Louisiana to Midterm

The alarm went off at 4am and we were up, dressed, and in the van by 4:11. On our way out of Leesville, F found a doughnut shop that was open (4:13am). I’ve always sworn that I don’t really like doughnuts but that was the first fresh one I’d ever had and I had to admit that they were quite good.

We headed north. I took the opportunity to sleep in the back  until we were about an hour outside of Shreveport where I swapped into the drivers seat. Forrest tried to sleep but the condition of I-49 was a little rough for him in the back (I maintain that I would have slept just fine!).

As we cruised through Dallas, it started to rain. And it rained. And rained. All the way across Texas it rained. It was about 40 and raining (what happened to going south where it’s warm?!). We did get a pretty decent hamburger at “Giant Burger” in Rhome (F had to fix a busted power steering cooler line in the rain though) And then we kept on driving. After a brief stop in Amarillo for windshield wiper blades we cruised into New Mexico. Continue reading “Louisiana to Midterm”

Day 8: Pecos River, Texas to Houston, Texas

This morning we left our sweet campsite on the river and headed east. Our first real stop of the day was in Fredricksburg, Texas. We were happy with the town when we checked out the quilt shop and garden art center…but when we got into the adorable downtown we (especially me) were quite enamored with it. I tried the wine at Fredricksburg Winery…it wasn’t my favorite ever, most things were a little sweet for my taste, but it was certainly more than I’d expected from Texas wine. The woman pouring the wine told us some more about the area, including the location of the Fredericksburg Brewery. The three of us walked the street, and thanks to Frederickson liquor laws, Forrest and I tried their pale, red, and porter while sitting on a bench outside with Sprocket.

After our explorations of Fredricksburg, we headed just out of town for Luckenbach. It was the tourist trap it was promised to be, but unlike most tourist traps, this one was worth it. Forrest, Sprocket, and I listened to “Jimmy Lee Jones” play at the pickers circle while drinking a Lone Star and a Shiner Bock (had to have the Texas beers!). The dance hall, which was closed on a Tuesday afternoon, looked like a lot of fun though!

After Lukenbach, we set out looking for some Texas barbeque on our way to Austin. As we neared the city we settled on Cartwright’s BBQ. We had ribs and brisket that were pretty good, later when we found out we’d tried our Texas barbecue at a chain (albeit a small one) we were a little unhappy. We headed into downtown Austin to walk around a bit. We checked out the capitol, complete with cannons and Civil War memorial then walked down 6th Street (the center of Austin nightlife). It seemed like a nice city but really wasn’t that exceptional (maybe we should have stuck around for the bats flying out from under the bridges).

We finished our day by driving through Houston before stopping for the night. The TA Truck Stop wasn’t one of our prettier campsites but it worked alright.

Day 7: Artisia, New Mexico to the shores of the Pecos River (Crocket County, Texas)

This morning, bright and early, we left our cushy digs in the truck parking lot of a motel in Artisia, New Mexico in search of huevos rancheros. Artisia let us down and Carlsbad very nearly did. We finally found the “Pecos River Cafe” which seemed to be doing brisk prework business. Forrest had the huervos rancheros he’d been craving (“They’re a little different style, but still good.”) while I tried the eggs and green chili (I wish I would have gotten the cinnamon rolls that I spied on the way out the door). A half hour later we were pulling into Carlsbad Caverns National Park. It was early on a Monday morning so I ran Sprocket up and down the parking lot for a bit before settling him into his crate while we visited the caves. The weather was nice and cool and he had a brand new cow hoof so he didn’t seem too put out by our having an adventure without him.

The caverns were really pretty cool. Forrest had been there before so I think it was a little anticlimactic for him, but we both enjoyed poking around. We did both self-guided tours: the natural entrance and the big room. We took lots of pictures, some of which turned out and some of which didn’t…but over all they’re pretty good for cave pictures!

After our tours we returned to the parking lot where Sprocket got to do some more running around before we loaded up in the ol’ red rocket jeep for the drive to Texas. About the only things of note on the drive from Carlbad to Fort Stockton was the house with all the old tractors lined up (Andrew would be so proud), my first oil derrick sighting (followed by many more), and a vista that just never changed. In Fort Stockton we were hoping for some good steaks or BBQ and perhaps a cute and historic downtown…we found none of these. In fact, we found some subpar Mexican food and bought some ill advised two-for-one Blizzards at DQ (“I was sucked in by the marketing!”). We gladly hit the road east away from Fort Stockton (if you’re ever on I-10…don’t stop).

We hopped off the road again just north of Sheffield (which proudly lists their soldiers serving under “The Commander in Chief: George W. Bush”…obviously things don’t change too quickly in Sheffield. We were hoping to be able to check out (and perhaps camp at) Fort Lancaster State Historic Park. We were foiled by a gate that a McRancher could be proud of. So, I write this at our campsite (to be posted at the next wifi) in a wash on private property off some county road off of Texas Route 290. Got to run…need to keep Sprocket away from the deer carcass on the other side of the wash…