Once I made the decision to drive Tina & Bryant's car to CA from FL for them, I made Dakota go with me to keep me company. He did not relish the idea of being in a car for 2-3 days but I promised him we would stop and see things to break up the monotony of the trip but I needed him to go with me to keep me company. Honestly I hate driving. When I am at home I get out of driving whenever I can. I knew this was going to be a lonnnnnggggg trip and I wasn't about to do it by myself!
We packed up the car and headed out on March 5th, 2007. I had not traveled west since Hurricane Katrina had gone through and I was saddened by the ruins I still saw everywhere.
Dakota and I both like Mexican food but we don't get to eat it as often (unless we go somewhere for lunch) because Greg doesn't like it that much anymore. I told Dakota that we were eating Mexican while traveling through Texas because they can do some Mexican food up right! We stopped in Houston for dinner at a little Mexican restaurant...I don't think anybody spoke English. LOL, once Dakota and I realized that our waiter didn't understand a word we were saying we just pointed on our menus to what we wanted and hoped for the best. The food was WONDERFUL! Dakota ordered two tacos and got three but other than that everything came out perfectly.
We stopped in San Antonio for the night. The next morning after our continental breakfast and a quick swim in the pool we headed out to The Alamo in downtown San Antonio. We walked around there for about an hour and watched the movie about the history of The Alamo. Unfortunately we just so happened to be there on March 6th, the anniversary of the day the Alamo was overtaken so there were lots of dignitaries there and speeches going on and parts of the memorial that were closed off.
We left after about an hour and walked around downtown San Antonio by The Riverwalk instead. This was much more interesting! This is a river that runs through the downtown area - through hotels, a mall -- right through the middle of buildings! There are fountains everywhere and beautiful trees and plants. It was so beautiful!
We ate at Joe's Crab Shack for lunch. There are dozens of restaurants three stories high lined up on both sides of this river. You can sit inside or out on the patio area. We sat outside
overlooking the river while we ate our lunch.
This huge tree was right outside from where we ate...we had never seen a tree so big! We asked our waitress what kind of tree it was but she didn't know. I still don't know what it is?
We got back on the road about 1:00 to begin our trek across Texas. I was NOT looking foward to this. I just wanted to make it to El Paso if I could. I told Dakota to hunker down because we probably were not stopping the rest of the day (besides potty breaks) because I was on a mission to get to El Paso.
Now let me just tell you a little something about myself...I have a lead foot. I also think I was a professional race car driver in another life because I love to weave in and out of traffic to "get ahead" of the other cars. These two reasons combined are probably the main reason I don't like to drive - because I can't unleash my inner self...my REAL need-for-speed in my everyday driving. But in Texas...check out THIS speed limit ----------
Oh yeah babyyyyyy! That's what I'm talking about! That means I can go 90 right?? Whoohoooo I am in driver's heaven now! The road out there was so flat and you could see for miles and miles and miles so for about 2 hours I was driving 100 mph (oh the shock and horror - I know some of you are probably picking your jaws up off the ground right now! LOL) I slowed down to around 90 so I could clean my windshield...which means I wasn't paying attention to the road ahead of me...or more importantly the median ahead of me until it was too late...
Yep, I got pulled over for a speeding ticket. My first ticket I have ever had in my entire life. What was going through my mind as the officer was writing my ticket was the conversation my husband and I had before I left on this trip "Now, don't go getting any speeding tickets! You and your lead foot on the open road!"
I told him "What are you talking about? I've never gotten a ticket before. What makes you think I'm going to get one now??" Oh curses! He jinxed me!
When the officer asked me if I knew how fast I was going I told him no I didn't, but I knew I was driving fast. I told him I was cleaning off the windshield and wasn't paying attention to the speed. This was all the truth. He told me he clocked me doing 91 mph. I was thinking "Whoooowheeee, good thing you didn't catch me 5 mins ago, you would have clocked me doing 101 instead of just 91!" So I got my nice little ticket and got on my merry way. As soon as we got back on the road Dakota couldn't wait to call his daddy! Rat fink! No loyalty whatsoever!
Haha - his daddy put him on speed patrol - told him he was in charge of the speedometer from now on and when it got above the speed limit he was to put the pressure on me. He did and still does to this day!
The drive to San Antonio to El Paso was long and boring with rocks and scenery much like these.
It was very late when we arrived in El Paso - I called Greg and asked him to get on the computer and find us a hotel to stay in and reserve us a room. I was too tired to deal with trying to find a room at this hour but I didn't want to just stop anywhere and risk paying a lot of money when a better deal could be found elsewhere. He hooked us up good!
In the morning we went through the same routine of the continental breakfast and swimming in the pool before we got on the road again. The drive through New Mexico and Arizona was so much prettier than Texas. I loved how the scenery changed as we went from state to state all the way across the country.
We reached a point in Arizona where Dakota started going stir crazy and just had to get out of the car. I saw a sign for Picacho Peak State Park ahead so I pulled off the interstate real quick and we went to this park. We were there a couple hours hiking and rock-climbing. It felt great to get out and exercise after 3 days in the car!
The view was gorgeous from the top. The trip down was harder than the trip up because of all the rocks and pebbles. I had to sit and slide down on my butt alot because I was afraid I was going to slip on all the loose gravel and pebbles.
Dakota was getting a blister on his toe - poor guy! He was a trooper though. He had to wait on his old momma most of the time!!
Yes my face is red because I was hot!
Okay I can NOT BELIEVE how BIG these cactuses (cacti?) are????? They were everywhere!
Look at the shape of this one? LOL
Can you tell I like plants? Yet another cactus....
I thought we were going to make it all the way to San Diego that day but after 3 days of driving I was worn out. I ended up stopping in El Centro, CA for the night. I had no idea how far this was from Tina but at that point I didn't care. I was falling asleep at the wheel so I had to stop. When I woke up the next morning I was glad to discover we were only about 3 hours away.....