Texas Tour - The Long RoadThe next morning, we had a good breakfast, packed up, and headed out. We knew this would be the longest drive of our trip. We headed out of Big Bend and turned right at Marathon, TX (after an hour and a half). From there it's nearly 500 miles to Port Aransas, near Corpus Christi.
We had planned, or rather more appropriately unplanned, the trip to be flexible. So we hadn't made any hotel reservations past Big Bend. But we hadn't expected to be quite so cut off in Big Bend. So I hadn't had any way to research or book a hotel. I also didn't really think about the utter lack of cell service in the southwest of Texas. We did get occasional single bars of "extended" (aka barely functional) service. But not enough really to figure where we could stay. The problem was compounded by the fact that I was looking for a hotel on a weekend in August near the beach.
All my initial searches showed there was nothing available at the beach. So then, we thought maybe we could just find something between here and there for the one night and then go to the beach tomorrow. Yea! Crisis averted. But I still couldn't book anything. We'd drive into a two-shop town and I'd get enough cell service for about five minutes and lose it again as we kept driving. We finally pulled over in Uvalde so I could get enough cell reception long enough to find a room.
We did pass really close to Mexico. When we were close to the border two years ago driving through Arizona, it was weird to see a giant wall. Here, though, there was a natural river and canyon that created the divide. It was a lot of scrub desert and old fashioned wind mills and tiny towns that were there for who knows what reason, and just a few border patrols.
So we spent the night in Alice, TX, just east of San Diego, TX. It was cheap enough that we got two rooms and everyone got a bed. Score. We woke up the next morning hoping to take quick dip in the pool only to find that it was closed in need of cleaning. Sad face.
I had done some research to find a hotel at the beach and we talked about options. We were expecting there to be lots of beach front hotels. But for some reason Port Aransas is not set up that way. It's mostly condos. But from my research I was pretty certain we'd be able to get a room. We were also unsure of what the beach was like. Coming from a California beach town, we didn't have high hopes. So we decided to just drive the hour and a half from Alice to Port Aransas and check it out and make a decision once we got there.