California to Texas Cruise
It was sort of like winning a sweepstakes. Out of millions of entries my name was drawn to accompany the biggest names in minitruckin’ to a car show. Just in our truck alone sat Mike Alexander, Ernie Macias, Makoto from Truck Trends, and in one of the other trucks was Johnny O. Now being that they are my good friends, it’s not like I see these guys as celebrities or anything, but how could you pick a better group of people to go to a show with?

I’m not at all the showgoer, but my New Year’s resolution was to go to more shows this year; so far this trip makes two. The instructions were to be at Ernie’s house by 3 a.m. Thursday morning. I’m horrible at being late so I decided that it was best to not go to sleep until we hit the road. I got to Ernie’s house on time only to find that everyone else was still sleeping. Our plans were to meet the guys from Forbidden at 3:30 in town so that didn’t quite happen but everyone was quick to get their things loaded and we were on the road with little time lost.

I’ve never really been on a road trip before, in fact the longest drive I can ever remember being on was 7 hours and looking back that was weak in comparison. Considering this trip was about 24 hours each way, I’m not going to whine next time we head up to Mammoth. After an hour into the trip the excitement of being on the road wore off and it left us all looking for some sort of entertainment and singing 999,999 bottles of beer on the wall was definitely out of the question. Of course we all joked about stopping and checking out “The Thing,” but generally our choices were to fall asleep again for another ten minutes, read one of the many magazines that Mike brought along or try and talk to Makoto about something in broken English.

After having read last month’s issue of Home and Gardens for the third time through (Mike was really concerned about us wrinkling the cover, it was his favorite mag), I couldn’t help but notice the number of Toyota trucks that were towing other Toyota trucks, and not on trailers, but with tow bars. One or two is dismissible, but ten is just plain weird.

Our goal for the first day was to reach Fort Stockton and get a room there for the night. That’s easy to talk about, but keeping a group of antsy people from getting too comfortable at one of the 85 truck stops we found ourselves at was a tough task. Actually, considering the size of our convoy, we had few issues to speak of, except for a fallen soldier at the check point. They were held up because of a questionable substance that belonged to someone else, but no one knew what happened to them until they made it back the next morning. We made our goal of Fort Stockton around 11 p.m. local time. We all decided to sit down at the IHOP and actually have some non-truckstop food for dinner.

They were surprisingly receptive when we rolled in with 30 people at 11:30 at night for dinner, all wanting separate checks of course. Rested and back on the road by 8:30 the next morning, our trip continued. With Lake Somerville being only eight hours away, we could almost smell what we were missing. What felt like 45 more truck stops and some interesting detours courtesy of TomTom, we found ourselves pulling up to the market at the entrance to the campground. Miraculously, the issues were still too few to speak of and we made it to the park with daylight to spare. We were all more than excited to leave our mobile prisons behind for a day and begin indulging in the madness that was Tex Mex.