Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Tubing Down the San Marcos River

Adventures With BeeGee | 2 Comments so far

Tubing Down the San Marcos River

Linda here for Adventures with BeeGee.

We’ve been adventuring more aggressively since Salkantay. My goal this August is to continue the adventuring while catching up on blog entries to ensure we preserve these great memories.

On Saturday, July 20th, Jarrett, a friend of ours, and I went tubing down the San Marcos River. I realized I had been living in Austin for almost four years now and had not done this iconic Hill Country tourist activity. To be honest, we probably had not done it before because I only learned how to swim last year and am not the most comfortable with water. The San Marcos River is relatively shallow and the heat in Texas is unbearable, so if you want to enjoy the outdoors but are uncomfortable with water, this is a great option.

The water is initially cold, but once the sun comes out, it starts feeling like a great relief from just laying on your tube. If you’re comfortable with water and swimming, I suggest taking a few swimming breaks to cool off. Another option is to enjoy those delicious beverages you brought with you and catch up with your friends. 

There are plenty of trees along the edge, so we tended to drift closer to the sides of the river. At some point, my friend and I were drifting too near the actual edge. I suspected this was Jarrett’s doing. The following was our exchange:
  • Me: “Jarrett, stop pushing us to the edge.”
  • Jarrett: “That’s not me. That’s God’s work.”
  • Jarrett says nothing else as he quietly proceeds to actually push us towards the edge and says: “And this is my work.”

At the end of the section of the river run by the Lions’ Club, there is an area where you can tube down some rocks. I was not brave enough for that, but Jarrett was. He enjoyed it but lost his hat in the process. RIP hat.

We ended up doing two runs down the river. After each run, we took the shuttle back to the Lions’ Club. Once we were done, we went to Black’s Barbecue in San Marcos, which offers enough sides that our vegetarian friend was also able to enjoy. It was a great meal to wrap up our little trip. 


Tubing Options:

Tubing the San Marcos River can be free if you have your own tubing equipment and a good plan for getting back to where you started from. Jarrett and I do not tube very often, and we did not want to haul wet equipment back to Austin, so we went to the Lions’ Club to rent tubes. The line moves fast, so you do not wait long before getting the equipment you need to rent.

Tube rentals are $14. You need to leave either a $20 cash deposit for each tube or leave your credit card with the clerk. They use these deposits to ensure that you return your tubes at the end. Along with your tube rental, you get access to their shuttles, so when you’re done with your first round of tubing, you can take the shuttle back and start again.

The Lions Club also offers you air for your tubes starting at $2 and shuttle rides for $8 (which you would want to purchase ahead of time). Storage boxes can be rented starting at $5. You can also rent life vests for $5, with a $10 deposit.


If you get there early, at 10:00 a.m., like we did, there are no issues with parking. It gets crowded pretty soon though, so for best parking options, show up early.


Meet your friends outside the cash registers, where you can line up to rent your tubes, storage boxes, and whatever else you might need.

Lessons Learned:

  • Take a water-resistant pouch with you to not have to rent a storage box.
  • Take strings to tie your tubes together to stay with your friends.
  • Don’t forget sunscreen, a hat/cap, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.
  • If you plan to swim, take some goggles with you to allow you to see what’s inside the river.
  • Do not take any glass containers in your cooler and make sure you pack water along with any other beverages.
  • Take a few small paddles to help you navigate every once in a while.
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Monday, April 15, 2019

Trip Report: Big Bend Round 2 - Day 2

Rugged Trail Through the Canyons

As I've said before, I'm notoriously bad for breaking camp in the morning and ended up getting a slow start. As I was haphazardly packing up camp, I saw the group from the Dodson Trailhead in the distance. This got me to kick it into high gear in an attempt to start walking before the group was able to spot me. I was quick enough to avoid detection, but eventually, the group caught up to me. The group ended up breaking into 2 groups, and we leapfrogged each other a few times before making it to Dodson Spring.

An amazing sunrise in Big Bend

At the spring, we talked for a bit, and they asked me a few more questions about what to expect. I ended up heading out before them, and we met a few minutes later at Fresno Creek where everyone took a break and filtered water. During my break, I wandered around a bit, which led me on a walk down Fresno Creek. I found a little canyon with some fast flowing water, and I took a few pics before heading out again.

After hiking for a bit and over a vast climb, I found the turnoff for Elephant Tusk Trail. The sign kind of points you in the wrong direction if you follow the actual direction of the arrow. It took me a minute to get my bearings as I had to explore the area to find any trace of the trail. Ultimately, I located elephant Tusk Trail and started on my way, but just like the ranger said, Elephant Tusk was not maintained and ended up being extremely difficult to follow at times.

elephant tusk
Looking at Elephant Tusk in the distance

Frequently, I couldn't find the actual trail, so I had to just do my best to head in the direction I thought was where the trail went. This led me to just hard-charge through the brush and up steep hills. There were also multiple times when I'm sure I was supposed to be on switchbacks. Since I couldn't find any switchbacks, I just went up and down where it felt right (where there was less brush). Eventually, I made it down into the canyons where my tired legs were hoping everything would become easier, and it mostly was. There was plenty of water flowing, which was so peaceful and relaxing to listen to, and the canyon walls amplified the sound of flowing water. However, all that water made it so much harder to traverse the canyon at times.

6 foot pour off
One of the smaller pouroffs I had to maneuver around

The canyons took me through some interesting terrain where I had to fight through trees, vines, cane, tall grass, and bushes at narrow choke points all while dodging water. And I swear almost every plant in Big Bend has thorns, needles, or prickers just waiting to rip you up. After some time of heading south, The trail takes you by a colossal pouroff. It had to have been at least 50 feet tall. Thankfully, there is an easy way around, and I scrambled down to continue my adventure.

narrow canyon
One of the narrow points in the canyon

Another interesting section of the canyon leads you down a narrow passage, and of course, there was plenty of water. I scrambled down that section successfully and managed to stay dry. A little further and I had Slide down an 8-foot pouroff that ended in a 5-foot deep pool with a large sand mound in the middle. I tried to walk across the sandbar and just sank into the muck. I repeatedly said "no, no, no" as I dredged through the muck to the safety of dry land. This ended up being a significant delay as I had to take a break to clean sand off of my lower body, socks, and shoes. I was not about to risk getting blisters from wrinkly wet feet and sand friction!

Just a tarantula hanging out

As I neared the end of my time in the canyons, I discovered a narrow point with a boulder wedged in overhead, I decided scrambling down was not worth the effort. After a short break to assess my options, I realized I missed the trail. I climbed up about 30 feet of the canyon wall to a ledge. From this vantage point, I decided I couldn't get up the 300-foot walls to get out and would need to backtrack. To make matters worse, my headphones went missing on the climb down.

The Basin from elephant tusk
Looking back at the Basin near Elephant Tusk

I Backtracked less than a mile and found a way out, but night set in quickly after I escaped the canyon. To complicate matters, It was a new moon and ended up being extremely dark. Because I couldn’t see much even using my light, I had to rely heavily on GPS to navigate. This resulted in me taking a unique path that I wouldn’t recommend. The path I took was not even slightly close to the actual trail, so I spent at least an hour walking before finally making it back to where I needed to be.

Belatedly back on the trail, I made it out of the canyon section and into more of a scrubland area. It felt like I was flying with how fast I was moving compared to scrambling around the steep canyon walls in the dark. This area had a trail that was moderately followable with plenty of cairns to mark the way. This all helped me navigate without needing GPS and eased my comfort level. As I crested a hill at one point in the flat area, my light hit a bush just right, and I thought I saw a man crouching down behind it. It spooked me for a second, and after I realized my mistake, I kept moving. Eventually, my GPS indicated the trail was coming to an end. I got overexcited looking for BMO and possible lights that I got off trail again. I had to fight through some thick brush and ended up adding to my collection of scratches before making it out to Back Gap Road.

Finishing up Elephant Tusk trail near Black Gap Road
Finishing up Elephant Tusk trail near Black Gap Road

I quickly found Elephant Tusk Campsite, but BMO was nowhere to be seen. At first, I was extremely disappointed he wasn't there to provide a hot, cooked meal. Then I was worried he thought I was late and went to get help, so I started cooking dinner and waited. After an hour, with no one in sight, I began to worry that he was in trouble or hurt. I ended up quickly making camp and prepared a plan to get as much water as I could carry before and the quickest route to hike to the Ranger Station.
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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Trip Report: Big Bend Round 2

Preparing for the 100-mile Extended Mountain Loop

It’s been a while, but I finally found the time to make it back out to Big Bend National Park. If you are interested in our first trip to Big Bend, you can follow along here Big Bend 2015. I headed out for the trip around 2 pm on December 2, 2018, for what I’ve termed the Extended Outer Mountain Loop, which was a 100-mile backpacking trip over 7 days. The plan was to meet up with my dad, Bmo, in the Chisos Mountains, cache water, and then start the adventure.

100 Mile Loop
Planned 7-day route for Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park Background

Location: 310, Alsate Dr, Big Bend National Park, TX 79834
Admission: $25 admission per vehicle, $14 campsites, $12 backcountry pass
Elevation: 1,800 to 7,832 ft.
Weather: Varied from rainy, cloudy, and sunny, 30 to 65 F
Difficulty: Strenuous

My 7-days worth of food
7 days worth of food

The Drive Out

I didn't get to leave as early as I would have liked because I needed to finish up some work, and once on the road, I made a quick stop in Comfort to grab some water for caching. After that, it was almost 6 hours of driving, and by the time I made it to West Texas, it was extremely dark. Thankfully, I didn't have any run-ins with wildlife. I quickly found Bmo in the Chisos Basin and his primo campsite. It was pretty chilly when I arrived, and we walked for a bit as I set up my tent. Because it was cold, late, and dark, we headed to bed pretty quickly after I arrived. This was also the first real night in my UGQ quilt, and it worked perfectly.

setting up a tent in the chisos basin campgrounds
Bmo Setting up his tent in our new campsite

Water Caching

We had a quick breakfast and decided to place the caches at the hardest locations first while there was still sun out; however, we realized we'd spent the night in a stolen campsite, so we quickly found a new site for our basecamp and moved. Finally on the road, the first stop was down Juniper Canyon Road to cache at the Dodson Trailhead. It was a rough and slow ride at times in our truck, and we made it just fine without 4 wheel drive. After that, we headed out to the south end of Black Gap Road to cache at the Elephant Tusk Campsite. Black Gap is the most difficult/technical road in the park, but the southern section is passable with a high clearance vehicle. We wanted to make sure we could make it before we reserved that site, and we were able to make it to Elephant Tusk with a few scrapes to the truck's undercarriage.

early morning view from our campsite in the chisos basin
The view of the Chisos Mountains from our campsite

Finally, we headed back by the River Road to the main road in order cache at Homer Wilson Ranch. We made a quick stop at the Panther Junction Ranger Station so we could get our backcountry passes for the next few days. At first, the ranger thought I was just some gung-ho kid that, but I slowly explained my trip and how I would be supported by Bmo which calmed her down. With our passes in hand, we were back on the road heading towards Homer Wilson, which has a bear box just off of the Dodson and Blue Creek Trail intersection. Our last stop of the day was Mule Ears Overlook. There is no cache site there, but you can cache water anywhere in Big Bend as long as you have a bear canister and pack everything out. So I left some water hidden on Mule Ears Trail.

Mule Ears from the Mules Ear overlook
The Mule Ears in the distance from the Mule Ear Overlook

Our last stop before heading back was the Sotol Vista Overlook, which we took in a terrific sunset. Returning to the basin, Bmo cooked some amazing dinner while I packed up my gear. I’d decided to sleep in my car, so I could have everything packed up, and I could roll out with no fuss. I am notoriously bad at breaking camp, and I wanted to hit the trail as early as possible.

Sunset from the Sotol Vista Overlook
Sunset from the Sotol Vista Overlook

Backpacking Day 1

The day of the big adventure! I woke up, had oatmeal and coffee for breakfast, woke Bmo up, changed, and finished all my last minute packing and reorganizing. I left my car at the overflow parking lot in the basin, and Bmo drove me to the trailhead. At the trailhead, I wasted no time and hit the ground moving. My pack was loaded up with 7 days worth of food and was definitely the heaviest I’ve ever carried it while backpacking. Because of the weight, I was using my REI trekking poles to help distribute the weight across my body.

Pinnacle on the Pinnacle Trail
Cool looking feature on the Pinnicales Trail

As I started my hike, I reminisced about our trip 2 years ago and wished Jack had been able to make it on this trip. I took Pinnacles Trail and saw many of the same sights as before, but this time there were no clouds. I was able to take a few short stops to admire the views because the visibility was high. Ultimately, I made good time to Emory peak, where I spent a little time talking to a group before my stashing gear and heading up.

Black Bear on Emory Peak Trail
The black bear I came across while heading up to Emory Peak 

Once on the Emory Peak Trail, I immediately turned a corner and found a black bear 50 ft away. It was an intense moment as it turned to look at me. I fumbled to take a few horrible quick pics, and then beat my trekking poles together which successfully scared the bear away. Trekking on, the view from Emory was fabulous with no clouds, and I had the peak to myself for about 20 minutes; however, a guy caught me peeing just before summiting which was momentairily awkward.

Selfie on Emory Peak
Enjoying the bright sun and amazing views from Emory Peak

I quickly made it to my stashed gear. It was so nice taking my load off, but I needed to back after it. Next, I headed to Boot springs to refill my water. The spring was flowing nicely, and there was even water in the creek next to it. I made it to the turnoff to Juniper Canyon which lead me to another climb up and then a ton of switchbacks down. I never want to head up Juniper Canyon because the elevation profile is insane. On the way down I was starting to feel the fatigue with all the extra weight I was carrying but struggled onward. As I made it out of the switchbacks, I was able to have a much better appreciation of the landscape as I had made much better time and the sun was still up.

Boot Canyon and boot rock
Looking out over Boot Canyon. If you look carefully, you can see Boot Rock, which looks kinda like a boot

Finally, making it to the Dodson trailhead and my water cache, I found the group I chatted with at Emory. They were set up in the parking lot and were busy cooking dinner. We talked a little bit about our plans, and they asked me what to expect on the Dodson while I filled up my water from the cache. I headed out again as I’m no stranger to night hiking, and I wanted to be as close to Elephant Tusk Trail as I could get. As the sun set and it was a new moon, I quickly realized that my headlamp was acting weird and shorting out.

Sunset on the Dodson trail
The Sunsetting on the Dodson Trail

I ended up stopping early because of headlamps issues caused by high capacity batteries. Normally, these work great and keep devices running longer (my handheld GPS), but they just didn’t play well with my headlamp. I set up camp in a hurry, made dinner, and fell asleep quickly from a hard day’s hike.

That's it for the first few days of the trip, so make sure you come back to hear the rest. Also, Let us know your favorite or ideal place to take an epic backpacking trip. And If you like the blog or our videos, check us out on Patreon.


Linda Pena
Ani Ruffin
Michelle Pena
Norma Morgan
Cheddar Jack

Disclaimer: This post was in no way compensated. All adventures were my own and told from my personal experiences. There are affiliate links listed on this post. If you purchase from the affiliate links, I will get a small commission. These commissions help me maintain my page up to date and cover any fees on my end so I can continue to provide a free website for you to visit.
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Saturday, December 15, 2018

Change is Painful but It Can Motivate You

Starting to Train


A good friend sent the entire reflection to me earlier this year, a friend I relied on for honest feedback, fun arguments, and helpful advice. That friend is now gone, and I’ve had to reread that reflection every day since his departure to cope with that loss.

Our friend knew life was short, and that it is best to live it as much as you can. His passing has made me reflect much on that. So, when Jarrett brought up a December Big Bend trip again, I took the opportunity to say I’d join. I’ve never been to Big Bend, and I figured training for a seven-day hike would give me the motivation I need to up my fitness.  At the same time, I feel it’s a distraction, or a way to channel the pain of the loss, or maybe both. Training the body to improve its endurance and the mind to try to stay in the present is a therapy I’m willing to try.

So, our first “training” trip was to River Place Nature Trail. It’s in west Austin and offers three trails to explore: The Fern Trail, the Canyons Trail, and the Panther Hollow Trail. The Fern Trail has plenty of waterfalls, the Canyons Trail traces the golf course, and the Panther Hollow Trail offers the highest elevation change in Austin. At least, that’s what their website says… We only made it through one mile of the Fern Trail and then walked back.

The trail is difficult. It is steep after step continuously going up or down or up and then down. It’s been raining in Austin too, so some areas were slippery. The paths are narrow, so BeeGee and Jarrett walked in the front while us slow pokes, Angela and me, walked behind them.  As you may or may not know, BeeGee and Angela are notorious pullers. It’s a habit Jarrett and I did not succeed in overcoming. Making it worse was Angela’s stops. So, she pulls and stops. Meanwhile, I’m trying to keep my balance and stay behind Jarrett, while at the same time going on the greatest physical challenge I’ve had in a long time!

So, after hiking for a little over a mile, we arrived at a stream and small waterfall. It was quiet and peaceful. You could even sit and listen as the water flowed downstream. I sat on the bench, listening to the water as Jarrett and BeeGee explored. As I caught my breath I looked around. Though the humidity was unbearable, the moisture and dark clouds seemed to add a mystical element to the moment. BeeGee enjoyed dipping her feet in the water, while Angela never lost sight of Jarrett. We hung around for a bit, taking pictures of some interesting friends, such as flowers and frogs. Then we journeyed back the mile we had come in through.

Which brings me back to the initial quote.  On the way back, I was soon in a bad mood. Growing up, I didn’t participate in many sports (which is a whole story unto itself), so I never learned to enjoy exercise or push myself through workouts. Yes, I try to stay active, but mostly through walking or learning to swim lately. But going on the Canyon Trail was very different, and a great challenge for this non-athlete. I was huffing and puffing and answering shortly to any questions Jarrett shot my way. But at a certain point, while going up a steep set of stairs, I remembered what my friend had sent me, that wisdom about attitude. It seems cliché, but I figured I didn’t lose anything by changing my attitude. In fact, I would lose the experience if I kept focusing on my anger at my perceived body weakness and lack of balance. I wouldn’t gain anything if I focused on the anger I felt for our friend leaving either.  So, I followed his advice and worked on changing my attitude.

I’m not gonna lie to you. It’s not like it was a magical epiphany that suddenly brought me peace and instant pleasure at climbing those steep stairs. But it allowed me to realize that by changing my attitude, I could change the course of this experience, this moment. I was able to turn this hike into a pleasant experience….

At least until we got to the car. Then exhaustion kicked in and I was hangry. Anyway… if you’re looking for a hiking place in Austin that can seriously kick your butt and prepare you for Big Bend, then visit River Place Nature Trail!

I ended up not being able to go on the Big Bend trip, but we are now preparing for a hike of the Inca Trail in Peru. 
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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Trip Report: Sherwood Forest Faire

First Time at Sherwood Forest

I have recently been introduced to the fun world of renaissance festivals, so Jack and I took a trip to the Ren Faire in McDade, Texas.

Upon arrival, a group of characters were handing out flyers to gain attention for their show, which happened to be called Blunt Force Drama. Once we Jack and I finally made it through the festival gates, Blunt Force was of the first shows running. So of course, we stopped there. The show is a melee fighting tournament mixed with adult humor. The show starts by picking judges from the crowd and then the fighting begins. They even have adult humor commercials while you wait for the next round. I thoroughly enjoyed the fighting and the humor, but some might find it offensive (it was pretty racy). Also, I wouldn't take kids.

Once the show finished, we followed Jack's policy of taking a lap around the grounds to see what shops and shows are available. This led me to find some awesome leather armor, and I decided I really wanted it. So, we made a few trips around the grounds pricing all the leather armor stores. There are definitely some cool pieces of gear and clothing if you have the money to get fully kitted out. After looking at the prices, we decided to carry on with the experience before I rushed into buying anything.

Failing at bargain armor hunting, it was time for lunch, and Jack ate at Jerusalem Cafe, which was actually cooking and preparing food (I would highly recommend eating there) as you ordered. I ended up eating at a generic food stall where I had bread bowl soup, and I wished I had followed Jack’s lead because it was pretty basic.

After we gobbled our food, we hustled over to the jousting ring just in time to watch the action. However, it was not time to see two warriors smash into each other with lances on horseback, it was time for jousting games to break in new horses. It still turned out pretty exciting as each rider competed to place their lance through small rings or smash fruit to score points.

Next, we wandered around looking at all the various shops we missed earlier or that had items we wanted to look at again. For a moment, the Ren Faire vibe got to me and I just had to have leather armor that I found earlier. As we compared all the prices from the leather shops, I started to ask myself, “do I really need this?” The answer was no. However, I did end up with a leather belt, a belt pouch, a basic shirt, and basic pants, which I wear to all the Ren Fairs now.

After shopping, we headed back over to the jousting ring. This jousting tournament was a little weird because there were only three contestants. The riders battle and smashed into each other, but none of the contestants won by unhorsing their opponent. With the joust complete and the winner declared, the contestants were unhappy with their standings. Everything ended with a double cross and hand to hand fighting.

After some more wandering, we stopped at the Sky King: Birds of Prey show, which was hands down my favorite. The show was entertaining, educational, and amazingly corny. The handler brings out multiple birds, one at a time and has the bird do a few tricks while giving you details on each bird and making bad jokes. Then the birds fly through the crowds to land on perches spaced out in the stands, so make sure to sit on the end of a row. At the very end, a crow comes out and takes donations from your hand and places it in a donation box. They even have a small area where you can go in and view all the birds after the show.

We then ended up at the Paolo Garbanzo Juggling Fool Show. Jack is a huge fan of Paolo so we couldn’t leave without seeing at least one of his shows. As it turns out, Paolo is pretty humorous. All while juggling sharp and flaming objects, which is incredibly impressive.

After Paolo’s show, we just stuck around the stage to watch Saxon Moon with Solar Rain because it sounded cool. The show is live “period” music with fire dancers. As the songs change new dancers come out and show off their moves. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but it sure was exciting.

There were no more shows after Saxon Moon and only a few shops were left open, so we figured it was time to head on home.

Overall, we had a great time and I can't wait to visit the Texas Ren Faires in the future. Also, if you like the blog or our videos, check us out on Patreon.

Linda P
Ani R
Michelle P
Norma M
Cheddar Jack
D Hay
Bill M
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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Trip Report: Texas Renaissance Festival

Taking Beginners to a Ren Faire

In December 2017, Jarrett our dad Bmo, and I went to the Texas Renaissance Festival in Todd Mission, Texas. Out of the three of us, I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who has been to a Ren Faire, and I’m slowly becoming an old pro!


The Ren Faire grounds are on 55 acres and there is even more space for camping facilitates. They claim to be the nation's largest Ren Faire and most acclaimed renaissance themed park. Once inside, there are over 200 daily shows on 20 different stages. Every year they open on every weekend from September 30th to November 20th if weather permits. Every weekend even has its own theme and some nights have after dark (adult) activities. As for pricing, online it’s $26 for adults and $14 for kids. Gate prices are $29 and $14 for kids. Even better, weekend passes are available for $39

Themed Weekends

Oktoberfest -Polka music and Traditional German beers are served.
1001 Dreams - Fantasy themed with contest, such as scavenger hunts and costumes.
All Hallows Eve - Halloween themed with contest like pumpkin carving.
Pirate Adventure - Pirate themed with plenty of gold for all.
Roman Bacchanal - Spaghetti eating and toga contest for all.
Barbarian Invasion - Indulge in an eating or barbarian battle cry contest.
Heroes and Villains - Iconic figures come together for entertainment.
Highland Fling - Traditional Scottish costumes optional but be ready for the bagpipe-playing.
Celtic Christmas - Christmas decorations and music for the candy cane hunt and guess the present contest.

The Drive Out

The Texas Renaissance Festival is located in Todd Mission, which is about 50 minutes north of Houston or about 2.5 hours to the east of Austin Texas. Unfortunately, the roads to the fair are not a straight shot and you have to take multiple smaller roads and highways at least from central Texas.

The Adventure

I was lucky enough to receive a free ticket from my good friend on Facebook, so not only did I want to go, but now I had to go. I was even luckier and got another free ticket from my good friend’s friend, so it was set in stone that I had to go. On the second ticket, it was actually 2, but one was used and one wasn't. I printed them both out and was prepped to get a third ticket at the gate.

We planned on getting to the fair around 10, but that means I'd have to wake up around 7 AM and I’m not about that life. We finally make it to Todd mission and had to sit in a vehicle line for about 20 minutes. Mainly because Todd mission is a tiny town, so be ready to wait. Finally, we get to Park the car and thankfully the parking lots are surprisingly not bad, but you do have to walk a good ways to the entrance. If you don’t feel like walking, they do offer cart rides for a small price; however, we are but peasants so we had to walk.

We get to the gate and I explain to the gentlemen checking tickets that we have three tickets, but one won't work, and I will go buy one after two go in. He was kind enough to see that we are but peasants and let all three of us go in any way.

A good rule of thumb of places like this is to make a few laps and take note of all the cool places you want to see. We decided to get some food pretty early in the day, which is on the expensive side but a fun and delish time. While we were on our food quest, we ran into the daily parade and stopped to watch all the characters march through the grounds. After lunch, Jarrett and I went on a quest to try some mulled wine and some mead. The mulled wine was pretty good and the mead we got was quite sweet.

After our first few laps, we were ready to start seeing the sights and watching the shows. And first up was a walk through the Magic Garden, which was neat, but packed with kids and parents. The garden ended pretty near a musical stage, so we took a seat and waited for the next event. It turned out “Cast in Bronze” was the next show, which is where a masked guy plays a giant piano of bells, called a carillon really quickly. It was pretty impressive and loud.

Later we watched one of my favorite shows, the jousting tournament, which is one of the larger/longer shows they have. After the joust, we decided to browse some of the shops. There are hundreds of shops on the fairgrounds and they have stuff for everyone. Jarrett and I (mostly me tho) have a thing for cool/wooden mugs, so that’s where our shopping efforts were directed. Finally, If you stay to the end of the day they have a final show with lots of fire and a grand fireworks display. I unfortunately, got sick as I like to do so we had to miss the final show and head home early. I will manage to watch it next year tho!

Final thoughts

The Texas Renaissance Faire can be some amazing times and I would for sure recommend going at least once in your life. Just be prepared to bring a good bit of cash (paper money at that) with you and get ready for lots of walking and standing.

Tell us about your experience going to the Ren Fair and your favorite themed weekend? Also, if you like the blog or our videos, check us out on Patreon.


Linda P
Ani R
Michelle P
Norma M
Cheddar Jack
D Hay
Bill M
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Monday, February 19, 2018

Trip Report: Colorado Bend Park

Spontaneous Trip to Watch the Super Blue Blood Moon

Having finally comprehended the rarity of the upcoming Super Blue Blood Moon, I decided to plan a quick overnight camping trip. I quickly looked at a light pollution map to locate the nearest state park with a low level of light pollution. My 2 best options were Enchanted Rock State Park and Colorado Bend State Park. I went with Colorado Bend because BeeGee is allowed every in the park (unlike Enchanted Rock), and I knew BeeGee wanted to see a crazy rare moon event.

Super Blue Blood Moon at Colorado Bend State Park
Super Blue Blood Moon at Colorado Bend State Park


Info: Colorado Bend State Park is 5,328.3 acres in the Texas hill country and contains springs, caves, trails, sinkholes, and a river. If you want to bring a pet (aka your best bud), they are allowed as well on leash.
Address: 2236 Park Hill Dr, Bend, TX 76824
Admission Cost: $5 entrance fee; $10-15 for campsites
Difficulty: Easy to

Getting Ready

I called the Colorado Bend Park Office during my lunch to reserve a campsite and find out some general information. After work, I flew home to pack up all our gear, and BeeGee and I had quick dinners. Then we took off trying to make the best time we could with the remaining daylight. Of course, traffic was worse than expected, so it took us a while to make it out of the Austin urban sprawl. Once we were out on the smaller roads, we started spotting herds of 10+ and had to take things slower. 

Colorado Bend Trail Map
Colorado Bend Trail Map

The Adventure

Finally, inside the park, there is a 6-mile drive back to the campsites and more than a few times, I was concerned I was heading the wrong way because of the long drive. After a few map checks, we made it to the campgrounds and the park was mostly empty. We quickly set up our camp, paid for the night, and did a little exploring.

BeeGee staring down into Dogleg Canyon
BeeGee staring down into Dogleg Canyon

With setup complete, we decided we needed to hike a trail after our drive out here and settled on Cedar Chopper Loop and Dogleg Canyon Trail. The moon was so bright and we had no need for any lights on our hike. This gave me the bright idea to try and run a portion of the trail so we wouldn’t be out hiking past midnight. Overall, this was a horrible decision and took a tumble early on. BeeGee trotted back to check on me and we were back hiking to hiking before long.

The Moon was so bright out on the trail
The Moon was so bright out on the trail

Cedar Chopper Loop is a standard Hill Country trail with large exposed rocks, cedars, and oaks. We walked through one cool section with a bunch of low hanging branches growing over the trail, but mostly it was a way to get to Dogleg Canyon. When we arrived at Dogleg, it looked incredibly impressive at night, and I’d like to spend some time in the day exploring it. At the end of the trail, we found a large herd of deer and BeeGee really wanted to run wild with them, but I decided it would be best to head back. 

The beginning of Dogleg Canyon
The beginning of Dogleg Canyon

Back at camp, we took what only felt like a short nap before getting up at 4:30 and packing up camp. We set up the action cam to record the eclipse, but the action cam just didn’t have the power to take spectacular video as we found out later. BeeGee and I spent the rest of the morning watching the gorgeous moon shrink and change color. We watched the event until 6:30 before we had to head back home so I could head to work.

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