Everything is big in Texas – 12/7/13 – 12/17/13

Mike at the Alamo - huge Oak Tree

Huge Oak Tree at the Alamo, San Antonio

Hi everyone, sorry I have not posted for a while, been busy driving! We left Tucson and headed toward the state of Texas. This is the part of the trip I have been dreading the most. (Sorry you Texas fans out there, but a lot of it has very little to see on the road.) We got to El Paso and found (finally after a missed turn) the Mission RV Park on the east side of town. We arrived later in the afternoon, and just hunkered down for the night. This place was basically a place to sleep, and not one of our favorite parks, too many sketchy people hanging around.

Hit the road quite early the next morning, about 8:15AM. (We usually dilly dally around and get on the road about 10-10:30AM, so 8:15 was early for us!) We drove to Fort Stockton, a tiny little town, again for just the night to get across Texas. The drive was an interesting one for me. The temps were in the low 30’s, and there was a lot of fog and frost everywhere. I was a bit nervous, MoHo not good in ice! We came to the area that Hwy 10 splits off to Hwy 20, a particularly frosty area. About 2 miles down our side of Hwy 10, there were the remains of a huge accident on the opposite side of the roadway. Come to find out, there was a 20-car pile-up 24 hours prior, with one fatality, and a completely burned out carcass of another MoHo! I was so glad we were in the area a day later, as the whole area was frozen solid just 24 hours earlier; we missed it by just one day! Got to the campground and set up as quickly as we could, Seahawks were on at 3:25PM central time vs. 49ers. (Probably should have kept on driving in hindsight, not a great game, oh well.) We stayed at the Fort Stockton RV Park, about 5 miles east of town. A great little place, friendly staff, (tiniest showers in the world) and just a good quiet place to rest for the night.

The next morning we were off and driving again, still cold, but I was feeling better about the temps in the mid-30’s. We were on our way to San Antonio, our next destination for a few days. We got to the park, Travelers World RV Resort, on the south side of downtown, and were happy our satellite found a hole in the trees to get our valuable signal. We headed out to grab some groceries and dinner. We found a little Mexican place, Nichas about ½ mile away, with lots of cars in the lot (always a good sign when a lot of others are there.) I had Fajita’s as usual, and they were awesome. (Only second best to the ones I had in last year when I met the previous owners we bought the MoHo from, and they took me to a place near their place in central Texas.) Traci had some Tortilla Soup and we very much enjoyed ourselves.

The next day we were off to Downtown San Antonio, and the famous Alamo and River Walk. Being a History major, I was very much interested in the Alamo. Well, there was not a lot to it. I would have to say the best part for me was the landscaping, some amazingly huge foliage. We then headed to the River Walk, a famed area in downtown, with tons of restaurants and shops. There, we had a cocktail at the oldest bar on the river walk, Esquire Bar. Next was a stop at some terrible Mexican Place, quick beer and out. (OK, terrible because of the staff – on our way to being seated the server dropped his towel on the floor, then proceeded to wipe our table “clean” with the same towel. The rest of the staff just huddled at the bar, did nothing to make it a fun place that it could have been, their loss.) We went next door to the Irish bar, had a couple of cocktails and then headed to the Menger Hotel, a historic landmark in the area (thanks for the tip Allyson). We bellied up to the bar, had a couple of drinks, and then headed to another joint for dinner. We drove to Mi Tierra, a highly recommended Mexican place a few blocks away. I again had the Fajitas, and these were not good at all! Tasted like they had boiled the chicken in liquid smoke, just a poor showing for a place that was so highly recommended. The service and atmosphere were good though. Then it was time to head home. When we got back, Traci noticed she was missing one of her diamond studs, oh ****! I immediately started to call all the places we had been, but we walked so much that day we both knew it was a lost cause. We left messages with a couple places, and Traci actually got ahold of a nice guy at the Menger Hotel Bar. He went around the bar to where we sat, and it was sitting there on the floor!! We were shocked, and immediately got back in the car and drove downtown to retrieve it! What was a good day, went bad quickly, and turned out awesome in the end! Side note: These earrings are on their 3rd life…we had a similar situation happen years ago when Traci lost one downtown Seattle and she found it the next day in her parking garage at work. Crazy!

In front of the Alamo, San Antonio

In front of the Alamo, San Antonio

Esquire Bar, Oldest Bar on the River Walk, San Antonio

Esquire Bar, Oldest Bar on the River Walk, San Antonio

DSCN5113

The River Walk, San Antonio

The next day we headed to Austin for the day, about 80 miles north. We got some great tips from friends, Sean Holman, Allyson McBride and Jeff Brauns, so had a full day planned and then some. Most of the tips were food/restaurants, so we kind of ate our way through. Our first stop was for BBQ! We tried to get into Franklins (world famous), but we were 20 people back in line, past the point that they could guarantee we would get food. They only cook so much every day and we got there too late. We then found the Iron Works BBQ downtown, near the convention center. Looked and smelled good, and it was awesome! Traci had the BBQ brisket sandwich, I had the three beef rib plate, and damn those were the best ribs I have ever had, home run!! Next we headed to the capitol area. The state capitol building there is huge (largest in the US), and was open to touring, so we walked around, took some pictures and were just awed at the size of the structure. We then headed to a little old school drug store, Nau’s Enfield Drug, that still has a lunch counter, and had a really good milkshake, worth the journey out to find this little gem. Also, stopped by the University of Texas to check out Longhorn Stadium. Back to town and we walked up and down 6th street, a really busy nightlife area that was quiet as it was only about 4:00PM. A bit rough here, a lot of interesting people watching, glad we left while it was still light out. Stopped in at the Driskill Hotel, for a cocktail then stumbled upon a Gourdoughs Donuts food truck and could not resist. BTW, I think Austin is the food truck capital of the country, they are everywhere! Headed back to MoHo and relaxed, long day up and back. There was so much more to explore in Austin, wished we had more time there.

Iron Works BBQ, Austin

Iron Works BBQ – HUGE ribs!

Capital Building, Austin

Capitol Building, Austin

Inside the Capital Building looking up, Austin

Inside the Capitol Building looking up, Austin

Inside the Senate chambers, Austin

Inside the Senate chambers, Austin

Go Longhorns!

Go Longhorns!

Gourdoughs Donuts food truck.  Notice the tagline - Big. Fat. Donuts.  They are meals!

Gourdoughs Donuts food truck. Notice the tagline – Big. Fat. Donuts. They are meals!

Nau Enfield Drug, Best Milkshakes!

Nau’s Enfield Drug, Best Milkshakes!

The next day we thought about heading out of town, but decided to stay another night and just get some errands, laundry, etc. done. We headed out for another BBQ place, only to find it closed, and then stumbled onto one called Augies Barbed Wire BBQ. I had the ribs here and they were nothing like the ones in Austin. Traci had the brisket, and it was more like pot roast. Oh well, can’t win them all right? Back to the MoHo and got ready to head out the next morning. We liked San Antonio ok, but probably won’t return. Didn’t seem like much going on except for the River Walk.

The next day we headed south to Corpus Christi and a place called Port Aransas which is part of Padre/Mustang Island, about a 3-hour drive south from S.A. We got to our park, the Pioneer Beach RV Resort. This place was right on the water, just a 100-yard walk out of the park onto the beach and we could hear the waves crashing from our spot. We chilled that night in the MoHo. The next day was a bit of a wet start so it was a nice excuse to have a lazy morning. It cleared off and we took a 4 mile walk on the beach. We came back, relaxed the rest of the afternoon and BBQ’s some steaks for dinner that night. Sunday brought us another Seahawks game, so we headed to town and found a really nice little bar, Stingrays. We bellied up to the bar, and had a front row view to a great victory, 23-0 vs. the NY Giants. We sat there most of the afternoon and enjoyed the bar, food and beverages. After the game, we drove on the beach back to the MoHo and watched movies and got ready for our departure the next morning towards Galveston. This was a really neat resort town, pretty quiet while we were there, but I’m sure in season it would be hopping.

The Gulf of Mexico, Port Aransas

The Gulf of Mexico, Port Aransas

The MoHo's first ferry ride!

The MoHo’s first ferry ride!

The next days’ drive to Galveston was a fairly short trip, only about 4 hours. We started the trip by taking a short 5 minute crossing on a free ferry. Saved us an hour’s time! We took a lot of back roads and smaller highways, and the sights were nice. Along the way, we drove over several tall bridges. This area is super flat, no hills, just water and flat lands. When you get on one of these bridges, you can see for miles. Also, a lot of chemical and petroleum plants here. We arrived at our park, the Jamaica Beach RV Park; a nice little place, recently expanded, and going through more renovations. We hunkered down, Traci feeling a bit under the weather. I went out and did some errands and came back for dinner and movies. The next day we headed into Galveston, we were about 15 miles south at our RV park. We drove through town, did a little shopping, and went to the cruise terminal area for a lackluster lunch. Traci started to get a real bad headache, so we headed back to the MoHo and she went to bed. I went down the road to get a fishing reel re-strung.  Fishing is HUGE down here.  I found a little bait and tackle shop on the side of the road, what a place. Live bait wells, and stuff everywhere. Galveston was hit by hurricane Ike in Sept. of 2008, and I think this place never cleaned up after the storm, amazing. Another interesting thing is that all of the houses/structures are built up on stilts. This area floods a lot due to storms, so their first floor is actually one level up. Makes for an interesting looking landscape. I headed back to the MoHo, and Traci was still in bed with a full-blown migraine. I landed it in front of the TV for the night and got caught up on some of my series recording on the DVR. Traci came out of bed for some food, and was back in bed and out for the night. She woke up the next day tired, but headache gone thank goodness.

On our way to New Orleans (Nawlins)!

This is how all of the houses are built - on stilts!

This is how all of the houses on the Gulf of Mexico are built – on stilts because it floods so much.

The MoHo driving down Galveston Beach

The MoHo driving down Galveston Beach

 

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