Van Horn to Dallas
We felt a boost of energy after dinner in El Paso and decided to keep driving for a while. We digressed from our usual loyalty to Hilton due to availability and stayed at the Quality Inn in Van Horn, TX. It was a step above a Motel 6 I suppose. Clean, no problems.
We pulled in late at night and only needed a place to sleep, so we weren’t terribly picky. Our stay included a continental breakfast in the lobby which offered lots of options for a quick meal before climbing back in to the car..
Starting in the west traveling east feels like driving toward a water source. The sandy desert stretches three states wide, land that’s parched and left to its own devices. Then Texas farm land offers hope that something may be bubbling under the surface. It’s as if all the water lays in the east and runs west, becoming a slow trickle the closer you get to the Pacific.
Texas is HUGE. It wasn’t desert but it wasn’t much to look at either.
There are some interesting things to see along this stretch though.
*The WASP museum in Sweetwater, TX is number one on my list.It’s perfect for fans of aviation. I love women’s history so that’s a BIG bonus for me too.
*The childhood home of George W. Bush is in Midland, Texas. It’s run as a museum and stepping inside feels like you’ve traveled back to the 50’s. Interesting look into the home where two former presidents lived.
These are great places to stop along what is otherwise a pretty rural and boring road.
Plus, you can read up about the Women’s Air Force Service Pilots, as well as the Bush family, during all of those hours locked in the car.
I really enjoyed the conversation that it sparked on our drive.We didn’t have time to tour these sites on our trip but we looked up information about the people and time periods and learned a lot along the way. And, of course, we pointed them out as we cruised on by going 70 mph, waving as we passed. Next time.
Of course, if you’re like us, the people watching can keep you busy for hours.
People do weird things in their cars as they drive down an endless highway. And people look hilarious when they fall asleep with their faces pressed against the window, mouth gaping wide.
One of the most interesting things I saw on this stretch had to do with McDonald’s.
McDonald’s fast food restaurants are the largest employer in some of the areas off I-20. Not only do they pay $14 an hour in Midland but in other areas they provide signing bonuses and transportation to and from work.
I had never heard anything like it.
We passed an older model economy car on the highway that was labeled the “McDonald’s Employee Shuttle”.
When you’re hired, McDonald’s feeds you for free until your first pay check.
I was incredibly impressed. It seemed the franchise owner really understood the needs of the people in his community and was doing everything in his power to make work accessible to them.
We arrived in Dallas after dark and the lights of the city were beautiful.
We stayed at the Embassy Suites Dallas-Market Center. It’s a beautiful hotel, great staff and what we’ve become accustomed to expecting from a Hilton brand hotel.
Embassy Suites are always my favorite place to stay. The entire family loves the Manager’s Reception where we enjoy free snacks and drinks before heading to the pool. Brent and I always order mocktails but each adult guest gets two complimentary drinks, alcohol included.
The indoor pool was really fun and a great way to get some energy out after being in the car for hours.
We let the kids pick the restaurant for dinner, reminding them our rule about eating somewhere new.
With all of the Texas BBQ waiting to be eaten at every corner, we spent our one meal in Dallas at IHOP.
They defended their choice well. It fit the criteria; we don’t have one back home, and as a bonus, we’ve never been to one before. We couldn’t fight it.
They had been such troopers through all of the travel they deserved a fun dinner.
Bonus for us: kids eat free! It happened to be just the right time and day so the kids ate for nothing. It helped with the sting of no BBQ just a smidge.
* 1905 miles traveled