Saturday, October 29, 2011

New Orleans Road Trip - Day 06

Left the La Quinta in Lubbock at 6:50 in the morning after having been rousted by the alarm at 5:45 a.m. Had our standard La Quinta Bright Side breakfast. Except, this time the waffles are in the shape of the state of Texas. See photo gallery.

Filled up with gas as we were leaving Lubbock at $3.11.9 per gallon. This day is scheduled to be our longest day of driving, mileage wise, so it was nice to get an early start.  The sun was not even out yet. That was a nice was to start since we knew that as soon as it appeared we would be driving east into a bright glare. It waited well over an hour to show up. We took Hwy 87 toward Abilene. Dropped down off the Caprock (Llano Estacado) at about 7:45 a.m., which was just about one hour after we left Lubbock. The Caprock ends about 40 miles southeast of Lubbock. The change in elevation is around 600 feet. Maybe that's why they call it the "high plains". A lot of the area we drove through is oil country and there is a strong smell of crude oil in this part of the state.

We have also discovered the newest cash crop in Texas..... wind generation! Thousands of the huge, huge 3-bladed wind generators dot the landscape. There is a photo of one "clump" of them in the photo gallery. It's a perfect marriage, agriculture and wind turbines. They take up virtually no room from the agricultural endeavors and generate revenues for the farmers as well as generate electricity for the power grid.

We stopped at a McDonald's in Sweetwater just after getting on Interstate 20. Time for a senior coffee and a senior break as well as a break for Fanny.

Eastland, TX gave us the opportunity for for another McDonald's stop. John made a tactical blunder by ordering a McD Mocha. Turns out it is 330 calories off his allotment for the day... and we're hoping for Pancho's tonight.

We stopped in Lancaster, Texas just off of Interstate 20 near Dallas, at 12:43 p.m. for lunch. John got a Whataburger (surprise!) and no fries. He's trying to help make up for that Mocha. Linda got a grilled chicken salad with light vinaigrette dressing. Both were really yummy! The deal with the free senior drink is that you get one if you order a sandwich or other entree. They are the small size drink, but you can refill all you want. We both got Diet Dr. Pepper. That is so unusual to find in a dispenser but Texas is big on Dr. Pepper. That's where it was concocted. Rumor has it that prunes are involved.

Speaking of Whataburger, we got off the freeway at the Liberty City exit to take a potty break at a Whataburger. In this store and they were celebrating the Blues Brothers, the Beatles, and a quote of Ralph Kramden. You need to see today's photo gallery to take advantage of all of this wisdom.

Two things John especially likes about the freeways in Texas. When there are more than two lanes, trucks are not allowed in the left (fast) lane. And, on all the freeways there are signs posted saying "Keep Right Except to Pass". And, the amazing thing is that most drivers do that. Which leads us to believe that it is enforced. An unusual feature, to the buzzards, is that on many Texas speed limit signs there are different limits for day and night driving (usually they're about 5 miles slower for nighttime). Some guy on the internet pondered this question: "When does night legally take effect?". Oh, well.

We checked into our La Quinta (racking up the rewards points) about 4:20 p.m. All their rooms are inside access. However, this time we got a first floor room very close to an entrance. And, they have great luggage carts. So, one trip to the van with the luggage cart and we're unloaded. Best part is that Fannie Mae didn't have to face an elevator twice in the same day!

John called ahead while we were on I-20 (Linda was driving) to make sure that Pancho's in Bossier City (next to Shreveport... just across the Red River) was, in fact, open and operating. They cheerfully answered the phone and assured him they were still there. Dinner plans are done!

Trivia: What's the difference between a coon ass (cajun) and a jackass? Answer: The Red River (separates Texas from Louisiana).

We left for dinner right around 6:00 p.m. John plugged the address into Wilma's nav system and off we went. It was about 10 miles. When we got there, lots of cars in the parking lot and the place was huge. John only had about 1,400 calories left in today's allotment (Whataburger and Pancho's don't mix well in the same day!). But, he ate what he wanted. There is a buffet line where you choose whatever you want. Some of the many items are red, green and sour cream enchiladas, tacos, chili reallanos, cheese sauce, as well as salsa, salad, jalapenos, guacamole and sopapillas. John asked the waitress if they maybe had a slip of paper with the calories for each of their items listed on it. Her reply was, "Are you kidding? This place?!". Well, that answered that. So, he's going searching online because some groups do post calorie info about restaurant foods. News Flash: John found info on the internet. He's happy to report that it appears he finished his day with 12 calories (out of 2,891) to spare. There were no snacks today, so that was fortunate.

Winner for today's funny signs was a billboard seen as we left Lubbock. It was advertising the Wash Happenin' Laundry.  Runner up was a bumper sticker John saw on a Dodge Ram pickup truck.  It said “Sometimes I Dodge, Sometimes I Ram”.

Today's photo gallery only has 10 images. You can view them by clicking here.

Hoppy trails to one and all. Remember, everybody loves some bunny sometimes.

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