Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sonora and El Paso, TX

The drive to Sonora was very short from Austin. Less than 200 miles, I think. We passed through some pretty country considering its Texas. Actually driving to Sonora is through the hill country of central Texas. The highway goes through Johnson City which is the birthplace of Lyndon B. Johnson. His boyhood home is a state park. It also goes through Fredericksburg which was settled by German immigrants back in 1840.. We stopped there long enough to get gas. It is quite a large town with all kinds of interesting shops.

I picked up the Sunday San Angelo/West Texas newspaper this morning at the hotel in Sonora. Interesting enough, there was an article about Fredericksburg in the paper.

Here's a portion of the article:
"About 1840 two societies, the Fisher and Miller Colony and the Society for the Protection of Germans in Texas, held land grants for German immigrants to settle the region and claim homesteads. The German immigrants could not colonize the area because the Indians were too powerful. Therefore, without having lived on the land the required three years, the German settlers could not claim the property as a homestead.

With the franchise running out for German colonization, the Republic of Texas opened up the area for settlers, giving quarter and half sections (one section equals 640 acres) of land for people to settle and improve the land."

Evidently the amount paid for one of the first ranches was $120 cash, one large ox wagon valued at $155, four steers valued at $15 per head and four milk cows with calves at $16 per pair. One of the early settlers had a historical meeting with several Comanche Indian chiefs to negotiate a treaty which opened the way to establish Fredericksburg in 1846. There is so much history in this state.

We passed by several ranches with cattle grazing in the pastures. Also saw some deer feeding, flocks of goats and sheep.

The population of Sonora is probably around 3,000. It is right off of I-10. There are 3 major hotels there, Comfort Inn, Best Western and Days Inn. We had made a reservation at an America's Best Value Inn. Gerry called Friday night to confirm our reservation. First he couldn't find it on the Inn's main web site so he called the 800 number. We remembered we had called the motel direct and only got a confirmation number, not an email confirmation. He called the motel and found out it had changed its name. I googled it and found some reviews for it. They were really baddddd!! So he ended up calling Comfort Inn and making a reservation there. Then the next morning called America's Best Value and cancelled that reservation. We drove by it when we got into town and it was really badddd!!! Very old, weeds growing all over the place. It looked like one of those places that are rented by the hour!!!

The Comfort Inn was very nice, looked fairly new. It was a smoke-free hotel too!! We got to the hotel too early and had to wait for our room to be ready. Soon after we checked in, I did some laundry. I was down to my last pair of shorts and didn't want to wear long pants. :)) It was warm there although there was a breeze. I sat outside for a while and got some sun on my legs. It actually felt gold, the breeze helped a lot. There are other businesses there like a Sonic Drive-Inn, Dairy Queen, Pizza Hut, a Mexican restaurant, a couple of tacquerias, a couple of service stations, a hardware store, an antiques store and miscellaneous other business. We had dinner at the only decent restaurant last night called Sutton County Steakhouse. The food was good. Very local! I had a fantastic rib eye steak and Gerry had a chopped steak with gravy and onions; we both had baked potatoes. The waitress brought out a condiment holder with stuff for our potatoes, sour cream, shredded cheese and bacon bits. Their steaks are cut fresh every morning.

We left Sonora at 9 am this morning. It was a little cool and cloudy. The drive to El Paso was going to be a long one, 400 miles. The terrain was mostly desert with some hills and mountains off in the distance. The mountain range is the Guadalupe Mountains. I took some pictures of the mountains on the way east and I think I posted some of them. There were some clouds along the way and it did sprinkle a little bit.

We are in El Paso tonight, on the far west side of the town. The New Mexico border is about 10 miles away. We are at an Econolodge this time. This will be our last hotel stay. Tomorrow morning we drive to Phoenix, AZ and will be at Gerry's sister's again until Thursday morning. This will be another 400 plus miles drive. We'll leave there Thursday morning and drive to LaPuente, CA and stay at Joyce's until Saturday morning when we head for Sacramento.

We stopped at Rudy's again for lunch as we passed through town. This was where we had dinner when we passed through on our way east.

So another week on the road and then home. Living out of my bags has gotten to be very trying and not having a comfortable place to relax and have some quiet has been more than I can bear in some ways. It will be good to get back to my own things.

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