Two-Steppin’ Thru Texas

We arrived in Texas with much anticipation, having enjoyed a terrific two-week visit to the Lone Star state almost exactly 10 years ago when we lived in NYC.  The first thing you notice when you cross into Texas is that the highway is much smoother than in Louisiana (those roads were the worst).   And despite having a higher speed limit (75 mph), traffic seemed to proceed much more orderly – probably because of all the pickups with laden gun racks…

Texas is one of the most interesting states in the union, particularly due to its turbulent beginnings.  It all started back in 1821 after Mexico declared its independence from Spain. Word of Mexico’s liberal land policies spread across the southern US, east of the Mississippi, and soon thousands of colonists moved to the new territories.  By 1826, foreign white settlers outnumbered the Mexican population of Texas five to one (25,000 to 5,000).  So in 1830, Mexico called a halt to immigration and, in spite of settlers’ objections, combined Texas with the state of Coahuila, and made its capital in Saltillo, deep in Mexican territory.  During this period, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna became president in 1833.  Immediately after, Santa Anna named himself dictator and abolished the Constitution of 1824.  Then, in 1835, continuing with his policy against the federal system, Santa Anna decided to replace it with a centralized republic, dissolving local legislatures and imposing a strict central control.  Outraged, Texans believed the new system interfered with their rights and, on October 2nd, 1835, the Texas revolution began.  Interesting how history seems to have turned on its ear…

Our first couple of nights were spent at Sam Houston State Park hunkered down from storms that were slamming into the Gulf Coast. After the rains subsided, we made our way down to warm and sunny Galveston, which is actually on an island.  Loudly singing Glen Campbell’s song along the way, we took the short (free) ferry over from the Bolivar Peninsula then toured around the seaside town.  Galveston has impressive old buildings and is definitely set up as a summer resort area.

We then moved over to Brazos Bend State Park for 3 days, which was magnificent.  Brazos Bend SP has one of the highest concentrations of alligators in the US, with 350 adults roaming around the park.   We went on several self-guided ‘gator safaris’ and had a couple of close encounters…

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After lounging around gator-ville, we picked up the pace and toured through a bunch of towns including Shiner (see previous post), Schulenburg, Fayetteville, before heading into the state capital – Austin.  Austin is a funky city with lots of live music but for some reason it didn’t really appeal to us to stay longer than a day.  We then moved on to the minuscule town of Driftwood and discovered the Salt Lick BBQ restaurant, perhaps the best BBQ we’ve had so far on our journey.   The ‘Rancher’s’ plate featured smoked turkey, beef brisket (with burnt ends), smoked sausage and pork ribs.   Melt in your mouth.  Here’s the staging area:

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After visiting the great little town of Wimberley and then overnighting at Blanco State Park, we carried on to the iconic hamlet of Luckenbach (pop: 3).  We didn’t see Willie or the boys, but there was some great laid-back live music at the back of the post office and the Bear was a big hit with the band.

We spent the next couple of days exploring around the German-themed town of Fredericksburg.  The first night we went to a free outdoor Christmas concert, centred on a 30 foot tree that featured embedded carollers as the living ornaments.  Besides being a very cool concept, they sang all the good carols including some German classics that Mama Bear could wail along to (unfortunately, all our pictures of the tree at night turned out blurry).  We went back to Fredericksburg the next day and toured around the town, which was really crowded with pre-Christmas shoppers (F-burg is only an hour from San Antonio).   Then we came across the world’s biggest German candle pyramid…

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So far, Texas hasn’t let us down – we’ve been having a great time!  Next stop, Bandera – ‘The Cowboy Capital of the World’…

 

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One thought on “Two-Steppin’ Thru Texas

  1. Love the Texas entry (and I am Mexican) and really enjoyed the pictures. Salt Lick BBQ looks amazing!
    Too close to the gators!!!!
    Hugs and thanks for sharing!
    Monica

    Liked by 1 person

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