Last weekend, we were supposed to head to Port Aransas with the family for a weekend beach trip.  However, Port A really doesn’t *exist* right now, so we’re going to postpone our trip and go in the spring.

Here’s the highlight reel.  You can see everything here.

We had an extra day off work already booked, so we decided to take Turtle Home north instead of south and spent three days at Granger Lake.  The week before was extra hectic and stressful but once we pulled into our spot, I almost immediately relaxed because we had most of the campsite to ourselves.  The twenty-six slot section we were in had *maybe* 5 people at max over the weekend.  One happened to be right next to us, but she barely left her motorhome.  It was incredibly exactly everything I needed to destress.

Since Saturday was going to be quite a long day, we took Friday night easy.  We set up camp, and then cooked up a feast: steak, potatoes, and all the leftover veggies I had in the fridge.  So, so, so good.  Probably one of the best camping meals I’ve ever had.  We had a few light beers with dinner but went to bed around midnight like good kids.

But not before we got to see the spooky moon!

We had a day full of plans for Saturday – a bike date with Matt at 10am, and then lickety split, drive the hour up to Temple to hit up a sale to get our kitchen renovation supplies purchased, and spend some time with the fam.  Once we did some mental math on the store’s closing time and driving time, we realized we didn’t have time to ride the 40-50 miles as planned.  So, we went out for 30-ish-but-speedy in mind.

Once we hit the road, we found the wind was out to play.  I suggested we attempt another paceline because that worked REALLY REALLY well at HHH, and it was super nice to have three of us, which meant one mile of WORK and two miles of slight recovery.  We were able to keep a pretty nice speed and had some fun enjoying bikes on fairly empty country roads with light traffic.

We hit a turn and we made a puppy friend.  At first I was a little freaked out because you never know if dogs will be nice or aggressive, but thankfully, he just wanted to trot with us while we pedaled.  Sadly, this road was utter crapola, full of gravel and potholes and uneven, so we decided to turn around and do an out and back course instead a loop.

We also got to try out our anniversary presents.  Zliten picked us up these… walkie talkies… for lack of a better word, that attach to our helmets.  Spoiler alert: they rock my world.  Instead of spending most of our ride time shouting “WHAT” and “I can’t hear you” and “what did you call me? oh wait, you said turn left up here not you have a big rear”, we can just chat to each other like we were riding side by side.

Chipmunk to grey squirrel… can you hear me now?

Once we turned around, we hit this AWESOME tailwind.  We kept up our paceline and our speed climbed almost as fast as the temperature.  There was a (closed) bar that had sodas for sale on the honor system in a cooler out front, so we stopped and instead of a gel, I enjoyed the tastiest 1$ berry Fanta EVAR.  Biking in the country leads to fun discoveries!

We decided we had just enough time to roll up and down the Granger Dam road (adding about 6 miles), so we took some pictures at the Granger sign (as you do) and then time trialed our way back.  We spaced ourselves out every minute and busted ass down the dam road without drafting.  Strava says I got 7th place female and I know I held between 21-23 mph on my road bike, so I was pretty happy with life.  Yay bike fitness!

We quickly showered and changed and shoved turkey bacon avocado bagel sandwiches in our faces while driving and subsequently got a little lost on the way up and went about 15 minutes out of the way.  It worked out though, we found our people and our place and found out they were open later after all.  Whew!  After a jaunt around the store and a little wait, we met with our designer and finalized our cabinet order, added some granite slabs for the counter top (we shall see how that works out… but the difference in cost was 400$ vs 3000$, so we couldn’t pass that up) and some hardware and we got an INSANELY great deal.

We still have to buy some things and then also pay for it with blood, sweat, and tears, though Zliten’s parents are going to help us with a LOT of the work because they have done two kitchen redos now and are AWESOME.  I believe we still need to pick out paint, some tools to actually be able to cut granite, a backsplash (if we decide to do a backsplash and not just paint), a new kitchen faucet, a microwave with a stove vent, and probably about 20 other things that will come up, but the first big step is DONE!

Then, we went to a mexican restaurant, and I got a chicken fajita plate which was pretty yummy!  They had all sorts of salsas, which came in handy for the amazing breakfast tacos the rest of the weekend.

Oops.

We had planned to make an elaborate chicken, rice, veggies, and campfire bread feast that night, but we weren’t super hungry and were kind of exhausted so we just attempted to cook the bread as an experiment and I made some camping punch.  The punch worked out great.  The bread did NOT.  Ah well.  The guts actually were delicious but the crust was too burnt, so we’ll try it again next time for about half the cooking time.  We supplemented this void in our stomachs with dutch oven avocado oil popcorn and one tiny half smore because… camping.

I spent the evening listening to classic rock, watching the stars, and switching off reading my non-fiction Calm the F*ck Down – The Brave Triathlete sports psychology book and my Star Force space dinosaurs fiction book.  It was exactly everything I needed to, literally, calm the f*ck down after the last month and a half of CRAZY.

We stayed up way, way, way too late and subsequently stayed in bed until almost noon reading.  We started the day with a walk around the campsite and some amazing breakfast tacos with bacon, potatoes, onions, peppers, and cheese. Our ice had melted, so we hit the store for that and a few other things.  On the way back, we finally took a moment on the side of the road to poke one of the cotton bales on the farmland we had been eyeing all weekend.  Yep – even packed in tight, it’s still fluffy!  It felt just like a cotton swab.

After re-provisioning, we inflated the kayak and hit the actual LAKE part of Lake Granger.  We had planned to go all the way out to the dam (which was a couple of miles away), but once we got out of the little inlet area to more open water, the wind started to beat us up, so we just paddled in a big circle instead in the more protected water.  We mooed at cows on the shore and bopped each other with paddles and enjoyed the clouds dancing for us with the sun and we even found a lucky hat that we fished out of the water.  We logged a little over two miles of arm and shoulder work in about an hour.

For late lunch, we grilled up these ridiculous Sausage Slammer things.  This amazing abomination consists of cheddar cheese stuffed in a jalapeno stuffed in sausage with bacon wrapped around it.  We had one each and had to save the rest because we felt our hearts threaten to explode if we continued, but they were so, so delicious and decadent.

Om. Nom. Nom.

We had time for one more activity before dinner.  I had originally thought about blowing up the tube and floating in the water while my husband fished, but I felt like being a little more active.  I put on pants and shoes and took a hike by myself.  The way out was a lot slower because I stopped to take pictures of damn near everything.  I found an armadillo friend who was a little shy.  I saw lots of dragon fly sex.  I found my way to the haunted bridge in the pretty afternoon sun that makes it glow.  It was ultimately awesome.

The magical forest of scared-y dillos and bug shagging.

Stew was on the docket for dinner.  It’s an amazing meal… but it takes a long time.  Fortified from fatty fat slammers earlier and some beverages, we were plenty patient and the stew took a few hours, but it was worth it.  So much better than the crockpot.  Cooking on fire is the BEST!

Fire makes food magical… and look pretty for pictures too!

However, after two days of cooking on fire… the next morning, I had a headache the size of Texas.  I’d make the joke that it can’t be because of all the carbonated malt beverages the night before, but I know my body and it was an unreasonable pounding in my head for the amount of hops and barley soda consumed.  Either way, the best cure for a headache is water, so we pumped up the tube and Zliten attempted to feed the fish with worms while I floated back and forth between two trees and watched the clouds.

We dithered around and made another batch of breakfast tacos and packed up our things a little bit.  We almost lazed out, but we found a little patch of motivation and took off on our bikes around noon.  We decided to just circle the campsite since I didn’t know if I felt like riding one mile or twenty, and the end result was 6 miles in about 25 minutes before we stopped simply because we needed to vacate the premises.  My headache was still in force, but cycling didn’t make it worse, and everything is better on bikes.

Long weekend home away from home. 

We left the camp a little after the 2pm checkout, but it was so desolate no one minded.  After an uneventful drive home, we spent the rest of the day couchified and unpacking and doing ALL THE LAUNDRY.

While I will not claim much involvement in helping beyond moral support, over the weekend, my lovely husband fixed the outdoor shower, the hot water, cleaned the water tank, the outdoor light, switched out the propane tank, and probably a few other things I’m forgetting.  At this point, the only thing that needs to be replaced is the battery, and the rest of the purchases are then just upgrades or toys!

Camping totally makes the week before and week after a little hectic.  There’s a lot of gear and prep and unpacking and you are absolutely away from your To Do list so you’re not making forward progress.  I didn’t even get to writing, which I totally could have and maybe should have since I’m now behind on my book.  Every so often though, it’s fun to say “fuck it” to your responsibilities and it’s SO WORTH IT to have those days where you’re just playing outside and the evenings where you’re disconnected from (most) technology and really focused, present, and in the moment.

I can’t wait to go again next weekend.

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