Archive for the “Local Flavor” Category

Learn what towns put out the welcome mat and for whom; from hippies to rednecks to soccer moms, see who fits in where across America.

There’s a rockin’ buzz hanging over Texas and its vortex hovers directly over the Hill Country.

From blues to folk to Tex-Mex, rockin’ music you just don’t hear anywhere else is a beloved part of the lifestyle. In just one month of trailer trash camping along the Comal River, we’ve caught several great club shows by some of our favorite musicians like Ray Wylie Hubbard:

Ray Wylie’s music has taken an exciting direction with the addition of his 20-year old son Lucas:

We became fans of musicians we hadn’t heard before, like Kylie Rae Harris

And Larry Jo Taylor and the Tejas Brothers. You can listen to all three on the KNBT podcast, here.

When we can’t get to Texas, you can bet we’ll be tuning into KNBT FM, ground zero for the best Americana music in the country.

If you love Americana music, there’s no better place to catch live shows than Central Texas!


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Are you a Beaver Believer? We are!

There’s something magical about watching an endless parade of giddy adults pull into a gas station to pay homage to a beaver.

But these cult fans aren’t stopping for just any old beaver, and not the same ol’ potty break. Nope, they’re pulling over to pay homage to Buc-ee the Beaver, mascot of the cleanest, sparkling restrooms and fun-filled convenience store, souvenir shop and gas station in America!

In 2010 we told you about the day we fell in love with Buc-ee in Luling, Texas. This time, upon our return to New Braunfels we were ecstatic to learn that the biggest Buc-ees store opened just up the road from our spot at Landa RV Park.

In the grand style of the Great State of Texas, Buc-ee’s hit a home run and did this one up BIG! With 60 gas pump stations and 83 restroom stalls so clean you could picnic in ‘em, we were awestruck by the size of the New Braunfels Buc-ee’s.

You’ve never seen so many people who are excited to take a leak. And with good reason  . . .

With two hand sanitizers in every stall and always-present attendants, Buc-ee’s restrooms recently earned them the honor of having the cleanest restrooms in the nation!

The best part about Buc-ee’s is that it’s not just a place to stop and take a leak. Buc-ee’s is a place to dive into the best of Texas culture!

Buc-ee’s has the biggest selection of kitschy, gourmet and spirited texas-centric products, from homemade fudge to home decor.

And of course, no river toobing season is complete without a Beaver Tube. You’ll be the coolest toober on the Comal with Buc-ee by your side!

Don’t worry about going hungry, Buc-ee’s has you covered . . . In queso!

The next time you’re driving across Texas, hold it and wait until the next Buc-ee’s location appears on the horizon.  I guarantee you’ll fall in love with the Beaver.

See you next time Buc-ee, we’ll be back.

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We no longer feel quite like newly arrived martians here at Landa RV Park in New Braunfels, but we sure miss the solitude and crazy scenes around the Big Bend. Until next time . . .

Marfa: Naval Tethered Aerostat Radar

Terlingua: It can happen to you too.

Mas Terlingua!

Texas mountain biking trails: Not for sissies.

Lajitas: Trailer park living at it’s finest

Black Gap dust storm

I recon we’ll be back next winter. We’re hooked.

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Ever since our Big Bend finale dinner at the Gage Hotel, it’s been one shitstorm after another.

Some of these costly irritations and guffaws are because of our own stupidity, some are just because it’s the nature of living in a rolling home. And of course, it all comes crashing down at tax time, you gotta love the Universe’s sense of humor. Sure, it could be worse, at least we’re not stuffed and mounted to a wall, right?

Tonight, I just want to reflect on the amazing culinary experience we had at the upscale Gage Hotel in Marathon. We’ve been dreaming about it for two years. Last time we were in town, we had zero money to spend on a fancy pants night out, so we ate nachos in the bar and watched diners chow down on the patio. We felt like two puppydogs in the window, it was pathetic.

However this year when we knew we were returning, we set aside $150 in our dining out budget so we could eat there. The last time we spent so much on a dinner was about two years ago! Yeah, I’m that cheap. We eat out at a variety of inexpensive places throughout the month, but we never spend that much all at once.

As two vegetarians, there wasn’t much for us on the amazing carnivore menu, but the dinner salads and sides sure had a lot to offer so we ordered THREE: a Tex-Mex shrimp cocktail, a beet and goat cheese salad and a seared scallop salad. They were AWESOME.

Of course our lean choices left plenty of room for dessert; a warm chocolate molten cake and homemade flan.

The Gage is such an obscure little hotel, it’s the kind of first-class oasis you’d never expect to find in the middle of nowhere. Our experience there was a dinner for the history books and well worth the splurge.

I’m so glad we went, because there’s no way I would have been OK with this frivolity had I known about the events that were going to transpire as soon as we arrived in the Hill Country.  Now when I feel a panic attack coming on, I’ll do my best to breathe deeply and think back to that one delicious night at the Gage Hotel.

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This morning on my daily run, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the irony of willingly heading toward the Rio Grande. After all, just two generations ago, my Mexican-born grandparents were desperately getting away from it.

Ayi yai yai! Here I am today, with my gringo husband who speaks better Spanish than I do, parking our traveling home in one of the last vestiges of real isolation and ear-splitting silence in America, the Big Bend.

We’ve been bouncing along the Rio Grand between Lajitas and Black Gap since mid-February, but it feels like we just arrived. No matter where you look, the timelessness of every panorama just drives home the fact that we’re all just insignificant specs of cosmic dust. Time moves slowly here, if at all.

To the casual eye it appears that Jim and I do a whole lotta nothing, but we’re working hard on some big projects including Jim’s upcoming speaking engagement at Blog Paws. But for once, we’re not all about work (at least until summer when we return to Vicker’s Ranch).

We took a day trip to Mexico at the re-opened Boquillas Crossing in Big Bend National Park (more on that soon):

Then one of our dearest, oldest friends from Humboldt County drove a couple hundred miles out of his way to stop by. It’s always a blast when our current life intersects with our so very different old one.

After boondocking for nearly a month straight, we lived a life of luxury and paid for a week of full hookups at Maverick Ranch RV Park. Normally a “golf resort” park isn’t the kind of place where you’ll find trailerin’ folk like us, but our friends the Whitfords are playing a regular gig to the Prevost-driving gringos.

We haven’t seen Eldon and Ann since our last trip to Stillwell, and we’re so glad we caught up with these two! If you’re in the area, do not miss their hillbilly hour music show.

After Lajitas, we popped into Alpine to re-stock our provisions, but that was just an excuse to see a mind blowing show by the Texas Americana music legend, Ray Wiley Hubbard.

A cross between a derelict and a genius, a prophet and a pervert, Ray and his bluesy licks (with just one drummer accompanying him the entire time) kept the crowd dancing, grinding and singing for more than two hours. Not bad for a 68-year old stone cold sober outlaw resurrected from the ravages of addiction.

When it comes to the best winter snowbird destinations it don’t get no better than this.

Next week we’ll be heading over to New Braunfels for a month-long stay at our old love/hate destination along the Comal River, Landa RV Park. Until then, we’ll soak up as much quiet time and isolation as we can before jumping headfirst into the crazy Hill Country scene.

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