Monday, 4 March 2013

Deep In The Heart Of Texas

Hi y'all, here we are in Austin, Texas, and in less than 48 hours we will be winging our way home via Dallas/Fort Worth, which is about three hours north of here.

Our trusty Ford Hybrid

Our journey, across country, hugging Route 66 wherever possible, has been long and eventful. Many hours staring at nothing but the road disappearing into the horizon, but the car has Satellite Radio built in, so we have never been more than a click away from some great music to accompany our travels.  I reckon by the time we return the car to Avis at the airport on Wednesday we will have covered over 2,000 miles.
The adobe architecture of historic Albuquerque, New Mexico

With our host Lori, at the Route 66 Diner in Alburquerque

Pat in Fort Stockton, New Mexico

Our last blog was from the snows of Scottsdale in Arizona, where it hadn’t snowed for over 20 years, and the weather followed us as we headed into New Mexico. We returned, to Winslow, Arizona, to “Stand On The Corner”, as in the Eagles “Take It Easy”, before heading for Gallup, where it was very cold and snowy. Gallup, on Route 66, is a poor town, whose main inhabitants are Native Americans and we holed up in a motel for the night there. From Gallup we slowly climbed. I must have been pretty na├»ve to believe we could complete this trip without some rough weather and although we avoided it in Alburquerque, where we couchsurfed with Lori and had a great Sunday brunch in an old-fashioned diner on Route 66, by the time we had climbed another 2,000 feet and arrived in Santa Fe, it was freezing and the snow fell most of the night.

I had high hopes of Santa Fe. It was a city I really wanted to see, and I am sure when the sun is shining on its old adobe buildings it is beautiful, but under a few inches of snow it was depressing. Pat was not keen on what they had done to the historic part as well, so we cut our time there to one day and headed off south to find a bit of sunshine.  After dodging snowdrifts and closed interstate highways, we eventually got to Roswell, “the alien capital of the world”, and had a great night surfing with Pam and Bonny, who played a variety of stringed instruments. Pam also was learning ukulele, and able to give me some tips. It was also good to get my hands round a regular guitar again. We both liked Roswell and the sun shone, finally.
At the Buddy Holly Centre in Lubbock, Texax
Pat enlists at Fort Conchos, Santa Rosa, Texas
With Brett, our host in Fredericksburg, Texas

Pat meets a little green man in Roswell

Then we pushed into Texas. We have been here before, when we visited Dallas in 2008, but this was going to be the Texas grand tour, I had always promised myself, when I started getting into Texas music in the late 1970’s. It’s huge of course, and  vary varied. There’s an awful lot of nothing in West Texas, although the hill country to the south is far more interesting. We detoured to Lubbock, to do the Bully Holly thing in his hometown and then headed south east via Santa Rosa and Fort Conchos, to the German town of Fredericksburg, where I got a crash course from our host Brett, on American Football and Texas history. From there it was a short drive to San Antonio, hitting the city, unknown to us, just as they were celebrating Texas Independence Day. We did the Alamo and the famous river walk and our host there, Lee, took us for a drive around the city, and showed us where his German relations had settled and lived in the latter part of the 19th century.  His English side came from Hillingdon in West London, and we past the Hillingdon Ranch, that his great grandfather founded to the north of the city.

Pat at The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas

We spend Independence Day in Luckenbach (population 3), surrounded by dozens of Stetson hatted gals and guys, with fancy belts and fancier cowboy boots, whooping it up, as they celebrated their states 177th birthday. It was just great and the music was OK too. If you have never heard of Luckenbach, then Google it. It’s a very famous country song from the late 1970s.
Texas Independence Day at Luckenbach, Texas

Y'all having a good time

And now we are in Austin, “keeping it weird”, which is their slogan here. There are over 100 bars and clubs for every conceivable musical taste, the climate is great, the people are friendly and the city is a manageable size. Tomorrow we are going for Texas Barbecue, and my syntax is correct. This is a bit of a religion in these part and we have to be at the restaurant at 10.30am and get in the queue for when it opens at mid-day. It’s not like we know a barbecue, but sounds good fun. I think tomorrow we are going to Ginny’s Longhorn Saloon, down the road from where we are staying for a last night of honky tonk music, before we fly home. We’ve had a great time, but we will be glad to get back to the UK and the boat, and have been planning our summer route  while we have been whiling away the hours counting the cactus and the telephone lines.

1 comment:

  1. Really enjoyed reading about your worldwide travels over the last few months, sounds like you have had an amazing time. Safe journey home and hope we may say hello to you both on the cut this year!