Mérida or Bust — Day Five: Amarillo, TX, to Junction, TX

Total Kilometres to Drive: 5,400

Kilometres Driven Today: 635

Total Kilometres Driven: 2,495

Kilometres Left: 2,905

Amount of Trip Completed: 46.2%

So here is the ridiculous hotel where I spent the last couple of nights, the Camelot Suites:

Not my picture; it was too gross out to take one! My room was at the far left corner under the tower and Moya was parked where you see the silver car.

This is a one-star hotel. The top part is closed, the west wing is, according to friendly Brenda at the front desk a “seniors’ home” with long-term residents, and the first floor of the east wing has room for nightly guests. My expectations were low for 47CAD a night, but I was very pleasantly surprised. It’s obvious that they haven’t spent any money they absolutely didn’t have to spend in my room, but everything that needed updating and to keep the room from feeling grotty was updated, including the carpet, mattress and soft furnishes, and most of the bathroom except the tub (which was fine). The room was really big, it had a mini fridge, and the heat, which I needed, worked well. I was grateful to have a couch to work from since the table and chairs weren’t a suitable work station. Add in the superb morning coffee and I don’t have a thing to nitpick about. I could have easily spent a week in that room without getting sick of it. There was an Overlook Hotel feel to the long corridor leading to the immaculate lobby, though…

The room was MUCH nicer than this hallway might lead you believe!

I had a job to finish for tonight and was delighted that I slept through the night (the first time I did that in weeks) and was up early enough to finish the job with time to spare before checkout, even with taking the time to enjoy my delicious coffee! I was in no hurry to leave since it was snowing pretty hard. This is what cemented my decision to leave — the weather was getting worse, not better, and I didn’t want to face construction and traffic on a Monday morning.

The wind was blowing hard and nasty when I left around eleven. I had a longer driving day ahead of me than I was keen on, but the pickings between Amarillo and Laredo had been slim. I want a short day into Laredo tomorrow, so Junction with a very well reviewed inexpensive motel made the most sense.

My first stop of the day was for more coffee and a bathroom at the McDonald’s in Plainview. By that point, I was regretting wishing for blue sky because while I finally had sun, it was blowing hard. It was so bad that I couldn’t even dig through the passenger side of the car to get my shoes so I could take off my rain boots — everything kept blowing out of the truck!

The drive to my next stop, Post, for fuel was very unpleasant and I saw a caravan’s worth of smart RVers pull over and seek shelter from the wind. The scenery was not particularly memorable, much more like the plains than desertic Arizona at the same latitude, but there were a kazillion windmills dotting the landscape. I was happy to see them.

I decided to detour slightly to the Walmart in Sweetwater to shop for a few items on my list to save me time in Laredo tomorrow. I was thrilled to find both of my favourite pairs of Earth Spirit sandals available in my size. Some people might find me stupid to buy a pair of them a year, but I go through my shoes quickly no matter what price I pay for them. These are super comfy, high quality, suitable to the Mexican climate, and cheap enough for it not to hurt to replace them regularly. I also got a few tee shirts and some toiletries, including sunscreen, which I’ll need starting tomorrow as I’ll finally be moving to tee shirts! I have to remember to pick up truck oil in Laredo tomorrow. I was tired today and didn’t feel like cutting back all the way across the store to get it. 🙂

After Sweetwater, I just drove. My GPS took a different route than what Google suggested and took me through San Angelo and then had me turn south at Eden. Despite doing less mileage than Google said I did and having super high speed limits the whole way, the trip, not counting detours, still took a whole hour more than Google estimated. It’s rare that Google is that far off! Even in Mexico, it is very good at estimating realistic driving times.

I checked in and asked for a recommendation for a restaurant open on a Sunday that I could walk to. I was directed to La Familia, a short distance away. It’s a Tex-Mex joint and exactly what I wanted since I couldn’t leave Texas without having fajitas.

I ordered this pretty thing to sip on while I perused the menu (even though I knew what I wanted) and munched on totopos and very spicy red sauce:

Can you see what’s “wrong” with this picture?

I declare fajitas my favourite American food. YUM!

These were a little light on the peppers (which were sweet, by the way), but super heavy on the onions, which I like even better. 🙂 The chicken had a wonderful flavour and the guacamole was almost as good as mine. There was a bit too much for one meal, but not enough for leftovers after I’d eaten so lightly all day and was famished. So I just took my time and got through it all. 🙂

Coming home, I spotted this sign that could be placed in front of C&C’s house. Just replace “Junction” with the name of our hamlet!

Now, I need to sort out a bunch of stuff to arrive organised in Laredo tomorrow. Most importantly, I have to buy my Mexican truck insurance and find a place to print the documents (it might actually be easier to get the printer out of the truck…). I also have to find a hotel that won’t have me drive all the way across Laredo tomorrow only to have to drive all the way back on Tuesday morning since I’m crossing a little ways to the northwest of the city at a quieter crossing. Finally, I need to research that crossing and make sure I know exactly where it is. By the way, I refuse to get myself worked up over the crossing or to procrastinate on getting it over with. I have no reason to stay in Laredo more than a night and I firmly plan to be in Matehuala on Tuesday night!

3 thoughts on “Mérida or Bust — Day Five: Amarillo, TX, to Junction, TX

  1. We stayed at the Red Roof in Laredo. $75 CAN a night. OK but a little expensive. It is however convenient to Mines Road to Columbia Crossing. Avoid the toll road as there is no toll booth. If you do not have a prepaid windshield sticker you will be photographed and a bill plus penalty charge will be mailed to your home.

    • I got a slightly better deal at a much nicer hotel near the Red Roof through my booking.com genius rewards. 😀 And yes about the toll road! If I don’t talk about it in my border day post, remind me to amend the post!

  2. At the end of February about seven years ago I drove from Calgary with the motorhome to Weslaco, TX… where my SK friends are. It took me 5 1/2 days driving from darkness to darkness.. and some days beyond. Luckily there were no storms but I missed being on four lane highways where I would have made better time. I am enjoying reading about your journey… as usual.

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