In Closing – Final Thoughts on This Texas Trip

This specific quest completed, we’re sharing some thoughts from our Texas trip, all 3,331 miles of it. I asked the ladies to state their thoughts in their own words so here we go.

The three of us are all smiles as we begin our nine-day quest around the perimeter of Texas.

Favorite Food Stops

While we didn’t eat every second of every day, food pictures seemed to get the most comments from our friends. Because of that, I wanted us to each get a chance to share our favorite food stops along the way.

Diann’s Favorites

Having the chance to catch up with my Aunt Ruth, cousin Wanda, and friends, Clay and Stefanie Clevenger at the Clevenger’s home in Bullard was high on my list. Not only does Clay fry the best crappie I’ve ever eaten, Stefanie fixed up great side dishes, and Aunt Ruth and Wanda prepared desserts for us, while entertaining us with stories that left us laughing throughout the evening.

I also loved the chili I sampled at Starlight Theatre in Terlingua, the town that is home to the Terlingua International Chili Cook-off, an event I’ve never attended but want to some day.

Finally, my friends Chris and Darragh Castillo recommended we try Tia Juanita’s Fish Camp in Port Arthur. They introduced me to Pistolettes, Cajun rolls stuffed with shrimp étouffée. So delicious!

Morgan’s Favorites

Fresh Ceviche on South Padre Island at Laguna BOB was quite the nice accompaniment for colorful sunset gazing.

The fanciful fun Mexican Food in El Paso at Sanchos, I only wish I’d had a Michelada because those looked so good!

The yummy roadside hamburgers in Sanderson at The Ranch House were such a pleasant surprise.

Debra’s Favorites

My favorite food on the trip had to be the seafood. I thoroughly enjoyed the fried fish Clay prepared for our homemade dinner in Bullard.

The other seafood I enjoyed while on the trip was the shrimp at South Padre Island. It was so fresh and tasty that I couldn’t stop eating it.

Honorable Mention

Biggest Surprise

Diann’s Biggest Surprise

Let’s be real for a second. Who in their right minds would do this? Three women who have never really spent more than a week together in their lives, get in an SUV for nine days, sharing a different hotel room for eight nights, having to share a bathroom, scheduling each day in order to get on the road first thing to drive more than 3,000 miles around the state of Texas. When you see it in writing, it’s really does sound nuts. My biggest surprise was how well we got along. It was risky but we took off smiling, laughed along the way, and finished smiling when the trip was done. That’s probably a record!

Morgan’s Biggest Surprise

The biggest surprise for me was the beauty of it all. The beauty of the regions, the trails, the food, the people. The beauty of the varying cultures across our great state and the kindness our fellow Texans showed us along the way.

Debra’s Biggest Surprise

I actually have two big surprises I experienced while on the “How Big Is Texas” adventure. The first surprise was to learn about the Giant art installation erected by artist John Cerney. The installation is located on US Highway 90 between Valentine and Marfa. The painted plywood artwork is a roadside tribute to the 1956 James Dean, Liz Taylor and Rock Hudson film. Parts of the movie was filmed at that very spot and solar array plays country music by Michael Nesmith of the Monkees.

Giant cut-outs near Marfa.

The second surprise was to see the “Footprints in the Sand Monument” in Carthage. It’s one thing to see the monument in photographs, but it is another thing to see it in person. The organization who erected the monument did a phenomenal job. Kudos to them.

Biggest Takeaway

Diann’s Biggest Takeaway

Life goes by so quickly. All of us have a bucket list of sorts we want to fulfill in our lifetimes. Some continually seek to accomplish their list and others keep dreaming but never following through.

When I was thinking about this idea in March, I never tried to talk myself out of it, nor did my husband. My hope is anyone who has followed us along this journey will get their bucket list out and start crossing items off AFTER they’ve accomplished them, not because they don’t think they will.

What’s on your Travel Bucket List?

As Andy Dufresne said to Ellis “Red” Redding in Shawshank Redemption, “I guess it’s down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.”

Morgan’s Biggest Takeaway

“My take away is that I love Texas even more.”


Debra’s Biggest Takeaway

The biggest take-away about the trip is that Texans are extremely lucky to call Texas home. The great state of Texas has much to offer its citizens and visitors. From the rugged mountains of Big Bend, to the beautiful beaches of the gulf coast and the Big Thicket of East Texas, to the rolling hills of the Hill Country and the city splendor of the Prairies and Lakes region, Texas is an amazing place to call home.

If you had to do it over again, would you do anything differently?


I would make it a few days longer so we could have more time in locations to visit with the locals, visit the attractions, and get to know the towns and cities we visited more.


I would take an extra five or six days so we could spend more time exploring the sites along the way. To really dive in, what can be done with 24 or 48 hours in a destination? That would be a fun trip….some towns only need 24 hours, while others, 48 hours still wouldn’t be enough, but what a great story angle when we can cover some of the amazing sites in more depth.


If I had the opportunity to repeat the “How Big is Texas” journey, I would increase the total number of days of the trip. Increasing the days would allow me to spend additional time visiting more of the Texas attractions, beaches, and state/national parks.

Where else would you explore in Texas?


As a proud Native Texan, I can think of so many different ways to explore the Lone Star State. I’d like to drive the seven regions of Texas and do an east/west and a north/south tour of the state. I would visit the stained glass churches around Texas, take winery tours across the state, see Texas film locations, take historic-themed tours, do a culinary tour of the various cuisines offered around Texas, and so much more. The list seems endless.


I think it might be fun to do a Top to Bottom and Back Again or an East to West and Back Again taking two different routes for the back again part of either trip. Either of those trips would also be great segways to How Big is Texas.


Other things I would explore would be the small and “off the beaten path” Texas towns. These small towns have so much to offer and are often overlooked by travelers. If one is looking for unique and quirky things, Texas destinations can definitely fill the bill.

These small towns have so much to offer and are often overlooked by travelers.

Still smiling after 3,331 miles on the road over nine days to see Texas first and to answer the question – How big is Texas?

Now that this particular trip is done, I look forward to possibly traveling with Morgan and Debra in the future. My husband, Dan, and I plan to take a few four-day weekends exploring, as we often do, and share our adventures from San Angelo to another amazing place in Texas. I also want to spend time with other friends and family and share the great state with them, too. In the meantime, thanks for following us on our maiden voyage, as we literally traveled around the Lone Star State!

“I guess it’s down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.”

Andy Dufresne, Shawshank Redemption

Until next time from Texas … safe travels!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Looks like fun had by all
    I’m headed back to Big Bend in the fall and look forward to eating at Terlingua …it’s always been closed when I was there.

    As always enjoyed following your adventures . Looking forward to your new adventures.

    1. diannbayes says:

      Thanks, Joan. Love Terlingua. We look at land occasionally to purchase and park our RV on. Maybe we’ll pull the trigger when we find something we like.

Leave a Reply