Observations from our Texas roadtrip

We’re back from our Texas Roadtrip. While it wasn’t quite what we had originally planned – we ditched the camping entirely, for instance – we still had a good time and managed to see quite a bit. A few observations gleaned from our trip:

  • It’s great to get back a day early, so you have time to unpack, unwind, collect yourself, and get ready for the shock of going back to work. It feels great to arrive home early enough to unload the car, unpack our bags, get laundry started, and start to get things back to order.
  • Nobody goes to Texas. It was incredible how few out of state license plates we saw on the trip. Usually at national park sites, many if not most, are out of state, plus some Canadian plates mixed in. But not in Texas – only Texans go to Texas parks. I guess that’s not too surprising, as Texas plates are always underrepresented at other national parks.
  • The Alamo is worth a quick stop, but don’t arrive with high hopes and don’t waste your time standing in line. It’s small, surrounded by tourist trap attractions, and let’s face it, only Texans care about this place. It’s a cool place for a photo or two, though, to help alleviate that burning childhood desire to see an inflated icon of the West, and to mark it off the life list.
  • Texas is windy as hell, and it’ll affect how much fun you’ll have at several sites – Fort Davis, Guadalupe Mountains, and Padre Island to name a few. Wind blows.
  • The iPhone 3G is quite possibly the best piece of roadtrip gear ever. We used it to listen to music and audiobooks during the drive, and even streamed an NFL game from a NY radio station. We used the Maps app to calculate driving directions, find restaurants, and even used Street View to preview a site. We typed draft blog posts on its WordPress app, used the clock feature as our morning alarm clock, and updated friends and family using the Twitter and Facebook apps. The camera and a couple of camera apps allowed some quick shots when the camera wasn’t handy. I checked and replied to email, kept up to date on my Reader items, and checked wikipedia for additional information on some of the places we visited. We searched hotel listings and prices, checked photos, and reserved online hotel deals every night – and looked up rewards account numbers. I added tasks to my to do list, blog article ideas to Evernote, and checked the next day’s weather. We kept up to speed on bowl game scores and NFL stats. I even used an app to locate free wifi networks for my MacBook Pro and consulted an app on Texas speed traps. And of course, we used Safari to hit a bunch of other websites. We did all of this on a small, elegant device that fits into my pocket – wow, what a great roadtrip device.

2 thoughts on “Observations from our Texas roadtrip”

  1. The capitol. I think you would have really liked the capitol in Austin. Did you get to travel there? There are a lot of awesome places to visit there.

    1. Sadly, no.

      When we cut out Big Thicket National Preserve, we also had to cut out Austin. I’ve only heard great things about the city, and the original roadtrip plan had us making a special New Years Eve stop there (it’s pretty rare for us to “schedule” any time in a city on our trip, so that’s definitely a compliment). And the Austin guidebook we got at the library prior to the trip certainly highly recommended visiting the Capitol area. But in the end, we just didn’t have the time to make it happen.

      –By the way, I don’t want to give the impression that we didn’t enjoy the trip – we did.

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