Texas is a big, big State! Leaving El Paso, one finds endless flat land and on the first 114 miles, the Interstate road surface is serrated making the truck tires sing constantly, “Singing Sam Tire Song.” I also noticed that the oil boom is going on also in the I-10 area as it was on I-20 further north. Loads of drill equipment going and coming all the way for 300 miles!
Fort Stockton and Camp Walmart
Fort Stockton is a charming old historic town. It was time for a driving break and a little exploration. An overhead wrought iron welcoming sign invited us into the old town. Typical brick and adobe storefronts lined the old main street. Signs pointed to the old fort and museum, but we were looking for a local restaurant. Nothing that jumped at us. One store was loaded with ornaments on the sidewalk. It was still opened and we walked in just for curiosity. Some items were junky tourist stuff, but others really caught our eye. This store was linked to a furniture store. I walked in and was amazed at the bedroom sets. King and larger! Massive head and foot boards. I kept walking in deeper. To my surprise, I spotted two dummies sleeping on one of the king size beds. Oh, they weren’t dummies! I started to tiptoe away when some other kids came running by. It must have been the owners family members waiting for closing time at 6pm.
The one thing that I didn’t expect was “Spring School Break” week! It may seem that this wouldn’t have affected us, but it surely did. It is truly spring here in this part of Texas and many families head to camping areas! All State Parks were full, all privately owned RV Parks were also full. Hence, we settled for “Camp Walmart”! I recently read that there will be an additional one million more RV’s on the road in 2018. That’s fine, but I also read that there will be a shortage of RV campgrounds and more importantly highway upgrades (smoother pothole free highways). I’ve seen many RV’s along the roadside changing tires! Even the military campgrounds are running nearly full capacity!
Walmart was full of RVs, maybe dozens and no problems staying there. The interesting thing was in the early morning as three van loads of young oil field workers were leaving for work in the fields. All wearing class 3 safety vests with hardhats! Oh, yes the oil boom is here also.
The Decision ~ Austin?
In Fort Stockton, I made a decision not to head for San Antonio. We’d been there a couple of times, don’t get me wrong, it is a great city to explore, but it was time for a new adventure. In Junction, TX, I took US 290 straight for Austin. A four-lane rural highway with 65 mph speed limit instead of the 80 mph on I-10. It wasn’t long before trees (Live Oaks) filled the landscape. Pastures, cows, and horses were more abundant, the elevation dropped and we were in Texas “Hill Country.” The further we drove more wooden fenced properties came into view. This was Lady Bird Johnson’s country! Did you ever hear of “Blue Bells” flowers? That was Lady Bird’s passion, to line the highways with these and other types of flowers. They were in bloom!
Fredericksburg, TX ~ The Town That Is Alive!
Driving into town, it was unbelievable. Activities everywhere! People, kids, families all walking around the main street. I had to find a place to park on a side street. It was some sort of old home days or in reality, it was “Spring Break!” People occupying a town during mid-week makes you want to take part in what they are doing, watching or even eating. This was our sign to stay the night. A walking self-guided tour was a perfect focus for us. Old buildings and their original occupants kept us taking pictures, studying architecture. Local limestone blocks were used in many of these structures and have survived the test of time. Dinner was at “Cultures Grill and Bar”. Live music, good food and a perfect end to a good day!
Did I mention that all campgrounds in or near Fredericksburg were full? Camp Walmart to the rescue again. It’s nice to be self-contained and safe!
That is what we saw and did!