Texas Roadtrip

By Sanya Bhatt

Day 1: San Antonio, Gulf Coastal Plains

Oh, my god. I'm so excited. I'm visiting San Antonio and the trip is awesome so far. Listening to my playlist in the car while driving. I have decided to travel 8 cities in 8 days in Texas. San Antonio, now what are the landmarks I wanted to visit? Oh, got it.

1) River Walk

2) Sea World (duh!)

3) Alamo Monument

4) Eisenhower Park

Yeah, that's it. If I went to Sea World, it would take a long long time, so only three places. I wanna start with Alamo Monument, then Sea World, then River Walk because someone told me that River Walk looks best at night. So out to the first site!

But before that, I noticed the weather. There were possibilities of raining, but not that much. So, I took my umbrella with me. Other than that, it was sunny. Very sunny.

When I reached Alamo Monument, my first thought was the crowd. There was a huge crowd in place. When I saw the monument, I was awed. How could the Texans build this monument. It had the stone statues of the defenders of Alamo in the battle. I felt proud of Texas. The main thing I love about San Antonio is the culture. They have their history and are proud to show it. Their places to visit show the culture and heritage by amazing restaurants and all the others. I also absolutely love the history. The people in the Alamo sacrificed themselves. I have heard a lot about Davy Crocket, but coming to San Antonio showed that he is a great hero for San Antonio and it's people.

I drove to Sea World after visiting the Alamo Monument. If the Alamo Monument was crowded, then Sea World was even more crowded. There were people in the line to purchase on-the-spot tickets to Sea World. I was glad I purchased the tickets in advance. I went through the security check and entered Sea World. What I saw was amazing. This was just the place for me. I saw people here and there carrying bottles of Coke and Pepsi. I went to a nearby stall and purchased a Coke. Man, it sure was hot. But it was okay. I went to some rides. All in all, it was fun. My favorites were the roller coasters. Also, there was an aquarium for penguins. There were facts written on top of the glass so I could read them. I learned so many things about penguins that I couldn't have guessed. As fun as it all was, it was already 5 p.m. Time to go to the park!

Thank goodness it was a Sunday, otherwise I wouldn't have gotten an entry in the park. I paid for going in, which was a lot. I went to the trail, instead of the playground. The nature's beauty was awesome. I saw the common trees that are found here, for example: pine trees. I do not know why, but I have an obsession with pine trees. It's probably because I like Thalia Grace fro Percy Jackson. She was turned into a pine tree. Ever since I read that, I was obsessed with pine trees. I saw a lot of squirrels on the way. Still trying to get this over with, I tried on going faster. It was time to go as the park closes when the sun sets. Time to go walk by a river.

When I arrived, I was thinking how beautiful it looked. There was a shallow river running through and there were restaurants on both of the sides of the river. Music was playing according to the type of the restaurant. I had an option of taking a boat with the guide or walking by myself. I was just a visitor, so I took the boat. I payed for it and climbed on to the deck with the other passengers. As we moved, the guide started explaining everything. He told us that the bridges and restaurants built here were all important for the history. Also, there were a lot of different restaurants depicting the culture of San Antonio. There were malls with fast food and shopping for the clothes common in San Antonio. There were different cultural restaurants which were Mexican and all the other cultures we find in San Antonio. There were many other interesting things, but I was mostly interested in the different places to eat. Finally, I settled for a Chinese restaurant and ordered Manchurian and Noddles. The combination was awesome, but it was time for me to go home. Throughout the trip I had taken pictures and saved them in my laptop. This was one amazing trip! I can't wait to go to Jasper!

Day 2: Jasper, Gulf Coastal Plains

The most interesting thing about Jasper, according to me, is that Jasper's weekly newspaper, 'Jasper Newsboy' is the oldest continuously published newspaper in Texas. Isn't it awesome? According to the 2010 census, there are 7,590 people in Jasper. The other interesting thing is that Jasper is also called the 'Butterfly Capital of Texas'. This is because there is a Butterfly Festival held on the first Saturday of every October which celebrates the migration of the monarch butterflies. I always thought that Jasper was an interesting name for a city, now I researched why it's called that, and I got the results that it was named after an American Revolution hero called William Jasper. Honestly, new cities never cease to amaze me. Jasper was hit by Hurricane Rita and a lot of damage was inflicted. A really sad incident, I know. Enough with the information, I really want to go to three places in Jasper. Jasper's famous for mainly 3 things. Martin Dies, Jr. State Park (I know, weird name), Rayburn Country Golf Course, and Junktique.

Martin Dies, Jr. State Park is very humongous. The best thing I like about it is the nature. I was really happy because there wasn't a huge crowd there. I could roam freely without having to worry about people. On my way to the office, I saw many trees. Magnolias, and especially Pine trees. Pines are my favourite. They told me that I could explore it with a canoe trip and I answered with a nod. I've always loved guided canoe/boat trips. That is one moment I can hear facts about wildlife and nature, and also get to observe. As we moved, I couldn't help but notice the clear water of the lake. There were little fishes swimming inside the lake. It was definitely beautiful and peaceful. The guide was giving us facts about the place every few minutes. Once, we noticed an alligator. In between all of this, I was thinking about the culture of Jasper. I noticed that Jasper is a quite and calm place to come to vacation. There are a lot of nature lovers in this city and Jasper is totally a nature place. There are mostly parks and also many events take place in this region. If you are having a busy and noisy day, you can come to Jasper to kick back and relax. That's the main culture of Jasper. After returning from the canoe trip, I was very fresh and enthusiastic. Time to visit some more nature!

I kind of wandered off here and there in Jasper. I parked my car (a red convertible Spyder Maserati- take that suckers!) and went into a forest that looked interesting. I had my phone with me, so I didn't have to worry about getting lost. I saw the usual pine trees, I also spotted some pecan trees. The pecans looked delicious. I spotted some deer, but they ran off even before I could approach them. I saw some rabbits too. My visit to that forest was also interesting. But it was time to move on. Time to go to Rayburn Country Gold Course!

I had already booked one of the new cabins they were done building, so that I could get fresh and live in luxury. It was a Tuesday, so I had to pay $49 for the entry for golf. I dumped all my stuff in the cabin, and went outside to play. I was completely fine with playing alone. At least I would get some practice. I rented the golf club and some balls. I had paid for the place near a pond because the view was spectacular and it would help me concentrate. I practiced golf for a lot of time. Then, it was time for me to move on to the last place to visit in Jasper. Junktique.

Junktique wasn't what I expected. There was some really old furniture which looked kind of cool. But unfortunately, I couldn't buy any of those because I couldn't take them back to Coppell with me. I didn't have any space. But I looked around for sure because the junk interested me. There was a really old cupboard with a cracked glass mirror. There was a very delicate looking desk which looked like it could collapse with the littlest amount of pressure. There were historical things which the owner told me, weren't for sale. There were other cool things, but I didn't have much time, so I had to go. I went to the courthouse next. That was unplanned, but there was a certain history that dragged me toward it.

I told you that there was history in there. There really was. The courthouse has the marker for a great hero of Jasper, which is Stephen Williams. He was a soldier, so the people respected him a lot. He was one of the early residents of Jasper. Jasper grew a lot in these years. There are many developments which helped Jasper to grow as a city in Texas. Well, that was all the history I got. Can't wait to go to Fredericksburg!

Martin Dies, Jr. State Park, Texas [Official]

Day 3: Fredericksburg, North Central Plains

I was driving to Fredericksburg, and totally enjoying it. I knew certain facts about the city, but not all of them. Fredericksburg had a population of 10,530 in 2010. It might have changed now, but not that much. The town was named after the Prince Frederick of Prussia in the 1800's. Now, mostly there is German settlement and the town is the copy of a German town. There are some great architectural places in Fredericksburg, for example, the Vereins Kirche, and others. I was there in summer, so it was very hot. Usually, the climate is semi arid. There are many landmarks near Fredericksburg, known as the Enchanted Rock and the Balanced Rock. I knew one more interesting thing about the town. It is governed by a mayor and the council of four people. I arrived my first destination in Fredericksburg. National Museum of Pacific War.

When I went inside, the first thing I saw was the B-25 Bomber Plane. It was totally grand, and about to become my favorite thing in the museum. I also looked at some others like submarines and other planes. The Japanese ones were awesome. There were also facts pinned up on the walls, and I took my time to go over them. I went into the combat zones. They were mostly paths and a hit or two to hide in. One was kind of barren with flags. I loved all of them. I wonder what that zone would have looked like during a war. Then, I arrived at the one place I was waiting for. HA. 19. Even looking at that was so cool. HA. 19 was a Japanese war submarine which was sent to attack Pearl Harbor. There was a display of the submarine in the museum. It nearly took my breath away, looking at the submarine. I love things related to the history and war. Especially when it's history. I already told you that Fredericksburg was named after the Prince Frederick of Prussia. The culture of Fredericksburg is totally similar to Germany. The history is kind of similar too. Fredericksburg consists of almost all German Texans. There was a treaty called the Meusebach-Comanche Treaty in 1847 that the Comanche could live among the Meusebach with peace and friendship. There was a tradition of Easter Fires started around 1847 with celebration and fireworks for the treaty that wasn't broken. I love the fact that it includes Easter Bunnies and stories. There was also a conflict during the civil war. Part of the people considered slavery as evil, but part of them didn't. Fredericksburg had a total of 33 slaves during the war. Fredericksburg developed, and now, it had it's own heritage and culture. Back to the museum, I kind of zoned out and people were giving me weird looks. I love buying souvenirs to take a memory along with me. Alas, I couldn't take much longer. I had to move on to the next place, which is the Fredericksburg Memorial Library.

The one place I love the most is the libraries. I'm totally in love with both the books, and the libraries. So, that is one of the major reasons why I selected this. An interesting fact about the library is that it's also called the Pioneer Memorial Library or the Old Courthouse. I was kind of curious as to why it was called the old courthouse. Then I found out, it was originally a courthouse. Another interesting thing is that the first floor is the library and the second floor is the community hall. I went on around shelves and shelves of books. They were marked in a different way than we do in Coppell. I wasn't allowed in the second floor and that was a great disappointment. I also learned a lot of things about the culture of Fredericksburg. Their culture is totally similar to the German culture. Well, I knew that, but there are different sized German houses on the street. There are more churches there than I ever imagined. I got the idea that German Texans are very religious people. They go everything based on the German culture. People back in Coppell are very friendly, but here, not so much. I had one more place to go, which was Enchanted Rock State National Area.

I got why people like state parks when I arrived at this one. I also got the reason people call it enchanted rock. The rock was shaped like a mere semicircle, not even a full semi-circle. It was just so cool. There was a beautiful lake there too. I went jogging in the path. I spotted so many bluebonnets and mesquite trees. I just went along, stopping just for a view of the nature. Oh well. End of the day now. I hope there is something interesting to do in Vernon.

Day 4: Vernon, North Central Plains

I saw a lot of greenery when I was driving to Vernon. Vernon is a pretty small town with a population of 11,660 people according to the census of 2000. But still, it's a pretty good place to visit. One thing about driving by yourself is that you get to enjoy a lot with the wind whipping on your face. It's an awesome feeling. But the climate was hot and humid in Vernon. An interesting thing about the city is that it was called Eagle Spring by the Tonkawa Indians in the olden times. But then they changed it to Vernon because many cities in the United States used Eagle in their name. Vernon was named after President George Washington's home, which was Mt. Vernon. And Vernon also hosted a 4 day Santa Rosa roundup rodeo in May. So cool. But the thing I needed to focus on was the places I was going to visit. I was going to 3 places today, and they were Red River Valley Museum, a random forest, and Lone Star Station. I love museums and antique stores, and of course, nature. so I decided on these three places. So, out to the next place, which is the Red River Valley Museum.

Thank goodness I was going in summer because then, the museum would be open until 5 p.m. The exhibits I saw were amazing! Some were about dinosaurs and the creatures which were extinct. There were fossils displayed everywhere I looked. There were some tribal artifacts which I could never read. Others were pretty cool. I was delighted because I had learned new facts about the history. There were some exhibits explaining the history. Some were facts I already knew, that Vernon was called Eagle Springs earlier in 1858. There was a fact that interested me. This town was mostly settled when the American Civil War ended. I think that is because people needed to settle somewhere after the war. I already knew that it was named after President George Washington's hometown. There were some really cool displays about cattle. It said that back in the olden days, there used to be a great cattle transportation and they passed Vernon. This was between 1873 and 1890's. There were also some exhibits with statues of animals brightly printed. I loved them, especially the lion/tiger one. I stayed at the museum till about 4 p.m., exploring everything and taking in all the knowledge. After that, I got into the car and headed to Lone Star Station. Let's see if I could buy any antiques.

Lone Star Station was exactly like I thought it would be. There was a sign at the entrance, welcoming the visitors. When I went inside, my breath was sucked out of me. The antiques were magnificent. There were glass vases painted carefully and beautifully. There were kitchen items which were used in the olden times. There were paintings and also expensive utensils. There was a bike parked outside, I didn't get what was antique about that one. I saw sofas and plants. As much as I wanted to buy a plant, I couldn't because then it would die when I reached Coppell. I also saw some furniture like desks, chairs, cabinets, chests and et cetera. But the thing that caught my eye was a rodeo display. I had seen many cultural displays, but this one was special. The shopkeeper was looking at me strangely, as if I knew him all my life and I couldn't remember his name. I asked him eventiually what that was about, and he told me that it was the Santa Rosa Roundup rodeo, which was celebrated in may. He told me it was taking place right now as it was May. He even suggested that he could tell me where it is held and I could go there today. That was great, considering that I had no plans for rodeo. But it was good. I got to learn more about the culture of Vernon. Vernon is a really enthusiastic place and loves rodeo. At least I figured that much out. Other than that, there was the Summer's Last Blast which took place every year, in the second week of August. I got the idea that Vernon is an awesome place where people love rodeo. There were some book shelves in the store, which I liked the most, but couldn't buy them. At last, I settled with a vase. Better than nothing. I purchased it and went inside my car. Time to jump on to a random forest.

There weren't really any natural sites in Vernon, so I decided to explore a random forest which is safe. When I went into that, it was near sunset. So whatever I wanted to explore, I had to do it fast. The forest couldn't really be described. Although I spotted many mesquite trees. I also saw one or two white-tailed deer. An armadillo came near me, but ran away when I moved. I laughed out loud, the sound echoing in the forest. I also saw many bluebonnets, which were really cool and pretty. It was time to go. Vernon was really cool. Now, I would get to go to Amarillo. So excited about my journey.

Day 5: Amarillo, The Great Plains

The very first thing I noticed about Amarillo was that it was really very hot. Hotter than Coppell. From my childhood, I hated summer. I loved the vacations, but I hated the season. It always made me sweat too much when I was playing outside. I know that it is a vacation, and I should probably enjoy myself. Time to research some facts about Amarillo. I found out that Amarillo is the 14th most largest city in Texas. And that is so cool. According to the 2010 census, the population was 190,695. That is so much compared to Coppell. I'm not used to so many people at a city. I wonder what that would be like. A funny fact is that Amarillo was originally called Oneida. I can't even pronounce that. Amarillo had one of the most active helium fields in the country, so, it was called the "Helium Capital of the World". It is also known as the "Yellow Rose of Texas" as Amarillo means yellow in Spanish. Dang, that city has a lot of names. It has a semi-arid climate like many other cities in Texas. Amarillo too, has a mayor and the current one is Paul Harpole. One more interesting thing is that Amarillo has a Texas cowboy tradition and follows it. Amarillo also has it's own professional football and hockey teams. By the way, I will be visiting Don Harrington Discovery Center, and Amarillo Museum of Art. Let's go!

I thought that I was going to just two places. Well, I was wrong. I saw the Helium Monument on the way, and decided to stop there for a while. What I saw, amazed me. The Helium Monument was amazingly beautiful. There was a sculpture carved in the center of the whole things, and it was decorated with carved paintings. It was beautiful. I was actually reminded of the history of Amarillo. First, there was the JA Ranch which was founded in 1877, and is still active today. But they don't make a lot of business out of it now, in the 21st century. Amarillo is also known for cattle and ranches, as anyone would have guessed. It was a really great functioning cattle center of the old world. Henry B Sanborn was being called the 'Father of Amarillo' because of his great business and because he bought a lot of land in the city. In the late 1890's, Amarillo was really a great center for the shipping of cattle, as I said before. But after the cattle business was over, Amarillo wasn't broke because there was a lot of oil in the land, and till today, Amarillo is a great city in the business of oil production, and thus, there are many oil companies in Amarillo. Also, there is Helium easily available in Amarillo. That is why I was reminded of the history because of the Helium Monument. But the disaster wasn't over yet. Amarillo was hit by an economic depression somewhere in the time of the World War II. Amarillo somehow survived the depression, and emerged as a successful city again. Enough of story telling. I've got so many places to visit.

I also stopped at Amarillo Botanical Gardens. It wasn't a very interesting place to stop at, but I wanted to get to know the nature in Amarillo. The gardens were typical ones, except for that they weren't that wet. They were kind of dry. I saw several sunflowers turned toward the sun. The gardens were full of visitors, so I wasn't uncomfortable knowing that I was one of many to visit. I was lucky I got to explore. On the way to Don Harrington Discovery Center, I saw so many prairie dogs. I have to beware of the,. They are known to have sharp teeth.

I thought that Discovery Center would be like a museum. It wasn't that when I went there. It was a science center with a planetarium and some exhibits. Well, looks I was right about the exhibits though. I had to pay an admission fee of $10. I had to look around fast for about 3-4 hours because then I wouldn't have enough time. There were about 6 exhibits and then I also had to visit the planetarium. I decided to go to Nano exhibit first. It was one that included science, engineering, and may others. It had so many real world problems. When I was done with that, I went to the Planetary Landscapes. So basically, that exhibit was how the world changes over time due to natural causes like volcanic eruptions, wind, erosion etc. We also got to do a couple of activities. I went to Imagination Playground next. I was curious as to what it would be. It sounded like a playground to use imagination, but I could be wrong. Turns out, I was totally wrong. The Imagination Playground had blocks tubes and many other things that kids play with and create things. Kinda like legos. When I went to explore that area, I saw so many children playing there, that I was reminded of my kindergarten days. It totally joyous. The next exhibit- The Space Gallery was mostly about weather on the Earth and many other planets. There were so many informational facts about solar activity. The other exhibit was You Are Here. I loved that one because it reminded me of Star Wars. It was based on galaxies and told us our location and others. Then there was Kinder Studio, but I didn't go to that one because it was for Kindergartners through 1st graders. I also visited the planetarium and loved it. It was like the others, but still, I had fun. Time to go to Amarillo Museum of Art.

I was lucky I got parking in the parking lot. But the moment I stepped out of my car, the parking lot was flooded with cars and visitors. I was lucky that the museum wasn't very crowded. There weren't may families visiting, only one person per car. Thank goodness for that. But one thing I noticed about the museum was it had work from mostly women. That was an inspiring factor for girls. The museum contained awe-inspiring artwork, but mostly was from Georgia O'Keeffe, Elaine de Kooning, Louise Nevelson, Grace Hartigan, Dorothea Lange, Linda Connor, and many others. That was so cool. I also loved the culture of Amarillo. The paintings depicted exactly that. This wasn't in the museum, but I got the information from a random visitor that there is a hodoo in Amarillo that resembles a lighthouse. Amarillo is the stereotype Texas cowboy cultural state. I saw people in the street wearing cowboy hats and jeans. There is a Tri-State Fair and rodeo every year, which attracts tourists. Amarillo also has museums that attract tourists, and also, the wonderful Don Harrington Discovery Center. I loved every single one of the paintings, but it was time to go. The museum was closing. It was a great day in Amarillo. I just want to visit Stratford now.

Day 6: Stratford, The Great Plains

I honestly do not know why I chose Stratford as my next destination, I think I just liked its name. But I do know that wherever I am going, I will enjoy. I always enjoy traveling, wherever it is. I love to explore new places and learn interesting facts about the place. The population of Stratford was 2017 according to the 2010 census. I think it’s awesome that it wasn’t as hot as it gets everywhere else. It was just 89 degrees fahrenheit. I just hope the places I will be visiting are cool. I will go to Depot Museum and Santa Fe railway. I know that there is some history about that railway.

I just randomly stopped at Stratford Country Club because I wanted to know what it was. Turns out, it was a Golf Course. But I could still pay and get to view the nature. So I did exactly that. It wasn't that great, but anything with nature in it is fine with me. I found the same plants here, and a tiny sunflower popping out of nowhere. It was a little calming and I loved it. But I had to move on now.

Depot Museum was awesome. I went inside and felt like it was the greatest cultural thing. There were cultural paintings on the display. There was a statue of a lady sitting near the dining table which had a lot of antiques in it. There were pictures on the wall. They were black and white portraits which had the lady and a man standing with a smile on their faces. Cultural vases and utensils were displayed in the shelf which was sealed by a glass. I guess the culture of Stratford is to be happy and live in tradition and culture. I would go to Santa Fe railway now.

The interesting thing about that railway is that it was a major railway that increased the value of Stratford. Stratford wasn’t really a good city to live in back in the olden days. But revolution occurred in the city. A man had bought a lot of land back in the 1800’s. After that, Stratford began to develop and become a better place for people to live. It had churches, schools, and homes for people. Actually, Santa Fe Railway helped the town to grow. It made it easier for people to come and became a functioning site. After that, Stratford had its own irrigation, agriculture, library, bank, airport, and many other things. It is amazing that a railway caused so much development of a town like Stratford. I stayed in these places too long. Time for me to go to the next location!

Day 7: El Paso, Mountains and Basins

I already knew that El Paso was a really big city and it was in the far west of Texas. But I didn't know the the population was 674,433 people. For me, a person from Coppell, that is a lot. I didn't even know that it is the 19th most populous city in the United States. For a state like Texas, that is a lot. The River Rio Grande is on the border of El Paso. The climate of El Paso is very hot. I experienced that when I opened the window of my car and the sun was shining down on me like there’s no tomorrow. I will be going to El Paso Museum of History, Mission Socorro, and stop by the El Paso Mission Trail.. I chose the El Paso Museum of History because it is the perfect place to get to know El Paso’s history even more. I also chose Mission Socorro because it is a perfect blend of Spanish architecture and culture in the United States.

I went to the museum first. I know know why, but there was a certain desire to learn the history of El Paso in me quite suddenly. And judging by the fact that I absolutely adore museums, this was the perfect destination to get to know El Paso better. The museum wasn't that crowded when I arrived there. It was the average crowd. I think people don’t like to go to museums, that is a depressing fact. There were so many exhibits that I was confused which one to go to first. I finally decided to trail at every exhibit I could go to. First, I went to The U.S. in Polish Historiography and Periodicals from 1764-1919 exhibit. There was a lot of information in there. This one was about the co-operation between the Americans and the Polish even before there was a proven and written legal document. It had a bunch of newspapers, drawings et cetera. I moved on to the next exhibit. The next one was ‘Up in Smoke: The Early Days of the El Paso Fire Department’. It wasn't that special, but it depicted the history of the El Paso fire department that how there wasn't one when El Paso was a kind of rural area, and when it grew, there was a need of the fire department and the people stepped up. The exhibit had the 1901 Steamer, Engine number two display. Now that was something I Iike. There was a display of the 100th birthday of the University of Texas which is in El Paso. I loved the exhibit called ‘The Changing Pass’. That one had a lot of information and displays. It was mainly about how El Paso has changed a lot in today’s world, compared to the olden days. I definitely agree to that. There are so many cultures in El Paso. There were these 3 cultures back in the 1600’s too. El Paso was the temporary base for the Spanish people around the 1800’s. El Paso, even today, has the most number of Spanish people. El Paso was actually claimed by Texas during the Texas Revolution when Mexicans and Americans signed a treaty. In March 1850, the El Paso County was established. During the Civil War, El Paso was captured again. Not by the Spanish, but by the Union California Column. But, it was given back to Texas by December 1864. There are so many things that happened in the future too, but I won’t go into the details. But I know that El Paso is a major city of Texas. I went to a few more exhibits after that, and it was time to move on to Mission Socorro in the El Paso Mission Trail.

The first thing that came into my notice was the how huge the trail was. I mean, I have been to the Coppell Recreation Park, and the trail is good for jogging and all that stuff, but this was enormous. It had so many architectural, cultural, and historical sites. If I didn’t go to the museum for knowing the history, I would have probably chosen one of these. But it was too late to do that now. I had the Mission Socorro to visit. It is considered that the the governor of New Mexico traveled here to build communities for the Piro, Tano, and Jemez refugees. This is also the oldest mission in Texas. The reason why it is so unique to the culture is because it took the cooperation of people from different cultures to help build this mission. And it is also because these people built it for other refugees. Every year in September in this mission, hundreds of people gather here to celebrate. I wish I could be here to celebrate. People coming together to celebrate is also a major cultural activity. I was reminded of the rodeo and the river rafting when it came to culture. These two are some major events that El Paso enjoys. There is this festival called Fiesta de las Flores. This is known as the oldest Hispanic festival in the southwest. It celebrates the Hispanic culture and heritage in El Paso. There are many other great joyous festivals celebrated in El Paso. El Paso also has dance and music in it’s culture. What a great city! I was wondering around roaming here to there, when the timer in my watch went off. It meant that it was time to go.

I went to explore the trail a little. It was the missions at first, but then came the nature. I saw many kangaroo rats and deer. But the most attracting thing was the birds. There were different ones in the sky. I could spot a parrot, a pigeon and many others. There were a lot of sparrows. I was very lucky I did not spot a snake. I am afraid of snakes and if I spotted one, I would be glued to the spot. Snakes are very common in El Paso. I couldn't stay a lot longer. It was time to move on to another city.

I can’t believe this is the second last city I’m visiting in Texas this week. Can’t wait for tomorrow! I am going to Valentine, at last.

Day 8: Valentine, Mountains and Basins

Once again, I do not know why particularly I chose Valentine for a visit. I think I loved the name. But the most interesting thing about the town is that the population is only 187 people. I am serious, very serious. I was laughing when I found out this. I just hope I am not alone on the street with no people in sight. That would be ominous. I found out that Valentine got it’s name because it was founded on February 14th, 1882. There are several cities in United States named Valentine and their function is to sell special postcards on Valentines day, which does happen in Valentine. There is also a neon sign outside an old general store which reads, “Matt loves Mikelle’. Well, I now know where Valentine got it’s name from, aside from the founding day. But the sad thing is that the Valentine Post Office is now closed because USPS said so. Valentine has the Valentine Independent School District. I also got one more interesting fact. ‘Cahill us Marshal’ movie was filmed here. But now, I have a really bad news. Valentine was hit by an earthquake which was recorded 5.8 on the scale. It was the strongest earthquake ever recorded in Texas, and it caused a lot of damage. I will be going to the Prada Marfa sculpture (I will explain later), Davis Mountains State Park, and the Post Office of Valentine.

I noticed that there weren’t a lot of people on the street. The town was so small. I just saw one or two people. I had decided to go to Prada Marfa first. That would remind me a bit of their history. Their history is quite interesting. When I reached the Prada Marfa sculpture, I was shell shocked. The amazing thing was that there was no one in there. There was a display of Prada shoes and other products in there, but there was no one there. No one could buy anything because it was actually a sculpture, but it still was beautiful. It actually explained a lot because there is no such thing in history as Prada Marfa in Valentine. It created the history of Valentine. We all know that Valentine was founded on February 14th, 1882. But, we don’t know that originally, Valentine had an estimated population of a 100 people around 1890. It had two saloons, a general store, a hotel, and a meat market. What happened two years later was that only a saloon was left, but the population had risen. What amuses me is when it was the time of the cattle ranchers, Valentine had the population of about 500 people with five cattle breeders, a news company, a real estate office, a grocery store, a restaurant, and The Valentine Business. The population decreased, then increased, and then decreased again, with a high school, an elementary school, and two churches. Then the population decreased and now, thanks to that, the population is only 187 people. And this Prada Marfa sculpture was a huge change in Valentine. People say that the collection was selected by Miuccia Prada herself. That was an awesome change in the history of Valentine. From that, Valentine has grown a lot. Well, I stayed here too long. Time to move on to Davis Mountains State Park!

My thought when I arrived was that, ‘Man, I could get used to this.’ It was that awesome. It was a nature paradise for me. I have a strong love for nature and strive for it, as you would have noticed. So, this was basically a hike, nature, picnic place. I went on to explore nature. I had been walking for like an hour or two. I saw many trees and plants along the path. To tell you the truth, I was loving it. It was very peaceful here. I could go on for hours and hours and not even notice. But I had to move on. I couldn’t just stop here. So, I went back. Next and the last stop: The Post Office.

I know I chose a peculiar place, but it does have a lot of importance here. I asked one of the men and women working there if I could interview them, they were happy to oblige. Valentine is filled with cheerful and loving people. It’s in their culture, I’m not kidding. This place fulfills it’s name really well. I would say yes to live in town anytime, except for the fact it does not have many facilities. At least, not as many as there are in Coppell. Well, it’s kind of obvious because the population here is so little. I asked one of the women that why do they have so much work. Like, their desk was flooded with postcards ready to be stamped. He smiled and replied, “We get a lot of postcards because Valentine is a really good place to send a Valentine to your Valentine.” He was chuckling at the end of the statement, I was too. It was great pun. I wandered along and came across a woman this time. When I asked her what all celebrations they have, she politely said, “The most famous celebration here is Valentine’s Day, of course. That’s what we are famous for. It is hosted by the Big Bend Brewing Company of Alpine. More than 1000 people come to Valentine during Valentine’s Day. It is very crowded at that time of the year.” I thanked her. I learned a lot about Valentine and other cities in Texas this week. I hope I go to Valentine on Valentine’s Day and join in the celebration. I can’t believe this was my last day in some other city. Now, I can’t wait to go home!


I went to San Antonio, so the source was me.

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