“Remember the Alamo” was an important lesson in history class when I was a child and this was our first visit. It was a bit unimpressive but we enjoyed the History Channel movie about the Alamo in one of the rooms. Like at most important tourist sites, the Alamo gift shop was a major attraction. Fortunately, during our many tours, my wife, Barbara, decided to collect only magnets, which significantly limited our expenses. Our refrigerator and a nearby wall back home in Israel are festooned with dozens of magnets, mementos of our many trips.
The Riverwalk near the Alamo meandered along a circuitous route and gondola-like boats were available for hire. The area was scenic, but housed mainly restaurants that we could not eat at. We left the area after a short walk and drove to Junction, Texas, to spend the night.
One of the sad things we noted this past summer (but enjoyed anyway) was the scarcity of fellow travelers. The economic downturn seriously impacted vacation travel and not once did we have trouble finding lodging at our first choice, nor did we get tied up in a traffic jam. Remembering previous road trips, we were surprised by the very small numbers of visitors at important tourist sites. We had expected crowds, but there were none.
That evening, we enjoyed the Southern fried chicken we had purchased in Houston. On our trips we often stayed at Choice motels. We were usually satisfied with the quality of the rooms and we accumulated free nights. Unfortunately, the Roadway Inn in Junction was of such poor quality that even the owner realized the problems and he reduced our rates for the night.
On the road, we often stopped at a Wal-Mart and other supermarkets both to rest and to give the women a chance to shop. At most locations we found many products with OU certification and we were able to stock up on our snacks and breakfast cereals. Kosher ice cream was also available almost everywhere. We were also very pleased to find free Internet service at many locations around the country. Every day we Skyped our grandkids in Israel and were able to keep in touch with everyone. At the border with New Mexico, we again set our clocks back one hour. We had to keep track that we were now nine hours ahead of Israel time so that we knew when we could contact the family.
It was hot in the South but between Sheffield and Ft. Stockton, Texas, we passed by a windmill farm and the air was delightfully cooler. Route 10 is a main highway crossing the South and we often drove on it. Our next stop was Carlsbad National Park. A recent forest fire had raged for more than a week and we witnessed some of the devastation on both sides of the road as we approached the park. The fire had only been extinguished just four days earlier and we were appalled by the destruction.
My brother, Avi, had a Golden Age park pass, which gave us free entrance to the national parks. We took the Carlsbad cave elevator down some 754 feet and walked for an hour and a half through the cool and exciting Big Room. It was an amazing experience as the cave was filled with stalactites and stalagmites and an incredible variety of other formations, all under the Guadalupe Mountains. The cave was one of the highlights of our trip. Our next stop would be the UFO Museum of Roswell, New Mexico. We were warned to avoid unidentified aberrations in the vicinity.
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