So, we're off again! My wanderlust has been in overdrive again but commitments have kept me locked down to the house. There have been weeks this summer where I haven't even gotten in a car more than one day in 10...WTH?! One of the bonuses of being chained to the house (speaking metaphorically here), is that I've had some time to think about and plan and revise and plan where I want to go and what I want to do on this trip. Initially, I tried talking Haime into going with me. Let's just say that that idea went over like the proverbial "toot-in-church," he was not interested after he learned of my (still sketchy) travel plans. Thankfully, mom was very willing to take his place, so after double checking with a couple of other potential "road-warriors," we elected to hit the road...just the two of us. Our general itinerary includes travelling through the hillcountry and part of the panhandle of Texas, through New Mexico from Clovis to the Enchanted Circle area, to Colorado, Wyoming and to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota and back home. Our route is very general and the only commitment we made to each other is that we were going to take our time and not be married to any specific plans. If we decide to go to a particular place but then see something else that catches our attention, we were going after the bright-shiny-attention-getter. (Think of the dog in the movie "Up!")
So, as stated earlier...were off! (Oh, I forgot, we also decided that since we were going to be "casual" travelers, rather than our normal "road-warrior" travelling selves, we also decided to leave at a "reasonable" time rather than our 4-6:00 AM departure). This first day, we didn't actually "hit the road" until about 10:00! I can not make you understand how completely different that simple time change is for me, so I won't even try.
Our first stop was for lunch. Our travel time put us in Fredericksburg, TX at lunch time. Now mom and I have both been to Fredericksburg hundreds of times. So, we decided to eat somewhere completely different since this was a sort of "new" adventure. So we went through the town to the outskirts to a place known for its German fare. I love schnitzel and theirs was very good. Now mom, loves liver and onions, however, she normally only eats it at one chain of restaurants. Well, I talked her into branching out and trying the liver and onions...she hated it. Then for dessert, mom loves apple strudel and they had it on the menu. Well, German restaurant, German dessert...what could go wrong? Yep, the strudel. Anyway, we had snacks in the car so we were off again.
We must have changed our minds about the route we were taking, no fewer than 5 times. Ultimate we found ourselves heading toward Sweetwater, TX in route to Clovis, NM. If you are like me and grew up with parents who listened to country music, you might remember an old song that spoke of there being "some mighty sweet water down in Sweetwater, Texas." Well, let me take a moment to dispel any thoughts you might have about "Sweetwater" being a mecca for vacationers...NOT! Sweetwater is, however, the "Home of the World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up." What the heck?! I have too many questions about the kind of person who goes searching for these venomous pit-vipers. What the hell happens to a person during their formative years to turn them into a "rattlesnake hunter?" It will open your eyes to Google this event. So, please take the time to do that...then look at the images of the "Snake Queen." Apparently, if you are the lucky winner of the "Miss Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup," you get to have a ginormous snake wrapped around your shoulders...yes, its still alive!...enough said!
Well, thankfully we missed this annual party gathering of snake hunters. We did make it to mass. Of course, a funny thing happened on the way to mass. We had found a couple of Catholic churches in Sweetwater via Google and discovered that the Saturday evening mass was to be held at Immaculate Heart of Mary parish, on Alabama street. Well, as we approached Sweetwater, there was an exit for Alabama street, so we took it. Then just a few blocks down, we found a church. Mom saw that the name of the church was a "long" name so we surmised that it must be the place...it wasn't. So, we kept going. As we continued through this town, two things came to us. The first, if we were rattlesnakes, this area of Texas would probably seem like Nirvana, (until round-up time); and second, not being rattlesnakes, goodness, we are so glad we don't live there!
We made our way across the border and into New Mexico for the night. We congratulated ourselves on our first day's ability to stick with the plan of staying flexible and called it a night. Tomorrow's destination was to be the "Enchanted Circle" so stay tuned...