August 8, 2007

That’s beaches, blues, beers, and BBQ in Texas talk.

Greetings from Austin, Texas – blues guitar capital of the free world. Although Austin is only 80 or so miles northeast of San Antonio, I took a little bit of a round trip to get there, as the car found itself heading down I-37 south to Corpus Christi, 2.5 hours to the southwest on the Gulf of Mexico. I enjoyed Corpus Christi alot – the Gulf was choppy, the humidity so thick you could cut it with a knife, and an on-shore breeze that felt great on my skin after two days under white-hot arid and dusty-dry conditions. Corpus Christi has your usual landscape of beachfront hotels, gift shops, and a few restaurants/pirate bars, and a lunch of seafood and andouille gumbo and an ice-cold Dos Equis at a place called Mamasita’s hit the spot.

I continue to be amazed at the wide variety of landscapes you can pass through in just a few days spent in Texas. Arriving in San Antonio yesterday, it was all green hills and trees; heading towards Corpus Christi this morning, once you get outside of San Antonio to the southeast, the landscape turns lush, flat and green as you enter the Rio Grande Valley. There are quite a few cattle farms as you head further in that direction, and the contrast from the cattle farms I saw in west-central Texas could not have been more marked – the ones I saw today appear to have a lot of money associated with them. And it was very cool to see real bonafide Texas Longhorns lounging under shade trees in green grassy meadows – no scrub brush there!

About a half-hour north of Corpus Christi, you start seeing huge oil refineries on the left and subdivisions with palm trees on your right. If you stay straight towards Corpus Christi and not veer off at Padre Island, you go over a large bridge and find both a quaint beach community and the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Lexington berthed next to the beach. It would have been great to take a tour of the “Lady Lex”, but after lunch and some souvenier hunting, it was time to head back north and to Austin.

Austin is a great town with a lot to see and do. Looking for some blues music, I grabbed a cab and headed for what they call the “6th Street Entertainment District” – an area filled with restaurants and clubs. It was a beautiful warm night, and bar-hopping from place to place for an ice-cold beer and set of music capped off a really nice day. I enjoyed two places in particular: the Elephant Room and Nuno’s – the latter at which we were visited by legendary bluesman Pinetop Perkins, who, now retired from playing regularly, evidently stops by on occasion to sell and autograph CDs. Of couse I got myself one. You could easily spend a weekend in Austin and check out both the nightlife here and toggle down to San Antonio for a night on the Riverwalk there, and it’s certainly something I would like to do with Tracey along sometime in the future.

It’s an early night tonight – tomorrow it’s on the road at 6 AM, destination New Orleans. It’s about 450 miles, I think, but that’s about what I logged the first two days on this trip, so it shouldn’t be bad at all. While I’m looking forward to seeing New Orleans once again, and then head up towards Memphis for two nights with my friend Pat, I’m truly going to miss Texas. It’s been a great time, and there’s not a place I visited (well, San Angelo you can have…) that I didn’t feel both comfortable and awestruck at when it came to feeling free and one with the land. I’m sure a lot of people would probably look at the towns I visited and say, OK, where to next?, but to me they felt old, lonely, dusty, and comfortable. And, while I would never choose to live in Austin or San Antonio – the rush-hour traffic in both cities was unbelievable! – I certainly enjoyed Corpus Christi and its locale by the water.

I’m wondering about that contradiction between being a water guy and feeling just as comfortable in El Dorado as I did in Corpus Christi. Two sides of the same coin, I guess…

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:25 | Comments Off on A 4 Bs Tuesday
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