Saturday, January 02, 2010

Notes from the Road (Victoria Edition)

As I said earlier, I had a quick trip down to South Texas for my New Year's gig, and, as always, there were interesting things along the way:
  • There's no direct way to Victoria from Dallas by freeway. For that matter, even though it's roughly a two-hour drive from three of Texas' major cities--San Antonio, Houston, and Austin, you can't access Victoria by freeway from any of them. Yet there's a freeway loop surrounding the town.

  • That being said, the Dallas route only requires a few U.S. highways once you leave I-35 (either by the new SH 130 tollway, SH 71 or the just-opened SH 45 South tollway): U.S. 183 to Cuero, then U.S. 87 into Victoria. Not too many small towns or stoplights along the way.

  • Speaking of the SH 130 tollway, the part south of SH 45 South is starting to take shape. It will run concurrently with 183 until Lockhart, where it veers off to the southwest, where it will ultimately connect with I-10 in Seguin. Clearing work and bridge pylon construction is already underway in some areas. (And yes, SH 130 has its own website.)

  • I mentioned that I stopped at a Buc-ees travel stop on my way to Houston for Christmas, and I did so again on this trip, at one just outside of Luling. And if I thought that one was crowded, this one was a complete madhouse. (Oddly enough, there's a much smaller Buc-ees--about the size of a regular gas station, really--in Gonzales, a bit down the road.)

  • Speaking of Luling, the town is famous for its annual Watermelon Thump. (No, really. I remember going through town as a kid and laughing about that.)

  • South of I-10, there are some towns with amusing names, such as Concrete and Nursery, as well as a few roads that lead to a place called Cheapside. ("I bought a new weekend place in the country. It's nice, but it's a little on the Cheapside.") A bit of Googling shows that Cheapside is now pretty much a ghost town, and driving through Concrete (but on asphalt, LOL) shows it to be much the same, save for a few houses, a cemetery and a church.

  • In that same area, the town of Hochheim includes what has to be one of the world's smallest post offices; it's basically a storage shed. I didn't have time to stop and take a picture, and I couldn't find one online, but trust me, it's small.

  • The mascot of Cuero high school is the Gobblers. This is even funnier if you know that cuero is Spanish for leather; just picture a leather turkey and you'll know what I mean.

  • Lamar Advertising, a billboard company, has been doing a campaign in the area between Waco and Belton that basically reminds parents to hang with their kids, by showing said kids poised to play catch, swing on a swing set, and so on.. But I was particularly amused by their billboard in Temple that reminded families to hang with their pets as well. The company's website features some very clever examples of their work.)
I'll return to regular blogging once I've gotten a chance to relax a bit; I'm fairly road-weary from all the travel of the past week.

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