Skip to main content

Gulf Coast Trip: The Driving Days


View Larger Map

The day after Christmas Day we set off for the longest drive we have yet done in Texas: the ten-hour trip to the Gulf of Mexico.  Would you like to spend ten hours all at once in a car with a wriggly one-year-old?  No, nor did we.  Fortunately my (English) cousin was staying in the Hill Country with his (Texan) wife and their three gorgeous girls, which provided the perfect excuse to stop halfway.

Fredericksburg Christmas tree
Even if they hadn't been there, we still might have stopped in Fredericksburg.  It's a busy little town with a strong German influence and lots of Christmas lights.  We'd passed through before but enjoyed the chance to stay a bit longer.  The highlight of the decorations was the giant Christmas pyramid, crafted in Germany and shipped over at some vast expense.


Learn all about it!

Joe and Amie met us there, and we strolled down the street, sampling ice cream, sausages and beer as we went.  The girls were much taken with Toby, and competed to entertain him.  We were tempted to employ them on the spot as babysitters for our trip!

Zea, Maia, Leila and Toby
Later that evening we walked up Main Street once more to see the decorations by dark, then it was off to bed in preparation for our next day of driving.

Christmas tree by night

The whole street was decorated

This has to be the cutest wake-up call ever: In the morning Toby gave a little wiggle and a squeak, and then his head popped up just on the level with our bed, and giggled.  He wanted to drive the next stretch, but we decided he'd be better off safely in the back.

This is much more fun!
 We dipped and swooped through the rolls and curves of the Hill Country, and then we were through San Antonio and on the straight flat road to the coast.  I'd thought north Texas was pretty flat, but this really took the biscuit - or indeed the metaphorical pancake.  After a while the monotony was relieved when we started spotting palm trees and realised we were at the same latitude as Florida.  Then enormous wind turbines reared up all around us, sprouting from the bare fields in orderly rows.

Interstate 10
Wind turbines and straight roads

Finally we reached the ferry to Port Aransas.  We made the brief voyage across the ship channel, and as we docked, spotted our first pelican perched on a post.  Welcome to Mustang Island!

On the ferry

Pelican!

On our return journey we made the overnight stop in Kerrville, a pretty little place with the clear green waters of the Guadalupe River running through the town.  We discovered Billy Genes restaurant and treated ourselves to steak while we enjoyed the river view.  Graham and I each got a slice of meringue pie to go and ate it sprawled on the motel room's king size bed.

Trees by the Guadalupe

Toby exploring

The river from downtown
Next morning we decided we'd better work off some of that food before we got back in the car, so we made our way to Kerrville-Schreiner Park and took a stroll.  It was a still, cold, sunny morning and we had the park almost to ourselves.  We let Toby loose on the playground, where he promptly climbed as many steps as he could find, and was rescued by his anxious parents before he went head-first down the biggest slide there.

Peaceful morning

Hiking with Toby in his new carrier
I like tunnels!
And then it was time to pack ourselves back into the PT Cruiser and cruise north again.  The less said about that final stretch the better, but suffice to say that we were all pleased to get home.

Comments

Fat Dormouse said…
It looks like you had a great time...It's sometimes hard to settle back into every day life after trips like this. How's it going with you guys?

Popular posts from this blog

Bonnie Prince Charlie Walk: Lees to Derby

These final two Bonnie Prince Charlie walks were quite a contrast: the first across empty fields and along quiet roads; the second crossing from country into city as I walked into Derby. I started both walks at the Great Northern Greenway car park, just off Station Road in Mickleover.  Walk 1 In order to keep walking the Bonnie Prince Charlie way in the right direction, I first found my way back to Lees by an alternative route. The first section, along the cycle path, was well paved. After that it quickly got very muddy. At least it's a popular walk from Mickleover to Radbourne, so it was easy to find the path.  St Andrew's, Radbourne, is rather dominated by memorials. It looks as if the preacher would be hemmed in by tombs!      I liked this bench outside, with the text, "The thoughtful soul to solitude retires". Writing this, I only just realised it was a quote. Turns out it's from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam . The rest of the walk certainly provided solitude,

A Place at the Table: Spiritual Formation Book 12

"God has ordained in his great wisdom and goodness that eating, and especially eating in company, should be one of the most profound and pleasurable aspects of being human." Miranda Harris had been intending to write a book for years. She'd got as far as a folder full of notes when she died suddenly in a car accident in 2019. When her daughter, Jo Swinney, found the notes, she decided to bring her mum's dream to fruition. A Place at the Table was the result. I thought this was going to be a nice friendly book about having people over for dinner. In one sense it is, but it's pretty hard-hitting as well. Miranda and her husband Peter co-founded the environmental charity A Rocha, so the book doesn't shy away from considering the environmental aspects of what we eat and how we live. They also travelled widely and encountered hunger at close quarters; the tension between seeing such poverty and believing in a generous God comes out clearly in A Place at the Table.

Bonnie Prince Charlie Walk: Longford to Lees and BONUS walk

The walk from Longford to Lees didn't include any churches. That was frankly not on. So I found an extra walk which included not one, not two, but three churches. Also it was shorter, because I didn't have time to fit in a longer walk that week. The next week I managed the churchless section of the Bonnie Prince Charlie Walk. It was a little more adventurous than I expected! Walk 1 (Three Churches) For this route I followed the directions given by Dave Welford on his very useful blog . As soon as I parked up by Sutton-on-the-Hill church, I heard the bleating of lambs. Spring must be coming. number 11 mum and baby   I crossed a field full of numbered lambs and ewes and came out in the middle of Sutton village. Turning left by the village preschool, I picked up another footpath to take me across the fields to Dalbury. A ruined cottage stood crumbling lonesomely - the Gamekeeper's Cottage, apparently.  I was amused by Dave Welford's comments about the miserable farmer who