Day 222: Don’t mess with Texas – Bandera blows us away

25 February 2011

Location: Fort Davis (Texas) to Bandera (Texas)

High point: being greeted by a wonderful Wild West reception in Bandera

Low point: only having four tumblin’ tumble weed moments on the road (I’m not talking about James’s jokes)

No point: no time to stop for lunch on stage 8, we just keep on trucking

Dust devil count: 9

Best Borat moment: Steve’s definition of a Mardi Gras when talking to Patricia from Bandera Tourism

Stage 8 (Phoenix to New York) is all about BIG miles and today was no exception.  The 616 km  from Fort Davis to Bandera took 12 hours.  We left early but had to make an unscheduled stop off in Alpine as Martha was in need of some TLC.  While the boys had new flag poles made (thanks to McCoys) and erected the FTFE flags donated by Hand Waving Flags the girls popped next door to pick up some cowboy boots (when in Rome).  McCoys also managed to come up with an alternative fuel cap that works much better than the polystyrene cup we had been using since stage 7, fancy that.  Thanks guys.

Driving through the desert was all the things you imagine it to be; hot, dry and dusty.  However outside the truck we had to hang onto our hats (and Gemma) as we were at the mercy of the violent Texan winds.  Martha however seemed to enjoy the wind in her hair as she trucked majestically across the Lone Star State dreaming of cowboys and Indians.

Arriving at our destination, Bandera, we were blown away by the reception organised by the lovely Diane from Running R Guest Ranch and Patricia from Bandera Tourism.  Since being in America we’ve been overwhelmed by people’s kindness.  Like so many others we’ve met along the way, Diane’s life has also sadly been touched by cancer.  She had arranged for the FTFE crew to be met by a very excited welcoming committee, the Bandera fire service and a reporter from the local Bandera newspaper.

Bandera is probably as close to the Wild West as we’re going to get y’all.  The largest shop in town is called the ‘Cowboy Shop’, people actually wear cowboy hats and boots with spurs, and horses are still regularly tied up on the main street while their riders frequent the local saloon bars.

After a tasty dinner (Mexican of course) at the OST (Old Spanish Trail) Restaurant, compliments of Bandera Tourism (thank you again) there was time for a quick stop at Bandera Fire Department before retiring to the the lovely Running R Guest Ranch.  At the fire station Gemma even managed to make the fire fighters outfit she tried on look cool.  I feel slightly guilty for suggesting she might like to try it on.

Back at Running R Guest Ranch Diane explained the Ranch is exactly like ‘City Slickers’ starring Billy Crystal.  In the film he and his friends are having a mid-life crisis and decide to go on a two week holiday in the wild west driving cattle from New Mexico to Colorado.  There they meet cowboy Curly who teaches them how to be real cowboys and one or two things about life in the open air of the Wild West.  Who knows what they have in store for us tomorrow…

Life on the road is starting to hurt now.  Our day typically starts at 7am and by the time all the blogs, videos and FTFE admin (shipping, logistics, etc, etc) are ticked off its gone midnight.  We arrive at our destinations in the dark and move on the next morning.  If we have time in a town we’re so eager to see it we run around like headless chickens.  We’re never really off duty and there are no weekends.  I’m starting to really miss family and friends, sleeping in my own bed, wearing clean clothes that don’t have the follow that fire engine logo on the front and being able to do any kind of exercise.  Don’t get me wrong, we are extremely lucky to see all the incredible sights we have seen, for the life changing experiences and memories, to meet the most unbelievable people; all while raising money and awareness for three amazing charities.  Life on the road is extremely rewarding but sometimes you just miss being at home and it would be nice to have a little rest.  Especially for Steve who has been with Martha since the beginning.  He’s definitely feeling the FTFE pain.

If you like following that fire engine and reading our blogs please remember the reason behind the expedition.  100% of all money raised goes to three charities; the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, Macmillan Cancer Support and the Fire Fighters Charity.  The expedition is completely self funded by the crew.


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2 Responses to “Day 222: Don’t mess with Texas – Bandera blows us away”

  1. Great blog Amy xx


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