Saturday, January 14, 2017

Chuck Wagon - Westward Ho!

January 2017 - Orlando to Las Vegas

Last week's posts about our trip
St. Augustine FL
Fountain of Youth St. Augustine FL

This has been a travelling week! But we're not done, we don't get to Las Vegas until Saturday.

Saturday We packed up and were on the road by 9:45 later than we planned.

 Ir was 69F when we left and it rained for a few hours. John had put on jeans on but changed into shorts. A few hours later it was 41F and he put his jeans back on.

Once we started heading west the sun came out.

Billboards with differing messages.

Isn't this very cool?

We gained an hour as we entered Central time so we were in our unit at 3:30 after checking in and offered an "update" with a free breakfast and $50 coupon for a restaurant. No, thank you.

Unit is very large, 1 bedroom, two bathrooms, bunks in hall (not as weird as it sounds) and a sofa bed. Kitchen is very large.

Large balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.

Sunset came earlier than in Orlando due to time change.

Sunday after a bacon and egg breakfast we ventured out and boy was it cold! 48 F but didn't feel like it, however, the sun is shining and we are looking at a sandy beach and the gulf. No complaints.

Since last night's fajitas are not on the agenda as leftovers, the meat was so tough and the bagged cabbage for toppings was limp we picked up some potatoes to have loaded baked potatoes tonight.
Lesson learned, I never buy groceries or even venture into Wal-Mart's at home, for several reasons, why do we do it in the States??? Sometimes it's convenience. But after this trip, no more. The meat and produce is not worth it. We'll use them for canned goods and staples.

Picked up salad makings so that we can have a salad for lunch tomorrow on the road. Added the last 2 eggs hard-boiled and made delicious gluten free croutons with some bread that John isn't crazy about. Made them using the bacon fat from breakfast, they are good.
It is hard on the road to find a decent gluten free  fast lunch and I don't like much deep fried food anyway. Subway used to be our go-to lunch spot but they don't do gluten gree bread although I have read that they are testing one along with a gluten free brownie.

We lazed the cold day away.

Because of the time difference to Orlando sunset is early here 5 PM. Watched the great Golden Globes.

Monday we packed up. We have a seven hour drive when you factor in gas, lunch and bathroom breaks. We left at 8:30 and got into LaFayette LA at 4 PM. We made 2 gas stops and a couple of bathroom stops. We ate our salad for lunch and it was good.

After breakfast we packed up and divided the stuff so we could just take what we needed into the hotel.

It was a balmy 41 F or 5 C when we left Panama City Beach but sunny.

Boggles my mind how you this shop is located at a gas station. Florida has some of the worst drivers, everyone is either talking on their phones, messaging or googling. That is no law against it.
There is no helmet law either for motorcyclists.

Bye bye Florida, it was a great month!

Checked into the Hilton Garden Inn Cajunbowl.

We relaxed (7 hours in the car) and ordered room service steaks for dinner.
The steaks were 12 oz so we decided to share one and order an extra fry. When John placed the order he said  they didn't have any steak, huh??? Phone rang 2 seconds later and he said they could do steak but it would be a thirty minute wait, no problem.

When it came he apologized profusely for the "wait" and said they wouldn't charge for the extra fires and also provided an extra salad. That's why I love Hilton!

It was delicious!

As Gold Honors we were given complimentary hot breakfast before checking out on Tuesday.
We were in the car by 8:30 and made a couple of stops.

We are heading to San Antonio TX for 2 nights.

We will be in Texas for the next few days.

We'd never stopped at Buc-ee's even though they have billboards from Florida to Texas. It is huge, gift shop cum restaurant cum fast food to go cum candy store.

 Houston was an unusually easy drive with not a lot of traffic.

We arrived in San Antonio around 3:30 and checked in at the Wyndham La Cascada. I had no memory of staying here before in December 2013! I checked my post and sure enough the unit was exactly the same!

Took a walk, 9,148 steps. 80 F and sunshine.

We also visited a church but of cours, you'll have to wait until a Sunday for that!

We came back and had cheese and crackers for dinner.

Wednesday John made bacon tomato sandwiches for breakfast. It was a cloudy start to the morning but warm.
Did some laundry and caught up online.

Then headed out around 11:30, we had planned on taking the hop on hop off but decided we could see most of what we wanted by walking.

First stop was the Governor's Palace.

The Spanish Governor’s Palace is the last visible trace of the Presidio San Antonio de Bexar and the only remaining example in Texas of an aristocratic 18th-century Spanish Colonial town house. Plans for the building originated as early as 1722.

The Museum of Western Art.

The Alamo, we had first seen it in 2003.

Lunch on the River Walk.

Complimentary nachos and salsa, quite good.


Delicious beef fajitas.

Then  we decided to go to Market Square, why didn't we do this when we were at the Palace this morning? Nothing like adding steps!

Then we thought we should go to La Villita, again extra steps as it was back by River Walk.

By then according to my cell we had walked 18,500 steps today so we decided to go back to the condo and put our feet up.

Thursday packed up and on the road at 9 AM.

The highway out of San Antonio is interesting. You can take the upper or lower level depending where you're going.

Driving through Texas is so flat and boring.

But at least you can get across faster - that's 128 km an hour.

One definitely needs a morning snack.

We had made salads and this was our dining spot, dining outside at 71 F is fine in January!

Fort Stockton is known for the world's largest road runner. We stayed here a few years ago in a dumpy motel, but we noticed that quite a few chains have now built along the highway and there are even some restaurants! Click here for our 2014 stay.

We're in oil country now.

The tower that has a constant burning flame is called a Flare Stack. In very simple terms, it is just like the burner of a gas stove with a controlled burning of natural gas though its pilot burners. It is the last line of safety/defense for refineries, petrochemical and gas processing plants.

When driving from San Antonio to Tucson (900 miles) you have to decide ahead where you are going to stay overnight. Hotels/motels are few and far between. It is best to make a reservation as they get booked quickly. Click here for our less stellar stay in Pecos.

Van Horn TX is our destination for the evening at the Hampton Inn.

Our cell phones and the TV say it is 3:45, but the microwave and Google say it is 4:45 so I call the desk to confirm it is 4:45, she said we needed to turn off our cells and back on to ping the tower. The TV was coming from El Paso which is in Mountain time.

We found the only grocery store and got cheeses for dinner.

Friday we only got up at 8, had the complimentary breakfast and got on the road. But within minutes we had gained an hour. No wonder our electronics were screwy last night.

44 F when we left .

We took a quick stop in Mesilla where we had visited before.

We had salad in the car for lunch, a little chiller than yesterday, it was only 51 F.

Decorative highways.

Arrived at the Hilton Doubletree around 3 PM. Received our complimentary breakfast coupons as Gold members along with our cookies, water, chips and a chocolate bar, now that is service.


Saturday PCB FL- beef fajitas
Sunday PCB FL- loaded baked potatoes with bacon
Monday Lafayette LA- Steak and fries
Tuesday San Antonio TX cheese and crackers this was planned for Thursday but we were lazy.
Wednesday San Antonio TX too stuffed from our late lunch
Thursday Van Horn TX cheese and crackers
Friday Tucson AZ prime rib mashed and veg


  1. So many great things to see Texas! What a trip -- all kinds of weather, all kinds of sights, all kinds of food.

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  2. sure have covered some ground!

  3. safe travels-that is a lot of driving. I agree with you the food quality is not the same at WalMart-Smart and Final-I bought meat once and it was very low grade. Oh well.

  4. That is quite the drive! I love that the restaurant said that they were out of steak, but then ended up being able to offer them to you. I'm glad that your trip was such a success! Thank you so much for sharing. :)

  5. San Antonio, the Alamo, the river walk, I'd love to see it!

  6. Quite a road trip! I like the sound of the river walk too, have heard about it before.

  7. The Orlando Sunset is so beautiful. I don't think I've ever seen a picture where the sky is such a deep shade of orange and the sea is such a calm, dark blue.

  8. You all put some miles in when you set your destination goal! We are in the Tallahassee area, about 2 hours from Panama City and that's a good trike ride for us! I love the photos of Texas, have never been before but so much to see. Hiltons are great, they always make things right.

  9. I love the dueling billboards and I've always wanted to do the river walk.

  10. San Antonio is a place I've always wanted to visit, but I just haven't gotten down there yet.


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