Day 20 - Arlington
|Sunday, March 7, 2021: There's the moon in the pre-dawn sky.
|We had a long day of driving ahead of us, so we were on the road before 7:00 AM.
|We got a picture of the cool Marathon metal sign from the front this time as we left town.
|Ooooh, that's pretty.
|We saw a lot of these flood gauges all over West Texas.
|There was lots to see in Historic Fort Stockton, ...
|... almost all of which consisted of signs of Fort Stockton, including this one under Paisano Pete.
|Case in point.
|These cool metal sculptures were probably created by the same artist ...
|... who created this series of sculptures near the highway a few minutes out of town.
|West Texas is a vast land filled with lots of wind ...
|... and lots of windmills.
|Here's an interesting hill.
|This artsy photo juxtaposes an old energy source with a new one.
|This way to the Texas Pecos Trail.
|When the road cuts through a hill like this, The Ocho gets a brief respite from the West Texas winds.
|This windmill isn't quite put together yet.
|A sign by the road in El Dorado, Texas, caught our eye.
|"Interested in time travel? Meet me at 4 yesterday at the T90 Ranch."
|Apparently, we were following the Texas Forts Trail.
|We passed some sheep families so we had to go back to get a better look. Both of these mamas have a pair of babies each.
|The mama in front decided that she didn't like the big grey van looking at them so she and her babies scampered off.
|We were also on the Heart of Texas Wildlife Trail West.
|Speaking of the heart of Texas, the town of Brady claims to be it.
|Brady has a funny little propane tank with a face on it, ...
|... and a Heart of Texas Country Music Museum. Jim Reeves' tour bus stands outside.
|In keeping with our desire to eat local food when we travel, we selected Golden Chick as the lucky recipients of our tourist dollars.
|Oh my, this was a great meal. Fried okra, a delicious dinner roll, and tasty chicken. We'll seek out this chain again.
|We saw self-serve ice kiosks all over the Southwest like we had seen in the Florida Keys three years earlier, but the odd thing is that all of the ones we saw in the Southwest also sell water too.
|We drove past McCulloch County Courthouse ...
|... where the Heart of Texas sculpture is located.
|We drove past lots of pecan tree farms, including the Great San Saba River Pecan Company, ...
|... as we reached the town of San Saba, the self-proclaimed pecan capital of the world.
|Pecan companies dotted the main road.
|The Wedding Oak Winery was named after an oak tree near town where weddings have been performed for centuries.
|We crossed the Colorado River, ...
|... but don't get excited, because it isn't the real one, it's just a local one with the same name.
|Here are more pecan trees at Big Valley Farm.
|You have to admire the directness of a business named pecans.com.
|An hour later, we were rolling past the Coryell County Courthouse in Gatesville.
|Gatesville is also the home of the Last Picture Show Drive In, which was actually open for business and featured a mini-golf course out front.
|This way to the Texas Brazos Trail.
|Here's another nice ranch gate sign.
|It was 2:45 PM when we arrived at our first official sightseeing stop of the day: the SpaceX facilities at McGregor, Texas.
|We pulled over and Tom spent some quality time with the binoculars.
|Then we drove closer and looked some more.
|We passed one of the entrance gates. The sign says that this one is for employees only. All others must use the main gate.
|We got a couple more close-ups before moving on.
|The actual town of McGregor is pretty small, with a population of 4987, ...
|... and the sleepiest little downtown you can imagine.
|We got to Waco and saw lots of sights that we may need to return for, such as Hims Steak Fingers. We don't know what they are, but with a name like that, we need to find out.
|Here's the Brazos River.
|When we made it through Waco and got on I-35, we discovered that there were two Czech businesses up the road that were vying for our business. The first was Slovacek's, which probably had three billboards ...
|... for every one that advertised Czech Stop.
|However, we already planned to stop at the Czech Stop's Little Czech Bakery, which is right next door to the Czech Stop.
|We stood in line briefly and picked up items off the counter as we moved forward, then selected a half dozen kolaches as well.
|Back in The Ocho, we surveyed our goods: a slice of chocolate pecan pie, a coconut cream pastry of some sort, a hummingbird cake, which consists of pineapple, banana, and pecans, ...
|... and a half-dozen kolaches, including some with sausages, one with spinach and artichoke, one with ham and cheese, and one with Philly cheesesteak filling. These things were huge and we ate them for breakfast for the next several days.
|The art on the freeway walls facing the Czech Stop reflected the local Czech heritage.
|A little further north, we passed the I-35 rest area where we had spent the night on our trip to South Padre Island in January. That's our parking spot on the very far left. Highly recommended.
|Fun fact: I-35 only splits into 35W and 35E in one other place: the Twin Cities. When Debbie moved from Minnesota to Texas in 1987, she got on 35W in Bloomington, Minnesota, headed south on I-35, and got on 35E when she arrived in Dallas.
|Our final stop before heading to our campground was the Black-eyed Pea in Arlington. It is the last surviving restaurant in the Black-eyed Pea chain outside of the Colorado chain, which is a separate company now. On the way here, Tom joked: "Is this the same one we went to last time?" Not funny, dude, not funny.
|Here comes Tom with dinner.
|We drove to the Dallas/Arlington KOA Holiday.
|The campground is hidden behind this Alamo-looking office on a busy road where you wouldn't expect to find a campground.
|But there it is and suddenly, we weren't in the business section of a suburb, we were in a lovely campground. We arrived after hours but the departing employee asked Debbie's name and handed her our campsite info.
|We had a nice little back-in campsite. From here, we could see the real world out there, ...
|... but facing forward, the views were of immaculate campsites, a huge restroom building, and lots of things to do. Kids rode by in their bikes and obviously loved being here.
|We sat down to a delicious meal of meatloaf, corn bread, yeast rolls, and all of the Black-eyed Pea side dishes that we love so much.
|Here's a better view of our campsite.
|We had a great vantage point for watching the sunset.
|Since it was a warm night, it was a great opportunity for Tom to test out some of the features of our Thor Sequence 20A that we hadn't used yet.
|For starters, hooking up cable TV worked just fine. To show you, we found a channel that most resembles ESPN's The Ocho (a reference from the film "Dodgeball"), for which our little RV is named.
|After dark, Tom verified that all the lighting worked. Here's the awning light, ...
|... the puddle light under the passenger-side running boards, ...
|... and the driver-side outside light for hooking up utilities. Our movie selection this evening was "The Old Maid," starring Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy