The Long Drive: Texas

photo 1Day 7

Miles Driven: 637

Texas surpassed my expectations for the better. So, I was expecting to see tumble weeds, long stretches of dusty fields, and cacti. But no, after leaving Colorado and New Mexico, the rolling plains with cacti turned to rolling green hills of “Hill Country” that looked like Paso Robles. Everyone has been very friendly and they are all proud to be Texans.

photo 3Near the town of Amarillo, we turned onto Route 66 and found the Cadillac Ranch. This art sculpture of ten Cadillacs buried half-way was commissioned by a wealthy land owner and designed by artists from San Francisco. They encourage the visitors to add to their art by spray painting on the Cadillacs.

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On the drive, what seemed like rain drops started hitting the windshield. Yet, the sky was blue and it was not rain, it was the splattering of a swarm of bugs!

Day 8

Miles Driven: 239

photo 4We stayed the night at a road side motel and finished the final drive to Fredericksburg, TX. We met mom’s old ballroom dance partner from 25 years ago. It was fun to meet Frank and his wife Nancy. This town was established by a German community and we enjoyed eating at some of the German inspired restaurants. We window shopped and talked.

photo 3Dinner was at a great restaurant. Otto’s just opened last year and they really push towards farm to table seasonal cooking. We enjoyed a roast duck with duck fat fried potatoes and a peach glaze (peaches are just now ripe. Fredericksburg is even having a peach festival this weekend). For dessert, a new take on black forest cake; a flowerless chocolate cake with a cherry drizzle. Excellent meal. The chef even came to ask us how everything was and we saw him picking herbs from the garden out front.

We spent the night at the KOA campground in Fredericksburg.  A very windy night!

Day 9

Miles Driven:162

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5 emblems represent the 5 governments that ruled over Texas.

In the morning, we packed and left right away because it was still so windy. We enjoyed breakfast at the Lyndon B. Johnson Historic Park (his birth place) and then made our way to the Capital: Austin. Austin’s slogan is “Keep Austin Weird” and as I see it, take Portland, OR and add cowboys and you have Austin. The Capitol was a classic building with wings and rotunda, and it did a good job at explaining Texas’s history and the evolution of the flag.

From there, we had lunch at the funky Shady Grove on Restaurant Row where we had our first taste of TexMex. Yummy chicken tacos and Fritos pie. We then visited the flagship Whole Foods Market where I always have fun wandering the aisles and picking out some local made foods and chocolate. I can’t wait to try them.

Last stop was an area called SoCo, or South Congress. This street is lined with fun boutiques and local restaurants, cafes, and ice cream. We had some coffee at Jo’s and Mexican Vanilla ice cream at Amy’s. Then we peeked in the flagship Tom’s Shoe’s cafe and I drooled over the shabby-chique decor. Totally painting a wall in my house like the one in their bathroom.

photo 5Final stop was in Allen’s Boots, where aisle upon aisle was filled with every type of cowboy boot you can imagine. Quite overwhelming!

We made the drive to our campsite in San Antonio and met some very “interesting” people who were camping next to us. Also, it was so hot and humid, I barely slept. Ah well.

Day 10

In San Antonio today, the downtown was bursting with fans of the Spurs, San Antonio’s Basketball team who are the NBA champions of 2014. They had a big boat parade down the River Walk. We got to explore the river walk before the festivities started and enjoyed the cool breeze along the water while eating at Casa Rio. I enjoyed Chilli con Carne, a San Antonio original.

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We poked our head into and ultimately took a nap in the lobby of the Menger Hotel. This hotel is one of the most famous in San Antonio and has played host to many presidents and socialites. Along with guests, this hotel also houses 32 happy haunts from a murdered maid who is seen still cleaning up the Victorian wing to President Theodore Roosevelt who is often sitting in the bar having a drink and trying to recruit soldiers. It is such a beautiful hotel!

Next was the Alamo, the battle ground that began the Texas Revolution and secession from Mexico ultimately allowing California and many other states to join the union and make the US a cross continental super power. I was surprised to learn that Davy Crocket fought and died at the battle of the Alamo.

_MG_1128Now back at the campsite, we enjoyed some sausages made in Colorado. Still humid, but there is a nice breeze and the lightning bugs are out.

Total Miles: 2,653

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