Day 15 – El Paso to San Angelo, Texas

Day 2 of three long days of driving.

Did I happen to mention that Texas is BIG ???

There was not much to today, other than pointing the car east and setting cruise control.  Fortunately, the speed limit on the Interstates is 80mph (~130km/h), so we were able to cover distances reasonably quickly, but with sparsely vegetated, inhospitable countryside, there was not much to break up the drive.

Thank heavens for audiobooks (Micheal Connelly’s “The Closers” in case you’re interested)

Our only stop for the day was in Fort Stockton, which was less impressive than it sounds.  After walking up the main street of largely closed up shops, we decided to find a cafe for a quick lunch then keep moving.

On the main street, there were local tourist board banners hanging from the street lights advertising all that Fort Stockton had to offer.  There weren’t a lot of banners.  One of them heralded “Paisano Pete, the world’s largest Road Runner”.   We couldn’t miss that, so agreed we would have to ask someone where to find this great road runner.

Lunch was in a small mexican cafe, and when I paid the bill, I asked where we might find “the world’s largest road runner”.  The waitress looked at me like I’d asked if there were any shops in town that sold gloves for men with six fingers.

None the wiser, we left the cafe, looked across the intersection directly outside the cafe, and what did we see ???  Paisano Pete !!!  (the waitress must arrive and leave through the back door of the cafe … )

At 20 feet long and 15 feet high, this was one impressive road runner (although its got nothing on the Big Cow, Pineapple or Banana).  We took the necessary photos and resumed the trek east.

After 425 miles for the day, we pulled up in San Angelo.  Stuggling to find a hotel, we stopped at a tourist information board looking for suggestions.  A local Catholic bishop who had been at the information centre on other business, seeing us looking a bit lost, came over with another lady to offer assistance.

Having heard we were looking for a hotel, he said “if you’d like to follow me, I can show you the way”.  The lady with him, in a deep Texan drawl, said “that’s what Jesus said, father … ”

Having collected ourselves … we took up the bishop’s kind offer and he lead us to a place where we could rest our weary heads.

On my last visit to Texas, I’d indulged in a Texan style BBQ, which generally consists of slow cooked ribs, brisket and sausage.  Keen to replicate the experience, we asked and received from the girl at the front desk directions to a nearby BBQ.

The problem when you try and replicate past travel experiences is that they seldom live up to the first time.  This one fell some way short, as it was more of a cheap and cheerful diner serving meat cooked a range of different ways than a celebration of the festival of BBQ I’d previously experienced.

Nonetheless, it was cheap and filled a hole, after which we returned to the hotel for a night of rubbish TV, to prepare for day 3 of the great New Mexico / Texas drive tomorrow.

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