Tag archives for Texas

The dust cloud followed me all the way from Oklahoma. Red-brown, like a storm on the ground, the dust rolled over my car in endless tidal waves, pushing me outside the lines on the road. Ahead of me, a pair of red brake lights glowed in the miasma, like a pair of snake eyes, warning…

After burning my tires across 5,000 miles of Texas roads, I can say with confidence that I know Texas slightly better than I did a month ago. My travels in the Lone Star State became a month-long search for self-discovery and digging deep to find out what it really means to be Texan. I learned…

What’s the best job in the world? (Well, besides mine?) How about inventing new ice cream flavors for Blue Bell?

All travelers sing–the road demands it. Driving more than 5,000 miles around Texas granted me a lot of radio time, and as I traveled across the wide open landscape of the Lone Star State, I discovered some truly brilliant melodies and lyrics. I also exceeded the daily recommended allowance for country music. It would seem…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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 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…

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…

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…

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…

Marfans

Listen to my interview with Marfa Public Radio in Marfa, Texas! ——————————————————————————— Yes, I saw the Marfa lights. It was about 11 o’clock at night, and I was alone at the Marfa Lights View Park when I spotted two pale greenish-white balls of light, hovering over the barren fields. Yes, it was kind of cool—but…

After days and days of driving across some of the flattest terrain in America, I was keen to see the parts of Texas that are not flat, namely the highest point in the state. I should know by now never to plan a hiking excursion without leaving some extra days for weather contingencies, especially in…

Texas is the land of many superlatives—the biggest state in America (Alaska goes unacknowledged down here) and biggest steaks (72 oz!). I’ve also noticed that Texans speak in superlatives. Everything is best in Texas, and frankly, that’s not a bad attitude to have, as long as you’re Texan. Still, I grew dubious and critical when…

If you want to know a place, run a mile across the landscape. Too often the Texas Panhandle gets panned for being a flat, brown, and uneventful landscape where the very forces of inertia and gravity turn irrelevant. But anyone who thinks that needs to step out of their car and go for a run.…

History repeats itself. Nearly fifteen years ago I drove across the country. It was winter and I chased the sun down Route 66, alone and carefree. The monumental snowstorm hit me in Texas—more than a foot of snow fell in less than six hours. The blizzard happened so fast, I watched as huge semi-trucks pushed…

Going Home

I was born in Texas. It was the Seventies, Gerald Ford was president, and my father worked for an oil company. Beyond the distinct toddler memory of my crawling on the brown shag carpeting of our Houston home, I remember nothing of my birthplace. I remember leaving, though. Our family piled into our big Dodge…