During our three-month stay in Austin Texas we broke bread very often with Caroline, T, Wyatt, and Ellis. At least once a week we prepared an all-vegan dinner and brought it over piping hot to share with them, giving the two work-from-home parents a break they appreciated. Richard became a master of vegan cuisine, concocting new ways to use non-meat, non-dairy ingredients to make a vegetarian paella, black bean enchiladas, cactus paddle tostadas, and everyone's favorite, roasted eggplant and portobello mushroom farfalle pasta bake. Every so often Richard baked up a batch of toasted oatmeal coconut currant cookies that T and Caroline prized for their afternoon coffee breaks.
On October 5, 2020, we left New Mexico and drove across the vast and desolate west Texas landscape, dotted with bobbing oil wells. We stopped to spend the night in Sonora because there's just too much Texas to drive in one day. The second day's drive was in stark contrast - stone walls and small trees lined the road with rolling hills in the distance, and lush verdant fields, an ostrich farm, and vineyards and peach orchards in the foreground. We'd entered the Texas "Hill Country" - the geographic border between the American Southwest and Southeast. About an hour and a half before we would reach our target destination of Austin we passed through a charming oasis of a town - Fredericksburg. We just had to stop and check this place out.
Around mid-day on October 2, 2020, we checked out of our Albuquerque hotel and headed south on Interstate 25 through the bumpy desert landscape, with gray-brown hills in the background in every direction. We were intrigued by the signs announcing our entry into a town called "Truth or Consequences" and couldn't resist a drive through the town center. In 1950 the town formerly known as "Hot Springs" took up the challenge offered by the popular radio game show to change its name in celebration of the show's 10th anniversary. The change was approved by a special election - 1294 to 295 - and the show was broadcast from there on April 1, 1950. It was no April Fools' joke...the name persists today,
On September 30, after exploring the Petrified Forest in eastern Arizona, we set out for a 4-hour drive to Albuquerque New Mexico around mid day. We settled in at our hotel for a two-night stay and then discovered Rudy's Country Store & Bar-B-Q - a remarkably good chain that we'd come to favor as we moved into Texas later in our journeys. We got a kick out of their T-shirt slogan.
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Nancy McCabe &