Here I am at the end of Day 1 in Texas spending another night in a hotel room. It managed to get up to 99 degrees today. I wonder what the temperatures will be in mid-July? It was like being in a bag of popcorn in a microwave oven today. I was literally surrounded by thousands of cars whose frantic drivers were pinging off the sides of the bag.
It started out at the State line yesterday when the speed limit automatically jumped between 75 and 80mph. That meant that the average driver was going 85 and some close to a 100 in bumper to bumper traffic. I know you think I am exaggerating, and I wish I were. In my entire 400 miles in Texas so far I have yet to see a State trooper, I guess there are pretty nonexistent as being an unnecessary hindrance on Texas citizens. It was not unusual to see a speed limit of 75 on curvy two-lane State roads!
I drive from Houston to Austin this morning intending to visit the State capital and other sites, but I was so stressed out I only saw one site which was a gallery called Ao5. It was an interesting place which sold avant-garde paintings and such. I’m going to do a post on my sudden infatuation of experimental artists soon, so I will tell you more about that then. Getting back to the point, it took almost an hour in city traffic to see that one, so I pretty quickly decided that was enough, and headed out of town toward my next destination of Santa Fe NM.
The middle of Texas is kind like the outback in Australia, there are few major highways and few towns of more than a thousand people or so. I was beginning to wonder if I was going to have to “sleep” in an 85-degree cabin when I happened across Brownwood Texas which was about 350 miles into today’s trek. After three attempts, I finally found a room for the night. I am writing this post about 11pm after getting a two-hour nap to calm my nerves. My meal tonight consists of a bag of fresh cherries from my camp cooler. I could have gone down and got in the long line at the drive-through at McDonald’s, but chose a simpler approach. Who knew that Texans ate midnight Big Macs for dinner?
Tomorrow at this time I hope to be in Clovis New Mexico and have my Texas time for this trip behind me. I said I was going to move outside my comfort zone by going across Texas, all 600 miles of it. I am kinda glad that I did, but all it really did was to reinforce my previous feelings about this State. Again, more on that later.
7 thoughts on “On The Road #5 – Day 10 – Texas In Two Days.”
This seems to have become a trip of endurance instead of exploration! But, you have a new appreciation for home, which is one of the benefits of long distance travel.
As I told Linda, I think that freestyling vacations takes a lot of planning.😎 Since most driving outside the major cities in Texas are by State roads, I pass hundreds of town signs, but how do I know which ones might be interesting? I guess just take a chance and see.
I think all those drivers racing around me constantly has raised some Aspie stuff in me, and that is why I reacted so negatively about the traffic I didn’t even attempt to go even the speed limits. When the speed limits were 65 or above I just stuck to 65. That made for a lot of frustrated drivers behind me who wanted to go 85+ mph. I don’t know how to handle that, but I hope I don’t have to now that I am out of Texas.
But the coming part of the trip is where I really intended to slow down more. I am going to spend three days in Santa Fe just vegging out and calming down. And then it is off to see the sites in Arizona. I have never been there other than a pass-through so I have lots to see.
I’m on the spectrum enough that I get very anxious breaking rules but sometimes I can literally feel the pressure of all those cars behind me urging me faster. Makes for tight shoulders and neck, for sure! I set my cruise control for 2 miles over the posted speed limit in case my car’s speed gauge is wrong, and at regular intervals, look up at the rear view mirror at the line gathering behind me and shrug, saying (sometimes out loud), “The cruise control is keeping me at the right speed. If you stay behind me, I guarantee you won’t get a speeding ticket, but go around me if you don’t like it.” I also stay in the right lane. I’ve never had a speeding ticket and I’m 72 and have been driving since I got my license at 14.
We are so much alike Linda, that it is scary. 😵💫. I do almost exactly the same thing. If I weren’t deaf I would probably hear the horn honks tellin me to GO FASTER.
I think you came fairly near my home on your trek across Texas, but we had driven up to see my deaf granddaughter because I can’t attend her (big, indoor) graduation. For that reason, I didn’t make a last-minute bid for you to stop long enough to meet when I saw from your map you were passing close by. Because I’m immunocompromised and cannot vaccinate, I wear a mask when meeting others outside my bubble, and I knew from my deaf granddaughter’s and my communications difficulties when we’re in situations where I must mask, that would make communications between us difficult.
The real Texas is not on her freeways. As much as I have against this state’s politics, I love its melding of cultures. Back in the Beaumont-Port Arthur area, we probably could have found a friend still sailing from the used-to-be-screened-in-porch-style building of the Port Arthur Yacht Club who would have been willing to take you out on Lake Sabine. My husband’s multitude of Sicilian second generations people would have produced a feast, know you or not.
Bastrop, where we live, is a tiny town with a historic downtown just a mile or so off 71 but you’d never know about downtown’s charm passing by its franchised food places along the freeway. Bastrop is also the site of the lost loblolly pine forest, which truly was almost lost in the massive wildfires of 2011. Post offices in small towns across Central Texas still sport art commissioned by Roosevelt’s Federal Art Project, including one in Smithville painted by Minette Teichmueller, one of the few females hired by that program. Also not far off your direct route were the small “painted churches” of the Czech and German settlers, faux painted to emulate the European churches they left behind. They’re my favorite places to visit, little frequented, showcasing such hope and effort, and usually attended by a woman selling authentic noodles. Across Central Texas, there are barbecue places that are the subject of family feuds, ones where they’ll sneer if you expected to encounter a vegetable. Austin’s quirky neighborhoods and food truck parks are also favorites of mine. And then, there are the less quirky and more notable places.
And the searing heat. Welcome to “springtime” in Central Texas! It’s best to visit during the two weeks when we have glorious spring-like weather or the analogous two weeks when we have glorious fall weather, if you could only predict when that would be. You just missed it by about ten days.
Oh Linda, I would have liked to have met you. I needed your comments before I wrote this post. It seems that I am an amateur when it comes to freestyle traveling. . I just can’t seem to figure out how to find the places that you described. I think I did a pretty good job on the Gulf Coast sites as I went through dozens of small towns over the three-day period of that part of the trip and fund some nice museums. The Biloxi part of the trip was great. I never realized how devastated it as by Katrina. And those oyster places were tasty.
See my comments to Bob’s post for more on that.
I didn’t realize until too late, either, and we had already committed to traveling up north of Houston to visit our granddaughter and her family on the day I thought you’d be in our area. My next door neighbor labels herself hard of hearing, but cannot hear a smoke alarm going off above her head. Her childhood’s miserable trials with hearing aids of those days sent her toward reliance more on speech reading and signing to communicate, and she teaches sign language at area private schools. I was planning on dragging Sherri along if we had been able to meet. But, honestly, it truly is best to scoot across Texas in the summertime if you’re not accustomed to the heat. It’s miserable. Further up toward Dallas, the heat is drier, so that if you’re in the shade, you’re actually cool enough. Shade or out in the direct sunlight, this part of Texas is miserable once we start heading into the mid-90’s.