West Texas Independence Day Trip

2015/07/04 - Menard, Fort McKavett, San Angelo, Ballinger

Race in the morning

Woke up at 5:00am, stretched my body then had breakfast before heading out at 6:45am, driving while looking at clouds on the horizon. Arrived at Uptown Park at 7:00am and waited for the race to start. The race started at 7:30am on time, and I finished in 26 minutes. Get changed and drove home. Took a shower and get ready for the day.

To Menard, Fort McKavett

I left the apartment by 10:00am as I finished laundry. Getting on I-10 and began heading toward the west. The traffic was not as bad as the last time I headed to the west at Thanksgiving break, as I approach San Antonio, the GPS shows I can save time by taking FM1604, going outskirt of the city so I got off around noon and start driving. Initially they had a lot of traffic lights so I thought I made a mistake, then the road became more up and down on hill country road, stuck nearby the Six Flags, because it’s summer and weekend.

Getting out of the city, kept going ton I-10 and made a stop at Junction, TX for lunch and fuel around 1:40pm. I stopped at McDonald’s and then continue on US-83 north. The road had the posted speed limit of 70mph so I could go pretty fast but on the winding road with lots of up and downs. There were come cars I needed to pass on passing lane, and also where available. The posted speed limit began to lower again and again. I finally arrived at Menard at 2:25pm.

The town looked pretty old, but first I took FM 2092 to east to check out the old mission. There was a marker describing how the farmland today was a place where Spanish people build a mission and then attached and burned. I drove back to the town and stopped by at the old train depot, then left to check out Presidio San Saba. I took US-190 to west for 5 minutes and in the middle of the open field, I saw the fort. I made a stop and walked around.

I continued on US-190 then changed to FM 864 to the south. The Fort McKavett was located in a hilly place and I parked my car at the parking at 3:10pm. This place is also restored, Stopped by at Visitor center and paid the admission. Walked around and as I approach toward the north end where I can see far away. Left the place at 3:45pm and hope I can get to San Angelo early enough to check out Fort Concho.


Lunch at Junction City, TX

Mission San Saba

Menard(ville) Depot

Fort San Saba

Fort McKavett

San Angelo, Ballinger

I took US-190 to west until reaching El Dorado then changed to US-277 north. Another hilly roads and lots of ups and downs. Arrived at San Angelo, and parked my car at Fort Concho at 4:50pm. They were closed so I only get to walk around the place which was open to public. I took a few pictures then left.

The next stop was San Angelo Depot, the station looked much larger than other ones I know of. They also had a few items on display. I was not sure how long certain restaurants open today since today is a holiday, so I decided to grab a sandwich at Sholtzky’s nearby around 5:15pm, then get on US-67 to northeast. The outside was still bright but began to contain the essence of twilight a little. Arrived at Ballinger Depot right after 6:00pm, took a picture then left. The town looked like other old part of Texas, the time stopped a long time ago.

San Angelo Depot

GP7 and Switcher


Fort Concho

Ballinger Depot

To Odessa

Leaving Ballinger after 6:00pm and on TX-158. This road will take me all the way to Midland. I had to stop at Bronte at 6:30pm since I saw an old depot. I continue on and began to see mountain like sceneries at far west, and decided to take a break at a rest stop near Edith, TX and took pictures of rows of wind turbines around 7:00pm. I kept going on the area under construction so I worried that I might be arriving at Odessa much later than I hoped but managed to get there at 8:45pm, the evening light is set and driving on a quiet city. Stopped at a Flying J for fuel and snack. Drove a little more today to reach the hotel and checked in.

Drove 685mi today, Going to bed around 11:00pm.

Bronte Depot

Driving in twilight

2015/07/05 - Midland, Odessa, Barstow, Pecos, Fort Stockton, Ozona

Odessa, Midland sightseeing

Woke up at 6:00am, the outside was already getting bright but I felt I should take things easy for now. Worked out for 15 minutes to get my body started, grabbed breakfast and took it up to my room and took shower around 7:30am. Packed my bag and check out at 8:00am.

The first place I drove was Texas A&M University to check out Bush Sr. house and replica of Stonehenge. Light green colored small house was telling me that the person who became a president was also once a passionate salesman. I then drove to downtown Odessa to check out Jackrabbit before taking I-20 business road to Midland to check out Bush Jr.’s childhood home. This was another small house with small backyard. I bet for both presidents, the White House must be a pretty big place to live. I left there around 9:10am, drove on I-20 to check out Odessa Meteor site. I followed the sign and got off from the freeway, and drove several miles in nothing except dry land in sight. The place was open so I parked my car and walked around to take pictures. I was hoping to find more crater like but it was nearly a flat plain. Getting back in the car, set the new destination to Pecos.


Bush Sr. House

Stone Henge  


Bush Jr. House

Odessa Meteor

To Pecos

While I was driving on I-20, I saw a sign indicating Monahans Sandhill so I got off and entered the park, paid $4.00 for addmission. I drove around and saw the dune. Spent about 30 minute before leaving the site at 11:00am. For another 30 minutes drive, I get off from I-20 and to I-20 business to make a stop at Barstow, a ghost town. I parked my car on the main street and found several buildings which are ruins. The doors and windows are not even boarded and I can look through inside. Continued on I-20 business road and arrived at Pecos at 11:50am. I checked out the old depot now used as a museum, and across from the depot, there is West of Pecos museum where has a replica of famous Roy Bean’s saloon, as well as Orient Hotel. Not much to walk around and I was getting hungry, but I cannot find a place to eat. I decided to pick up something on the way.

Monahans Sandhill

Barstow, TX

Downtown Barstow, a ghost town

Ward County Bank

Pecos, TX

Pecos Depot


Oriental Hotel

Fort Stockton

US-288 south, the road to Fort Stockton was very flat and straight. I got showered for a bit, and the car was also pelted by the trucks with loose sand coming from the other side, maybe for fracking. The entire route was very smooth, no traffic jam and not too sunny or cloudy, soon I arrived at the city limit. After 1:00pm.

At the site of Fort Stockton, the place was not open but accessible so I walked around in the place where no one is around, checking out the place for about 20 minutes.

I headed to north to check out the depot. The site was converted to visitor’s center so there was a plenty of parking. This place was closed also but a few informative materials are placed nearby. Still no signs of place I can eat, I decided to drive down to the center part of the town.

At the old part of the town, centering the courthouse was another quiet place. I get to walk around and saw old church, jail and hotel. The walking was hot and painful, so I left there by 2:00pm. Before leaving the town, I found out that there is the largest roadrunner by the visitor’s center so I drove back there and snapped the picture of it. I am set to leave now.


The world's largest roadrunner

  Fort Stockton Depot

Old Downtown

Returning to Houston

I began driving toward I-10, I am expecting that I could be at the airport by 10:00pm. Get off at a rest stop at ? and took a picture then continued. I have not had my lunch yet, and I thought about filling up the gas before arriving at San Antonio so I can survive the holiday traffic. I saw a DQ sign at exit for Ozona, TX, I got off at 3:30pm and quick trip at the old part of the town, had lunch, filled up the car. All the gas stations in the town were packed because of the travelers, must be a good day for them. I was able to pick a pump as soon as I pulled in.

Took route for I-10 and continue, the last time I drove on a loop outside San Antonio, but this time I took the I-10 which is going right in the city. The traffic was not so bad, and safely exited from the urban area. I have plenty of gas but concerned about getting stuck on I-10 near Sealy as usual, so I kept driving.

I do know that there will be traffic jam around Sealy, so I stopped at Buc-ee’s at Lulling, TX. The fill stations were pretty busy and they had to place orange cones to keep traffic smooth. I continued on the I-10 while seeing many cars being pulled over for certain reason. It was pretty dark when I pass Sealy and as suspected, the traffic jam caused very slow speed for next 20 miles. Entered Katy area and now the traffic is so fast and my tired body cannot keep up. I just stayed at legal limit. Took I-610 to north then I-45 so I can get to the airport.

I arrived at just south side of the airport to fill up the gas before returning the car. Half of the pumps were out, maybe sold out. I drove to the rental car center around 11:00pm, gave the car key and getting on a shuttle back to a terminal. Got on another shuttle van to the parking. I get in my car and started the engine, drove home. Went to bed.

Ozona Hotel

  Ozona Courthouse

  Ozona National Bank

Stop at DQ

Traffic is always bad around Sealy area

Entering Katy, almost home



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Copyright 2015 - Kosuke Ishikawa / Unauthorized copying of contents, partial or whole, is not permitted.