2014 Thanksgiving Holiday Trip (last updated on 2016/01/22)


2014/11/27: To West Texas

Turkey Trot at Galleria in the morning

I woke up at 5:00am with helps from alarm clocks, stretched my body then took shower. Geared up for the run and left my apartment at 6:30am, drove to Galleria area for a 10k race while watching the east sky becoming brighter. It was at low 50s and I was not sure if I should just run with shorts and t-shirt. I decided to keep a long sleeve. The run started from 7:30am but took nearly 3 minutes to cross the start line. They are reporting of total of 15,000 participants... The course was good, started out from Post Oak Blvd, going west and back on the San Felipe and coming back on the Post Oak Blvd again before crossing the finish line around 8:30am. I grabbed a bottled water then walked back to the parking to get back on my car.

To Galleria at dawn

Williams Tower

Get a rental car at Bush International Aiport

I get changed to take off my wet clothing then began heading to the airport at 8:50am. I took I-610 west to north to I-45 north, it was a quick and smooth drive. I did not see any congestions. I arrived at the off site parking at 9:15am where it was packed and met with the last person without reservation who get to park. The shuttle spent 15 minutes picking up people. It left the site and took us to the terminals. I got off at terminal B and took a shuttle bus to the rental car center at 9:47am. I walked up to the counter and they gave me a Chrysler 200 which was newer design than what I used last year's trip. I do not have to turn a key to start the engine anymore but also missing a CD player. Left the parking and drove home by taking I-45 south then I-610 west to I-10 west to avoid toll sections. Once I got back home, I took shower and took out the trash, had a soup for lunch. I then finished packing and left the apartment at 11:40am. I am ready to go for a long ride now.

Heading to Van Horn

Getting on I-10 west and began head to Van Horn, the town I will be staying tonight. The weather was sunny, and the traffic was mostly smooth except for some spotty congestions even near Houston. Passed San Antonio at ? and for the first time, I get to see what's on the other side.

Passing by San Antonio
 
Kept going and entered mountain area, more like Arizona.

The speed limit increast to 80mph. 3:30pm.

Stopped for fuel at 3:57pm at 329.3mi at Juction, TX They had McDonald's inside but they were closed for family hours for the thanksgiving day.
Kept going on I-10,
Made a quick stop around that time at a rest area. My phone shows, "no service"
At East Pecos Country Rest Area (mile 309).


The driving into the night. I had to be very careful
After passing fort Stockton, the scenery changed again

Where I-10 join with I-20, it was totally dark.
 
Finally arriving at Van Horn, stopped at Wendy's for a quick dinner, fuelled the car at at 8:14pm, I have droven 640.4mi today. Check in at the hotel, only to find my friend is also staying at the same hotel. Suggested what to see in the town tomorrow, and I went to bed around 11:00pm.
642.5mi, 29.7mpg, 9:04:16
Fueling the car before arriving at the hotel
Check in at hotel...

2014/11/28

Driving to El Capitan

Woke up at 5:00am, stretched my body then took shower. Had breakfast at 6:00am then left the room at 6:30am, walking out into the chilly 33F air. The sky was clear and dark, I can see the stars. Started the engine and began driving toward north by taking 54. The first 10 mile was winding road and pretty dark so it was hard to navigate, and on passing especially.
Breakfast

Almost reaching to the Guadalupe

Sunrise in the horizon

Looking south from the rest area near El Capitan

Arrived at a picnic stop by El Capitan at 7:30am, just as the sun comes up. The sun coming out from the horizon far away, and painting the mountain surface in pink. Walked at campground for a while then left and headed back to the city around 8:15am.

To El Paso, Mission Trail

Driving back the road to Van Horn, I can see some mountains along sides which I did not notice on the way in the morning (because it was pitch dark). Back on I-10 west, stopped by at the town of Sierra Blanca to check out the location where two railroad companies decided to merge around 9:40am. I kept driving on I-10 west and the road took left turn to go between mountains at Quitmann Mountains where the sight opened and I can see the field in Mexico entire area. As I continue driving, dust of sands began rising on the horizon from convection. Made a stop at a rest stop before getting off from interstate. I stopped by three missions, 11:00am, 11:42am, 12:00pm(Ysta)
A Magoffin Home at 12:40pm

Sierra Blanca

San Elizario

Socorro

Ysleta Mission In inside, there was a shrine, and picture of dark skinned Mary...

Had lunch with friends from Houston at Mexican Cottage at 1:00pm

My Lunch, heavy in beef.

Stopped by at El Paso station

Leaving the parking and began driving to New Mexico at 2:00pm? by continuing on I-10 west. Crossed in to New Mexico at 1:20pm, I would know by seeing a sign "Welcome to..." The traffic was not so bad at all, soon I get off from I-10 west to I-25 north, at Las Cruces then to US-70 East toward the Monument. The road was simple, just by going up hill to go over a mountain range then go down the hill, making a left so I would head northwest toward the park. There was a passport check just 8 miles shy of the destination at 2:30pm. I am glad that I carried my passport with me, my friend got stuck for 10 minutes since they have to look up their database.

 Crossing into New Mexico Check point, get my passport checked.

Whitesands National Park

I resumed my trip to the Whitesnds, initially it was not white but everlasting yellow dunes. More I get close to the park, whiter it gets. Arrived at Whitesands at 2:40pm. I paid $3 and followed a tour bus which is ahead of me. The first part was straight but soon the pavement is no longer available and the road become a winding one. Get off from the car at several locations and walked around. Of course there were many people around. I stayed until 4:00pm then left.

Normal road for the first
Almost like snow field





Roswell NM

Left the park and began head to Roswell. I stayed too long so it is going to be totally dark when I reach there. The fuel was getting low so I stopped at the nearest town, Alamogordo at 4:12pm, 1014.9mi, to fill up. I then headed north on US-70 then turned right at Tularosa to enter the mountain area. The road became winding one and proceeding between mountains. Drove by Casino Apache; must be operated by Apaches. I kept going with precaution but some car could go faster than me. Once exiting the mountain area, the road became straight toward Roswell. It was nice seeing stars as I was driving down the hill. Arrived at the downtown area, had dinner at Peppers for Taco Salad around 6:30pm, left in 30 minutes because I was tired and wanted to check in at the hotel. Checked in at the holiday inn express 8:00pm, Worked out for 20 minutes then went to bed at 10:00pm. 1135.6mi, 37.6mpg,13:12? arrived at the hotel at 9:20pm?.

After leain



Keep driving

The floor of elevator at the hotel

Taco Salad, a bit disappointing...

2014/11/29: Roswell, NM to Dallas, TX

UFO Museum

Woke up at 6:00am, stretched my body and worked out for 30 minutes before having a quick breakfast and taking a shower. The museum will be open from 9:00am so I could take things easy. Left the hotel at 8:30am and drove around, arrived at the museum. I was able to park a park in the front. Inside the museum, they had old news paper about "alleged" UFO crash as Roswell in ?. It was just fun to watch but no scientific significant. Left at 9:30am after buying some gifts and cards and walked to a near by park before heading toward Texas.

 

To Friend's place in Denton, TX

Left the city at 9:50am, headed to east toward on US-380 toward Texas state border. Crossed back into Texas at 11:42am. Passed through Brownfield, Post then changed to US-84 at 12:40pm. I should have stopped there for fuel and meal earlier but missed it. Anywhere around here, I cannot find any place to do either one until I get to a small town somewhere. Finally stopped at Snyder around 2:00pm, bought whopper from Burger King and ate it while I was fueling the car because I wanted to save time. (Snyder 2:05pm for fuel, 1381.6mi, Snyder Burger King 2:18pm)
From Snyder, it was only a short drive but there are so many wind turbines on the top of hills and at cotton field. Joined to I-20 at 3:12pm, and kept driving to east, and at the outside of Dallas/Fort Worth area, I entered to I-30  east at 5:40pm. The sun was coming down so the surrounding were getting darker, and the road was congested. Drove by Fort Worth Airport, I could see a runway to my left under dark. Finally arrived at my friend's apartment at 7:00pm and we headed to a Japanese restaurant for the dinner. Chat at Starbuck for a while. Gusty wind but not so cold at all. I went to bed by midnight.


Dinner with my friend, Hiro
1645.3mi, 36.1mpg, 26:15

2014/11/30: Dallas, TX to Houston, TX

Frontier Aircraft Museum

Woke up at 7:00am, it was sunny outside, and the temperature was already in the 60s but still breezy. Chat with my friend, took shower and we headed to Egg and I at Denton, TX after 10:00am. The place was good and we enjoyed the food. I had Viva La French Toast. Not sure if I should eat this much for

Brekfast at Egg and I

Click here for more pictures

Left my friend's apartment at 12:00pm, drove to downtown Dallas area by the airport. I arrived there before 1:00pm but the place was already open. (Frontier of Flight Museum, $8.00). I get to see several unique planes like V-173 Flying Pancake, and Apollo 7 command module. Stayed for 30 minute then headed out so I can enjoy two more museums on the way back.

To Waco, TX

Drivitng on I-35

Waco Suspension Bridge

Left the museum and began driving to Waco, I should have about 30 minutes each at two museums there. However, as soon as I get on I-35 south, the place got really jammed and it was slow moving. I finally arrived to Waco at 4:00pm, which is the closing time for the museums I wanted to visit, So, I just decided to go where has no set business hours, a suspension bridge by Indian park(?),

Coming back to Houston

Since I am expecting more delays due to the holiday traffic, I stopped by at a gas station and topped off the tank at 4:26pm at 1776.3mi. I took a local road to US-84 east passing Mexia then Teague to switch to TX-179 to reach I-45. By the time when I get on the interstate, the sun was already setting and traffic was heavy as well. Sometimes I get to drive at the speed limit but all sudden I had to slow down to 10mph or even stop on the interstate without seeing any accident. When the car reached to Huntsville, it was going very slow. Another one hour to reach Houston.

Stuck in traffic by ? Sigh...

Back to home

Arriving back to the airport area before 8:00pm, stopped at a Shell for the last fill up before returning the car, at 7:55pm. Took the car back to the rental car center and got out. I drove total of 1971.9 mi with driving time of 33:02. Average mpg was 34.5. Hitch a ride on a shuttle bus at 8:15pm to go back to the terminal only in 5 minutes but to catch a shuttle van to the off site parking took longer. Waiting in tired, in humid and warm weather was not that good/ The shuttle finally picked me up at 8:45pm and took 10 minutes to get to my car. Going to bed after midnight. My trip was over and tomorrow I am back in the regular night shift.



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