Around the World... One Journey at a Time. Around the World... One Journey at a Time.

Across the U.S.: Day 17

by Kathy 8. July 2009 05:15

<< Day 16: Roswell to Carlsbad | Day 18: San Antonio >>

Carlsbad to San Antonio, Texas


We were on the road before 7:00 this morning. Our destination was San Antonio, Texas, which was 450 miles away. This was our longest driving day yet, and Ben and I were hoping to get a couple of hours behind us before the children woke up. (We configured their sleeping arrangements last night so that we could fasten their seat buckles while they were still slumbering.)

One of the first towns on the map after we left Carlsbad was the town of “Loving.”

Oh, how sweet, I thought—perhaps there is a nice story to go along with the name. As we entered the town, there was a large historical marker by the side of the road. Instead of goodwill and coziness, however, the plaque honored a man named Oliver Loving who was seriously wounded in July 1867 while fighting with the Comanches. He died from his wounds two months later at Fort Sumner in New Mexico. (There was no explanation regarding why Loving was fighting the Comanches. I later learned that Loving was a cattleman; in 1866, he helped create the Goodnight-Loving trail on which cowboys would take their cattle herds on a 4-month drive from Texas through New Mexico and up to the cattle markets in Denver, Colorado.)

To further diminish any thoughts of how warm and welcoming this “loving” town might be, there was a police car hiding behind the historical marker, along with an officer ready to catch some speeders with his radar gun. I did give him a friendly wave, however, and he waved back.

Some homes in Loving:

On the outskirts of town:

Outside of Loving, we passed a field with four buffalo grazing among the scrub brushes. Wow! I was so mesmerized that I forgot to reach for the camera until we were already past them.

We saw a few jackrabbits on the side of the road, hopping away as we approached; their brown/gray fur blended perfectly with the dirt and rocks.

The terrain was flat, with scrub brushes and an occasional oil pump:

We crossed the state-line into Texas! Unfortunately, my photo of the welcome sign is very blurry. However, the text read: “Welcome to Texas! Drive friendly—the Texas way!”

Oil pumps were scattered across the landscape:

Whoever puts up the Historical Markers for Texas is doing a great job! I was so ecstatic! They must have traveled themselves (perhaps through New Mexico). The advance notice signs in Texas actually specified both the distance to the marker and on which the side of the road the marker is located—for example, “Historical Marker 1 mile on left”. Hurrah! Then, at the marker itself, there was a street sign with an arrow pointing to the actual marker. Thank you!

The historical markers in Texas seemed to be used for target practice, and many had bullet holes in them (even those made of cement).

The town of Orla had a post office and a couple of buildings to evidence that someone still lived there, but the rest of the buildings looked as if they had been abandoned long ago.

We drove along, through the northern area of the Chihuahan Desert—miles and miles of “sameness.” We could say, “There was a whole lotta’ nada.” (“Nada” means “nothing” in Spanish.) However, I’m sure that Matthew, our guide in Arches National Park in Moab, would be able to point out at least 20 different plants and other fascinating things in the surrounding desert.

Our views:

Here, we could see what looked like a house, or other type of building, in the far distance.

It is amazing how excited we would get over spotting a tiny building.

Imagine our enthusiasm over this oil drilling rig!

I had never seen one before, and was truly fascinated with how the drilling device is elongated in sections to allow the drill to go deeper and deeper into the earth.

In the town of Pecos, people were lining their chairs up by the side of the road, as if they were expecting a parade.

We later learned that we were half an hour too early to catch the 127th “West of the Pecos” Rodeo parade, where horse riders, rodeo participants, and other local organizations would assemble and march through town to show off their best.

The old train station in Pecos:

Other buildings in Pecos:

We went from a 2-lane road to Interstate 10, where the speed limit was 80(!).

We drove through the desert, with no oil pumps during the initial section; however, wind turbines lined the surrounding mesas.

The rock cuts revealed ribbons of cream, in contrast with the reds of Utah and northern New Mexico.

The road then rolled gently through low hills covered in an abundance of shrubs and small trees.

Amidst the bright green plants by the roadside bloomed some delicate pink flowers.

Two clouds looked like migrating birds to me. (Ben, however, saw a drumstick and a guy doing the backstroke.)

The landscape contained a wide array of green hues.

This water well pump made a pretty pattern against the blue sky--like a flower that had sprung up.

We traveled for miles and miles, listening to our Sirius satellite radio tunes. The bushy shrubs that had surrounded us gradually changed to small trees.

We stopped for a lunch break in the small town of Sonora. We drove down some small streets looking for a playground, and we discovered the old historic section.

Genevieve and I went exploring. The Sutton County Jail was built in 1891, and contained the residence of the jailer. The first prisoner was a gambler and gunman, John Denson, who was the cousin of the outlaw John Wesley Hardin. I was thinking that the small town must have had a serious crime issue if they built such a large and solid jail.

Behind the jail was this incredibly big and beautiful tree, which Genevieve and I both thought would be perfect for a magnificent tree house.

There were three gravemarkers in front of the old county courthouse, which was also built in 1891.

The gravestones were placed to honor (1) the soldiers who died in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, (2) the soldiers who died in the Civil War fighting for the Confederacy after a 3-1 vote for succession, and (3) the soldiers who died in World Wars I and II.

In front of the courthouse was a row of commemorative plaques identifying the people who helped to establish Sonora. Genevieve and I spent some time reading the detailed information on each plaque. The stories were interesting. Here are a few:

We continued searching for a playground in Sonora. Here are a few houses we passed:

We discovered a small playground in front of Sonora Elementary school:

There was a larger playground in back:

We added the state of Texas to our map on the side of the RV.

After lunch, we continued on our journey, driving through miles of short green trees.

The short trees changed into tall dark trees, with occasional goats grazing in nearby fields.

About 65 miles from San Antonio, Ben and I caught the blur of a small deer running across the highway from the left side—directly in line with our route. Ben did some quick maneuvering to avoid hitting the deer head-on with the front of the RV. The deer slammed into our left side. We heard the thud, and Ben caught a glimpse of the deer struggling to its feet. Then Ben noticed that the impact had caused the door to one of our side storage compartments to fly open. We pulled over to inspect the damage.

The deer had bent the edge of the compartment door (and had left behind some blood and fur). We had stopped in an area where we couldn’t see back down the highway, and I was hoping that the deer had managed to get away without being struck by another vehicle. “Deer crossing” signs are common on so many of the roads that we drive on a daily basis (both on our current journey and back in California); we had never been struck by a deer before, and we realized that the consequences (to both us and the deer) could have been much more serious. Our thoughts were very sobering, and we were grateful that both the deer (we hope) and our RV had not suffered greater damage. After a bit of tweaking and bending, the compartment door was straight enough to stay closed, and we continued on our way.

Thirty miles from San Antonio, we encountered traffic, continuous billboards, strip malls, and new housing developments. We had become accustomed to fairly quiet 2-lane roads over the past couple of weeks, so the traffic and maze of overhead freeway ramps were a bit jarring. However, we quickly adjusted.

Downtown San Antonio from a distance:

A bit closer:

Our RV park tonight had an old-fashioned playground that Genevieve and Sebastian found to be very entertaining!


We enjoyed a quiet evening tonight, looking forward to exploring San Antonio tomorrow.

<< Day 16: Roswell to Carlsbad | Day 18: San Antonio >>

Back to Index Page

Back to Home Page

Comments (2) -

1/4/2011 1:54:45 PM #


I am so pleased I read your road trip diary from Carlsbad to San Antonio, it has made me re think that part of my trip.
I am a65yrs lady and recently widowed after 47yrs, I am taking my 32yrs interlectually disabled son on a trip to USA for us both to try and recover from our loss.
We will land in Las Vegas NV 23 January and pick up a hire car, drive to Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Durango, Santa Fe, Lincoln, Carlsbad Cavern, then onto San Antonio before flying to Orlano for five days in Disneyworld. Then flying to New York for five days ,then flying to san Franscico for five days picking up another hire car and driving back to Las Vegas via Anahiem. Flying back to Australia after five days in Las Vegas.
We have travelled alot of this before with my late husband but never east of Carlsbad, so I was planning that part without knowing what was instore. I don't think that drive sounds so interesting.
So once again for your diary I loved it
Kind regards
Doreen Hindmarsh

DOREEN HINDMARSH Australia | Reply

1/12/2011 12:36:03 AM #


Dear Doreen,
I am very sorry for the loss of your husband.  Your trip to the United States sounds very grand. You will be visiting some incredibly beautiful, as well as exciting, places. I have always found the wide-open spaces of the Southwest to be like medicine for the soul, and I hope that you find some comfort there too. I'm glad that the recounting of our journey from Carlsbad Caverns to San Antonio helped you with your trip planning. The drive to San Antonio was indeed a long day, although we did have a good time in San Antonio once we arrived.
I hope that you and your son have a wonderful time together on your journey.  I would be interesting in hearing about your experiences once you return.
Warm regards,

Kathy United States | Reply

Add comment

  Country flag

  • Comment
  • Preview

Map of Our Journeys

(click the map to enlarge)
Our travel map

Places We’ve Been, w/Quick Links

   Bumthang Valley
   Gom Kora
   Paro Valley
   Punakha Dzong
   Sangdrup Jongkhar
   Wangdi Phrodrang

   Janko Marca
   La Paz
   Laguna Colorada
   Laguna Verde
   Salar de Coipasa
   Salar de Uyuni
   San Pablo
   Santa Rosa
   Sud Lipez
   World’s Most Dangerous Road

   Banff National Park
   Battle Hill Nat'l Hist. Site
   Boya Lake Prov. Park, BC
   Burns Lake Bike Park
   Canyon Sainte-Anne
   Dawson Creek
   Eastern Townships
   Fort Nelson
   Jasper National Park
   Kluane Lake, YK
   'Ksan Historical Village
   Lake Louise
   Liard Hot Springs
   Niagara Falls
   Quebec City
   Thousand Islands
   Vancouver Island
   Watson Lake

   Forbidden City
   Great Wall at Mutianyu
   Hong Kong
   Summer Palace
   Terracotta Warriors
   Tiananmen Square
   Yungang Caves

Costa Rica
   Arenal Volcano
   Finca Corsicana
   Hanging Bridges
   Manuel Antonio
   Poas Volcano
   Proyecto Asis
   Sky Trek Zip Lining
   Venado Caves


   Amazon Rainforest
   Chaquiñan Bicycle Trail
   La Mitad del Mundo
   Napo Wildlife Center
   Papallacta Hot Springs
   Proyecto DCR
   Yasuní National Park


   Baja California
   Frida Kahlo Museum
   Hierve el Agua
   Marietas Islands
   Mexico City
   Monte Alban
   Oaxaca City
   Puerto Angel
   Puerto Escondido
   Puerto Vallarta
   San Agustin
   San Martin Tilcajete
   Santa Fe de la Laguna
   Santa María el Tule
   Studio of Jacobo Angeles
   Teotitlán del Valle

   Dead Vlei
   Elondo Village
   Etosha Nat'l Park
   Hippo Pools Camp
   Hoba Meteorite
   Khowarib Camp
   Moose McGregor's Bakery
   Mowani Camp
   Ngepi Camp
   Nkasa Lupala
   n'Kwzi Camp
   River Dance Lodge
   Seisriem Camp
   Treesleeper Camp

   Cañón del Pato
   Cerro de Pasco
   La Oroya
   Machu Picchu
   Nuevo Jaén
   Tingo Maria
   Yungay Memorial


South Africa

   Rock of Gibraltar
   Santillana del Mar

United States National Parks
   Arches National Park, UT
   Badlands National Park, SD
   Bandelier National Monument, NM
   Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
   Cahokia Mounds (UNESCO site), IL
   Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
   Canyon de Chelly Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Cape Hatteras National Shoreline, NC
   Capitol Reef National Park, UT
   Civil Rights Memorial, AL
   Death Valley National Park, CA
   Denali National Park, AK
   Devil’s Tower National Monument, WY
   El Morro National Monument, NM
   Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
   Glacier National Park, MT
   Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
   Grand Tetons National Park, WY
   Great Basin National Park, NV
   Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI
   Joshua Tree National Park, CA
   Kaloko-Honokohau Nat'l Hist. Park, HI
   Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, NM
   King's Canyon National Park, CA
   Martin Luther King Jr. Nat'l Hist. Site, GA
   Mesa Verde National Park, CO
   Montezuma's Castle Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Monticello, VA
   Mount Rushmore National Memorial, SD
   Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
   Olympic National Park, WA
   Petrified Wood National Park, AZ
   Pinnacles National Monument, CA
   Pu'uhonua o Honaunau Nat'l Hist Pk, HI
   Pu'ukohola Heiau Nat'l Historic Site, HI
   San Antonio Missions Nat'l Hist. Park, TX
   Tuzigoot National Monument, AZ
   Walnut Canyon National Monument, AZ
   Washington Monument
   White Sands National Monument, NM
   Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, AK
   Wright Brothers National Memorial in NC
   Yellowstone National Park, WY
   Yosemite National Park, CA

United States, Cities and Places
   The Alamo, TX
   Alaska Wildlife Conservation Cntr.
   Alpine Loop in CO
   Anchorage, AK
   Antares Junction, AZ
   Arctic Circle, AK
   Barrel Oak Winery in VA
   Biloxi, MS
   Bottle Tree Farm in CA
   Calico Ghost Town, CA
   Canfield Mountain Trail System, ID
   Cape St. Vincent, NY
   Carson City, NV
   Carter Caves State Park in KY
   Chappie-Shasta OHV Area, CA
   Child's Glacier, AK
   Circle B Chuckwagon Show in SD
   City Museum in MO
   Cody, WY
   Corn Palace in SD
   Crazy Horse Memorial in SD
   Custer State Park, SD
   Dalton Highway, AK
   Dinosaur Tracks in AZ
   Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC
   Dry Falls (Sun Lakes-Dry Falls), WA
   Fairbanks, AK
   Front Royal, VA
   Gallup, NM
   Goffs, CA
   Grand Canyon Caves, AZ
   Grand Canyon Skywalk, AZ
   Grave Digger Monster Truck in NC
   Great Salt Lake, UT
   Hackberry General Store in AZ
   Hannibal, MO
   Hatteras Island, NC
   Hawaii (Big Island)
   Hickison Petroglyphs, NV
   Holbrook, AZ
   Hole in the Rock, UT
   Homer, AK
   Honey Island Swamp Tour in LA
   Hoover Dam, NV
   Hyder, AK
   Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Co. in AZ
   John’s Peak OHV Area, OR
   Kailua-Kona, HI
   Keepers of the Wild Nature Park in AZ
   Kennecott, AK
   Kennecott Copper Mine in UT
   Kingman, AZ
   Lake Havasu, AZ
   Lake Tahoe, NV
   Las Vegas, NV (winter 2010)
   Little Brown Church in IA
   London Bridge in AZ
   Loneliest Road in America, Hwy. 50, NV
   Los Angeles, CA
   Lost Colony Show on Roanoke Isl., NC
   Lowe’s Speedway in NC
   Mardi Gras World in LA
   Mark Twain Museum in MO
   Meteor Crater, AZ
   Million Dollar Highway, CO
   Minnesota Zoo
   Mitchell, SD
   Moab, UT
   Moab, UT (dirt biking)
   Montgomery, AL
   Montpelier, ID
   Navajo Nation, AZ
   Needles, CA
   Nevada Beach, NV
   Newberry Springs, CA
   New River Gorge, WV
   New Orleans, LA
   Niagara Falls 
   North Pole, AK
   Oatman, AZ
   Old Faithful Geyser in WY
   Omak Stampede, WA
   Painted Desert, AZ
   Park City, UT (summer)
   Plymouth, NC
   Portage Valley, AK
   Portland, OR
   Prospect OHV Trail System, OR
   Resaca, GA
   Riverside State Park, WA
   Rock City in TN
   Rosa Parks Library and Museum in AL
   Roswell, NM
   Russian River, AK
   Salt Lake City, UT
   San Antonio, TX
   San Diego, CA
   San Juan Islands, WA
   San Francisco, CA
   Santa Catalina Island, CA
   Seattle, WA
   Sedona, AZ
   Shoe Tree in CA
   Shoe Tree in NV
   Silverton, CO
   Sonora, TX
   St. Louis, MO
   St. Paul, MN
   Talkeetna, AK
   Telluride, CO
   Route 66
   Twin Knobs Recreation Area in KY
   Virginia Beach, VA
   Washington D.C.
   Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park in IL
   Williamsburg, VA
   Winom Frazier OHV Area, OR
   Winslow, AZ
   Zion National Park, UT

Planning Our Adventures

For us, each journey begins with the initial heart pangs to venture to a certain part of the world. Then the ideas start coming together . . . ahh, the possibilities . . . and the dream evolves gradually into an actual plan. But, oh, the joy of the dream!  Click here to learn more about how we plan and prepare for our journeys.

Where Are We Now?

Click here to discover where we are now, as well as our uncoming travel plans.

Words for the Heart

“. . . and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin