It’s hard to believe that it’s time to leave Florida now.
Bye bye beach fishing for pompano, black drum, red drum, whitings and blue runners. I’m going to miss waiting for you to hit my line.
Bye bye white squeaky sand beaches that stretch for miles and miles.
Bye bye to all the “southerners” (real and transplanted), we loved how friendly you were, what courteous drivers you are and how polite everyone is.
We are making a bee-line to Mesa, Arizona so that we can spend Christmas with my Aunt and Uncle. We spent 6 weeks in Texas a few years ago, we were in Houston, Galveston, Corpus Christi, San Antonio and Austin so will basically make a couple of pit stops on our way north and west to Arizona.
First stop was Biloxi, Mississippi. It is a beautiful small city that has been hit hard by Hurricane Katrina and is still recovering. I saw lots of damaged piers and empty lots along the sea shore and beach highway. I found The Old Brick House and gravitated towards this MASSIVE oak tree in the back yard. It was amazing. Majestic. Historic in it’s own way. How old it must be. Who used you for shade? Who climbed on you? What conversations took place under your limbs, leaves and branches?
I parked down by the Visitors Centre, walked the beach, strolled thru Lighthouse Park and listened to the kids playing on the swings. Watched the traffic on the Beach Highway negotiate around the Lighthouse that was there long before the road was built.
Lighthouse in the middle of the beach highway in Biloxi.
Statue of French Canadian Explorer Pierre d’Iberville outside the Visitors Centre in Biloxi.
A storm damaged pier in Biloxi.
After leaving Biloxi we pointed the nose of the truck towards San Antonio and we were off.
We overnighted in Beaux Bridge, Louisianna and went for dinner at Crawfish USA. We ate everything “Cajun” on the menu: oysters, catfish, crawfish, frog legs, crab, shrimp, bread pudding. I also stopped at the market there and bought cracklins and supplies to make gumbo.
Next evening we landed in Beaumont, Texas. Didn’t think we were going to make it there safely as we drove thru a thunderstorm that wiped out our visibility and slowed freeway speeds from 75MPH to 45MPG. I left permanent imprints of my hands and fingernails on the steering wheel. Not much fun. It continued to rain thru the night with temperatures in the 40’s F.
Get ready to be entertained: Now remember it’s been pelting rain and lightening and thundering for the last hour. 2 ladies in a 4 door truck pulling a 30ft travel trailer pulled in beside us. Lady #1 is unhooking the trailer, putting down jacks etc. It’s still raining lightly. Lady #2 opens the door of the truck and this BIG DOG jumps out of the truck, takes 4 steps thru the puddle and jumps back in the truck.
Lady #2 Opens back passenger door (bpd)
Dog jumps in to front passenger seat.
Lady #2 closes bpd – opens fpd.
Dog jumps in to back passenger seat.
Lady closes fpd and opens bpd
Dog jumps in to front passenger seat
Lady outsmarts the dog (finally) by leaving BOTH doors open.
Dog jumps over to the drivers side of the truck.
Dog 1 – Lady 0.
Lady #1 arrives to help with dog extraction.
Dog bounces back and forth a few more times until he gets too close to Lady #1 who yards him out of the truck by his collar for the win!!
It continued to rain thru the night with temperatures in the 40’s F. We got up in the morning and continued our trek towards San Antonio. We drove thru rain all day, but not as heavy as the day before and successfully negotiated 7 lanes of traffic thru Houston, stopped in Schulenberg, Texas for the night. We were only 100 miles to San Antonio but we are in no hurry to get there (The Riverwalk isn’t going anywhere..) As we approached San Antonio we got caught up in a 2 hour traffic jam because a car-hauler broke in half and scattered cars all over the highway.
Not everyone has the patience to sit in traffic for that long. We saw a young Texan who looked like he decided to drive thru a ditch / median and on to an adjacent highway. Well, he ditched his truck in the weeds and caused lots of damage to his front end. Not sure how he’s going to explain that to his insurance company! The temperatures remained cool and well I might as well use the word COLD – it freakn snowed in the late evening. YES! SNOWED!. Very unusual, but it does happen occasionally.
We’ve been to San Antonio before so we didn’t visit the Alamo this time, but we did go down to the Riverwalk in the evening and took the Christmas Light Tour on one of the boats that go back and forth on the Riverwalk. Very festive.
We have 2 more days of driving to get to Carlsbad, New Mexico. We will break the trip in half with an overnight stay in Fort Stockton, Texas. This is one big State, that’s for certain. We already miss the southern hospitality. Texans are not near as friendly as their neighbours to the south and they certainly drive more aggressively too. I feel like I’m back in red-neck country.
We visited Carlsbad Caverns more than 20 years ago and we were so impressed by it that we decided to stop in for another visit on this trip. When we walked in I was impressed and in awe all over again. It is amazing, beautiful, the size of the caverns, the different formations, your eyes travel around, up and over. You have to go there, you just have to add it to your list of things to see if you are in that corner of New Mexico. You won’t be disappointed.
MIrror Lake inside Carlsbad Caverns.
Next stop: Mesa, Arizona. Get to spend time with the relatives.. YAY!!