We enter the "Lone Star State" a little after noon, about 25 miles east of Beaumont.
Stopping at the visitors center on the border we find out that it is about 860 miles across the south of Texas. We have a little drive ahead of us! As we let the dog out for a little stretch I am getting eaten alive by mosquitos that are about the size of B-52s! It's back in the car quick so we can head out of here! We decide to take the more scenic route and head west on Hwy 105/190: our odometer on little "Tammy Toyota" rolls over the 100,000 mile mark and she's still humming along. We have to give her a little pat and some praise to keep her going! Soon all there is to see are miles and miles and miles and miles of nothing but flat scrub brush. Not even a cactus or sage brush lives out here! The countryside is all short, stubby trees and huge open pastures. The most interesting thing to see is the scattering of a few big ranches with longhorn cattle and miles of fenceline, and an occassional oil well. We did see a black bear dead along the road that we speculate must have been hit by a big truck. There are lots of signs that advertise land for sale "Cheap"!
Ike's comment is, "And to think we fought a war to claim this land. Who really won that war?" I agree wholeheartedly. We can only wonder why, out here in oil country did we just pay $3.39 a gallon for gas? All the way across the country, and back again, and this is the highest price we have seen so far! As the sun begins to set, we realize that we still have many, many miles of Texas to cover and we'll just keep driving as far as we can to get through it, since there is nothing to see anyway!
We learn that driving in the dark along Texas Highway 190 may not be a wise thing to do: we enter "deer country" and see literally hundreds of deer grazing along the highway for many, many miles. We are both on edge watching to make sure none of them jump across the road in front of us. Very nervewracking. Looking at the atlas tells us that we have to go a long way before we can get back on Interstate 10. We ended up driving until midnight before we can pull into Junction, Texas at I-10, where there is a KOA we can crash in. That made a 14+ hour drive for the day. Enough!
Next morning we are back on the road again fairly early because we still have 435 miles to go before we hit El Paso and the western edge of the state. The speed limit on I-10 is 80mph so maybe we'll get to make up some ground today as the time to get home draws nearer. We have hit 32 states so far on our journey.
I started to get hungry for some good Mexican food before we leave the state. It's 100+ miles between towns and the two that we did drive through are like little ghost towns without much sign of life, let alone anything that looks like a decent restaurant. Finally arriving at the small town of Van Horn, we stop at a little place that looks promising. Lo and Behold, we have stopped in John Madden's favorite restaurant and there is tons of sports memorabilia in the place (even Huskies and Seahawks pennants). We are the only people in there at 3pm; nice to sit and relax for a minute and I have the best chili rellenos I have ever had!
Our little lunch stop resulted in us hitting El Paso at 5pm rush hour. What a zoo, there is terrible traffic for miles! I didn't realize this city was so huge, and we haven't been in any traffic since leaving Washington DC so I'm a little on edge before we get out of there, to say the least!! Ready to go back to small southern towns, for sure!
We enter New Mexico at 6 pm, we have driven another very long day today and we are ready to quit. I never thought it would take 22 hours of driving to cross the southern part of Texas. The GPS found an RV park for us in Deming, not too far away so we're excited to stop. 81 Palms RV Park looks like a very nice place to stay and we're happy to be stopped at 8pm. After getting settled for the evening, we realize we are right by the railroad tracks as the trains start whizzing by. ARGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
After Ike got his fill of frog legs (and me my crawfish etouffee) our appetites are fully satisfied and we hit the road again to finish our trek across the southern part of the US. Only about 75 miles to go in Louisiana and we will enter Texas. In this area of the state we see lots of big fields of sugar cane and oil wells (not pumping). Westlake, Louisiana is home to miles and miles of huge oil refineries.