Jeff has often emphasized the need to keep our travel days under 350 miles, an unwritten rule that I have stayed close to for most of our travel days when we are on a camping vacation. (This is especially important since he tries to avoid exceeding 65 MPH while towing the camper, which means it takes longer to cover the miles than it would if we were just driving the car or truck without anything behind it.)
But when we realized we were done in Capulin and had done everything we were there to do, we understood that meant getting home a day early. Then Jeff suggested that we make the nearly 800 mile journey back to southeast Texas in two days instead of three.
The family agreed to deal with a normal long day of travel and then a really long day of travel (440 miles) on our last day.
We managed to cover the miles and get to Copper Breaks–a state park that is too far from Houston to have ever been on our radar–just before the final check-in time. With cases of COVID-19 surging in Texas, the state parks were taking extra precautions. This particular state park was physically closing its gate to all but campers after 5:00.
We parked, unpacked, left the park to get gas, and then returned to allow the kids a little time to swim at the swimming hole before eating dinner and settling in for the night.
As with most quick overnight stops at state parks, especially when the climate isn’t cooperating (and Texas this time of year is hot), we didn’t get to see as much of the park as we would have liked, but it is a nice enough park for most camping activities and we appreciated the overnight stop.
Unlike last year’s vacation, when we returned several days later than planned due to our camper mishap, our return home went smoothly. We got home before dark, got unpacked, parked the camper in storage, and were still able to start the first act of Hamilton.
And we had an amazing vacation. It wasn’t the dream-fulfilling trip that last year had been, but you can only fulfill lifelong dreams of visiting Arches National Park and the cliffs of Mesa Verde once.
I still got to see the Rocky Mountains. Our daughter decided that she wants to live in Colorado when she grows up. Our son got to sled on sand dunes. And Jeff won the argument about needing a bigger truck (something to cover in a future blog post.)
I would argue that for a summer vacation in the midst of a global pandemic, it was the best we could have asked for.
Now it was time to return to reality.