I left town Sunday on a road trip to San Antonio with a high school chum. Annette is a rabid George Strait fan, and we have tickets to his Team Roping Classic in Bourne, Texas, Friday and Saturday. At least, that's our excuse for the trip. Actually, it's as much about getting there and back as it is seeing the event.
Sunday night we stayed at a Motel 6 in Port Allen, LA. I know the desk clerk thought I was crazy when I asked her whether there were lids on the toilets, but I hate staying in a place that doesn't have them. Turns out there were more important questions I should have asked. There were no tissues, no toiletries other than soap, and no hair dryer. Neither of us packed one because we thought all motels furnished hair dryers. When I mentioned this to the desk clerk next morning, she said they had one they loaned to guests, but it was out at the moment. One hair dryer for the entire motel? You've got to be kidding! Tom Bodett won't have to leave the light on for me again, that's for sure.
Monday night we stayed in Sealy, TX, because I was too tired to drive any further. We had spent some time at the Texas Welcome Center on I-10, which threw us into the midst of rush-hour traffic in Houston, and it was raining, to boot. It took us an hour to get through that city, so we headed for the first decent place we could find to stay the night. Yes, there were hair dryers in the rooms, but the soap was so cheap it crumbled each time I tried to swipe it across my body. By the time I got to my toes, it was scattered all over the tub.
For the past three days, we have been shopping our way through Texas Hill Country. Before checking into our motel in Bourne Tuesday afternoon, we ate and shopped in Gruene. Like several towns in the area, Gruene was settled by a German family, but is now a tourist town of shops and restaurants. Its biggest attraction is Gruene Hall, an old-time dance hall where many entertainers played when they were nobodies...like George Strait, Merle Haggard and Lyle Lovett. We were two tired puppies Tuesday night.
Wednesday we went to Bandera, which bills itself as the Cowboy Capital of the World, although I have no idea why. We went into The Cowboy Store looking to buy a couple of long, lanky ones, but found only clothing and boots. The proprietor said if we wanted to find a cowboy, we should go to the 11th Street Cowboy Bar that night, because it was steak night and the place would be crawling with them (cowboys, not steaks). However, this entailed buying a steak at the local butcher's and taking it to the bar to grill ourselves, so we declined.
From Bandera we continued to Camp Verde, where the U.S. Army once experimented with camels for transportation. After lunch there, we stopped long enough in Fredericksburg to buy Christmas ornaments and wine, vowing to return for another shopping session Sunday. Our final destination before heading back to Bourne was Luckenbach, the town made famous in song by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. There's nothing much there except a general store and outdoor music venue, but everyone loves to have his photo made under the Post Office sign.
Today, we went into San Antonio to see the Alamo, and dropped some more money along the River Walk. I just hope we don't run out of money before we run out of Texas.