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Messin’ w/ Texas in April & May 2015: Summary

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Getting this Texas trip going proved to be a challenge. Multiple issues kept us from leaving for weeks, then additional issues along the way added unforeseen obstacles, from an ill grandfather prior to departure, to me getting ill early on in the trip, to an emergency trip flight for Ann back to see her grandfather late in the trip.

Just the same, we managed to meet some wonderful folks, dine one some great food, and enjoy the hospitality of Texas. We look for ward to going returning (ed note: which we did briefly in late 2016).

Our trip tipped the odometer at just over 10,000 miles and 54 days. We explored the west, south, east, central, north and panhandle areas of Texas; yet there was still more we couldn’t see. We saw the Rio Grande, ate Texas BBQ, dipped our toes into the Caribbean on South Padre Island, rode a glass bottom boat, explored the Alamo, saw our first Buc’ees, visited a wide variety of museums, and much more. We even took a side trip to Omaha, Nebraska!

We arrived home just in time to celebrate my 50th birthday. Hopefully, the next half century will be as interesting as the first half.

Here’s an overall map of our trip:

2015-texas-full-map-flat-lores2

eWillys Texas trip from late April – early June 2015.

Here are the posts related to the trip:

  1. Overview: Texas Trip 2015 summary
  2. Day 1 – Sun. Apr. 12th: On the Road Again, Finally
  3. Day 2 – Mon. Apr. 13th: Rocks, Tracks & Dusty Roads
  4. Day 3 – Tues. Apr. 14th: Winds and more Winds
  5. Day 4 – Wed. Apr. 15th: Salmon and Subway
  6. Day 5 – Thu. Apr. 16th: Meth and Science
  7. Day 6 – Fri. Apr. 17th: Art Fair in Alamogordo, NM
  8. Day 7 – Sat. Apr. 18th: No Scum Allowed
  9. Day 8 – Sun. Apr. 19th: Resting and Recovery
  10. Day 9 – Mon. Apr. 20th: Recovering from the Plague
  11. Day 10 – Tue. Apr. 21st:  Another One Bites the Dust
  12. Day 11 & 12 – Wed. & Thurs Apr. 22nd & 23rd:  Road to Recovery
  13. Day 13 – Fri. Apr. 24th: We Made it to Texas
  14. Day 14 – Sat. Apr. 25th: Saddleblankets to Prada
  15. Day 15 – Sun. Apr. 26th: Parks and Wind
  16. Day 16 – Mon. Apr. 27th: Frontier Texas
  17. Day 17 – Tue. Apr. 28th: Dr. Peppers & Texas Rangers
  18. Day 18 – Wed. Apr. 29th: Power Wagons & Pecans
  19. Day 19 – Thu. Apr. 30th: Texas Justice, Pacific War, & a Comfy Bed
  20. Day 20 – Fri. May 1st: Luckenbach, Texas
  21. Day 21 – Sat. May 2nd: Ingram Rocks, but Kerrville Robots
  22. Day 22 – Sun. May 3rd: Buc’s, Boats, Bats & a Batmobile
  23. Day 23 – Mon. May 4th: Keeping Austin Weird
  24. Day 24 – Tue. May 5th: San Antonio’s Riverwalk
  25. Day 25 – Wed. May 6th: Beyond San Antonio’s Riverwalk
  26. Day 26 – Thu. May 7th: Rainbow Flight & Texas Border Towns
  27. Day 27 – Fri. May 8th: The King Ranch
  28. Day 28 – Sat. May 9th: A Big Boat (Ship)
  29. Day 29 – Sun. May 10th: Breaking up the Beatles?? Not again!!
  30. Day 30 – Mon. May 11th: Three-nap Kind of Day
  31. Day 31 – Tue. May 12th: A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall
  32. Day 32 – Wed. May 13th: No Raining on Murphy’s Parade
  33. Day 33 – Thu. May 14th: Leaving On a Jet Plane
  34. Day 34 – Fri. May 15th: High Plains Drifter
  35. Day 35 – Sat. May 16th: The End of Texas
  36. Day 36 – Sun. May 17th: Tracking the Ore
  37. Day 37-40 – May 18th-21st: Research
  38. Day 41-43 – May 22nd-24th: Omaha-Bound
  39. Day 44 – Mon. May 25th: Pioneer Village
  40. Day 45 – Tue. May 26th: South Park
  41. Day 46 – Wed. May 27th: Georgetown Loop Train
  42. Day 47 – Thu. May 28th: Back to the Springs
  43. Day 48 – Fri. May 29th: Pikes Peak International Raceway
  44. Day 49-50 – May 30th-31st: Last Dollar & Madonna
  45. Day 51 – Mon. Jun. 1st: Black Canyon of the Gunnison
  46. Day 52 – Tue. Jun. 2nd: Navigating the Book Cliffs
  47. Day 53-54 – June 3rd-4th: The Journey Home
 

24 Comments on “Messin’ w/ Texas in April & May 2015: Summary

  1. Brian L.

    I was looking at your trip map, I’m sorry I don’t live in Ft.Worth anymore, otherwise I’d ask you to stop by. If you’re looking for scenery and interesting places (good food too), you aught to check out Alpine and Marfa. I’d head through there before I went through Midland….not much there, just the oil patch. Also, The Texas hill country around Bandera, Leakey, Kerrville is beautiful. Luckenbach is in that general area as well.

  2. Bob

    That’s quite a tour of Texas! My brother lives down by McAllen, but sadly did not get the Jeep gene in his DNA.

  3. Lee Murray

    When you get to Llano you should head north 30 miles to San Saba. Pecan Capital of the World. Great pies and good people. Should have great Bluebonnets this year with rain we just had.

  4. mmdeilers Post author

    Brian, thanks for the advice! The map doesn’t show it, but I had planned to spend some time along HWY-90. We’ll plan for Marfa and Alpine. I’ll have to add a detour through the hill country based on a couple maps of the area I just consulted. Looks like the best bet is to find a few squiggly side roads and explore them 🙂

    Lee, we will figure out a way to get to San Saba. Pecans are something Ann can eat and enjoy! Thanks for the tip.

    Bob, what is wrong with your brother? lol

  5. Lee Murray

    I live in San Saba, when yall come thru look me up, or look for a little M38 in town. I generally drive it to work.

  6. Jeepjtrucks

    Austin, TX isn’t named on your map, but it looks like you’ll be there. If you are in Austin at sunset, go to the park next to the Congress Ave bridge over the Colorado Rvr, then wait….. right around dusk you will witness the world’s largest urban bat colony leave their home under the bridge and go out hunting for dinner. The sky will turn black with bats. I did this with my wife a few years ago, not telling her why we were sitting in the park. As the crowd started to gather around us, she thought we were going to see fireworks or something. Little did she know what was about to happen. I believe there is more than a million bats living under the bridge. If you do this, let us know how you make out.

  7. John Hartman

    I’m always from WI. I lived with a full blood Mexican girl for 8 years (but considered Tejano). We made a trip to Crystal City where her old relatives still lived years ago. Saw at least some of the cool stuff on the way. Very nice experience for me. 114 degrees.

    Cripple Creek or Manitou Springs, now you’ve got my attention. I know it’s nonsense, but I just feel good around Pikes Peak. Cripple Creek was a living ghost town until gambling casinos took over. Last time I was there Victor was still ok for me, six miles away.

    John

  8. mmdeilers Post author

    Austin is on the list most definitely. A Barnes & Noble employee told me the best place to get Texas BBQ was at the Salt Lick. However, this list put the Salt Lick at number 8: http://www.thrillist.com/eat/austin/local-bbq-experts-in-austin-picks-for-best-barbecue
    I’ll look into the bats … How crowded does it get? Ann’s PTSD doesn’t mix well with large crowds.

    John: Cripple Creek and Victor are two of our destinations — has to do with family research and ownership in the Last Dollar Gold Mining Company, which was located in Victor.

  9. Jeepjtrucks

    Re the Crowds: It was a open area so it didn’t seem like many people, certainly not crowded like shoulder-to-shoulder. It was mostly tourists. There was plenty of room to view from where ever we wanted.
    I don’t know if the time of year matters or not for viewing, we were there in June. Here’s a youtube video from the bridge showing the park: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6GlUhK9hSs
    PS: I know all about the being uncomfortable in crowds. Me too.

  10. Idaho Todd

    I see San Antonio is on your list. You probably already know but in case you didn’t, make sure you guys do the river walk. My wife and I did this some time ago and were awe struck. We walked it in both day and night conditions, the night won out by quite a margin. We shopped, took a little float trip then got some spectacular Mexican dinner! Better than Paris for romance in my opinion. Remember the Alamo! No seriously, it’s right there.

  11. Alphamav

    I live in San Marcos. At Spring Lake there is a neat glass bottom boat tour. I think the Groupon is still available: http://www.groupon.com/deals/the-aquarena-center-7 . I have taken it a few times with friends and family, once solo on the kayak tour just to take photos of the lake and wildlife.

    I know where you stop to eat all depends on the time of day. I haven’t been to the Salt Lick they opened in Round Rock. I’ve been to the original Salt Lick in Driftwood, TX and I liked it. Pretty nice hill country drive and about 20 minutes off IH-35 from Kyle, TX and about 30 minutes from there to downtown Austin from there (adds on about 20 total minutes of driving compared to just driving straight from Kyle to Austin downtown depending on traffic). If you are in the mood for real Italian food, Trattoria Lisina, part of the Mandola’s dining places in Austin, is a great fine dining place nearby in Driftwood, same driving times. They are amazing and the truest I’ve found to real Italian cuisine in Texas. Also, the drive is so much more interesting than just IH-35, worth the extra 20 minutes!

    In San Marcos, Kent Black’s BBQ (Brother to the guy who runs the original Black’s BBQ in Lockhart, TX) is pretty good, too, if you aren’t on a tight budget. For fine dining, my wife and I think Palmer’s is the best in San Marcos.

    Ultimately, I would recommend visiting San Antonio (Alamo, River Walk) in the late afternoon/evening and staying the night there or perhaps making it to New Braunfels to sleep if you don’t overindulge. (There happens to be small shop called Lone Star Jeep Works off exit #195 between New Braunfels and San Marcos). Spend part of the morning touring Spring lake, lunch in Driftwood at either the Salt Lick or Trattoria Lisina, go to Austin and see the bats, perhaps eat at the Mandola’s Italian Market (Corner of North Lamar and West 47th Street) if you had the Salt Lick for lunch. Of course, there are a ton of other good places in Austin. In-N-Out burger is at IH-35 and Airport Drive.

  12. Brian

    Dave, I live in Llano. Would like to meet with you. If you have my email, give me a shout and I”ll give you a contact number.

    Brian

  13. mmdeilers Post author

    Brian: I sent an email.

    AlphaMav: The glass bottom boat tour is a great idea. Thanks for the Groupon headsup. I purchased tickets. That’s a perfect thing that both Ann and I will enjoy.

    The tips on the BBQ will be helpful. It’s quickly becoming clear that we will be eating LOTS of Texas BBQ on this trip. That will work well for us, since Ann’s sensitivity to gluten and beef has become nearly equivalent to an allergic reaction.

    The river walk is a must stop. I’d heard of that prior to our decision to explore Texas. What I didn’t know was how much better it was in the evening. We’ll try to stop in to see the Lone Star Jeep, too. I see they work on jeeps of all types.

    Our trip is shaping up quickly. Thanks for the suggestions!

  14. Javier

    April is a great time to visit Texas. The weather is great and the bluebonnets are in full bloom. Will make for nice driving. I live just outside Dallas so if you ideas while passing through just let me know.

    Javier

  15. Patrick

    I live in Katy(west side of Houston) if you need anything or end up in jail when passing through. Vintagejeepparts.com is located near Richmond/Rosenberg if you can get in touch with the guy.

  16. Patrick

    As far as things to do in Houston you can go by the Astrodome, our museum district is nice and there are more than enough places to eat. As far as Galveston is concerned unless you have a reason to go there I would recommend beaches further south along your route, Port Aransas, South Padre,etc. Food is decent in Galveston and there is a train museum and shops but the beach is blah.

  17. mmdeilers Post author

    Patrick: My sister is in Katy at the big horse show for the next week. We’d hoped to meet up with her while she was there, but we’ve started so late I suspect we’ll probably miss her. We do have several Houston museums we want to see, including the art car museum. Galveston was one choice only because of its infamous destruction last century. We don’t spend much time on the beach, but will probably find a spot somewhere along the coast to dip our toes into the water, just to say we did. I didn’t know about vintagejeepparts. I’ll drop the guy a note and see if we can say hello.
    …. and, We will try to stay out of jail 🙂

    Javier: We have a place in Fort worth (National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame) we wanted to go, but I don’t think we’ve marked anything in Dallas (I’ll have to check our map). Depending on how we’ve progressed, we might skip Dallas and save that for some future trip by air (should that happen). But, if you can think of a few must see things, we are happy to consider them.

    Thanks!

  18. Patrick

    Well if you make it to Katy, let me know. If its at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center it is within a mile of my house.

  19. Javier

    When in Ft Worth go by the stockyards. if you make it throuh Dallas you may want to check out the 6th Floor Museum. When you go through Kingsville in S. Texas take the King Ranch tour of you have time.

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