Archive for the ‘Killeen’ Category

A President’s Day Road Trip

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012
The Stagecoach Inn

The Stagecoach Inn, November 2011

It’s a federal holiday and a day off for me naturally, plus I didn’t have any obligations to meet.  One of my co-workers had been ill for a long time and passed away the previous week, so there was a memorial in his honor this day.  The evening memorial was in Leander, Texas which gave me the opportunity to take a road trip north of Austin.

I had been planning to make a trip to Killeen since before I left Tomball because I knew it was the only place close with a Kmart, which carries a particular necessity.  Granted I could make due with a different brand and/or style of the necessity, but the comfort level is dramatically reduced.  I am reminded of Peggy on “Married with Children” when she sends Al out to find new brazieres in the particular style she needs.  Al ends up trekking from Chicago to Wisconsin to find them, and because he knows they are discontinued he brings her back a whole case.  There are some things a person cannot compromise on, and this was one of those things I had tolerated two years.  Now that I have an income, I have no reason to tolerate or compromise any longer.  A good reason to turn the trip into a day long venture.

I started out by withdrawing some cash and fueling up at my favorite local station, then headed East on 71 Ben White Boulevard to US 183 North.  The load of aluminum cans I’d collected for emergency gas money was partially obstructing the rear view out the back of my truck’s shell so I decided to offload the cans at the Recycling Center on Dessau Road, which I’d found back in October.  It wasn’t much, but it helped pay for some of the goodies I treated myself to on my journey.

Since I had lots of time to explore, I continued north on Dessau toward Pflugerville and Georgetown.  I decided to stick to state routes and major streets rather than head straight to the freeway so I could see more of the area at a somewhat slower pace.  However, I chose to enter I-35 south of Georgetown.  At the Toll 130 merge, I left I-35 to take S.R. 195 toward Killeen.  Route 195 provided me with scenery that reminded me of the central and eastern parts of Washington and Oregon, southern Idaho, northern Utah, and western Wyoming.  The arid, rocky terrain was marked with ravines, short trees, and Opuntia cacti.  Fences along the route comprised of barbed wire and a combination of metal posts and old tree trunks.

I passed through Florence and arrived at Killeen, with 195 taking me straight to Kmart.  Once in Killeen,  familiar restaurants and a variety of BBQ steak houses greeted me along the route.  I know how much my Dad loves his BBQ, so I wondered if he might want to venture out for a visit someday.  It seems like everything here in Texas is BBQ, and there are so many different places touting their style.  To me it all starts to smell the same, but it’s all good as long as the restaurant serves tender juicy meat.  I’ll cover more on that in my reviews of recent restaurant visits.

When I entered Kmart, it seemed like every department was restocking and reorganizing their shelves.  Clerks everywhere had merchandise to put out.  All the employees I saw there were polite and greeted customers.  The toy department was undergoing a major overhaul as there were half a dozen carts brimming with merchandise blocking an intersection in the middle of the area.  I meandered all around toys to see if this Big K had any Breyer models (or if Kmart even still carries any).  I didn’t see any, so will keep my eyes on the lookout for some elsewhere.  A couple Classic sized horses would look nice pulling the little Chuckwagon I made in crafts last fall.  Since I was only browsing at the moment, I moved on and explored other parts of the store finding a few things that I will need in the future.  I picked up a few and placed them on layaway as I do intend to return for more exploration in the area.  I located the necessities and headed to the checkout, where only two clerks were assisting customers with purchases (it seems the rest were all busy stocking).  In spite of the lines, the clerk I had was very polite and no one really seemed to be complaining about waiting.

After departing the store, I scanned the horizon to select a restaurant.  Opting for a smaller quick lunch meal, I drove across the parking lot to Whataburger, then headed southeast on 195 again to enjoy the scenic trip back to I-35.  Once at I-35, I turned north on the frontage road toward Salado, stopping at the Flying J truck Stop for a rest break and some liquid refreshment.  I then continued northward to Salado on the frontage road.  When I drove past the Stagecoach Inn, I checked for ease of access for photographing the big stagecoach out front and made notes as to how to return to it before I left Salado.  Choosing an overpass for a southward return, I spotted a DQ and decided to stop for a hot fudge sundae.  I’d seen one back in Killeen, but was still too full from lunch to enjoy dessert then.  That will be for another trip.

I returned to the Stagecoach Inn, took a few photos of the stagecoach, then returned to my southward journey.  Making note of the time, I opted to take I-35 to the Leander exit.  I arrived at the First Baptist Church of Leander in plenty of time for the memorial.  Not seeing any coworkers on my entry, I sat off to one side near the back.  After the memorial, I spotted one of my coworkers, then another.  I caught up with them in the parking lot for a brief talk before heading back to the house.