Catching Up and Passing Through

After our visit to the Dallas area, including Denton and Lewisville, it was time to head west. Unfortunately we didn’t feel comfortable bringing a rental car across the state, so we had to return it – leaving us without a car. We are still hoping to get another rental next week if I can get through to my insurance company (don’t ask) but in the meantime, this has made our sight-seeing much more challenging. So I’m sharing initial impressions to get you caught up on our travels. 

The Dallas highway signage – and traffic – is atrocious. I was so glad Ross was driving because I just couldn’t have handled it. And I was really thankful we could return the rental in Lewisville and avoid that insanity in an RV. The GPS was really confused too – it felt worse than Boston to navigate. At least they had bike lanes five miles from downtown!

We drove through Boyd, Texas, which Ross’ family should get a kick out of. (We didn’t stop though, Ross said he was Boyd enough.) 


Runaway Bay into Bridgeport Lake was one of the most gorgeous sites we’ve seen, with water on both sides of the divided highway. Hubbard Creek Lake was also gorgeous and immediately followed by the Plaza Motel, which I found amusing. Albany had a very cute old west feel downtown; and the next notable site was Abilene, TX. If we had had a car, we would have walked downtown (they have statues of storybook characters throughout) and I would have visited Abilene Christian University for a walk (it’s a great campus), but the campus wasn’t RV-friendly so instead we spent the day at the library and visited a What-A-Burger so Ross could experience it! (I had a tiny bite, a few sips of chocolate shake and one fry. I didn’t die!)


I chose a branch library that was in a strip mall. Tons of parking and the fastest upload speeds I had seen since my mom’s house! We picked another spot in town for the evening and headed out the next day. Abilene seems to have everything you need. But it could use way more sidewalks. 

We’ve noticed that Texas has lots of interstates parallel to state highways. Maybe these towns have been built up along these corridors? You can drive parallel to the interstate a lot – not something we have seen elsewhere. 

Our next stop was Midland, TX. The area is full of Spanish architecture (and Spanish-speaking people of course) and had lots of empty storefronts in this childhood home of G. W. Bush. We noticed buses and lots of sidewalks, multiple theatres and what looked like a cute natural foods market. But this area is bizarre. It’s surrounded by oil fields – not pretty – and it’s an odd, industrial place. I also noticed self-serve water stations, $1/5 gallons, which I had never seen before.


Before and after the oil fields we did see a lot of natural beauty in Texas. This was the first area we saw vandalism on highways. We passed the International Memorial Wall and a bridge to Mexico, and we were near the Rio Grande. After some last-minute repositioning in awkward traffic in El Paso, we settled in for a night. El Paso is clearly an awesome city but with pouring rain and Saturday crowds the next day, we decided to keep moving. 

That almost catches you up. I will save our drive from El Paso for the next post. Thanks for reading! 

O-klahoma!

Yesterday was a long day, with showers and wind interspersed with some beautiful scenery amidst what was mostly nondescript Oklahoma towns. 

One of the first we passed through, after a great night’s sleep at Walmart, was Afton, Oklahoma. The downtown’s buildings looked almost entirely gutted or long vacant or fire-damaged. It was really sad. We also noticed a few ads on junk cars dressed as police cars that read “Been Bad? Call Brad!”. Apparently it’s a bail bond service. Sad that that is such an in demand industry. On the other hand, there were lots of video stores in Oklahoma, including Family Video, which is hiring! So if you miss the days of Blockbuster, try Oklahoma!

This was our first time really seeing American Indian nations. Different tribes have their own license plates and it was neat to get a glimpse as we passed through. Of course there are many casinos but the Choctaw Casino is like a gorgeous city unto itself in the middle of nowhere! Anyone want to see Franki Valli and the Four Seasons there in a few weeks? 

The best part of the drive was driving over Lake Eufala. I knew NH mountains would be hills out here, but I didn’t realize our lakes are like ponds in comparison! This one goes on for many, many miles, and the combination of hills, foliage and lake was incredibly gorgeous, even on a cloudy day. 

Churches (and sometimes schools) were very different in Oklahoma. They often looked like strip malls! We haven’t seen any like that in the Midwest or the Northeast. I wonder if anyone has photographed the churches of the U.S.? And today Ross taught his first Skype lesson from the RV which was awesome. I found us a town with excellent cell signal (Verizon) and we parked at Loew’s, which had usable internet for emails from our vehicle without a booster!

Some of the hills we passed yesterday reminded me of Tennessee. Other things struck us as different though. Apparently “Bag of burgers” are a thing at multiple places here? Braum’s looks like a cute, quaint chain with their own cow’s dairy and ice cream. Oklahoma also had some weird highways where cars could enter and exit from cross streets (and occasionally you’d have to stop completely) which felt really unsafe. 

So far, Texas seems like suburbia in steroids. Everyone drives incredibly fast and the ramps aren’t built for slow drivers. So far we haven’t seen much if any sign of public transit either. Just strip mall after strip mall with too many cars. My friend told us a plus and minus out here – you aren’t a close drive to the ocean or mountains. BUT everything is open almost 24 hours, which is handy. 

Last night we socialized with our friends (I went to a screen acting class while Ross enjoyed drinks and conversation) and today I will be picking up a rental car and baking and preparing for tomorrow. I will be preparing almost all of the meal for 7 people (not the turkey and probably not one of the veggies) so I definitely have some work to do! Our insurance company has been giving me headaches so I hope it all goes smoothly today. 

Cross your fingers that my key lime pie is not only edible but vaguely reminiscent of my grandmother’s. It’s going to be fun!