Saying goodbye is never easy. Especially when it involves saying goodbye to something as beautiful as the Gulf of Mexico. We reached the Gulf Coast on Day 7 of our journey and followed her faithfully to the west. After six weeks and more than 1,000 miles, we dreaded saying goodbye to our dear friend and companion. We knew heading inland meant no more ocean views. No more sunset walks on the beach. No more falling asleep to the sound of waves. But we knew it had to be done. So one morning we ripped off the band-aid and headed inland.
To ease the transition, we drove straight to a lake. Hey, if we can’t have the ocean a lake is the next best thing!
Lake Corpus Christi State Park is in Mathis, Texas, which is about an hour north of Corpus Christi. It will forever be known as the place where Kevin caught his first fish while kayaking. On our first afternoon out on the water Kevin caught a large mouth bass that ended up becoming a delicious dinner. In addition to the lake, there are trails for running, roads for cycling, and lots of deer. Lake Corpus Christi is a beautiful park and was a great first stop for us as we eased ourselves away from the ocean.
Our next stop was the Texas hill country, where we stayed at the Fredericksburg KOA. The Fredericksburg/Luckenbach area is really pretty but also really touristy. We were there on a weekend and the weather was absolutely beautiful which meant that the town, the museums, and the wineries were packed. Sometimes we feel touristy and sometimes we don’t. On this particular weekend we weren’t feeling very touristy so we mostly relaxed at the campground and avoided the crowds. We did make a side trip to Lyndon B. Johnson State Park, where we saw bison in their natural habitat.
On our way north out of Fredericksburg we came across another Bullet. It was the same make and model as our Bullet and we got really excited about giving them a Bullet family thumbs up when we passed them. But, alas, they were too distracted by their….old dog…to notice us. He was very cute and was riding on the center console of the truck.
Our next stop was Abilene State Park, which is about 30 minutes southwest of Abilene in the town of Buffalo Gap, Texas. This is another really great Texas state park. Plus, we practically had the whole place to ourselves. We went for some great trail runs and bike rides and really enjoyed our time here. Oh, and Kevin climbed up onto the roof one afternoon and installed solar panels. So now The Bullet is solar-powered. We’re so fancy!
While we were camped at Abilene State Park, Suzanne made a side trip to Potosi, Texas. Her sister-in-law, Zelida, is from Potosi, Bolivia, and Suzanne had the opportunity to go to Potosi with Zelida in 2014. So when Suzanne saw that there was a town called Potosi in Texas, she knew she had to go check it out and try to find some souvenirs for Zelida and her family. Sadly, there were no souvenirs. It’s not really a souvenir town. However, Lee, the proprietor of the Potosi Country Store and Grill was kind enough to pose for a picture with his business card. Thanks, Lee.
One of the highlights of our time at Abilene State Park was the town of Buffalo Gap, Texas, population 463. And more specifically, Lola’s Cafe, in the town of Buffalo Gap, Texas. We wandered into Lola’s for breakfast one morning and it’s one of the best decisions we’ve made so far on this trip.
Lola’s is beyond a hole-in-the-wall. It’s a hole-in-the-wall inside of a hole-in-the-wall. No one could tell us when the building was built, but it’s really old and tiny and would have quite a story to tell if it could talk. The town dates back to 1857 and this building could very well be that old. We know it’s been a restaurant for the past 48 years though because Lola started working there when she was 13 years old. She eventually worked her way up and bought it from the previous owner and has owned it now for more than 35 years.
We arrived right at 9:00am when Lola’s opened, but she was nowhere to be seen. An older gentleman came out front to smoke and started telling us about the restaurant and his favorite dishes. We asked him if he opened up the restaurant for Lola in the mornings as a way of trying to figure out why he was there and she wasn’t, and he said, “No, Grey does that. He’s 89 years old and has been doing that forever. He also makes the coffee. He’s inside.”
We met Grey a few minutes later. He and Don were seated next to the coffee pot in the corner. They asked if we would like some coffee so we said yes. A few minutes later, Lola arrived. She set menus down in front of us, gave us 15 seconds to look at them, and then said, “For breakfast we have this,” and pointed to one item on the menu. We said, “Sure, we’ll have that.”
While Lola cooked, we talked to Grey and Don. They told us about their time in the service, Grey told us he had never been married, Don told us that he was celebrating 53 years with his wife the next day. We talked about Don’s kids and grandkids, about Buffalo Gap, about the places they have been in their travels. These two, and a few other characters who wandered in, make this their daily morning routine, except on Mondays when Lola’s is closed. It was such a beautiful unplanned experience and we were grateful to be a part of it on this particular morning. And the food was good too.
From Abilene, we had talked about heading north to Amarillo, Texas. But we are very much on a “Where do you want to go tomorrow?” trajectory right now, and when one of us said, “Why don’t we just head to New Mexico?” the other one agreed and off we went.
We decided to do two 3-4 hours days of driving with one quick overnight in order to get to the Santa Fe area as soon as possible. For our overnight we chose the bustling metropolis of Muleshoe, Texas. We chose it because it was mostly halfway between where we were and where we were going, but we also chose it because the town has a free RV park.
The RV park was right on the main highway and didn’t give the best first impression, but it ended up being a great overnight spot for us. Plus, they had full hook-ups. Oh, and it was free. The best part though was this sign indicating which way the RVs should be facing. Someone obviously didn’t agree with the language chosen by the person who ordered the sign.
After two somewhat long days on the road we made it to New Mexico, where we will pick up with our next blog post. We are loving this four corners area: northern New Mexico and Arizona, southern Utah and Colorado. If you have any recommendations for what we should see or do while we are in this part of the country, please let us know. We’ll see you on down the road!
Additional photos from our time in Texas: