Setting out on our first day was a massive and bubbly experience with everyone exceedingly exited as we drove up the massive highways out into the barren lands of West Texas…before stopping because Becca needed the loo (incidentally Becca needing the loo is going to be a massive motif of the trip, she drinks more fluid in a day than most in a week and has a tinie gremlin bladder that can’t contain more than an acorns worth). This was to be the first and last time we attempted to go to the loo al fresco though as she was witnessed by so many passing truck drivers it’s probably on the Internet, on a totally different sort if website, by now. Naturally Miguel bottled it. Not in that way!
Our first stop of the trip was the beautifully manicured city of San Antonio where we saw The Alamo’, which we don’t learn about at school in England but I’d highly recommend looking it up as its a truly inspiring story of bravery against literally every odd. We also saw another example of how friendly people are as one lady, seeing me taking a picture of Miguel and Becca, immediately rested the pictography device off me with a ‘oh sweetie let me get a picture with you and your friends’. (The thing I wondered about after this, having heard that Texas is a pretty conservative state not only from the people who live there but also it’s political polls, would this lovely lady have been as willing to be this friendly if I were black? Or if I had rocked up to the Alamo with my civil partner?) Anyway we then had a lovely afternoon wandering around and getting frozen yogurt for lunch (I hate yogurt at home but this tasted like a non-fat ice cream, whaaaat?!) and I also got a pair of Toms, which will become ‘the fateful Toms’ later on…
The next stop on our list was Big Bend. However there were a few interesting stops along the way, as the fantastic thing about road trips is, it really is the journey and not necessarily the destination, I mean the destination helps, for example we accidentally nearly drove into Mexico (in which case the destination is probably more important) but more on that down the page. We eventually began getting into the more barren part of Texas, something you can’t really comprehend if you’ve never been to Texas, the sky is literally so inconceivably massive and so never ending my little island-dweller head boggled and I stared out the window for hours, the hours we weren’t singing anyway. We saw no one and no one saw us, which was sort of creepy but also really beautiful at the same time. We also came across this bridge with a fabulous view upon which we found some road kill and Becca fell flat on her face while trying to imitate my retarded run, in fairness I have a very retarded run, my stomach hurt so much I’m happy to say despite doing no sit-ups I believe I maintained tone, cheers Becs! We stopped in our first motel ‘The Value Lodge’, cos we’re classy, in a little town called ……. And then got blizzards and has our first ramen. (For those who don’t know blizzards are ice creams from Dairy Queen a bit like a McFlurry but they tip them upside down before they give them to you and if they fall out you get them for free! – they never do, but I got the cookie dough one and its amazing!)
Big Bend was on the horizon the next day and we made really good time, pulling in around 2, setting up the tent and heading off immediately to do the ‘Old Mine’ hike. It took us about an hour to get to the trail because the national park is HUNDREDS of miles across, I cannot impress the size upon you enough, and the views were stunning both at the top and bottom of the trail. It was also really really quiet, at the very top of the mountain we were able to hear motorbikes at the bottom, stunning. We have no idea how, as we took regular breaks and stopped at the top for snacks as everyone was getting blood-sugar-low irritable, but we some this one crazy lady actually run down the mountain when we were at the bottom! We also saw some nice park rangers and a sign telling us to watch out for the bears and mountain lions, a terrifying trip.
After we got back to the tent we spent a little while chilling in the sun before dinner in the ghost town of Terlingua, no one knows why the people left, they just did one day, for dinner at the Starlight Theatre where I had a scrummy bowl of chilli and Becca had chicken wings off the kids menu (another thing, Becca is the fussiest eater I ever met! Miguel loves bacon more than anyone I’ve ever met, America your bacon was not to standard). We stopped on the way home to throw rocks at Mexico, a trip which some weird hipster dude crashed because he wanted to actually look at the canyon (pah!) and then sped back to the campsite. Two minutes away our speeding was stopped by a park ranger and we had the complete ‘American police pullover’ experience, lights in the rearview mirror, man wearing a questionably flattering hat etc. luckily we got off with a warning, as we weren’t aware of the speed limit anyway, and settled down to an absolutely FREEZING night in our tent! As we came straight from Costa Rica mine and Miguels wardrobes stopped short of both camping, hiking and cold weather gear, and most of the night was spent huddled in a little heap in the left corner of what could easily have been a 8 man tent. We left Big Bend the next day.