After Austin, we had a short drive to my parents house in Midlothian where we were going to stay for about ten days. If I were to try to draw a comparison, Midlothian to Dallas is kind of like what Ramona is to San Diego. Just before we made it there, we stopped at a Texas gas station chain called Buc-ee's although it is so much more. We got diesel for $2.55/ga (best price yet!), legit beef jerky (we chose cherry maple and lemon pepper out of dozens of choices), chicken salad, a brisket sandwich, and a $.79 large soda. They had everything you would need to have an excellent tailgate party including cheap ice, bbqs, you name it. The one we went to has practically a dedicated exit off the freeway to make it easy in/out and is more like a complex with huge stalls making it no problem maneuvering around. Their beaver logo is goofy fun too!
A couple days in, Jeri flew back to SD, I stayed in Texas to have some quality time with family, have some me time, work on my honey do list, and man the fort (I actually washed and waxed it.. ugh!). After Jeri returned and on one of the last nights we were there, we went to a party for one of the locals running for mayor of Midlothian (my dad is helping market his campaign). It was hosted at this really nice couple's house just down the road who frankly appear to be quite well off and their immaculately designed house, classic car collection, etc was over the top to experience.
When we finally left Dallas, my parents drove with us to our next destination, and at the halfway point of that near Tyler, TX we stopped for a couple hours at the Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary which is a preserve for rescued lions, tigers, leopards & more in natural habitats. (Hint: it's a Harvest Host stop too!) Included with admission is a guided tour by one of the "interns" who was very articulate and extremely knowledgeable about the place including the background on each wild cat. While a lot were sleeping like cats do most of the day, we saw quite a few cats up close (be sure to check out the pics and especially the videos!) and also some other animals like raccoons and tortoises.
Our final stop for the day was Nacogdoches, TX where I was born and for my dad to show us the sights (I've haven't been since so it was all new!). He showed us where he went to college at Stephen F Austin University and a few other highlights before they headed back home. We stayed the night at the simple but lovely Red Barn RV Park. I did not really have any expectations, but Nacogdoches was actually quite nice and we enjoyed visiting there.