S2S 2017 Summer Road Trip Pt. IV

Part 4 of a 4 Part Series

(Sideline 2 Sideline's Grant Goodwin and Kevin McPherson embark on their annual summer road trip to experience the food, hospitality, sights and sounds of towns rich in Texas high school football tradition.)


Day 4 (Sunday)

Our long journey back to North Texas could not begin until we collected one last artifact from the Rio Grande Valley. Opening at 7 a.m., Delia’s (Specializing in Tamales) offers just one thing—handmade, authentic South Texas tamales. We loaded our coolers with all varieties and began the drive along U.S. Highway 281. We successfully passed through the Border Patrol checkpoint near Falfurrias and enjoyed the scenery of large ranches as we drove through Premont, Alice, George West, Three Rivers, and Pleasanton.

What we noticed was how slowly the landscape changes as we lurched northward. The scrubby Mesquite trees and palm trees slowly disappeared. Highway 281, which is the longest U.S. highway in the country, stretching from Brownsville to Canada, was once a much-traveled road. But the past is evident as we noticed abandoned restaurants and truck stops through many of the small towns. Most of those had been replaced by convenience stores that also doubled as lunch and dinner stops with franchise names on the gas marquees. It made us imagine what life was like a few decades before, where small towns like Premont and Ben Bolt could support unique eateries along the highway. Football, too, might have been a bit different in these communities where it was the highlight of every fall week.

Our last hurrah was stopping for lunch in San Antonio at the infamous Mi Tierra Cafe & Bakery. We explored the Mexican beef tips, cheese enchiladas, and cabrito before tackling the stop and go traffic on I-35. Yes, it is a tourist destination and somewhat of a cliché restaurant. Nonetheless, we were not disappointed.

Our final five hours were much more quiet, albeit the sound of Robert Earl Keen and the hum of the highway gently rocking the passengers to sleep. We are already considering next summer’s road trip and possible must-see destinations and routes. But, before that happens, we are merely weeks away from the 2017 high school football season in Texas. And we can all agree … God is good.

by Kevin McPherson & Grant Goodwin

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