petey at odessa meteor crater

Day 114 – Home through Texas

If you like this article, please share. Thanks!

Day 114 of a Year Long Road Trip Along America’s Scenic Byways

Balmorhea State Park

Well, I tried my best to get a picture of the Pecos Gambusia and the Comanche Spring Pupfish, two endangered species, but I believe after further review of my pictures, I did not succeed!  I don’t even think I saw the two species of fish.  The San Solomon Springs in Balmorhea State Park is one of the few places in the nation where these species can be found.  Prior to the natural springs being converted to a spring fed swimming pool by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the springs provided water to travelers for thousands of years.  Mescalero Apache Indians used the springs to water their horses and later Mexican farmers used it to irrigate their land.

Now, part of the park, the popular swimming hole attracts vacationers.  Above the surface, the fenced area looks like an oddly shaped, giant swimming pool with steps, handrails, and diving boards.  Below the surface, however, 22-28 million gallons of water flow through the 77,000 square foot, spring-fed pool each day. 

SLICK algae (yes I nearly bit it on the first step) and moss cover the underwater surface.  Schools of small fish dart away from swimmers while the catfish tend to be more curious.  Donning my mask and snorkel while chasing the fish, I longed for my fins, BC, and salt water.  I probably could have swum a bit quicker and floated a bit longer with fins and buoyancy help!

The most entertaining part of my snorkeling experience was to watch ducks dive down to the bottom of the spring, root around for breakfast, and then shoot back up to the surface.  I always knew ducks dunked underwater, but I was surprised to see how deep they traveled and how long they stayed under.  I followed them around with my camera, but underwater, the flash delays the shot, so many times I missed the photo opportunity I wanted.

The air temperature was slightly lower than the 68 degree water temperature.  As a result of the cool weather, I had the spring to myself.  While I loved the tranquility and the fact the fish weren’t hiding from kids flipping off the diving board, it was a bit eerie.  I’ve never been fond of being the first or last SCUBA diver in the ocean either!  When the screen display on my camera blinked that it was time to change the battery, I called it quits and headed to the poolside showers.  Petey was very happy for me to finish my snorkeling so he did not have to be alone any longer.

From Balmorhea, we took I-20 through Pecos, Odessa, Midland, Big Spring, and Abilene before arriving home.  Anyone from Texas knows there isn’t much to see on this drive.  I called my friend Molly, who is from Midland, but currently lives outside of Austin. 

I asked, “Do you need me to pick anything up at your mom’s house?  I’ll be in Midland in an hour.”

“Nope” she replied, “I’ll be out there in a week, but I’m doing my best to get out of it.”

“Well then”, I asked in a sarcastic tone, “Is there anything to do around here?”

She replied “You can go to the meteor crater.  Basically it’s just a hole in the ground.  I haven’t been there since high school.”

“Is there a sign for it?” I asked.

“Oh yes,” she responded.

So I went to the meteor crater which also happened to be an earth cache…SCORE!

Odessa Meteor Crater

She was right; it was simply a wide, but shallow hole in the ground.  Its diameter stretches 600 feet while the hole is only 6 feet deep as it has filled up with sand and dirt over time.  The impact of the 1,000 ton meteorite, mostly composed of iron, originally created a hole 100 feet deep.  While the meteorite has never been found, it is believed it is lodged more than 170 feet below the surface. 

The Odessa Meteor Crater is the second largest in the United States, and sixth largest in the world.  The rim of the crater is made of limestone which was shattered and forced to the surface from the collision.  In addition to the large crater, smaller ones formed nearby from additional masses that fell from the same meteor shower.  These craters were formed over 20,000 years ago.  Around 1940 an exploration to find the meteor instead uncovered a fossilized tooth of a prehistoric elephant.

My visit to the crater was my final sight-seeing stop of my trip home.  In West Texas’s defense there are a handful of museums including the Presidential Museum and one related to the Air Force, but Petey waiting for me in VANilla in the West Texas midday sun wasn’t an option.

I think I will be home for a while, but I plan on making a few jaunts down to the farm and perhaps touring some surrounding areas, so look for a weekly post until I can get on the road again! ETB

Map of My Road Trip Across the USA

For a summary about my road trip across the USA, click HERE. For the interactive map, see the below link.

Other Articles on Texas You May Like


Check out the photographic note cards and key chains at my shop.  Each card has a travel story associated with it.  20% of proceeds are donated to charity.

photographic note card, cowboy boots on fence
Best Adventure Travel Blog

If you like this article, please share. Thanks!

Published by

Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned award winning travel blogger and photographer sharing the earth's beauty one word and image at a time.

8 thoughts on “Day 114 – Home through Texas

  1. Too bad Petey couldn’t swim with you! I would have loved to see an underwater shot of him swimming!

  2. Let us know when you get back to Dallas. Hope your Dad is doing better. We just got back from Indonesia ( me & Paul) last week and then I had convention all weekend.

  3. Hi Beth, give Petey a hug for us…he looks very happy….don’t forget “art classes” aunt diane

  4. …HOME … is there a better place in one’s heart ? ! !
    Welcome back, Beth. Great job navigating and blogging through your adventures ! Your return is making the hearts of the ones who love you
    very happy. Here’s to joy in your heart, no matter where you are.

  5. Welcome back Beth, glad you are safe and sound. Tim’s dad grew up in Pecos and I have been to visit only a couple of times, but your blogs make everything sound more interesting! I will miss my daily reading. We are going to be in the Galveston area next week, any tips and something to see on the way? My thoughts continue to be with you and your Dad. Stay in touch. Mary

  6. I’m glad you made it home with out the West Texas winds blowing you away! Thanks for the pic of the meteor–it is just how I remember it. See you soon.

Leave a Reply