Here are the photos from our 2011 Southwest road trip.
We spent the last three days of our trip traveling back from Austin.
On day 12, we made it from our camp site in Pomona (east of LA) to Tucson, Arizona. The RV park we picked had a heated outdoor swimming pool that we got to enjoy before ending our day.
On day 13 we drove from Tucson to Balmorhea State Park in west Texas. The state park, located near the town of Balmorhea, Texas has a giant swimming pool fed by natural springs. We got up the next morning and spent some time splashing around in the pool before heading toward home.
We arrived back in Austin at about 8:30pm Friday night and our vacation was over. We had to clean, fill up and return the RV the next day.
We had a great time on our trip despite some interesting weather. If we did it again, we probably wouldn’t have traveled as far (too much driving!). But despite the long distance and unlucky weather, we got to see some amazing landscapes and make some family memories that we’ll never forget.
We woke up on day seven and headed north. Our destination: Big Sur, one of the most remote and naturally beautiful areas in California. We had to drive a round-about route because part of Highway 1 was closed due to a landslide. We ended up going north of our destination and coming at it from Highway 1 going south. California State Route 1, which runs along the coast, has some amazing views and historic bridges that we were lucky enough to experience. We arrived at the Big Sur Cabins and Campground at about 9:00pm after a long day of driving. We were out of cell phone range so we had no contact with the outside.
Big Sur is located on a rocky coast line, about an hour or so south of San Francisco. It’s a small community made up of a few rustic restaurants, inns and campgrounds. Our campground was a very well-kept plot of land among the redwood trees along the Big Sur river. We settled in and immediately knew we would like this place, so we added two more nights onto our reservation.
On day eight of our trip, we just hung around our campground. We skipped rocks in the river and let the kids play on the playground. We also caught up on some laundry at the local laundromat.
On day nine, we finally had a chance to do some hiking. We went south along Highway 1 to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. There we found a short hiking trail to a magnificent waterfall. Water came pouring out of the rock onto an almost untouched beach below. After our walk, we ate lunch in the RV and waited for a rain storm to pass (we got a little unlucky with the weather in this location as well). After lunch we walked the Canyon Trail as far as we could go until we came to an impassable place along the river. After our day of hiking, we headed back to our campground and took it easy the rest of the evening.
On day 10, we headed to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, where we did some more hiking. On one of the trails we discovered an old abandoned house, built by the original owner of the land. It was in this very small cabin that John Pfeiffer raised eight children, one of them Julia. We also hiked to Pfeiffer falls, a 60-foot waterfall way up in the hills that we had to huff-it to get to. It was worth the hike though.After wearing ourselves (and the kids) out from hiking, we headed out and stopped at the Redwood Grill for burgers and fries. Then we came back to the RV and all took a nap. The rest of the evening was spent just hanging around our campsite, listening to the rain.
On day 11, we decided that we would take the kids to the Monterey Bay Aquarium on our way out of town. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is supposedly one of the best in the world. We weren’t all that impressed with the wildlife that they had on display, but the aquarium did have many good exhibits and play areas for the kids. They both had a blast. After the aquarium, it was time to start making our way back to Texas. We hit the road for about 6 hours to a camp site just east of LA.