From my travel journal: Saturday 9 April, 3.45 pm

Somewhere in southern Texas

Yesterday was the first day that’s been mostly boring, but it did have its highlights. The main aim of the day was just getting from Lubbock to San Antonio – a very long trip mostly across more wide flat plains with not a lot to see.

Just outside Lubbock was a vast wind farm – thousands of wind turbines that went on for miles along the road and seemed to stretch right out to the horizon. Later when we stopped for petrol, we were told it’s the biggest wind farm in the USA.

There was the odd animal on the side of the road too – we saw a few more deer, some buffalo, squirrels, and smelt a skunk (though we didn’t actually see it).

Once again, new food experiences made up a large part of the day – strawberry slushie from a drive-in restaurant (where each car park had its own menu board and microphone so you could place your order, then they would bring the food out to your car for you), and catfish and hush-puppies (a menu item that inspired a lot of discussion and speculation about what they were – they turned out to be fried balls of corn dough) for lunch in a soda fountain in a gorgeous old bank building.

Of course, the real highlight of yesterday was meeting MartiP and her family in San Antonio. It’s always such fun to finally get to meet people you feel like you’ve known on-line forever. (And she provided even more new taste experiences, giving us all sorts of tasty nibbles for dinner.)

Eventually we had to tear ourselves away to check into our motel. Then we headed into the centre of San Antonio to visit its river walk and the Alamo. The river walk was very nice – all the bars and restaurants along the river have outdoor seating on the walk, which is right down almost at the water level, so there’s lots of twinkling lights on the water, and the walk meanders under the bridges, some of which have artworks under them. Colourful barges drive up and down the river, and best of all, there’s a bit of coolness that comes off the river, much needed in the heat of the southernmost point of our trip (and this is only spring! I’d hate to feel what it’s like here in summer!)

The name of this restaurant seemed appropriate, somehow 🙂

It was too late at night to see inside the Alamo, but the outside was all lit up. Historically it doesn’t mean a lot to me (I know vaguely what it signified to Americans, and to Texans in particular, but it’s not really part of my culture), but I could at least appreciate the architecture 🙂

Back on the road early again this morning, aiming for lunch in Houston. There being at least three space geeks in the car, it wasn’t so much Houston we were aiming for as the Johnson Space Centre. The Space Centre was almost an expensive waste of time, being mostly a gimmicky overly-interactive “museum” of replicas, very much in the vein of the Antarctic Centre, but one gallery totally made up for it by having a display of real stuff, like actual moon rocks and dust, and a Gemini command module. And best of all, you can touch one of the moon rocks and part of the module. I don’t care how good the replicas are, there’s something totally magical about touching something that’s actually been into space! Big smile on my face after that 🙂

I got to touch this one 🙂

That’s bits of the moon!

We’ve just crossed the state line into Louisiana. First state line we’ve crossed that is a river, which means we couldn’t stop and take a photo of the “Bienvenue en Louisiane” sign, because it was too close to the bridge exit and it wasn’t safe to stop.

(We cheated and got this photo when we were leaving the other side)

The countryside since Houston has been very different to what we’ve been seeing up until now. Houston is pretty much on the coast, so instead of desert it was suddenly a lot greener, with swampy-looking (bayou-looking, actually, I suppose) heavily treed areas along the sides of the road. All this green is a bit of a shock to the system after a week of brown and red.

Three and a bit more hours to New Orleans. We couldn’t find anywhere to stay in the centre of town, so we’re going to be out on the outskirts, but we’ve got a plan… (probably one that will involve another very late night)

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  1. Was the strange animal sort of rounded on top with a hard shell and a pointed head? If so, armadillo, usually seen dead on the side of the road.

    Sonic drive-in for slushies! I recognized the style. We have one here too.

    It’s a shame that you couldn’t have veered down to Galveston while you were in Houston, but I guess the ocean isn’t that big a deal to you guys. 😉

    I am speechless at the moon pie a la mode. I’ve probably eaten my weight in moon pies over the years, even sold them at the jail, but I never would have thought of dressing them up with ice cream and, what was that, chocolate sauce or pudding?

    Sounds like you guys had a wonderful time!

  2. I have always enjoyed my travels to other states in the US myself. I am glad that you had a good American experience and it sounds like you really enjoyed yourself. You should write a book about your American experiences!

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