Traveling in Texas

I had never been to Texas until last week. I’ve seen it on TV, read about it in books, and met people who are from there, but I had not spent any time there. In fact, I’ve been wracking my brain, but I don’t know for sure if I had ever even caught a connecting flight there.

So, I had no idea what I was in for.

I did have some preconceived notions though…

First off I expected to see a helluva lot of cowboy hats, on both men and women. Truth be told, in the 4 days that we were there, I am not sure I saw a total of 10 hats on men. NONE were on women.

I expected to see 6 shooters on hips. I mean, come on, its Texas right… I kinda thought they would look like this.

I also kinda figured there would be longhorn cows everywhere including the airport….

You might think this is silly, but hey, 5 minutes after I landed in Alaska I saw a moose running down the interstate. Why would Texas be different?

What I didn’t expect was the challenge of just getting around, both in a car and on foot.

The first night, we were going to meet Abby and Travis at a place near our hotel. I picked it because it was about half a mile away. After a long flight, Michelle and I like to walk out the kinks some. So we told them we’d walk over and meet there.

“NO!! Don’t walk! It’s too dangerous!”

You see in Texas, people don’t walk, they drive (or maybe ride horses, which by the way, I just realized I did not see s single horse!!! I am beginning to wonder if I really WAS in Texas….) For those that do walk, cars do NOT stop for them, even in crosswalks. She made us promise not to walk over there. So anytime we needed to hit the store (in the same parking lot as the restaurant) we drove the one mile round trip.

I DID walk to Starbucks each day though. That was only 2 blocks away and no crossing roads! Lord the first day, there musta been 20 cars in the drive thru line. I walked right in, right to the counter and back out in under 5 minutes. Evidently not walking includes walking into Starbucks…

OK lets talk traffic in general…

Y’all know I live in the Seattle area. I have driven into and through Seattle for 25 years. I am damn good at rush hour battle mode when I have to be. I can hold my lane, bob and weave and, when called for, flip off someone with skill and dexterity. I can even yell loud enough for the twit who cut me off the hear me with his windows up. I am good!

In Texas, I was scared…

Those people are nuts! First off the speed limits are all 70. Even in town. They have no idea how to use turn signals, and they will merge where there is NO room at all. It has been a helluva long time since I have driven white knuckled and wide eyed.

The words “holy shit!” and “What the Hell!” were uttered regularly.

Add to it I had no clue where I was. This meant we had to rely on Siri a lot… I think traffic even scared her! More than once she would have me take an exit, then merge back on the freeway to merge off again…  At one point coming back from Waco, there is a distinct possibility I heard her said, “Dude you are on your own!! I am out!”

We were VERY happy when we got back to the hotel.

One thing still has me confused. The last day we were there we met the kids in Plano for lunch and the bar hop. Now Plano was just a couple of exits away from the hotel. Somehow though, we had to drive 20+ miles to get where we were supposed to be… Maybe there is a black hole in Texas.

This brings us to the last day. Needing to get the airport and catching out plane that left at 10:30. This means we wanted to be there by 8:30. Travis was telling us horror stories about rush hour traffic, and needing 2 hours just to drive there…  Yeah it was a bit stressful. Travis texted us directions for back roads.

If you missed the first blog of Texas two days ago, we had no idea where we were when landed. We thought we were landing at Dallas Fort Worth, we ended up at Love Field. Michelle woke up at 5AM with the thought “Oh my god, are we sure we are flying OUT of Love field???” A quick check of the Alaska App confirmed we were ok!

But, since we were up, we got ready and headed out. Traffic on the freeway was moving, and I was worried about missing a Travis turn and finding another Texas Black Hole if we took the back way. So with a prayer to the commuter gods, and a pat on the head for Siri, we headed south on Hwy 75…

The gods smiled, and after a bit of cussing at other drivers, we were soon dropping off the rental car. We caught the shuttle and our driver was an older gentleman named Harold.

As we pulled out, the Frank Sinatra song One for my Baby (One for the road) came on. Harold harmonized perfectly with Frank! Serenading us all the way to the airport! Yeah, he earned his tip, it was pretty darn cool!

All in all, we were there 3 hours early! But the adventure was not quite over yet.

In my travels, I have learned that we are kinda spoiled with SeaTac airport. I know NO ONE likes to go through TSA. But at least here there are 4 or 5 check points and all of them will get you to any of the gates. I usually walk the gates and jump in the shortest line.

Love Airfield is not that way. The is one area for TSA. with 6 or 7 stations. You get in one big line (picture the line for Splash Mountain) and shuffle your way forward. Now we were there 3 hours early. We had no worries at all. We got in line and shuffled along.

That does NOT seem to be the norm for Texas. I can’t tell you how many people were saying “My flight is already boarding” or “I have only 15 minutes left to make my plane “(they were a good 40 minutes back)

But that I have heard before, hell even in tiny Spokane. What I had NOT seen before was the incredible rudeness of travelers. People who were late just picked up their bags and started cutting in line. As if they had the perfect right to do so. At one point I thought there was going to be a brawl. One guy stopped another, “I need to get by! I am on an 8 AM flight!” “SO am I! and you will wait behind me!!”

I just sat there and shook my head. How do people NOT know to get to the airport 2 hrs ahead of time…. Our total elapsed time in line was 45 minutes. no worries, no stress and no rudeness….

We were now able to get breakfast and walk the airport for some exercise before the flight home.

But there was one more little story to tell…

On the way back, we got lucky! We had the row to ourselves. In front of us were a grandma and two granddaughters. On the way to Texas, we were surrounded by babies. I was expecting crying and screaming but they were good travelers so no problems at all.  These two were 5 and 7 and more annoying than all the babies combined. “Are we flying yet (10 times) How long is the flight (7 times) Sissy, sissy sissy (235 times…) all LOUDLY!

Before the flight started, Gramma was complaining to the flight attendant that she should have better seats and someone had screwed up putting her back in steerage with us riff raff.  REALLY wish they would have moved her…

Now, as soon as she was able, Gramma threw herself (and she was a STOUT woman) back as far as the chair could recline (I swear I heard the seat groan). Luckily she was on the outside and I was in the middle seat. Then the middle kid reclined hers some. With my short legs though, it wasnt too bad.

But Michelle has long legs, if the seat reclines, it hits her knees. Plus, little kids have plenty of leg room they do not need to recline. (I never let the Manchild or Mathmajor recline for just that reason, its rude to the people behind them.) So, when she was ready to try, Michelle and I quietly but firmly places our hands on the back to the seat, and pushed forward.

She of course whined for 10 minutes. But they chalked it up to her not being big enough to recline. Now and then she would try again, only to meet my hand still pushing.

OK, if I woulda thought gramma woulda been reasonable I would have just asked her not to let the kid recline. But she was STILL grumbling about being in steerage, so I was not confident she would be the understanding type. In the end, all was well!

And that takes us out of Texas. It was an interesting trip! But I am still bummed I didn’t get to pet a real live Long Horn!

11 thoughts on “Traveling in Texas

  1. Oh my gawd! What a hysterical post! You have me in stitches!

    I’ll say it again…Texas should be its own country. As much as I appreciate diverse cultures, I can’t think of a single thing I appreciate about Texas. (Except for Abby and Travis — I like them. Well, and there are a few other things, too.)

    I CAN’T STAND places that aren’t pedestrian friendly. Your experience in Texas was just like my recent experience in Florida. How on earth does anyone maintain their sanity without being able to safely walk the streets?!?!

    I’m SOO glad you two are back home, craddled in the loving, pedestrian-friendly arms of the Pacific Northwest.

    1. I agree completely! I had thought about renting a bike while there and adding a state to the my cycling achievements. But after the first day I KNEW that was a bad idea!

      I snuck in a ride yesterday and realized how lucky we are to be in the PNW!!!!

      1. OMG!!! I flat forgot. There are signs everywhere Don’t water your grass! It goes dormant from November to March. There is SUCH a lack of greeness….

        Wait! there are hills in Texas???

      2. Agreed, I don’t mine the occasional jaunt to eastern Wa. but otherwise…

        Aside from the wedding (which I am hoping to avoid) I doubt there will be other trips to Texas.

  2. I couldn’t stop giggling at this post and enjoyed it enough to share with my sister back home. The truth found in the humor holds water…for some areas and towns. I grew up in North East Texas and visit as often as my funds allow and even though the towns have grown into mini metropoleis you can still pet a longhorn, two-step with someone in a 10 gallon, and legally ride a horse down main street. Don’t get me wrong 70mph is mandatory…I think that’s why I end up with so many speeding tickets in the North, but you get used to it. Did you get to experience the wet and dry counties?

    1. I am glad you liked it! I heard legend of the wet and dry counties! We were in Dallas, well Allen, mostly, with the day trip to Waco. I didn’t try to order a beer down there so no idea if it was dry or not.

      I am amazed I didn’t see one horse! But thank you for letting me know they DO exist!

  3. This post made me laugh. I am from Texas and well there are some standard rules. Despite the intense heat (102+ sometimes), there are flood zone areas to watch out for. Don’t get lost in the back roads bc plenty of wildlife and mostly snakes. There are bobcats and coyotes. I love the back roads and country side. The ‘black holes’ are not that bad when taking a break from the city. Yes, there are plenty of cowboys and cowgirls. You have to visit the small towns because all major cities are mainstream. You will see sheriffs on horseback and a few ranchers too. There are still cattle drives, only during specific times of the year. I hope y’all come back and site see some more. There are many various dance halls, restaurants, and historical sites promoting the country life. As for the people, we just know what we need to get done and most of us are confident. For example, a driver may move into your lane because that driver just wants to be in that lane and has to physically get it done without hurting anyone. Not out of rudeness. For the most part, drivers want to stay safe so blinkers are still mostly used and it’s the law. There is a tradition among Texans by raising your right hand high enough so the driver behind sees a ‘thank you wave’ for letting them be in front of you. When you see that, you know you have met a classic Texan. State Troopers, ranchers, cowboys, and cowgirls where the sweet hats. I bought my first one last year and it feels good. Airports are on the mainstream too. Mostly, try visiting Texas during the rodeos seasons. Texans know it is wiser to not buckle at the knees and to work with grit while having a nice rest with respect. We don’t appreciate anyone who tries to break the laws or damage the lands or cause too much noise when not needed. However, Texas has plenty of music festivals.

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