Miranda’s family is fortunate enough to have a ranch in Texas that was passed down through her family. We took this opportunity to head down to the ranch and experience the real Texas landscape and to see what she grew up in. The ranch is in a remote part of the world, very few human footprints can be seen for miles. It was such a beautiful sight. We hiked around, I was in awe of the plant life – a lot of things I had never seen before; large cacti, nifty live oaks (which aren’t like what we have here in Wilmington), brush, buffalo grass – just to name a few.
The weirdest thing was the cactus in a tree — apparently birds can take the needles and deposit them on the tree branch and if conditions are right, voila! a cactus will take root in a tree. Amazing.
Another great thing about the ranch is the free-range cows. The cows were awesome, I think I bonded with them. They are such gentle creatures and I think it helped that I had pellets to feed them. Despite my love for the bovine, I still love steak.
I got to experience new things: riding a 4 wheeler, climbing a windmill and seeing a wild armadillo. I am not very good at riding a 4 wheeler – I can drive a manual no problem, but shifting gears smoothly evaded me. Both Miranda and I feared for our lives and all I could think of was how far away we were from a trauma center. There were several windmills on the ranch to pump water for the cows. Miranda climbed so high! I, a well established rock climber, only got about 10 feet off the ground cuz my vertigo kicked in and I wasn’t tied in, nor did I trust the windmill. It was my only let down of the trip. On our way out we saw the armadillo – we chased this little guy, but he got away. Fast little suckers! I didn’t see a roadrunner, but I think I will save that for my next trip.
After a long day at the ranch, we headed back to her house and cleaned up for a night downtown on the Riverwalk in San Antonio. As it turns out, the river walk was closed! They were doing the yearly drain of the river to clean it and all the stores and restaurants were closed. We were so bummed! So we stopped at the Marriott and asked the front desk for their recommendation of a good Mexican restaurant. They suggested Rosario’s and so Adelle lead the way. The atmosphere was great, the food was wonderful, and the margarita I ordered had a lot of tequila in it. I had my 1st chalupa and it was amazing! I would totally go back! It was a nice way to end my visit to Miranda’s corner of the world.
But my adventure wasn’t over yet.
It had only begun.
Day 2 started out early – we were on the road before the sun came up.
After Alabama, we hit Mississippi ::yawn::, and then Louisiana. It was here that Miranda learned of one of my notorious roadtrip impulses: wanderlust.
I was all about stopping somewhere for breakfast and we were nearing Lake Pontchartrain when it hit me: let’s have breakfast at Cafe Du Monde – in the French Quarter in New Orleans. I had been there once in 2001 on a mission trip and the thought of a French breakfast was slightly overpowering. Without much thought – or consulting Adelle – I took the next exit, I-55 south – and headed towards The Big Easy. It was then we realized that it would take the better part of an hour to get there (delaying us about 3 hours total), we had a dog, and a SUV full of Miranda’s possessions. So we decided that maybe this would be something for our next roadtrip and made a “legal u-turn” after Adelle nearly stroked out with our change of plans.
And so we continued on to the great state of Texas. After only being to Texarcana, which is not technically Texas, I got schooled in all things Texas.
- The state flag flies at the same height as the American flag. Crazy Texans. They will be their own country someday.
- Texas has these “feeder roads” the parallel the interstate – much like a service road – and you can easily move from feeder road to interestate with out exits (but they have those too.) I wonder why no other state has this.
- ZZ Top is from Houston, which I’m told is not a fun city.
- It’s quite an agricultural state, which I didn’t expect. They refer to things such as farm roads.
Our 1st stop was for lunch – Miranda and I split a Whataburger, a hamberger chain that has the most yummy burgers ever. Unfortunately, the closest one to me is in Georgia. Their chocolate shakes were pretty good too. Our next stop was at D&D, a cowboy store. It had everything from cowboy knick-knacks to saddles for your horse. I even tried on a cowboy hat – I was way too Yankee for that store, but it was interesting to see all the clothing. Just when I thought I had seen everything Texas, we stopped at Buc-ee’s, a traditional Texas truck stop with a novelty shop with all sorts of Texas goods. I got the General a stand for pop cans so he could shoot them with the pellet gun. Hee hee.
My brain was about to explode with all the new stuff I learned about the Lone Star state as we pulled into Miranda’s homestead. Her family was so sweet and her house was so warm and homey. Once we’re done decorating our place, I hope our house has the same appeal. We dined on this amazing pot roast her mom made and then made our way for a quick tour of downtown San Antonio. After that, it was time for bed. I did too much Texas in 1 day, I was beat!