We took a trip to Texas over the Easter holidays. We arrived very late on Monday, evening and flew back again Friday, a week and a half later. It was the first trip to Texas (and New Mexico) for both Ari and I, and it was Ian's first trip to the USA. It was also the first time that Ian and Brendan met each other.
The one impression we bought home with us was BIG! There is just so much space, so far between things and the land seems so poor for growing anything. Instead we saw a few herds of cattle (but not all that many), oil wells and some of the biggest wind farms we have ever seen. From the general view picyites you can see how much space there was. Most of our travelling was on fairly flat dual carriageways, with very little treaffic on them. You can see that many of the hills are flatish - as if they are made up of layers of rock (which I suspect they are). Alpine (where Brendan lives) is right at the very edge of Texas close to the Mexican border. It is also right on the edge of the barren scrub plains that made up most of our landscape. One of the views shows the mountains just south of Alpine, on the Mexican border.
Most of the following text was written on the PDA while we were on holiday - although I have added a few bits to give it a bit more depth as I added the pictures.
We started taking pictures even before we arrived. The plane flew quite a long way north on the journey, and we could see sea ice out of the plane windows. It looks like we were passing right over the edge of an icefield, with bits of ice breaking off. Is this global warming in action, or just the phase of some earth cycle? A bit of both I suspect ...
started off in
However Odessa has its own stonehenge! Literally an exact copy of the original Stonehenge in Wiltshire, built in sandstone on the grounds of the local university. It was really strange looking at stonehenge in a foreign country surrounded by desserty type landscape. To see more pictures of Odessa's Stonehenge here at the Odessa history site.
Stayed at a place that was almost a traditional motel - room straight off of the car park. Walked around the mall, Italian fast food for dinner and then went bowling. Ian beat me first game [he bowled 140] that is the first time he has beaten me, and he really deserved the win. Its nice when your kids get good enough to win.
at McDonald's then a bit of shopping before we set off for Alpine to
Brendan up. On the way we stopped off at the
On the way we saw a road runner, vultures, a couple of wild turkeys, horses and cows running wild. Oh, and Ian and I smelled dead skunk for the first time.
Stopped off in Fort Stockton for dinner and I had catfish. It was really nice - both Ian and Brendan tried some and liked it as well. Ari wanted to stay there, but I wanted to push on, even though Ari didn't think there would be a hotel. She was right. No hotel for over 100 miles. Nothing but one gas station on the whole journey. However the scenery was amazing - high mesa, buttes, nothing but open country. We finished up in a motel in Ozona.
We found a diner for breakfast then hit the road. It was only 200 miles to San Antonio, but it seemed to take forever. Stopped of at a nice little town called Boene and eventually found a restaurant [The Peach Tree] that suited us. They did a really nice low-carb kids plate for Brendan - meat and cheese rolled together with a selection of fruit - all laid out like a face. I had gumbo for the first time. Made San Antonio in the afternoon and went to see The Alamo. I was surprised that it was right in the middle of the city. I was a bit disappointed [although with hind sight, I shouldn't have been] I didn't think the museum bit was laid out well, nor were the exhibits exceptional - but there were a number of items that belonged to guys like Davey Crockett and Jim Bowie, and that was cool. We checked into the hotel, McDonald's for dinner, then went looking for a mall. The instructions from the guy at Macdonald's sent us all over the place, but eventually we found a Wal-Mart. We bought another book for Ian, a toy for Brendan, a few basics and then home for an early night.
around the park riding rides all day. At one stage Brendan and I had
three straight goes on
the cars, with Brendan driving every time. The there 'restaurant'
offers the worst excuse
I have ever seen for fast food burger and chips, certainly the worst I
We went to Outback for a decent steak dinner to make up for the poor lunch, then home and pretty much straight to bed. We were all absolutely wiped out.
day - and a really cold day with rain, and even snow in some parts of
today. It was an overcast day, so most of the water attractions were
closed. However, we saw the whale / dolphins show, a 3d
pirate movie and a seal / sea lion
show. Because it was overcast [which counts as awful weather in
back to Alpine to drop Brendan off with his dad. A boring day with lots
of driving. And a sad
one too. We spent the night in
up to the Carlsbad
the only place in Seminole for breakfast was a McDonald's in a gas
then to cap it all the ATM broke as I was taking cash. So not much
money in my
pocket - and worried that it already took the $200 from my account.
worry about that later. We are off to a town called
fields predominate. The ground is so dry that crops need
irrigation, they use
a central water point with a long rotating arm loaded with sprinklers.
closer we got to
'Is this the way to Amarillo?' had been in the charts again a short while before we came on this holiday, and while driving around Lubbock we saw street signs for Amarillo - so we stopped and took Ian's picture underneath the sign. You gotta do silly stuff while you are on holiday.
day in Abilene - the 'Frontier' exhibition in the morning, to learn
cowboys and pioneers, then on to play miniature golf in the afternoon
oldest miniature golf course in Texas called Play
Faire which seemed to be run by a very pleasant pair of old
hippies. One game to Ari,
one game to me, then off to a restaurant called The Town Crier for
dinner. All mock Tudor
beams and the Royal coat of arms - but no roast beef or
In the evening Ian and I went bowling again. Ian beat me two games to one - but I blame it on the head cold I was developing.
GeneralWe americanified Ian - he loves pancakes for breakfast and we anglified Brendan, he now drinks 'proper' cups of tea, not just that horribly sweet iced tea they sell over there.
Odessa Meteor Crater