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All right. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m starting to feel like we’re stuck in Texas. It’s such a big state, it feels like it’s taking a long time to get through it all. So let’s just get it done with this post and move on, shall we?
After Abilene we moseyed our way over to the Dallas/Fort Worth area. This large metropolitan area is sort of in the middle of Texas, width-wise. It is a huge, busy area.
It is also not the most RV-friendly area. Not if you have a large rig, anyway. There are many low-clearance bridges, trees are not trimmed back on streets, and a lot of the highways and roads need a lot of updating. These are issues you probably won’t notice in a car or even a smaller rig.
For example, we were driving down a main road to my cousin’s house. They have storm drains embedded in the road next to the curb. They are recessed several inches below the level of the street. Driving into one would be like driving over a pothole. Also, because the street was narrow, we had to inch over into the next lane to get around them. And it was only one lane in each direction.
Another disconcerting thing are the freeway exits. You exit to the right at a 30-45 degree angle, cross over oncoming traffic and enter the lane. In a car, you have passenger side windows you can look out of to ensure your are clear. You cannot do this in a motorhome, even if all your blinds are open, because you are much higher off the ground and could still miss a smaller vehicle. The cars must yield (per the signs) to people exiting the freeway, but it’s definitely a leap of faith. The first few times I opened the passenger window and stuck my head out to see if it was clear. But it was also before dawn sometimes, so I couldn’t see anything anyway. Eventually we just went native and made our exits (although we held our breath each time).
Fort Worth Botanic Garden in Fort Worth, Texas
What’s the Botanic Garden like? We don’t know!! I researched as much as possible the night before (they were already closed). The parking lot looked big enough so we drove there. We entered the lot and found a lot of it closed off due to construction. We were trying to park so we could run in and ask someone if we could park when security drove up. He said we could not park there and recommended a city park across the street.
We drove to said park. We followed a narrow lane to the parking lot only to find a bridge with a 12-foot clearance. No signs warning you until you’re almost there. Wayyy too close for comfort. There was no way to turn around so Ryan had to back up about 1/4 mile until there was an intersection.
Log Cabin Village
Now what? I didn’t have time to plan another activity. It’s Friday and we want to see the sights. There’s a restaurant we want to visit. That’s where Log Cabin Village comes in. We drove in the general direction of the restaurant and found it.They had a nice, empty parking lot and appeared closed. But we saw someone inside. Ryan spoke to her during the fence. She said they were closed for a few weeks for maintenance but we could certainly park there. It was a nice, shaded area with lots of trees.
Spiral Diner & Bakery
So we walked to the restaurant, Spiral Diner & Bakery. It was the first vegan restaurant in Fort Worth and since expanded to other Texas cities. Many items are organic and/or local. They had several gluten-free options. We ordered three items to try:
It was all good. You usually can’t go wrong with vegan nachos when there’s cashew cheese sauce involved. I liked the hummus wraps; the tahini dressing was very good. Pasta primavera came in last because it missed out. The pest was good but not enough to add enough zing to the dish.
From Log Cabin Village it’s about 2 miles to Spiral Diner. We passed the Fort Worth Zoo and a giant iguana on top of one of the buildings wearing a cowboy hat. I think he’s funny but someone commented “The stuff of nightmares” when I posted it on Instagram. Oh, well!
There’s a gorgeous area called Forest Park sandwiched between the zoo and the Clear Fork Trinity River. We traveled during late afternoon so I took some pictures of the river and trees with the big Texas sky in the background.
Going to the movies
We never go to movie theaters anymore. With so many outdoor activities, they are usually last on our list. However, we had time to kill before meeting up with family and needed an indoor activity because it was still cold.
We stopped at a mall, The Parks at Arlington, at about 9 in the morning. They had tons of parking and a movie theater. Security knocked on our door and said we could not park at the mall. Why not? We queried. We only took up 2 parking spots and were far from the entrance. Because the mall is closed, she responded, and you can’t park and wait for it to open. She actually suggested we drive around and come back! We told her this was not a good option. And why were all those other cars allowed in the lot? Some were employees and others were mall walkers. Well, we want to see a movie and it doesn’t start for another hour or so. Finally, she relented and said they had spots just for large vehicles! Are you kidding me??? You couldn’t say that right away??
Seeing my Texas family
It was great to spend time with my family in Texas. Like my cousin in Arizona, this cousin also had a spot next to their house for us to park. They’re RVers, so they even offered us a 30-amp power cord they use for their trailer! We didn’t need it, but appreciated the offer. I got to see family I hadn’t seen in over 20 years, plus meet family I didn’t get to see when I visited as a teenager. Everyone was so warm and welcoming, and I was so thankful they could all make time to see us.
We made one last overnight stop in Texas. The further east we went, the more it looked like what I think of when I think of the southern United States (“the south”) and the less it looked like the southwest. We saw something not seen since leaving California: fog!
Despite the fog, East Texas was considerably warmer and therefore sticky. It was our first taste of southern humidity. We also started seeing trees sprouting out of the bayou along highways.
“Bayou” was a word familiar to me, but I wasn’t entirely certain of its meaning. I looked it up so I would reference it properly. It is a marshy outlet of a lake or river, usually slow-moving or stagnant. To clarify all the terms, “marsh” is a waterlogged area of land. It may remain flooded all the time or only when it’s wet or the tide comes in. So a bayou is the water part of a marsh that floods the land. With me so far?
Then there’s the term “swamp.” According to dictionary.com, swamp and marsh are interchangeable terms for types of wetlands. But nationalgeographic.org says that swamps are permanently saturated with water. They also always have trees growing in them (according to National Geographic), which is certainly not the case for the marshlands on the west coast that I am familiar with. There might be trees around the marsh, but not in the marsh (as in growing out of the water). I guess there’s your distinction, but if any southern natives want to chime in, feel free!
This concludes our geographical education feature for this post. ; P I’m leave you with 2 more videos from our trip to the Abilene Zoo as we bid a fond farewell to Texas.
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