It is time again for our Texas trip. We have planned to leave on the morning of April 11th after dropping Snuggles off for boarding shortly after 7:00 am. Our plan was to head out I-16 to US80 & I-20 to Shreveport LA and then follow US 77, 71 and 21 down to San Marcos. This was a Northern route that allowed us to Bypass the Houston area, Dallas and Austin! We would do the same going home via a southern route, secondary roads N of Houston and connecting I-10 East of there into Florida. Past the Panhandle, we angled via secondary roads NE to I-95 midway of Savannah and Jacksonville. We planned 2 1/2 days out with a stop at Vicksburg and 2 days home following the coast of Mississippi into Florida.
Day 1 – April 11th
We left home just after 7:00 am to drop off Snuggles. Following that, we got on the road just before 7:30 am. Out of Pooler Ga, we hopped on I-16 heading west towards Macon. Approx 9:30, we hopped onto GA97 through Warner Robbins and followed this to Geneva GA where we picked up US-80 west at 11:00 am. Passing through Columbia GA, we crossed into Alabama around 11:35 am (EDT) Alabama is on Central Time so it was actually 10:35. Of course, we will give that hour back on the trip home! 🙂 (I will continue the day on EDT as that is how we tracked it)
We stopped for lunch in Tuskegee AL at 12:30, then jumped on I-85 and continued on into Montgomery where we fueled up the Jeep. From here we followed US-80 west, passing through Selma and then crossing into Mississippi at 3:30 on I-20. It had started raining pretty heavy around 3:00 and it was greatly affecting visibility. We drove into the Meridian area around 4:30 and stopped for the night at a Super 8 Motel. It was a decent moderately priced room and got us off the road as we were tired of driving and of the rain!
Day 2 – April 12th
I woke up at 3:00 am (CDT) and it was still raining, it rained all night and quite heavy at times. I went back to bed and got up again at 4:15 and the rain had stopped. We got ready and hit the road about 5:15, continuing west to Jackson where we stopped at a Denny’s for breakfast at 6:50 am. Following breakfast, we continued westward into Vicksburg where we stopped to visit the National Military Park there. Stopping at the Visitor Center, we watched a film about the Battle/Siege that lasted from May into July of 1863. After the movie (about 30 minutes) we drove the road tour through the park. All along the route are markers, monuments and historical info regarding the conflict. The highlight for me was the remains of the Union Ironclad USS Cairo which had been sunk there. We spent a little more than 2 hours there and could have spent more but it was time to get back on the road.
Continuing west on I-20, we reached Shreveport LA about 1:00 and stopped for fuel and shortly after grabbed lunch before we crossed the border into TX. Near 2:00 pm, we exited the interstate system hopping onto to TX 43 and passing through Tatum on the way to Henderson and US 77. This leg of the trip was nice 2 lane in scenic ranch country with many beautiful and Large estates visible from the road. It had been overcast most of the day and by now we were seeing some clearing. We grabbed a room at the Days Inn in Henderson approx 3:00 pm and parked it for the night, ordering in a pizza for dinner!
Day 3 – April 13th (Wednesday)
This is looking to be a short day as we only have about 5 hours of driving before arriving in San Marcos. Up and on the road by 5:20 am, it was dark but clear. US 79 is a very nice 2 lane (some passing lanes provided on hills) through ranching country. Speed limit was basically 70 mph but I was more comfortable a bit slower, especially in the dark. We stopped in Palestine about 6:20 for breakfast at another Denny’s. By the time we left at 7:20 am, it was staring to get light ad we were now able to see a bit more of the countryside and livestock. Lots of cattle, some longhorns, some horses and some donkeys and even a few llamas. Through Buffalo, Hearne and Milano before switching over to US 77. Stayed on 77 for just over a half hour and then onto TX 21 in Lexington. Through Paige, Bastrop and Niederwald before arriving at TX 80 in San Marcos. We went straight to Ralphs house as we could not check in to our Hotel this early, 11:00 am. We picked up some lunch (Coney Dogs and some flowers for their mothers grave. The headstone we all purchased last year was installed after we left last year, so after lunch, we headed down to see it and also place some flowers, then to the motel to check in about 3:00.
Later, after getting settled we went back to Ralph’s to visit and then headed over to the Nursing Home to see Lyn’s Aunt Kate (Her Mother’s Sister) whose Birthday was today. She turned 93 today. After a nice visit with her, we went to Mana’s Mexican eatery for dinner before settling in for the night.