Day 21 – July 21, 2016 – San Antonio, TX – Orange TX
Made new friends, Gian and Tony, who started our day right. Passed by the Tower of America. Called George at Post Office, still didn’t have mail. Ate on the road. Went thru lots of small towns, they were getting closer together the further east we went. Spent time on a very old part of Old Spanish Trail. Saw areas with lots of German influence. Saw more Western style towns. Needed service on van in Rosenberg. Passed SugarLand and saw sugar refinery. Entered Houston and met Cousin Floyd for dinner. Drove to Beaumont and Orange and camped at Holiday Inn Express. Mileage – 338.9
We checked out of the hotel and called for our car. They came to get our luggage. As we got to the car, we saw Gian. It was good to see a refreshing face. Pam started talking with Tony who was also there. The 5 of us talked on the curb for about 10 minutes before we left. We learned all about their lives, and learned that Tony also is planning a trip. He plans to follow his grandmother’s Native American history thru Oklahoma. I hope he will blog so we can follow him. It was so nice to start our day with such lovely folks. I hope we can keep in touch. They liked the dirt on the van because it was the history of where we had been.
We had a strange breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Had a hard time ordering. Menu said fruit on the French toast, Pam asks “what kind? Waitress: “blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, …” Pam – “Oh I would like those. Is there any sugar … on them?” No, it’s a syrup. Pam “Ok, what do you have that is fruit” Strawberries, blackberries and something else. Pam “Ok, I’ll take the blackberries”. No, that’s a syrup too??? What??? Pam – “Ok. how do you cook the eggs?” with Pam cooking spray. Pam “can you use butter”. No, Butter. ????? Pam – “How do you cook the French toast? “ In Oil????? So Pam orders French toast, no fruit, no syrup. Then when the waitress came back out, we asked if she had ANY fresh fruit. We have strawberries, pineapple, and we might have blueberries??? Would you like some??? Seriously. The rest of our breakfast went ok.
We left and started on our journey for the day. The land was flat, no mountains. L We drove thru many small towns and none of them were very significant. They were much more numerous though. The speed limit didn’t get slower as we drove like it does back east. Instead we were still doing 65 to 70 on the two lane highways. Most of the day was spent on Hwy 90 with sections of Old Hwy 90 and sections of the Old Spanish Trail sprinkled in. The entire route we took today followed the Old Spanish Trail even if the roads changed numbers. We saw some beautiful old buildings and towns that would have been great little towns in their time but have declined over the years.
We passed across the Caldwell County line today. I think we must have hit a worm hole. A little later, Pam’s phone ding’d and said that she needed to be more active. It keeps up with her steps. In Wealder, we took a picture of the world’s tiniest church.
We met a really nice man, Don Burcher of Firestone, who serviced our vehicle by putting in windshield wiper fluid, not that we have used very much with our travel thru the back country. He didn’t even charge us for it. Dandy also worked on his car in Rosenberg so we followed in his footsteps. While I was in trying to find out if the place would work on the van, Susan and Pam were trying to take pictures of the car reflection and their reflections in the store window. Unbeknownst to them, they could be seen from the inside. When they finally thought about it they died laughing. I had to wait a LONG time for Don to finish with a customer on the phone in his office, so I was making all kinds of funny jesters. I could see them laughing and thought they were laughing at me. No, they were laughing at themselves.
After our was serviced, wepassed thru SugarLand and saw the refinery where Dandy tried to get a job. We then headed into Houston and met our second cousin, Floyd Blackwell Jr, for an early dinner. It was great to be with family and we had wonderful conversations about our trip and trips that he had taken. He even picked up the check for dinner. Thanks Floyd. It was great.
We then headed over to NRG Stadium, home of Super Bowl 51, so Susan could get a picture with the Panther’s Keep Pounding Flag. She wanted to be the first to have the flag where it belongs. Go Panthers!!!! Then we rejoined our route, the Old Spanish Trail. We went thru many towns and finally got to Beaumont and saw the McFaddin-Ward Mansion and took pictures of the world’s largest fire hydrant. The downtown area had big, tall, old, beautiful buildings. You could tell that they have tried to fix the city up but it seemed empty. It is so sad to see a town that was booming now empty. When then headed onto our hotel, The Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Orange Texas. Mile 877 on I10. This is night 4 in Texas but we are almost out. I used $34 and 10K points for a standard room and they upgraded us to a suite. It’s bigger with a pull out sofa. I’m really starting to like the Holiday Inn Express’s. They’ve upgraded us each time we have stayed.