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'Cuz I'm on Top of the World, Yeah

New Mexico is Magical

sunny 88 °F

Today began a long, long time ago. I can still remember. We set out from Fort Stockton bright and early, fueling up with"high octane" coffee at the Garage. Good coffe is good. We head north along a two lane highway, speed limit 75, signs of human life limited toil pumps and rigs with the occasional ranch thrown in for variety. So much of west Texas feels infinite, power lines stretching into the ether beyond the horizon and flames from the oil fields.
Our first stop is in the almost ghosttown of Orla. According to Wikipedia, the population is 2. Which is an awfully large population for a ghosttown, in my opinion. They have a post office, a supply store, and a gas station where a woman with an AirJordan logo tattooed on her neck sells beverages and sandwiches. She is very nice. All four people that we interact with are. I stop into the post office to send a few letters back east. I wrote them two weeks ago, but then misplaced my stamps.* I asked to use the restroom and thus learned that post offices do not have public restrooms, and that letting non post office workers use the restroom could get the clerk terminated. And anyway, the water was out. Thus, we walked the gravel to the supply store, where no one would get terminated for letting non employees use the restroom. One of the workers there hailed from Portland, Oregon, and suggested places for us to visit when we get there. He also let me take water and iced tea from the fridge. (Thanks!) The woman at the gas station and rig worker worker aren't sure why I'm photographing everything, and Shari explains that it's a habit. Unbreakable. The worst sort.
About 20 miles out of Orla, we cross into New Mexico a and Rocky Mountain time, so it's now 11:15 again. Almost immediately, the land in greener and hillier. The Gaudalupe mountains fill the distance, and the road climbs and twists.
We decide that the town of Hope might be a good place to top off the gas and stretch our legs before we head into Carlsbad National Park. We should not have placed our hope in Hope. Thee was a small convenience store, sans public restrooms. This seems to be a theme. We get to Carlsbad NP, weaving through hills, valleys, and gulches. The views are sublime. We go into the caverns to see the Big Room, full of stalactites and stalagmites. The air is thin and smells mineral.
I drive the three hours to White Sands National Monument, on narrow roads passing through the Sacramento Mountains. From the top of CloudsCroft to Alamogordo , we descend nearly a mile.I touch the gas twice in the twenty minute descent.


White Sands is freaking stunning. We walk and run on dunes bare foot, marveling at the distant mountains, the sky, the softness of the sand and how the winds coming over the tops of the dunes feels like a sand blaster. I recommend leg coverings and long sleeves. It's nearly sunset, and three storm cells are visible to the south, west, and north east. The clouds are like anvils and mushroom clouds and when the wind dies down, we hear distant thunder. We leave the park at dusk, the lightening now visible in the darkening sky.

White Sands National Monument at sunset

White Sands National Monument at sunset

It's been a very long day, and I look forward to sleeping and having an easier day tomorrow. Los Cruces to Pheonix, AZ!

Lanie, if you're still following, we want you to know the your cookies made it to New Mexico and are still delicious. We evidently have more self control than previously thought.

  • if you want a letter/postcard, I probably don't have your address. Please fix this by sending it to me in a message/text/email. Thanks. Please be aware that my having your address is no guarantee of you receiving a letter/postcard.

Posted by MiriG 22:45 Archived in USA Tagged animals park monument mexico new white national texas sands cross_country carlsbad-national Comments (0)

A Weekend of Texas

Seriously there is so much freaking Texas

sunny 78 °F
View Road Trip!!!!!!!! on shari36's travel map.

Friday was a really chill day. We met up with Miriam's friend Kyla, who is super cool and a Houston local to boot, who kindly offered to be our tour guide for the day. We started out at a really neat coffee place with amazing coffee and yummy food. We then headed to a couple of thrift shops and tried on some silly clothing and also bought lots of awesome stuff, it was fun. Afterwards Miriam and Kyla went to the printmaking museum in Houston and I went to the chocolate factory next-door. Miriam is a huge printmaking nerd and was very excited about the printing museum, and since I wasn't really there I'll let her make a post describing her experience there while I continue talking as per usual about my experience at the chocolate factory. It was really awesome! I got to try a bunch of different Venezuelain chocolates. We finished our day with a second lunch at The Hobbit Cafe which is so freaking cool there were maps of Middle Earth all over and the whole place had a really cool Hobbit hole vibe with stuff on the menu like Gandalf sandwiches and Pippin smoothies.

Second breakfast is important

Second breakfast is important

Saturday was a much deserved day of rest with lots of sleeping, eating, and board game playing. The people we stayed with for Shabbat, the Actors, were really wonderful. They even sent some books along for the journey when they heard of my love for science-fiction, an Orson Scott Card novel which is always a pleasure to read and a Greg Baer novel which I am unfamiliar with but excited to try.

This morning we left Houston and headed Northwest towards Austin. We had lunch in Austin and did some looking around the local shops. Austin is a super cool place, really chill vibe and lots of attractive people. Definitely on our list of places to come back to since we did not have that much time to explore it today as we had to continue heading west.

How cool is Austin

How cool is Austin

The rest of the day was lots of driving through all of freaking Texas, seriously there is so much Texas! But it is really beautiful. We stopped at Roosevelt, Texas to get gas and use the restroom but the single gas station in town is apparently closed on Sundays. According to the Internet, Roosevelt is a ghost town, however, there seem to be a few people still living in the town. Hopefully they did not see me taking care of business behind the dumpster because the only public bathroom in town is closed on Sundays. What are people supposed to do, hold it in until 9:00am on Monday?!

All in all, it was a really cool day. We finished it off by driving into the sunset over the beautiful Texas mountains, Miriam took lots of pretty pictures to document the event.

Our accommodations for the night. The sky is beautiful

Our accommodations for the night. The sky is beautiful

Posted by shari36 19:22 Archived in USA Tagged chocolate road_trip coffee texas hobbit lower_48 so_much_texas Comments (0)

Lone Star State

I don't believe anything is actually bigger in Texas, rather, it is proportionately scaled to the size of the state

sunny 94 °F

We leave Lafayette around 11 and stop by a local produce store for bananas and coffee. The sun beats down hot and strong, and boils the water from the bayous into the air. My hair is contained, a last ditch effort against the frizz. To no avail.
We head west towards Texas, passing hitchhikers I the entrance ramp to the I-10. A man and a woman, traveling together, it seems. Shari and I debate if we would ever pick up a 'hiker, and the possible consequences there of. We're out of Louisiana in about an hour, the land and sky unfolding before us in flat green fields and mountainous clouds. We pass many cattle farms. Near the border, there is a ranch directly connected to a Texas Longhorn Steakhouse. I don't suppose meat gets much fresher than that.
We cross into Texas over the Sabine River, which my phone soon alerts me in running at 23.4 feet and the levees only on go up to 23 feet, so there is minor flooding in some places. But there is little standing water aside from in the swamps, though there is the threat of later in the day thunder storms.
Our host for the weekend recommended the first rest stop after the river. There is a boardwalk behind the information center, going through the Blue Elbow Swamp. The swamp resounds with peepers, bull frog , and song birds. A man says he spotted a gator hanging out under the walk, but we don't see it. They are pretty well camouflaged. It begins to rain intermittently and we walk to the "welcome to Texas" sign to take dorky pictures with the sign.
Back on the road towards Houston, we set up to meet with my friend from home who recently relocated, Kyla. We find each other and take off towards Green's Vegetarian Cuisine, which is delicious. And reasonably priced. And Kosher. They make their own chips and just wow. Everything we tried was wonderful and super filling, which is important, especially with so much traveling.
Shari and I hang out with Kyla and her beau, Jacob, for the rest of the evening, master planning for tomorrow. Part of the master plan is being out of the house by 10ish, so an integral part of the plan would be my heading to bed fairly soon. Like, now-ish.

Posted by MiriG 21:38 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip lone state star texas lower_48 long_day Comments (0)

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