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Sunday, March 16, 2014
Texas…Bigger Than Life
March 16, 2014
You got to love Texas! It is such a large and diverse state, from its seven regions; Big Bend Country, Gulf Coast, Hill Country, Panhandle Plains, Piney Woods, Prairies and Lakes to South Texas Plains. We are in the process of crossing from east to west on the long axis of the state.
Coming into Texas, we are on the edge of Piney Woods, with a little Gulf Coast still present. The elevation is still nearly at sea level. The landscape is green and swampy with occasional woodlands. It doesn’t take long to see how industrious the state has become. Oil rigs are sparse along the interstate corridor, but the construction equipment is ever so present. It is the closest thing to North Dakota and the north slope of Alaska that I've experienced. Approaching Houston, the large refineries, chemical plants and very large distributors dominate the land. From Budweiser Brewery, Goodyear Rubber and Ford these mega buildings spread on untold acres. Houston is 50 miles across with every type of neighborhood. They love their highways and have not spared anything when it comes to overpasses and clover leafs. We drove this section on early Sunday morning and the rain that was present yesterday had abated. Next major city was San Antonio on our travels. A previous trip had given us the opportunity to thoroughly check out the downtown with all of the river walks. We were still on a schedule and moved on further on I-10. The wind picked up to a point that the truck wasn’t in overdrive. I switched my navigation software over to the GPS side for more information and discovered that we were now at 2065 feet above sea level. This, along with the wind, reduced my gas mileage. We were now in “Hill Country”. The landscape was getting drier and a little desert like, but stands of Oak and Cotton Wood were plentiful.
It was 3 o’clock and we had already reached our destination for the night. A place called Kerrville. We stopped at the Visitor Center and this charming mature lady gave us all kinds of info. Our plan was to stay at the last “Cracker Barrel” on this stretch of the road. I wasn’t particularly tired and we pushed on to the next town called Junction, TX. We hunted around for a place to bed down for the night. I couldn’t find a good spot and in desperation, I asked this guy coming out of the Post Office. He said “We have a town park down by the river and you can stay there for three days”. It is just what we were looking for. It is one of those spots that the whole town just comes down to and drives by, or stops to fish or what ever. There are picnic tables, play grounds with lots of Oak trees. I just hope the younger people don’t come down here at night to raise hell. It is suppose to get windy and cold tonight, so I didn’t expect too much activity. (note: The only activity was an occasional police car making sure all was peaceful).
We are just about a full day of driving for our next adventure at Carlsbad Caverns National Park, which is in New Mexico. Our last National Park to visit in Texas is Guadalupe Mountains National Park. It is noted for having the highest mountain in Texas at 8,749 feet. We don’t plan on climbing this baby! Tomorrow, we will also be close to changing our time to Mountain time (from Daylight Savings to Central and now Mountain Time). Our days are just longer for us to enjoy!
That is what we did and saw!