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Published: November 11th 2014
View in the direction of Mexico
Alive and well, we have made it across Texas in only two days. The short time of travel is anyhow an illusion as we drove for about 2000 km through the vast and flat landscape that is the Lone-star State. In other words, we have decided that we want to see as much as we can from the window of a car and mostly spend the evening and mornings only in the stopovers we have chosen. In other words again, we drove from Italy to Denmark and back while still being in Texas.
Our trip started off in Houston, my closest hub of transportation. There we got our rental car which is a white Chevrolet Malibu, number plate of Kentucky - unbridled spirit (which every time I look at it makes me want to get some KFC fried chicken). Anyhow, we decided to have a quick lunch stop in the often recommended city of San Antonio to see the Alamo. The Alamo is pretty much an old Spanish monastery that has never been finished - but history gave it another important role to play. In the year 1863 the building was the showcase of the last stand of Texan troops
Inside the park
fighting the Mexicans and ultimately a 2 weeks siege resulted in about 200 Texans' death at the Alamo. Nowadays the building has become somewhat of a shrine where cowboy hatted and booted Texans come to pay their respect to the dead in the sublime building.
The Alamo is nestled in downtown San Antonio which, compared to Houston especially, has a nice walking area and Spanish looking churches. A big plus is also the "River Walk", which seems to be a man-made channel crossing the downtown, reminding a little of the channels commonly found in the Netherlands. The place makes for a fun stop as there are plenty of little restaurants and bars flaking the river. After our short layover we finally started our long journey west. This is where the fun really starts: Heading to the west of Texas means several things. First, no cell phone coverage. Second, no internet. Third, not much of anything really. And of course lady luck already made us a nice first day present.
Luckily my friend noticed that the car was showing us a problem with our tire pressure - decreasing every minute on the rear right. Problem was, we were about
4 hours drive from San Antonio, the sun was setting and there was literally nothing on the map. The next gas station was signaled as being at least 40 km away. We were looking for adventure and boom - it hits you in the face. As a last ditch effort before stranding on the highway, we decided to take an exit to a small village by the name of Sonora, Texas. The contrast to the East of the state was stunning! If you are looking for cowboys with hats, boots and handlebar mustaches: Sonora is your place to be! We also got a very good representation of Southern hospitality with locals in a Subway store calling a couple of guys who eventually fixed our tire and wished us well for the rest of our travel.
As we were heading west towards the Big Bend national park and had a little delay, we decided to stop somewhere in the middle of nowhere, one of the bigger towns in the area called Fort Stockton. The main attraction of the city (except again cowboys with handlebar mustaches and multiple taco stores) is a statue of an oversized roadrunner, named "Paisano Pete"... Not
Road sneaking through the rocks
the cartoon character but the actual animal which does exist in Texas... And apparently is able to kill both, tarantulas and rattlesnakes! If you are looking for the Texas of your probably outdated stereotypes, the central and western part of the state is really your way to go. Approaching the Big Bend, the landscape gets continuously dryer and the green trees of the East transform into a prairie of semi-desert, cacti and rattlesnakes lurking among the arid stones and rocks. The Big Bend park stretches all down to the Rio Grande, the river bordering the Chihuahua province of Mexico. Amazing landscapes, not much else to say. Sadly we did not see lots of wildlife except a huge scary tarantula crossing the street right before our car and a couple of worms in the sand.
After a long day in the park we eventually made it to El Paso, the extreme west of the wild wild west. We stayed here tonight and from our backyard you can see the bright lights of Cidad Juarez, the Mexican border town directly flanking El Paso. Trip Advisor labelled Juarez as the "unofficial murder capital of the world" so a short border trip is
A lonely cyclist
not too tempting. Today we will check out the area of El Paso and then drive on to New Mexico... hoping for the best with much more adventure to come and hopefully a little more luck! I apologize for keeping it short this time but the beauty of Texas lies in more than words can say: Check out my pictures and be amazed. Stay tuned folks!
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