Road Trip to Seattle: Texas


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We spent three nights in Texas on the next leg of our road trip to Seattle, first in San Antonio and then in El Paso, traveling 1,097 miles (1,765 km) from New Orleans. This brought our total trip distance up to 1,897 miles (3,052 km) across seven states (South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas).

In San Antonio we stayed along the beautiful river River Walk and spent time touring the area and enjoying several river-side restaurants. Mural-filled El Paso is on the border with the Ciudad Juarez, a city once having the highest-murder rate in the world due to drug violence. We viewed Ciudad Juarez from a scenic viewpoint above El Paso, visited the border, and saw the new border fence, but stayed safely on the US side, opting for dinner and great beer at the El Paso Brewing Company.

Below are highlights from June 11th through 13th 2021. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

6/11/2021
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Superdome
The Superdome (right), home of the New Orlean’s Saints NFL club. The facility has gone through several renovations, with a major rebuild after Hurricane Katrina wrecked the building and tore off part of the roof in 2005.
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Lake Pontchartrain
Looking north towards Lake Pontchartrain as we depart New Orleans en route to San Antonio.
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Maurepas Swamp
Driving the causeway over Maurepas Swamp at the edge of Lake Pontchartrain.
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Horace Wilkinson Bridge
Crossing the Mississippi River on the Horace Wilkinson Bridge, built in 1968.
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Lake Pelba
Swampland at Lake Pelba outside New Orleans.
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Calcasieu River Bridge
Crossed decorative pistols on the Calcasieu River Bridge where the river drains into Lake Charles. The pistols are a popular keepsake and often are chipped away and stolen, requiring replacement to prevent the handrails from collapsing.
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Tanks
Dozens of oil tanks storing crude oil at Lake Charles, Lousiana. The area is full of refineries and oil storage.
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Texas
Crossing the border into Texas, the seventh state on our road trip. Texas is a big state, so it will take us a couple of days to get across.
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Baytown Refinery
Baytown Refinery first opened in 1919 and now is the 2nd largest in the US, with a capacity of 584,000 barrels per day.
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Houston
Highrises in downtown Houston as we pass north of the city center.
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Taqueria Roxana
Waiting for our lunch order at Taqueria Roxana. The taco truck was incredibly busy and lined up the whole time we were there. And with good reason—the tacos were exceptional.
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Peterbilt
An entire Peterbilt truck mounted atop the Rush Truck Centers sign.
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Sealy
Another large oil storage facility at Sealy.
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Kitty Central
The first thing we do when we get into our hotel room is decide where to setup what we call “kitty central”. Here it is in our room at the Canopy hotel in San Antonio. Spitfire is very good with his litter box, but only if it is full-sized.

Today we traveled 545 miles (877 km) from New Orleans, LA and were in two states: Louisiana and Texas.

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Spitfire
Spitfire lounging by the door to our hotel room at the Canopy hotel on the San Antonio River Walk. The boutique hotel opened only two months ago and is finished throughout with exposed concrete and interesting art. We quite liked the room and the location, and Spitfire really seemed to liked the concrete floor in the entrance to our room.
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River Walk
One of the many pedestrian bridges over the 15-mile (24 km) River Walk, a park and pedestrian area in downtown San Antonio full of restaurants, hotels and shops. The canal was initially built in the early 1900s to control flooding of the river and over time evolved into the the most popular attraction in Texas. The area has a distinctly European feel, reminiscent of the canals in the Netherlands.
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Casa Rio
A great meal canal-side at historic Casa Rio. The restaurant opened in 1946, the first to open on the River Walk.
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Dusk
Dusk looking southwest from our room at the Canopy hotel on the San Antonio River Walk.
6/12/2021
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Remote Monitoring
Checking in on Dirona in Charleston from our hotel room in San Antonio. Here we are looking at the live view from the various cameras on the boat.
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Dick’s Last Resort
Lunch at Dick’s Last Resort on the San Antonio River Walk. The quirky restaurant chain features staff trained to be loud and annoying, not exactly our style, but the food was surprisingly good and we had a great table.
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Mokara
Oysters and a glass of Marlborough Sauvingon Blanc before an excellent dinner at Mokara on the San Antonio River Walk.
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Torch of Friendship
The 65 ft (20 m) Torch of Friendship in downtown San Antonio was given to the city in 2002 by the government of Mexico.
6/13/2021
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Kitty Central Mobile Edition
Kitty Central” setup in the car. We’ve rented a Nissan Pathfinder and it’s working it really well. With the seats folded down we have plenty of space for our luggage in the rear and the rest for Spitfire.
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Cross at Kerrville
The 77-foot-high (23m) Cross at Kerrville is part of The Coming King sculpture and prayer gardens.
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80 MPH
The speed limit here in Texas is the highest we’ve seen in the US at 80 MPH (128 KPH). It was actually the highest in the US period, until 2012 when an 85 MPH zone was established on Highway 13 in Texas.
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Desert
The swamps of Louisiana have given way to a decidedly more desert environment in Texas.
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Cliffs
This section of I-10 runs through several sections lined with striking cliffs.
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Squawteat Peak
The colorfully-named Squawteat Peak near Bakersfield Texas has been a prominent landmark for centuries.
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Oil Derrick
We’re seeing dozens of small oil derricks like this one along the highway.
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Drill Tower
A tower-based oil derrick east of Fort Stockton, TX.
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Gas Flare
Gas flare and oil storage facility just outside Fort Stockton, TX.
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Masks Required
We weren’t expecting mask-wearing to be required much in the southern US, particularly in Texas. But most hotels, restaurants and other business still have signs requiring them.
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Solstice Substation
Solstice Substation in Fort Stockton, TX will be upgraded to support 345-kilovolt (kV) transmission lines.
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3-Car Convoy
An unsual sight of a three-car convoy. Well, it was unusual then, but by the time we reached El Paso we’d seen a half dozen. It’s an efficient, but not particularly safe or even legal way of moving damaged cars. The wrecked cars are being transported to Mexico for repair and resale.
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Scenic Overlook
View across El Paso, TX to Cuidad Juarez, Mexico from the El Paso Scenic Drive. The border is just beyond the brown raised highway at roughly the center of the picture. In the distance on the hill are the words “la Biblia es la verdad, leela” which means “the bible is the truth, read it”.
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La Equis
View from the El Paso Scenic Overlook to the Rio Grande and the sculpture La Equis (“The X”) in Cuidad Juarez, Mexico. La Equis is a tribute to former Mexican President Benito Juarez who in the 1800s changed the spelling of the country’s name from Mejico to Mexico. The sculpture also symbolizes the merging of the two Mexican cultures: the indigenous people and the Spanish.
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101 F
It’s really hot here in El Paso, with a late afternoon temperature of 101 F (38 C).

Today we traveled 552 miles (888 km) from San Antonio, TX.

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Animo Sin Fronteras
Animo Sin Fronteras (Spirit Without Borders), one of over a hundred murals in El Paso, symbolizes the universal struggle for justice.
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San Jacinto Plaza
Bridges over dry creek beds in tranquil San Jacinto Plaza in downtown El Paso.
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Fray Garcia de San Franciso
Statue of Fray Garcia de San Franciso, who in 1659 founded Ciudad Juarez.
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Bienvenido
This 30-foot open yellow door in downtown El Paso is the work of Philadelphia artist Christopher Weed. The piece, titled Bienvenido, is meant to greet visitors arriving into El Paso over the international Stanton Bridge from Ciudad Juarez.
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Mustang
Classic Mustang in beautiful condition.
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Mexican Border
The busy border crossing into the US from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Due to drug violence, the city in 2008 had world’s highest murder rate of 130 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. The homicide rate has since fallen significantly, partly due to government efforts to combat crime and also because a single cartel eliminated most of its rivals. But we’ll still be staying on the El Paso side.
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Border Fence
A portion of the new border fence along the US-Mexico border near the crossing between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez.
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El Paso Sector
Plaque commemorating the 2019 replacement of the border fence. The motto “Where the legend began” refers to the founding of the US Border Patrol in 1924. The first 24 agents were assigned here in El Paso to combat liquor smuggling during Prohibition.
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Chihuahuita Community Center
Mural of a Santa Fe railway train on the side of the Chihuahuita Community Center. El Paso was the railway company’s only direct access point to Mexico.
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Father Haroldo Rahm
Mural on Father Rahm Avenue honoring Father Haroldo Rahm, shown standing next to his red bicycle. He was known as the “bicycle priest,” and worked extensively with the impoverished community and with gang members.
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Sacred Heart Catholic Church
El Paso’s historic Sacred Heart Catholic Church was established in 1893.
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Court House
The El Paso US Court House was completed in 1936 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
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Immaculate Conception Church
The Immaculate Conception Church was founded in El Paso in 1892.
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District Court
The imposing building housing the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas.
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El Paso Brewing Co
Great beer and a dinner at the El Paso Brewing Co.
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Evening in El Paso
View from our room at the Hotel Indigo to the United Bank of El Paso, with the scenic viewpoint we drove up earlier in the distance at left. We also enjoyed watching the frequent train movements at the busy railway lines in the background on the right.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.


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4 comments on “Road Trip to Seattle: Texas
  1. John Schieffelin says:

    Reading more of your posts about Utah’s insane parks. Did you notice the stunning flora and land just as you exit Zion Park to the East? Not dramatic but beautiful. Then the rock colors and formations change so wildly and beautifully as you go from Bryce to Capitol Reef. Just stunning.

    Next time you visit plan a trip to Canyonlands near Moab — absolutely amazing too. My wife hied a guide for a mountain biking expedition there and loved it. Totally spectacular biking. Utah is utterly amazing. We did it in October once and April once and will try for May next time.

    Your photographs are terrific, really enjoy the posts.

    • The scenery in Utah is absolutely amazing. We were surprised at the diversity of the formations between Zion, Bryce and Capitol Reef and on the roads connecting them. Canyonlands was on our list, but we had to start heading west after we reached Capitol Reef, so we saved it for another trip. And there most definitely will be another time. The bike tour sounds like fun–good idea.

      Thanks for the feedback on the site too.

      Jennifer

  2. John Schieffelin says:

    Read some of your more recent posts. We have been to Zion twice — a wonderful park. If possible, I strongly urge you to drive from Zion up Rte. 89 then Rte 12 through Bryce Canyon National Park, walk around it the awesome views there, then continue on 12 to Rte 24 and go through Capitol Reef National Park. That drive is incredibly scenic and wonderful. The changing flora, terrain, rock formations and colors as you exit Zion and meander through Utah are just amazing! Finish up in Moab, a touristy but really fun town. Stay in the Hilton Curio Hoo Doo — right in the middle of the action. Too bad you can’t visit in spring or fall, much nicer than mid summer.

    • John,

      Zion really is special. Thank you for the recommendation–we did do part of that drive and visited Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef. The scenery really is fabulous and each park is beautiful and surprisingly unique. We turned west from Capitol Reef, so didn’t get as far as Moab, but it’s on our list for a future Utah visit.

      Jennifer

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