So we set off again after breakfast (which was not, I hasten to add, eaten at Shoney's) and head westward in the general direction of Texas. We went through Louisiana, of course, but the only thing I really remember about Louisiana, as well as Mississippi and Alabama, was how crappy and full of potholes the roads were. What a welcome relief, then, to find that at the precise moment we enter Texas, it's nothin' but smooth fresh blacktop. At the state line there's a crew made up of State Prisoners tarmacking for all they're worth. Smooth sailing!!
Now, Texas, I'm thinking at this point, I should be able to get some good eats here. Tex-Mex, right? I was jonesing for some full-on, screamin' Mexican chow. So we roll into Dallas as evening approaches and the first Mexican joint we see, we pull off the highway and go in for a bite. I don't remember the name of the place, thankfully, but the building was pink. Anyway, at the time, I was vegetarian, and I wanted a cheese enchilada. I don't understand why there was beef in the enchilada sauce, but there was, so I picked it out. Eccchhh. Oh well, tomorrow's another day, right?
So after the gross enchilada place, we drove on to find a nice motel. After driving through Fort Worth we found a nice-looking place right off the freeway with a vacancy sign, so we pulled in. As I neared the place I noticed it had an inside courtyard with parking so I thought, I'll just park in front facing the motel and I can turn around in the courtyard in the morning. Brilliant, eh? Sure.
Comes the morning and I go ahead with my plan. On pulling into the courtyard I notice as I'm about halfway in that it's a lot smaller than I thought. But it's too late to back out now. I'm committed. So I squeeze in and start to do a three-point turn. No, make that a five, no, seven, no, thirteen... well, I don't know, but with every turn, I inched forward, I inched backward, and the Corolla on the tow dolly was just about jackknifed, when I executed my final turn and slowly pulled out of the courtyard forwards, leaving my and everyone else's cars unscathed, much to the relief of Kristy and everyone in the motel. Phew!
A short while later we found a great little mom-n-pop breakfast place which was excellent, but I wish I could remember its name. After the disappointing Mexican food I was hungry, and I loaded up! Pancakes, eggs, home fries, toast, the works.
We drove all that day through the Hill Country and Big Bend Country (don't ask me, that's what they're called. Look it up.) and as dusk settled, we were looking for somewhere to eat. Or a town. Or a house. There is nothing there. It's just miles of desert, oil pumps and hills. The overriding aroma of crude oil is enough to make one gag at times. Finally we came upon a town called Van Horn which is just a few miles from the border with New Mexico. By now it was night and we were starving. We saw a restaurant with a nice big parking lot which caught my eye mainly because it meant I had somewhere to park the big rig. This restaurant was named Chuy's which sounded good. Mexican food! Yes! Maybe now I get some good eats! It also had big signs proclaiming its status as being on John Madden's "Haul Of Fame"! This place has to be good, right?
Sadly, either John Madden has no taste buds or he's part-owner of this insult to cuisine. Lousy American/Mexican food, overpriced, mediocre service.... the only good thing was the big parking lot. Ecch.
So, onward and upward. We left Chuy's (yes, the shrimp were very Chuy, I must say) and headed for the border. As we crossed into New Mexico, we both let out a little sigh of relief.
That night we stopped in Las Cruces. We saw the gleaming lights of the Budgetel, conveniently located slap-dab next to the Cracker Barrel. Breakfast was sorted!
The Budgetel was clearly undergoing a remodel because one whole floor was blocked off. As a result our room was incredibly cheap, but it was a very nice room. There was even Nintendo in the room. Cool. But enough.... in the words of Zebedee, it was time for bed.