Let me sum up the first 7 hours of driving through west Texas…
Yup, that’s about it… I can see why the speed limit is 80 MPH–I think it’s so you don’t spend more time here than necessary.
At one point driving east through El Paso on the I-10, Wendy looked out her window commenting, “The city looks a lot Mexico”. Consulting our map, we realized the city outside of the passenger window actually was Mexico.
After hours and hours of driving through dust storms and flat lands, we reached our first “destination”, the Caves of Sonora. Upon arrival, and seeing the cost to enter this privately owned cave, we almost turned around and left. After all, wasn’t it just last week we were in the Carlsbad Caverns; what could be more magnificent than that? But we were there, so we decided to book the couple hour tour… a very good choice as it turns out.
Our first treat was our tour guide, a middle-aged Texan woman whose strong accent and dry wit were worth the price of admission. The cave was totally different from the Carlsbad Caverns, gone were the vast rooms and underground expanses. Instead, we were treated to a huge variety of rock formations in a much more intimate setting. Dare we say this might have even been a better experience?
Our next stop was Garner State Park on the Frio river a couple of hours outside of San Antonio. If you are camping here during the summer there is a popular “jukebox dance” every evening. Here we had access to some nice hiking trails, paddle boarding on the (not so cold) Frio River, and a nearby authentic Texan watering hole, with shuffleboard.
The highlight of Texas was definitely reuniting with Jason’s cousin Brent and his family, Guiselle & Alessa. To count we have now imposed on 14 different sets of family and friends’ hospitality.
While camping is great fun, we are continuously appreciative of people opening up their homes, washing machines, and showers to us on our journey. Jason was able to catch up on some of his basketball watching with Brent in the evenings, exploring San Antonio was a treat, and the Easter bunny was even able to track Indi down all the way here in Texas (thanks to Brent).
The 3rd chance encounter of our trip happened on a busy downtown street. While sitting on the sidewalk, enjoying our first ever Michelada, watching children ride a pint sized mechanical bull, we heard from the crowd, “Jason… Wendy… ?” Looking up we saw an old Corbett friend, Trina Vockert, sister of the famous German twins, Hans and Fritz. More evidence of what a small world we live in.
Our last stop in Texas before the long drive to Louisiana was in Austin, but just for a day. We definitely didn’t have enough time to explore this “Portland of the South”. Our first impressions were of amazing food, a fantastic waterfront with a well-used river, great walking streets, good music, and hipsters in drunken armadillo-embroidered cowboy shirts. What we saw, we loved. We’ll be back.
Texas started with a whimper but ended with a bang. And, like all good things, it was all over much too soon.
Next up, Cajun country! Bring on the crawfish and jazz.