Another Road Trip to Texas and a New Travel Trailer!

In 2018 we took a road trip to Texas to purchase a new pop up. We just got back from another road trip to Texas except this time we came back with a new travel trailer! I’m not sure what it is about Texas but they always seem to be the only state to have what we want. I won’t lie, when I saw a dealership in Texas had the exact model we wanted and we had a free weekend, I got really giddy. A reason to take a road trip?! Yes, please. I immediately got to planning and a week later we were headed to Texas.

The dealership was in Amarillo, Texas so we had a 10.5 hour drive. There were a couple different ways we could go and after watching a video Through My Lens posted about a trip he took along Route 66, I knew exactly where our first stop would be. Tucumcari, New Mexico. Tucumcari is a small town on Route 66 and an hour and a half from Amarillo. (I’m sure we’ve all seen the movie Cars and know that Route 66 was hurt greatly when I-40 was constructed.) I’ve not spent much time on Route 66 but was really excited to learn the history of the town and find that some of the original motels are still in operation. We snagged a reservation at the Blue Swallow Motel and could not have been happier.

The Blue Swallow is one of the few remaining motor courts on Route 66. All the rooms have a garage to park your vehicle, there are chairs outside each room, bikes to use to ride around, and a common space complete with a washer and dryer. This is a hotel of my dreams. Why are these no longer a thing?

It was literally freezing outside when the sun set but I really wanted to sit in the chairs for a few minutes and take in the experience. I thought it would be good to document the moment but failed at taking the picture. Me and technology don’t always get along. My camera was upside down so you can see what it was resting on and I somehow didn’t realize I was taking the picture because I’m still looking at my watching trying to tell it to take the picture. Welcome to life with Caroline.

The rooms have rotary phones! Holy moly, dialing long distance takes FOREVER. Halfway through dialing I was struggling to remember the rest of the number. I dialed zero for an outside line and then dialed the number but I never could get the call to go through. That was a bummer but it was still fun to relive my childhood.

On our way out of town we spent some time driving around taking in the sites. Exploring new places is one of my absolute favorite things to do.

We had planned to stop at Cadillac Ranch on our way into Amarillo and even purchased a couple cans of spray paint. We spent too much time on Route 66 so we only got to see if from the highway. We had an appointment at the dealership and didn’t want to be late.

The next stop was the dealership to pick up our new travel trailer! I love the pop up and am still a little torn about moving on. I am a pretty sentimental person so I’m probably stuck on all the memories we created with the kids in the pop ups. The kids are older, one is technically an adult now, and are not as interested in exploring the world with mom and dad anymore. *tear* So I guess the travel trailer is an upgrade and a down grade.

Meet our new Winnebago Micro Minnie! I’ve never been one to name vehicles but I think we’re going with Winnie. Super original, I know.

Once we pulled out of the dealership we headed to Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Getting a reservation on a holiday weekend was a little tough but persistence paid off (or obsession)! We didn’t have much time to explore the park but it was nice being in a peaceful setting versus a parking lot off the highway.

The sites were really nice and would be gorgeous in the spring or fall when the trees are full of leaves.

One thing we forgot to bring to Texas was a level. We installed level bubbles on our pop up so we do not normally carry a level. That was definitely an oversight. Our campsite was not level, it wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t perfect, but we made do. We tried using the level on my phone but I don’t think that’s meant to level a camper. That or we don’t know what we’re doing. Front to back seemed ok but left to right was definitely off. It made sleeping a little funky but we survived. First order of business with the new trailer is to install the leveling bubbles!

The next morning we woke up to a temperature of 18 degree. What. The. Heck. These desert rats are not cut out for this. We were so thankful to be in a hard sided trailer versus the pop up in this moment so we could quickly hook up and leave.

Last time we were in Texas the highway was lined with oil fields. This time around it was lined with windmills and cows. I had no idea Texas is home to the beef capital of the world but I can see why.

Highway lined with windmills
Highway lined with cows (all that black)

Driving home we went a different way, partly because we wanted to see new areas we have not been, and because we wanted to stop in Roswell, New Mexico. I had dreams of buying alien themed souvenirs for everyone we know. Unfortunately for us and possibly fortunately for everyone who didn’t end up with aliens they didn’t want, we had a navigation issue and ended up driving around the town. And by we I mean the navigator (me) was too busy staring out the window to realize the GPS was not set correctly. We did find a Welcome to Roswell sign on the way out of town so this is our only evidence of our time there.

I’ll leave you with a few random pictures to close out this post. We’ve been to and driven by White Sands National Park before but have never seen it from this angle. Usually we are right in front of it and it’s hard to see. It was so neat to see how much white sand there really is!

And just like that, 1,400 miles later we are home with Winnie.

A Road Trip To Texas and a New Pop Up!

In early October, The Husband and I took a road trip to Texas to pick up a new pop up. I started writing this post as soon as we got home, got a little side tracked, and then my hard drive crashed with all my pictures from the trip. I typically back up my pictures but the ones from this trip managed to not be in the back up. 🙁  I never got back around to finishing this post but the other day I ran into a friend who was unaware we bought a new pop up since my last post was that we sold the pop up. I managed to find a couple super random pictures so I’m getting this out there to catch you up on what we’ve been up to the last eight months.

We started tossing around the idea of upgrading the pop up last summer and ended up finding one at a dealership in Texas that was discounted because it was the last of their 2018s. Since no one else in the country had them at this price, we knew we likely wouldn’t find another one so we hopped in the car and drove 13.5 hours to a town just south of Fort Worth. It was a long three days (roundtrip) but I love the open road and seeing new parts of the country for the first time. We left the kids at home and I’m glad we did. 27 hours of driving over three days makes for llloooonnnnngggg days.

We started the trip by stopping at Love’s for some coffee. I’m not a big fan of gas station coffee but I was quite impressed with Love’s. We then continued to stop at Love’s throughout the rest of the trip for more coffee. I’m pretty sure we’ve now been to every Love’s between Tucson and Fort Worth. I also love their cups so that may have slightly influenced my like of their coffee. 😉

Love’s Coffee

I’ve never been to Texas and it’s been 25 years since The Husband has so this trip was a treat. Driving through El Paso was the same as driving through anywhere else but once we hit I-20 it felt like what I imaged Texas would be like. Highways lined with oil rigs and refineries and pickup trucks as far as the eye can see.

Our Toyota was a fish out of water

Literally almost every single vehicle on the road was an American brand full-size pickup truck. We started counting the number of Toyotas because there were so few. Over the three days we counted less than 20. It was truly comical. It may not be this way all throughout Texas but it was from El Paso to Fort Worth. 

We stayed the night at the Abilene KOA and the staff were genuinely some of the kindest people we’ve met. This was one of our first interactions in Texas and they lived up to the motto of being the friendly state. Fun fact: the word Texas comes from the word tejas which means friendly. Since we did not yet have the pop up we stayed in a camping cabin. 

I’m not sure what I was thinking when I planned the food for this trip but I decided backpacking meals were the way to go. It wasn’t my best idea. Rehydrated food is not as good when you haven’t been hiking all day. Fortunately, we had a bottle of wine to help wash down dinner and the people watching was top notch. The cabin next to us was occupied by three families. There were four adults and six kids. If you’ve never been in a camping cabin they are tiny. A one room square with one small set of bunk beds and a fullish size bed that seems smaller than full. Trying to imagine 10 people sleeping in that cabin while watching the chaos that was ensuing had us laughing while we were swinging on the porch swing choking down our rehydrated chicken and rice. 

We got up early the next morning and finished the drive into Fort Worth. We had a 10am appointment at the dealership. All went mostly well but it still took a couple hours to get back on the road.

First picture with the new pop up!

A coworker of mine had told me that Texas has killer BBQ so we stopped and grabbed lunch at a local BBQ joint. Oh my word…he was right. That meal was to die for. I’d drive back to Texas in an instant for more BBQ. After lunch we were back on the road headed towards home. We had reservations at Monahans Sandhills State Park for the night but a crazy storm rolled into the area. Wind, hail, and heavy rain didn’t seem like an ideal first night in the camper so we grabbed a hotel room and ate another backpacking meal on the hotel room bed.

On the way home we continued to count the Toyotas and enjoyed the new scenery. We also noticed a few things about Texas that we thoroughly enjoyed. Aside from the fact that everyone drives a full-size American brand pickup truck, Texas has the smallest entrance and exit ramps know to man. Jumping off the highway is a thing. Traffic would backup and people would literally jump off the highway and drive through whatever was on the other side of the road. Since everyone is in trucks curbs, ditches, and uneven terrain are no big deal. We saw it numerous times and even did it once because why not. If there was an accident or traffic was bottlenecking, people would put on their hazards to alert everyone behind them. We’ve never seen this before but looked it up while driving and apparently it’s a thing. Last but not least, driving in Texas, at least on I-20, was probably the most enjoyable drive we’ve taken in terms of traffic flow. People in Texas know how to drive on the highway. They only use the left lane to pass and then get right back over. I’ve never seen anything like it in all my years of driving and miss Texas highways greatly when I’m stuck on I-10 behind someone going under the speed limit in the left lane.

All-in-all, it was a good trip. Long but enjoyable. We’ve camped in the pop up a bunch since October and are starting to get the hang of it. I’ll get a post up soon with more details on the new pop up and our thoughts eight months in.