Thankful for a West Texas Escape (And Did You Know a Bobcat's Cry Sounds Like a Scream?)

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Thank you to Hyundai for providing the wheels for this year's Thanksgiving pilgrimage (see what I did there?) to San Angelo in a Santa Fe Sport. 

When I met my in-laws back in 2005, it was a stealth event engineered by my then-boyfriend (now husband) Will. I was living in Atlanta, and Will was living in Phoenix, and we met in Dallas for the weekend. I had been working in Dallas for a few days for a conference, and Will flew in to take me to Austin for the weekend, just a few hours down the highway. 

As soon as I got in the car, Will casually said to me, "My parents are going to meet us in Austin for dinner." 

*Sound of a needle scratching a record as it goes offline.*

Wait. I think there is something wrong with my ears. Did you just spring on me a surprise meeting of your parents with no warning? 

To my great relief and amazing luck, my future in-laws were kind, generous, and smart. We met for dinner at the Oasis, which was known for gorgeous sunsets and less-than-gorgeous food. But no matter. We took pictures of each other and I soaked up the sweet Texas accents all around me. 

When Will and I married in 2006, his parents were still living in Midland, Texas, but they had a second home they call their Creek House outside of San Angelo, which is about two hours east of Midland. A few years later, they sold their home in Midland, bought the property next door to the Creek House, and moved to the San Angelo area permanently. 

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My in-laws have two dogs, Huck and Hailey, and unfortunately, I'm allergic to them (and all things with fur and feathers). So when we'd visit, I'd pump myself full of antihistamines and albuterol and we'd stay in a hotel. It wasn't long before Will's parents, Nancy and Steve, decided to gut the extra cabin on their property and create a healthy haven for me to sleep with my family. They ripped out the floors, added a brand-new bathroom, created a kitchenette, and brought in a beautiful new bed with a trundle underneath for our son. 

Seriously, I won the in-law lottery. 

When we visit them, it's incredibly peaceful, and I love our time there. As dusk settles, the deer step gingerly across the creek, watching us as they make their way to the feeders. The wild turkeys strut and run and gobble. And the soft hoots of an owl or two echo in the hills.

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On our visit this Thanksgiving, one night I heard the sound that put my teeth on edge. It sounded like a mix between a large cat and a child, screeching. 

"That's a bobcat," my husband said, after listening intently for a moment. The sound continued to reverberate down the water and into the dam, and we surmised it was a mournful cry of a cat looking for a mate, not one in pain from a trap or wound. In any case, it's a haunting sound.

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I'm grateful for these moments. The opportunity for my son and husband and I to spend time with nature, with no TV and no electronics to bother us. The canoes, the paddle boards, the ducks diving into the water and the fish jumping, the sounds of the trees and the wooden swing by the dock. It's the perfect escape from "real life" and we always leave feeling more real than when we left. More peaceful. More focused. 

For this year's Thanksgiving trip, Hyundai provided us with a Santa Fe Sport 2.0 to drive from Austin to San Angelo, and it was just the right size for three people, a Yeti cooler, another cooler, two suitcases, two duffel bags, and a collection of boots for every possible need. We enjoyed the zippy feel of the engine and the roomy interior for all of our things. 

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Just the Facts, Ma'am, about the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport:

  • MSRP: Starts at $25,350
  • Towing capacity: 2,800 to 3,505 lbs
  • MPG: Up to 21 city / 27 highway
  • May be the right car for you if you're looking for a 3-row vehicle with value
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Kristin Shaw