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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

What’s so significant about 56 minutes?

Last night we sure did have us some fine viddles down in West Texas!

Pork chop on a bun with lettuce, tomato and pickles.

Home cut fries!

Chicken fried steak, green beans with bacon and mashed potatoes!

Richard went and sat in the Saloon waiting for our food for dinner. They apparently smoke still in the Saloon. I’m glad I missed it! This was what the inside of the Saloon looked like in Balmorhea, Texas looks like:

Dollar bills everywhere in this saloon. All signed too! The flag in the background is not the American flag, but the ‘Bennington flag’. The flag is a Revolution era flag featuring the number 76 in the middle as a reference to 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was signed; 13 stars and 13 stripes, to symbolize the 13 American colonies in rebellion against Great Britain; a pre-constitutional symbol of freedom.

Notice the bumper stickers….’Trump -Keep America Great’ and ’Hillary Prison 2016’ and of course ‘Don’t Mess with Texas’…and a lot more dollar bills everywhere. The food was supposed to be all homemade and from scratch, so it was worth waiting for in the middle of nowhere, without a tow car to go anywhere else!

Despite the political sentiments in the Saloon, the food was delicious and Richard ended up finishing off my ‘Chicken fried steak’. ‘Chicken fried steak’ is actually a breaded cutlet of beefsteak or cube steak, coated with seasoned flour and pan fried, smothered in white pepper milk gravy. The precise origins of the dish are unclear, but many sources attribute the development of the dish to German and Austrian immigrants to Texas in the 19th century, who brought recipes for Weiner schnitzel from Europe to the USA. Lamesa, in the Texas South Plains claims to be the birthplace of chicken-fried steak and hosts an annual celebration accordingly. Anyway, I love chicken fried steak and I first had it many years ago when I was quite young and my family was visiting my Aunt and Uncle in Fort Worth for Christmas. We went to Furr’s cafeteria for lunch and that is where I first experienced ‘Chicken Fried Steak’. Yummy!

Sunset on Saddleback Mountain RV Park, Balmorhea, Texas last evening.

We really were in the middle of nowhere Texas last night, but we slept well and when we woke up today, it was going to be the shortest day of the year! Not a day to do a long drive…we hoped!

There really wasn’t much to see today on our drive for the longest time.

Getting desperate now…taking photos of billboards!

I knew the drive today would be pretty boring just by looking at a map. We are following I10 East and if you look closely at I10, there are not may towns on I10 to go through.

We stopped in Junction so Richard could go to the washroom at 2pm and we were pleasantly surprised by how warm it was outside!

Really love this warming trend on our drive today! We saw a lot of RV’s and tow cars heading the other direction on I10 West and we felt like saying ”Turn around! Its warmer as you head East!”

As we reached the Texas Hill Country, we saw a sign for a Scenic Viewpoint so I asked Richard to pull over so I could take a picture.

I’m not really sure what was so scenic about this viewpoint that they created a stop on the side of the road for it, but it did give us a chance to stretch our legs for a few minutes and for me to make a salad for my lunch. We did learn afterward that Texas HIll Country is a geographic region of Central and South Texas forming the southeast part of the Edwards Plateau. Given its location, climate, and terrain, the Hill Country can be considered the border between the American Southeast and the Southwest. Maybe that is why they put a Scenic Viewpoint at this point?! There was no sign, but that is what we presume the reason for the Viewpoint was.

Definitely a Hill, in Texas Hill Country!

Now we’re into some big hills! This decline even had a warning for trucks to slow down.

When we realized that we would be arriving at Kerrville, Texas, which we had planned as our stop for the night, at 2:30pm, we elected to keep driving. We hadn’t planned anywhere to stay in Kerrville, and hoped to perhaps boondock at Walmart, so looking at the map and working in RV Trip Wizard, I found us a place to stay for the night and I called to confirm our same day reservation.

Heading for San Antonio now for the night!

After miles and miles of nothing to see, we were now in the middle of downtown San Antonio just as rush hour was starting. This was not an ideal situation but we thought we should try to get through San Antonio today, rather than try to get through both San Antonio and Houston tomorrow. Two large cities in one day can be very unpredictable with traffic, so that was our reasoning on booking an RV site on the far (east side) of San Antonio.

Just right of the windshield wiper you can see the skyline of downtown San Antonio.

If you remember your history, San Antonio is known for the Battle of the Alamo in 1836, which was a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution Following a 13-day siege, Mexican troops under President General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna claimed the Alamo Mission in San Antonio de Bexar (now present day San Antonio), killing most of the Texians and Tejanos inside. Santa Anna’s cruelty during the battle inspired many Texians and Tejanos to join the Texian Army. Buoyed by a desire for revenge, the Texians defeated the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinta in April 1836, ending the rebellion in favour of the newly-formed Republic of Texas. The saying ‘Remember the Alamo’ is a battle cry of Texan’s struggle for independence from Mexico and recalled the desperate fight of the Texan defenders of the Alamo, where every single man died.

See…we really were at the Alamo! Just not this trip. We were at the Alamo in September 2019. It really is ‘underwhelming‘ once you’ve seen it up close!

As we were following our GPS to get to the RV Park on the East side of San Antonio for the night, we hit a major traffic jam!

Stuck in traffic trying to get on I35North to Austin.

The skyline of downtown San Antonio is a lot closer, but we aren’t moving that fast!

This traffic jam took us 56 minutes to get through today! It was so frustrating knowing we were so close to ending our drive for the day, but we couldn’t go anywhere because of this major traffic accident and traffic jam. We had driven from 9:40am til just after 4pm when we hit this traffic jam. GRRR! 56 minutes is actually how much time difference between the sun setting in Fort Erie today and the sun setting in San Antonio! The sun set in San Antonio today at 5:40 and the sun set in Fort Erie at 4:44! Unbelievable that we have almost an hour more daylight at the end of the day. We definitely needed it today to get to our campsite!

Richard setting up Newman at Mission City RV Park, in San Antonio, Texas, just as the sun was setting.

Definitely permanent residents across from us!

And how about this bus conversion two down from us? They have a huge stuffed animal driving the bus and a gym workout area set up outside on their rug. I’m glad we won’t be here long. It is not the kind of RV park we would want to stay at for any length of time, but it did allow us to do some laundry while we are hooked up to power and water for the night.

Our drive ‘fingers crossed’ should be shorter tomorrow at just over 4 hours, as long as we don‘t hit traffic in Houston. I need to buy some food for our Christmas dinner, as I don’t feel like having Trader Joe’s frozen entrees or pasta for Christmas! Let’s hope we can stop somewhere along the way tomorrow to stock up on some provisions, before making our last run through Louisiana and to Destin for Christmas Eve!

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