) of little oil rigs steadily and monotonously pumping away. We passed a couple of refineries, as well as some new bores going in. There was quite often a strong petroleum vapor in the air, certainly not a place that we would choose to live. Despite all the money that the oil must surely generate, it also appeared to be one of the more desolate and destitute places that we drove through.