Okay – for the gourmands among you, three culinary anecdotes to begin today’s blog that I think you’ll appreciate.
- Last night’s hotel, south of San Antonio, presented us with two $10 vouches to exchange for breakfast this morning in the next-door diner. The vouchers showed three selections, Mexican (yeah, right!), Continental (one pancake, two eggs and bacon), and a third that I ignored as being the least healthy option. They all came with coffee or water (tea costs extra!). So, “Two Continental breakfasts, please, but could I have two pancakes instead of the eggs and bacon.” Coincidentally, the Mexican waitress, who barely spoke English, said; “No change.” Which we understood meant you were stuck with the choices printed on the vouchers. So, I said, “Okay, just one pancake, no eggs or bacon” which she duly noted. Peter, of course, also refused the bacon, but took the eggs. Thank goodness I was only allowed the one pancake because when it arrived it was the size of a dinner plate and half an inch thick. But, I’ve yet to understand how someone can make a pancake that’s the texture of rubber! The coffee was okay, but no refills, so we hit the road determined to stop at the first Starbucks…. And after two years bereft of skinny decaf lattes, I confess that it tasted shockingly good. The things we don’t miss, until we do!
- It’s hardly surprising that Americans, and Texans in particular, are suffering galloping obesity. Seeing the Texas-sized pancakes served up for breakfast is testimony to the fact that they simply eat too much. However, there also appears to be a favourite dish – maybe a new concept because I’d certainly never heard of it. And, before I divulge its secret, think ‘FRIED’ anything and it undoubtedly conjures a future of by-pass surgery. Think ‘PIE’ – a double by-pass, perhaps, depending on the pie’s contents. Now, put the two together – ‘FRIED PIE’ – and you’re talking serious health implications. Do customers eat a whole fried pie, or is it cut into segments? Mississippi mud pie? Key lime pie? Some Texan concoction – whole-cow pie? Or, tipping the wink to Newfies – seal flipper pie? As we were flying past the signs at 75 mph, the thought of stopping to find out never entered my head – but I was thankful to leave the imagery behind as we crossed the state line into Arkansas.
- So, we’ve arrived at another dog-friendly hotel in Arkadelphia, AR, that I’d found online – lovely place, charming desk clerk (although being called ma’am all the time is going to take some getting used to), and opposite a McDonalds, as I had a craving for their veggie salad. After feeding the dogs and getting ourselves settled into the room, Peter trotted across the road and returned five minutes later with a carrier bag. Fillet-o’-fish for him, with fries of course, and salad for me. I opened the bag and saw that the salad was covered in bacon. So, off Peter trots again and returned a few minutes later, laughing his head off. When he’d complained (nicely) that he’d asked for a salad with ‘no meat’, the guy said…. “In Arkansas, no meat means no chicken, not no bacon!” LOL! Now that might have made for a good conversation about being vegetarian had I been there, but I’m sure there will be more foodie stories before this journey ends.
Texas really is a bloody big state. We departed just south of San Anton this a.m., and crossed into Arkansas at 5:00 p.m. this evening, via Austin, Waco, Dallas and Texarkana. Great roads all the way, including a ‘free’ toll road. At least, we think it was free! There were no toll booths, but a sign over the road said you could travel with a Texas tag, or you pay by mail – which we assumed to mean that somewhere along the road a camera takes a photo of your license plate, and you then you receive a bill! Whoops! Not sure how they’ll be able to track us down as within a few days of arriving in NS – because our BC insurance is due to expire – our car will be going onto NS plates!!! With any luck there’ll be a few more similarly regulated toll roads as we cross the good ole US of A.
I imagine that if they gave all non-US vehicles a freebie, it would still be cheaper than building high-tech toll booths that they’d then have to man 24/7, so perhaps it’s a win-win situation for TX – but it also gave us a warm fuzzy feeling to think we were escapees!
Driving the Texas highways in spring is certainly a treat for the eyes with the floral extravaganza of what I guessed to be Texas bluebonnets, as well as red, pink and white flowers that also carpeted the central reservation. Can’t put a name to them as they flashed by, but fully appreciated their colourful presence.
Wasn’t so enamoured, however, with the signs posted around the rest area where we decided to walk the dogs. ‘Watch for snakes.’ ‘Watch for poison ivy.’ Needless to say, the dogs were allowed to walk only six inches off the concrete path, while we kept our eyes wide open for anything that slithered….
By the by, Paddington (in his wellies and duffel coat) was definitely pleased with today’s cooler temperatures, as were we – the temperature ranging from 19 to a very pleasant 25 degrees C – and it should get cooler as we continue heading east into Tennessee tomorrow.
Many thanks to everyone who responded to yesterday’s blog – it’s great to be back writing again as our news unfolds.
Until tomorrow… From Pip, Jenny, Paddington, Peter and Me. xx