Road Trip – Texas

A list of places we travelled to in Texas.

Big bend national park. This was the first National Park we went to. We knew we would be going to a few around the country so we bought an annual pass which reduces the overall cost if you go to more than one park and it covers up to 2 people. Big bend had a huge landscape of dry dirt, cacti and desert plants. The sun beamed through the sky and as it started to set you could see its sunbeams dodge between twisted branches and prickly plants. Totally peaceful, it felt like nobody else was there. We got there a bit later in the day so decided not to hike and just drive around, stopping at beautiful views. I slightly regretted this as it would’ve been nice to explore more but we didn’t have good hiking essentials at this point.

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Amarillo (cue song – Is this the way to Amarillo). Cadillac Ranch. If you type in ‘quirky things to see in Texas’ you will likely find the Cadillac Ranch. This is a public artwork, created in 1947 by a group of artists known as the ‘Ant Farm’ and was sponsored by a very wealthy man called Stanley Marsh. This artwork is found along route 66 on ranch land. Originally, the cars were not covered in graffiti, as they are now. When we got there, we found that people had cans of graffiti paint and were writing their initials, names, where they were from etc. Not many people dwelled into artistic graffiti, but, people were having fun nonetheless. I’m not sure if you can buy the graffiti paint there or you bring your own.

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If you want to see quirky things, check this place out. When we went, there was a gentleman sitting outside with badges and memorabilia of both candidates campaigning at the time (Trump and Hilary). Not sure if he’s there now. I can imagine from his point of view that he’s at a good spot for business. Down the road and across is a gift shop where you can buy memorabilia relating to the Cadillac ranch. And again, it’s visually quirky as there stands two Cadillac’s and a huge cowboy out the front. Would recommend going to see this if you are passing by or on route 66.

San Antonio. We initially went to San Antonio to see one of Omar’s friends. But, things didn’t work out (we saw them at a later stage). Instead, we explored! We walked along the Riverwalk and had a look in some shops. I had to resist shopping as I needed to stick to my budget. It’s an interesting city, there were people performing on the streets and lots seemed to be happening. A lively place!.

The Alamo (still in San Antonio): There is quite a lot of history within Texas. One being the battle of the Alamo. According to http://www.history.com/topics/alamo “In December 1835, during Texas’ war for independence from Mexico, a group of Texan volunteer soldiers occupied the Alamo, a former Franciscan mission located near the present-day city of San Antonio. On February 23, 1836, a Mexican force numbering in the thousands and led by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna began a siege of the fort. Though vastly outnumbered, the Alamo’s 200 defenders–commanded by James Bowie and William Travis and including the famed frontiersman Davy Crockett–held out courageously for 13 days before the Mexican invaders finally overpowered them. For Texans, the Battle of the Alamo became an enduring symbol of their heroic resistance to oppression and their struggle for independence, which they won later that year”.

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So as you can imagine, the Alamo is very iconic and symbolic to the American public. You could choose to join a tour group or walk the grounds by yourself. It was very interesting, and the information and facts were very clear and suited all age groups. If you are interested in history, I would recommend going to see this.

Aurora. The alien gravesite: Again, if you google ‘quirky things in Texas’ you might come across a graveyard where a ‘UFO pilot crash landed’ in the 1800’s. Well, we decided to drop by. What we found was a cemetery, with a sign out the front that stated that an alien spaceship crash landed here. As for a gravestone of the UFO? Doesn’t exist. That was pretty much it. So in a sense, it was quirky, but a bit pointless at the same time as there is nothing else to see. Still, you can always tell people that you went to a UFO crash landing spot, add it to your bragging rights…

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South Padre Island. If you are in Texas and you want to hit the beach, then go here. Here you will find a long strip of lively places such as bars, restaurants, fishing, boat rides etc. It’s a great beach if you are in the area, although, not the best beach in America. For us, we wanted a lazy day sitting around so we didn’t have a grand standard when searching for a beach. The beach was sandy (not covered in stones, so a luxury for some of us brits) and the sea was warm. Perfect if you ask me.

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Houston. Baseball: If you are in America, you need to go to a baseball game. It just screams America! I loved it, for us brits it’s a bit like rounders. It was just like what you see on American TV, they had the Kiss Cam, hotdogs, popcorn, people wearing their team’s shirt and a great atmosphere. We watched Astro’s against the Texas Rangers at the Minute Maid Park. I loved it! It was lovely meeting more of Omar’s friends, everybody was so friendly.

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Dallas. Outdoor cinema (Coyote drive in): I’ve always seen this in movies and when we drove past it I screamed: “WE HAVE TO GO THERE!!” So there are multiple screens and you drive up, pick a good spot, turn off your car engine, turn on a particular radio channel and you watch the movie. Loved it! There was even a place where you could buy your food and drinks. This is when I was introduced to buttered popcorn (real butter popcorn), SO YUMMY. You must try!

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McAllen. Point Blank: So, I decided to go shooting. I was in America and thought I needed to tick it off my list of things to do. I was terrible at it and probably looked weird wearing a floral dress holding a Beretta 9 mm. I was frightened to death, thinking I would somehow shoot myself. But, I did ok. It hurt my hand and at some point, a bullet casing landed down my dress and burnt my skin (it healed fine). The smallest gun wasn’t available so that’s probably why I managed to hurt my hand a bit. I actually enjoyed it. I don’t see the problem shooting under controlled conditions. Walking out into the shop where you could buy guns was obviously alien to me, but, that’s America.

 

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That is an uncomfortable smile!

 

In McAllen, I ordered Omar to take me to a shop where they sold cowboy boots and cowboy hats (westerner wear). The hats are surprisingly hard. I expected them to be soft but I was totally wrong. A lady was kind enough to find the ‘perfect’ hat for me (I’ll let you judge). You can even buy accessories for the hats. I then tried on some boots, I regret not purchasing some but when would I wear them in the UK? The boots came in all different materials like snake or crocodile and different colours, shapes etc. It was fun having a look around.

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Valentine. Prada Marfa: Again, I googled quirky places to go and I came across this. I have seen building from ‘indie’ people’s facebook cover photos but didn’t realise it still existed. What is Prada Marfa? It’s a sculpture by artists Elmgreen and Dragset. Unfortunately, when I went to see it, someone had damaged one of the windows. Maybe they were trying to get in but there’s no point. Yes, there are shoes and handbags inside but…are they actually real Prada handbags/shoes? I don’t think so.

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Austin. Lady Bird Lake: We didn’t spend much time here. Instead, we had a relaxing day where we walked around the Lady Bird Lake. If you like relaxing walks, here is a nice spot.

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And that was Texas. It’s a huge place to explore so don’t underestimate what you can do/see here!

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