|If you’ve read About Semitough you know I hail from the Great State of Texas. So today’s Thirteen is on that subject. Thirteen Things I love about Texas (in no particular order):1. The Texas Hill Country– Especially in spring when bluebonnets are in bloom. The drive out of Austin through Fredricksburg down to Kerrville and Bandera is stunning. Be sure to stop by Luckenbach on your way through.
2. The Dallas Skyline – From almost any direction the Dallas skyline is awesome. The green argon outline of the Bank of whatever it’s called now building, the flashing ball on top of Reunion Tower, the red Pegasus atop the Magnolia building. When I was a kid I remember coming home on holidays to visit family. I always knew we were close when I saw the spinning Pegasus and the clock on the old Mercantile Bank building. The skyline has changed considerably now, the Magnolia Building, once the tallest building west of the Mississippi is now dwarfed. But the skyline still makes me feel like I’m home.
3. Sea World-San Antonio – Fish, Beluga whales, penguins, Shamu. ‘Nuff said. Could do without the roller coasters and the water park though. I’ll go to Six Flags if I want that crap.
4. East Texas Piney Woods – From the blooming dogwoods of Palestine to the tall pines of Nacogdoches, the Piney Woods are a magical place. The Stone Fort in Nacogdoches where the earliest white settlers of Texas gathered under the leadership of Stephen F. Austin sits near the university campus that now bears his name. The Neches River, Davy Crockett National Forest, Lake Sam Rayburn all combine to make this part of Texas one of the awesomest places on earth.
5. Panhandle – From Lamesa west to the New Mexico border, north through Lubbock, Plainview and into Amarillo you will find perhaps some of the most fertile, well managed farmland in the country. Driving along the highway and looking down the rows of crops that come right to the road’s edge. The rows flutter by looking like a picket fence. Cotton, soybeans, sorghum…acre after acre. My grandfather farmed this land his whole life. My father was raised here. There are still 1200 acres in the family that are in production.
6. Barton Springs – a natural spring fed pool almost in the middle of downtown Austin. Generations of Texans have swum in it’s icy magical waters. Nothing better on a hot summer day than a dip in Barton Springs.
7. Lake Travis – formed by a dam on the lower Colorado River, Lake Travis has deep blue waters, limestone bluffs, the only legal clothing optional county park I’m aware of (Hippie Hollow), and the Oasis. Nothing can compete with finishing of a day of lake activities with a margarita at sunset on the expansive deck of the Oasis.
8. Port Aransas, Mustang Island – I much prefer the Northern reaches of Padre Island, near Corpus Christi, to it’s Spring Break Haven alter ego, South Padre Island near Harlingen/Brownsville. First of all it’s closer. Second and most importantly, you have to ride a ferry to get there. How cool is that!? Driving on the beach is allowed in Port Aransas and along with the beach side bars make for a very Daytona-like atmosphere. Fishing is also better up at Port A and other nearby spots. If you’re looking for beer bongs, go on south, but for my money this is the place to be.
9. Texas Dance Halls – Gruene Hall, The Broken Spoke, Gilley’s, Billy Bob’s and hundreds of others. There’s nothing like cold Shiner beer on a hot summer night at Gruene Hall. Alvin Crow, Robert Earl Keene, George Strait. It is indescribable. Oh did I mention cold beer?
10. Texas Women – Did I mention last week how my daughter and wife are the two most beautiful people on the planet in my eyes? Texas women both, born and raised.
11. Texas Spirit – The spirit of the Alamo and San Jacinto. The independence and fierceness of great Texans like Sam Houston, Lyndon Johnson, and George W. Bush. The spirit that comes from being a free republic, fighting for what you have and fighting in order to keep it.
12. Texas Football – Football is king down here in Texas at every level. Whether it’s the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Aggies, SFA Lumberjacks or a local high school like the Taylor Ducks or the Hutto Hippos. Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in the fall are football days down here.
13. Tex-Mex – Saved the best for last. From Mariano’s (inventor of the frozen margarita machine) and purveyor of damn fine enchiladas to local neighborhood Taquerias and tamale stands. Tex-Mex is uniquely Texas. The best of both Texas and Mexico. Whether you are on the San Antonio Riverwalk or at a downtown Ft. Worth lunch counter there is nothing like Tex-Mex. So a warning, if you live in California or Pennsylvania or Florida and you think you are eating Mexican food…bah! Gotta come here for the real deal. One of those cold Shiners goes pretty good right here too. Guess you can tell I’m late posting and it’s almost 5:00 huh?
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!