Wednesday - Day Nine
It took us about 12 hours over two days to get through Texas, we went from torrential rain approaching Houston to clear skies and scorching summer heat into the Hill Country and Plains. It’s obvious to say but Texas really is big, and it’s everything you expect it to be. I’ve been to Texas many times before but always to one of the major cities, except that one time I went horseback-riding at a dude ranch with a dozen bachelorettes, that happened once. To truly see Texas you just have to get in a car and drive across it.
After quite a bit of deliberating we decided to spend the night in Austin, we toyed with the idea of driving further north to Waco to visit Chip and Joanna or San Antonio, but that would have meant a longer drive the following day which was already long enough, and the weather in Houston was lousy so we drove straight past it.
We checked into a Ramada in South Austin, I can’t say I’m accustomed to motel accommodations but it was very chic for what it was, I’d call it SXSW-motel-chic. We had a late night bite on the patio at Lichas Cantina on 6th Street then walked over to Whistler’s for a couple of cocktails where we got to enjoy an impromptu band practice from some dudes hanging out, it seemed very on brand for Austin. And that was essentially our time in the city, it was a 6am start the following day so we grabbed some coffee and hit the road.
I’m not completely sure but I think we passed through Coleman, population 4,709 due to a wrong turn, I say pass through in the loosest possible terms as there really is nothing to pass through, but it was a cool place to find. There wasn’t a wall without some sort of street art on it, from an inquisitive Dorothy and her entourage at the yellow brick road to a seemingly philosophical Sherlock. The best type of wrong turn.
One thing that was striking in Texas is the number of wind farms, it never occurred to me but it makes perfect sense, the geography is ideal for thousands upon thousands of windmills. We drove for hours and its all we could see along the horizon. Wind farms are their own kind of beauty, and for the first time they have generated more energy than coal in Texas, a satisfying stat.
Early on I mentioned Texas having decent wine, and it does. I happened to be searching for breweries when I found Brownfield, home to a cluster of wineries on route 380 about a 45 minute drive from the New Mexico border. We found our way to Farmhouse Vineyard, a quaint cottage on the edge of farmland, it’s only when you drive up to the house you’ll see the rows of vines, the only indication that this is where you need to be. We were greeted by one of the co-owners who couldn’t have been friendlier or more passionate about the wine and her family, there’s a small tasting area with a gift shop where we had a couple of reds, a white and sparkling, and we bought some wine to go and went on our way. We had a UFO museum to get to, but we could have easily stayed and kicked back with a bottle of wine in the farmhouse, it was a perfect afternoon. One of those road trip moments.
Fun fact: despite its size, Brownfield has an annual wine festival, which we’ve sadly just missed.