Archives for March, 2013

Riding Horses on Padre Island

It’s about time I got on a horse. I have zigzagged four thousand miles across Texas by car, but all the comfort and speed of machines can never compare to trotting a mile or two in the packed sand of Padre Island. Out here, on the world’s longest barrier island, the ocean meets the fringe…

Saving Sea Turtles

Spring Break is wasted on the young. When I’m in charge of the world, I’ll make it so that all the kids stay in school and anybody over thirty will take a mandatory week off in the spring. Though everyone warned me that going to South Padre Island in March was a mistake (“It’s a mob…

The Rangerettes

Sadly, I can never be a Rangerette. Not only does being male disqualify me, but I would never make it past the first audition. Apparently, in order to join the elite dance drill team of Kilgore College, girls must be able to kick high enough to touch boot toe to the front brim of their…

A Day in Dallas

I came to Dallas with no expectations, and despite some disparaging tweets and comments from the online peanut gallery, most of my well-traveled readers eagerly guided me through the third largest city in Texas, pointing out where to go and what to see and do. I was grateful for their advice and how it reinforced…

Fort Worth: Where the Money’s At

Take out a twenty-dollar bill. Look at the face side of the money—the one with Andrew Jackson with his big wavy hair. No go up to the upper right hand corner, right beneath the number “20” and the final “S” in United States. There should be a tiny letter, and if you’re extra lucky, you’ll…

The Best Barbecue In Texas

In Texas, where and how you eat barbecue matters as much as your football team and where you go to church. Moreover, Texans will wait longer in line for good barbecue than they will just about anything else. In Austin, everybody demanded that I go to Franklin Barbecue but warned that I’d need to show…

The Stars at Night

The morning after the first night I stood on my balcony, nineteen floors above the city, bleary-eyed and bare but for boxer shorts, warming my skin in the Texas sun and listening to the electric guitars far below. Neither the chainsaw ring of six strings nor the drummer’s ankle thump of beating drums had ceased…

How to Buy Cowboy Boots

Ever since I touched down in this great state, I’ve been scoping the wide Texas horizon and every boot store and western-wear depot to replace that which was taken away from me so long ago. And while I failed in my mission to find cowboy boots (from Amarillo to El Paso) I finally struck gold…

Bigger than the Alamo

Willie Nelson’s tour bus is taller than the Alamo. At least I’m fairly certain it is. I walked past Willie Nelson’s tour bus at 8:56 a.m. and at 9:03 I walked past the Alamo. From my point of view, the latter definitely seemed higher than the former. I drove all the way from Big Bend…

Big Bend National Park

There is a point in every journey—never at the beginning, but somewhere in the middle—when, and only then, do you feel that you’ve actually arrived at your destination. Standing alone on the shattered ground of the Chihuahuan desert, where the sun bakes my neck and the wind breathes hot air onto my face, I truly…