Texas Glamping & Palo Duro Canyon…4.2018

Here’s the background story & how this trip happened.  Last summer, Jill began talking about getting a travel trailer…she wants her own bathroom & kitchen.  So while on a trip we took to Chicago last fall, we found an RV dealer so we could check out the trailer she was interested in.  She ordered one that same weekend.  Following that, I found a podcaster whose focus is on women campers.  I told Jill about it & she was hooked!  The podcast has so much info about all things RV & travel trailers.  Jill started listening immediately & made her way through all the podcasts.  The Girl Camper podcaster was organizing an event along with the largest womens outdoor organization in the country…Sisters on the Fly.  They are the Glamping Queens!  And this event was taking place in Waxahachie, TX—right out Jill’s back door.  So, we decided to attend this fun filled event.  I’m not a Sister (Jill joined up as soon as she got her trailer) & I don’t own a trailer (most of the SOTF have vintage trailers), so I was just going along to hang with Jill.  But, little did I know, how much fun I was going to have & meet so many fascinating & fun women!

Day 1  
I left home early in the morning for the 8 hour drive to Dallas to Jill’s house….happy to be back on another road trip.  I had a great afternoon with her three grandkids, then all of us & her neighbors went out for Taco Tuesday.  As always, we enjoyed our visits in between.

Day 2  
We had some stuff to get done before leaving town tomorrow morning.  First we stopped for lunch at a really good BBQ place.  Not only was the food good, but atmosphere was awesome!  It’s not far from where they live, seasonal because it’s served out of an old airstream with tables outside.  Yummy!  

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After lunch we went to the grocery store, then to one of our favorite stores (especially when we’re together!) REI.  My big & only purchase was a new Nalgene bottle….I’m still using my 10 year old BPA-infected ones.  They are getting a bit worn out, so I thought I’d start slowly replacing them.  Hope that BPA doesn’t kill me!  Then it was time to get the trailer & pack it up, fill it up with water & then out to dinner.  We were in bed early & excited to begin our trip the next day!

Day 3  
And now the trip begins….we headed south for an hour, me following Jill & the trailer, to the small town of Waxahachie.  We were one of the first of 70 women to arrive.  We were setting up in the city park.  

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Once set up, we decided to walk the mile or so to their downtown, do some browsing & eat lunch.  It was a gorgeous day & the street was lined with pretty & historic homes.  The downtown had a lot of antique type stores, but a few fun little boutiques too.  We ate at the Doves Nest which was super good.  

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Jill bought a few things to ‘Glamp” up her trailer (see photo above) & it looked so cute!  I had gone all out (ha ha) & made a cover for my cheap & old camping chair.  I already had twinkly lights in my ‘camper’, so my set up took about one minute.  There were so many more campers back at the park, by the time we’d walked back.  And so much trailer-eye candy.  The Sisters on the Fly campers go all out!  So, we walked around, introduced ourselves & had such a relaxing nice afternoon!  All day long, other campers came by…everyone loves to show off their trailers & tons of people wanted to see Jill’s.  We had such awesome neighbors too!  

We’d met so many new & interesting people already.   Then a little trip magic happened!  The podcaster that Jill & I are so enamored with, Janine Pettit from Girl Camper podcast, came over to our campsite.  She thought my simple set up was awesome!  She visited with the three of us & accepted our invite for some cucumber jalapeño lemonade.  She is so easy going, funny & we really enjoyed our visit with her! (photo below: Janine, JoLynn & Jill)

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Earlier in the afternoon, I’d noticed one woman who sort of stood out because she had this awesome ‘presence’.  She is pretty tiny, but walked like a confident giant.  I kept catching her in my eye from across the park.  Later in the afternoon, Jill & I & some others were just hanging out & a small group of women came by to say hi & chat.  My mystery woman was among them.  In visiting with her, I was enchanted as she talked. It was about 20 minutes into the conversation when I found out she is Maurrie Sussman, the #1 Sister (as she is highly referred to by anyone whose in Sisters on the Fly) & originator (along with her real life sister) of Sisters on the Fly.   She was so awesome! (photo below: me, Jill, Maurrie, & Barbara)

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Day 4 
Today, Jill’s good friend, Jo Lynn was going with us to hit all the vintage stores in town, then lunch at a local Mexican restaurant.
We made it back early to enjoy another fantastic-weather day!

Janine came over to our camp when we got back & asked if she could do a Facebook Live event with our neighbor Tanya (from New York) & me & Jill.  It was a blast!  We continued to make new friends all day!  There were mostly vintage travel trailers in camp, but some of the tents were crazy cool too!  Some of these pics below are mine & some Im gleaned off the event website.  It was a super fun day!

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At dinner that evening in the camp pavilion, I met a woman (one of two traveling together) that came from New Zealand to attend the event & take a tour of Texas.  Lizzette was fascinating & I was in my social-zone talking to her over dinner.  She’s an artist on the South Island but one of her passions is costume making…she mostly loves steam punk.  She shared photos with me of her creations & we chatted the evening away.  So very cool!

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Along with providing dinner, there was a film festival, a concert each night & a VIP tent with drinks & snacks.  As night fell, the campers lit up & it was all quite magical.  The fun didn’t end…lots of people partied & visited.  We went to a campfire & met more people.  Another really awesome day!

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Day 5 
Well, we all knew it was coming.  Rain, 90% chance had been predicted since before I left Kansas.  The early morning was a little overcast & chilly as I made my coffee behind the 4Runner.  People were donning rain boots & coats…I among them!  Jill & I needed to make a trip to the grocery store & buy ice.  And, I was on my quest for a postcard of the town…my Claire-project (I would never find one!)  And while we were away, the skies opened up & torrential rain fell.  We waited in out in a TJ Maxx…& wait we did..it rained for quite awhile.  By the time we got back to camp, a whole lot of the park was flooded.  We were fortunate that our spot seemed to be out of the flood zone.  These are pics other campers took while we were away.

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The temps had dropped by the time we got back & I couldn’t walk to the restroom without wading through ankle deep water, but everyone in this group looked out for everyone else.  A few tent campers were flooded out & offered warm dry space in other campers.  I hate packing my rain boots, but mostly always do, & I was glad I had them this time.  The fun never really stopped, these women campers are not stopped by a little rain.  The BBQ dinner was moved into another bigger, dryer indoor pavilion.  Caught a quick pick of Jill & Barbara dancing to the sound of a country western band (Barbara... is such a super fascinating lady whom I’m sure neither Jill or I will lose touch with & both of us have hopes of camping with her again…is a highly experienced ballroom dancer).

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That night more trip magic happened to me.  Earlier in the day, a couple of city worker guys came to the park to help anyone out who might need to get the trailer out today or leave early in the morning.  Two campers, Mary Ellen & Darlene had a sweet little T@G trailer & I helped them push it out of the park…they needed to head back to Flagstaff, AZ early the next day.  But at dinner that night, I had such a special discussion with them both….I was in conversation-heaven!  Mary Ellen was a guide at the bottom of the Grand Canyon for 8 years. She spoke to me about the magic of rafting the canyon…from end to end.  I’ve always been fearful of doing that…to be honest, the rapids scare me.  But the way she spoke about the allure of the bottom of the canyon, the quiet times just floating, access to hikes you can only get to by beaching the rafts, seeing the morning & evening sky light up the canyon walls….it was all just mesmerizing.  Three times that evening she told me the next time I was in Flagstaff, I had to meet up with her & Darlene…that’s one invitation I won’t pass up.  She also will share with me some great insider hikes in the Canyon.  I might meet up with her sooner than later…her & her husband drive to Des Moines IA a couple of times a year & I’d do that 4 hour drive in a heartbeat to visit with her again.

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And, of course, some of the Sisters were costumed…those Kiwi ladies do it right!

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I tucked in, anticipating more torrential rain in the night, but none came. More new friends had been added into my life & one more adventure trip was to added to my wish-list. And after falling asleep, orange, red, & golden canyon walls made their way into my sweet dreams.

Day 6
The morning was windy & chilly, but the sun was out.  Its sort of a jenga-puzzle how all the trailers are parked…someone always needs to leave before you can hook up to go.  Our spot opened up early & we decided to hit the road for the second part of our adventure.  We had a long drive & one of us (the travel Nazi) was itching to get her feet on the dirt & some hiking underway. It took way longer to say good bye & rounds & rounds of hugs before we left.  Many were staying through Monday to keep the fun times going!  

I never imagined that I would fit into a big Glamping group like this.  I’m pretty minimalistic in my home life & even more so when I travel.  But while so many brought so much stuff to decorate & make their spaces cute, it wasn’t a prerequisite to being included & making new friends.  These women are so fascinating, love to travel, live to camp & come from so many different spaces & places in their life.  I know I’ve made new friends that I will camp with & follow in the future.  It was awesome!

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We hit the road headed for Amarillo, about a 7 hour drive.  Jill had made a reservation at an RV park for the night.  Our reservations at our destination didn’t start until tomorrow night & though we tried, they were booked for tonight.  After making a brief stop for me to buy another pair of pants (guess I didn’t anticipate such cool temps in Texas in April) we headed out for a steak dinner.  It was sooooooo good!  I hadn’t had a steak in so long.  That was the good news…the bad news came later in the night.



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