Sunday, October 17, 2021
Junction, TX – Grants, NM
Well, my bedtime predictions came true. Closing our eyes last night to the tranquil sound of rushing water nearby, I was slightly anxious not being able to see anything in the dark but alas we woke up safely to a spectacular scene this morning. AND...It was COLD! Maybe I can get used to this Van Life. We didn’t set an alarm last night but allowed our bodies to get the sleep they needed after a busy day and knew we would be driving most of if not the entire day today. Since we shaved a few hours off with our drive yesterday we shouldn't be driving quite as much today but knowing us, I’m sure we’ll just end up pushing beyond what we originally intended.
At 10am we hit the road. I forgot how insanely boring the drive is in this part of the country. In certain parts of Texas - I mean it’s a huge state - there’s a whole lot of nothing. I would say 50-75% of our day was a whole lot of nothing. I’m talking wide open spaces with barely any gas stations around. That kind of terrain. While Adam does most of the driving, I tend to get pretty bored as a passenger. Granted I have things to entertain myself and I’ve always been pretty good at keeping myself entertained – hello only child syndrome – however being in the car for hours on end, especially given the less than interesting landscape, can be quite the challenge. Nevertheless after many hours of self-entertainment, we made it to White Sands National Park around 5pm. We’ve decided to take a bit of a different route to Sacramento this time. Usually we go the southern route, moving straight West from Texas and then up through California from Los Angeles but this time we decided to change things up. However that didn’t mean we couldn’t hit one of our most beloved destinations, White Sands.
We arrived at the perfect time as it was approximately an hour before sunset. When we visited earlier in the year it was significantly warmer so it was pretty crazy to be there this time of year when the sand was COLD underfoot! As one does, we got lost in the magical ambiance that is White Sands. It’s this incredible vast landscape where no matter how many people are there, you feel like you’re the only person in the world. It’s like occupying this vacuum where the only sound you hear are the thoughts in your own head, the breath moving in and out of your mouth or nose. Stepping foot onto White Sands is a surefire way to immediately be overwhelmed with this enveloping sense of peace. I’m telling you, it’s a special place to us for a reason. There was a couple there with a photographer taking engagement photos which was pretty special to witness. The sun was setting just beyond the mountains so I can only imagine what they were able to capture on film.
After enjoying White Sands for a bit we were once again on our merry way to gas up and stop to make dinner for the night. As I suspected, because it’s still quite early, we decided to keep driving a few hours before calling it a night. I mean, might as well. We stopped in a Walmart parking lot to make dinner where I ran inside to use the restroom and grab some road trip snacks. I honestly don’t even want to be typing these words on the screen because I’m still quaking in my proverbial boots but on the way back to the car from inside I saw a tarantula on the parking lot ground. I’m not kidding. A WHOLE TARANTULA. I was quite far away from it but it was that large that I immediately knew what it was the second I spotted it's eight legs. I have never seen anything like that in real life and it’s really left me reeling, I have to stop thinking about it because I’m just going to keep scaring myself for no reason but at the same time I felt the need to document that terrible memory. One that I hope leaves my head quite soon because I can't stop dramatizing the situation and envisioning this creepy crawler making its way over to our happy little van, parked, minding its own business. Although I have memorialized it in this blog forever unfortunately so that may not work in my favor. Anyway, back to more pleasant topics of discussion. We’re back on the road with just under four hours ahead of us before laying our heads on the pillow for the night. It’s officially our last week in Van Life. That is assuming we go the whole week and don’t just power through in our quest to make it back to Sacramento...