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Count down!

Two days to lift off.

Posted by Pearcey 18:47 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Off to a flying start.

Albury to Sydney

semi-overcast

We beat the encroaching fog this morning at Albury airport to leave on time and arrived in Sydney by 8.30am. Although busy we went through the usual checks stress free. We are now relaxing over a toastie and coffee and looking forward to our upgraded trip to Dallas, USA. Very exciting ?

Posted by Pearcey 17:20 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Day 1- Sydney to Dallas, USA

Gas Monkeys

sunny 33 °C

Today went without a hitch, our flight was great , very smooth and arrived in 13.5 hours to Dallas. We were out of airport in an hour and then picked up our car next door. Dave managed driving the 20 minutes to our accommodation without incident, thank goodness for Google maps! We enjoyed a shower and rest before heading out. Dave,s ( rev head) dream came true as we dined at the Gas Monkey Bar n Grill, delicious meal, Texas is big on smoked meats so we tried chicken and baby black ribs with sides, washed down with Mexican larger. Hot and dry here; clear skies; feels like Albury in January. A little weary and looking forward to having a look at down town Dallas tomorrow.
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Posted by Pearcey 19:33 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Day 2 - Downtown Dallas

JFK, Farmers market and more

sunny 35 °C

A big day site seeing the city of Dallas and pleasantly surprised,. Excellent public transport that we took full advantage of as most was free, we used the DART hop on hop off trains and buses. We visited the JFK museum and not disappointed, so interesting! The museum is the actual building that JFK was shot from, situated on the 6 and 7th floor of the former Texas School Book Depositary. We walked down to the farmers market and enjoyed the cool indoors for a little while, as a hot day, 35 degrees. The city seems to have many museums, theatres and gardens, clean and neat and enjoyable to walk around and catch the free cable car as well. We arrived back at our hotel late afternoon but had one more place to see that was on Dave’s bucket list, the Gas Monkey garage which was closed due to filming but we were able to look around which was good. Heading off in morning to San Antonio.

Posted by Pearcey 19:03 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Day 3- Dallas to San Antonio

storm 33 °C

After a hearty breakfast we set off for San Antonio, a 4.5 hour drive on the Interstate 35E Highway. It is huge, 3 to 4 lanes each side and so busy.We travelled through towns / cities such as Waco, Waxahachie and Austin. The highway was a constant trail of bill boards and every town has their name painted on a water tower. Another interesting fact we learnt were the shelters provided along the highway in case of tornadoes which apparently are common in Texas. Thankfully, we did not drive into any Tornadoes and arrived safely to San Antonio early afternoon. What a contrast to Dallas. We are in Mexican territory so have enjoyed some delicious food. At the Market place adorned with coloured bunting we ate Gorditas which roughly translates into little fatties that are bread pockets stuffed with retried beans, sour cream, cheese and meat selection. We then walked down to the river walk, people everywhere enjoying July 4th celebrations. It is beautiful, a city park and network of walkways that is lined with bars, shops, restaurants, nature. We had planned to spend the evening to watch fireworks but the heavens opened and poured rain. After drying off we spent a fun night at Mi Tierra cafe an bakery, a festive and delicious place, Mexican musicians added to the atmosphere as we enjoyed margaritas and coranas with our enchiladas.

Posted by Pearcey 19:42 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Day 4

San Antonio to Fort Stockton

storm 30 °C

Another day site seeing around San Antonio and finding out more about its fascinating history, in particularly, The Alamo. This 300 year place was initially a mission that served as home to Spanish missionaries and Indian converts for more than 70 years. Then it became a fortress to the famous Battle of the Alamo in 1836 where the Texans beat the Mexicans. Then it became a warehouse for the US Army and from 1877 the church has been a memorial to the Alamo defenders such as Davy Crockett and is very important to Texans as they consider it the ‘cradle of Texas Liberty.’ We strolled around downtown for a few hours, taking in more of the river walk that just goes on for many kms, popped into the beautiful St Joseph’s church and enjoyed the architecture in the city. Then hit the road, W 10 Texas freeway all the way to Fort Stockton, 313 miles as we are heading to Big Bend National Park. It was nice to finally see some country, loads of it! This is oil country , sited a few oil wells coming into town as well as hundreds of wind wills. Arrived late and found a steak house that was open for bite to eat.

Posted by Pearcey 20:26 Archived in USA Comments (2)

Day 5. Friday

Fort Stockton to Big Bend National Park

overcast 31 °C

Travelled in the morning to Big Bend National Park. Stopped at Marathon, a lovely little village that had a Main Street of cafes, gallery and the Gage Hotel. Enjoyed a coffee and stroll, topped up our fuel before driving to the NP. A spectacular area, 800,000 acres of desert landscape, filled with many varieties of cactus, agaves and yukkas. We stopped at the visitor centre, watched an introduction film on the park and found out where to go. Took the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive and stopped at Mules Ear track for our first picnic of the trip and a short walk. We were lucky the weather is cooler than the average 39degrees Celsius, cloudy and then storms late afternoon. Fortunately, we managed to beat the rain and walk to the Rio Grande river and see Santa Elena Canyon. Stunning! This river borders Mexico; when we leave the park we will have to stop and have our car inspected by Border patrol to ensure we are not carrying extra ‘passengers’. There is an amazing number of bird species here, we saw the Road Runner speeding across the road. Some animals we hope not to see are the Black Bear, Mountain Lion and Rattle Snake. By late afternoon we arrived at our accommodation, the Mountain Lodge at Chisos, so beautiful and very special to spend 2 nights in the park as 80 miles to nearby town. We dined at the restaurant watching the sun set through the ‘Window’ of the Chihuahuan mountains, one of the last remaining wild corners of the United States.
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Posted by Pearcey 19:36 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Day6. Big Bend National Park

A day exploring

storm 30 °C

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Native Indian Pictoglyphs

Native Indian Pictoglyphs

Up early to explore the park. We walked the Chisos Basin on the Window Trail, 6 miles or nearly 10 kms. We were lucky, we came across bear dropping’s but no sightings, however, a lady walking 10 minutes behind us walked upon the bear but thankfully, it ran off. Apparently the Mexican Black Bear is not usually aggressive. The desert is full of birds and flowers, from the forest to the desert there are 1,500 types of plants, a vibrant biodiversity, we saw tiny hummingbirds, the pretty Blue Jay and the Desert Warbler. We also came across a copperhead snake, but not on our path but from the seat of our car. We explored the Boquillas (bow-key-yes) Canyon and looked over the Rio Grande river to Mexico. People can visit Mexico from the Boqullas port between Wednesday and Sunday, 9am to 6pm by showing their passports and the visitors are ferried across the river. We went to Rio Grande village and walked the wetlands and then drove to ‘Hot Springs’. As the name suggests, there is a very warm spring along the river and ancient Indian pictographs dating back thousands of years. More thunderstorms rolled in the afternoon which we seemed to avoid but it did make the weather hot and muggy. Certainly enjoyed a cold beer once we got back to our accommodation and a delicious meal at the lodge’s restaurant.?

Posted by Pearcey 20:07 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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