Monday, April 9, 2012

Travelblog: 2012 Worldwide Texas Tour, Episode 4

I'd been there before, but I remembered to make it a point to stop by the Alamo in San Antonio again on the 2012 WWTT.  My trusty and ever-prescient iPod has a good memory too--as I approached the Alamo on foot, without any provocation from me, Mr. iPod kicked in with an Ozzy Osbourne song.  Long about 30 years ago, the Prince of Darkness got pissed as a newt while staying in San Antone, and summarily took a whiz on the famed landmark, which landed him in the pokey for the night.

I decided to dine al fresco (as opposed to Al Yankovic) along the San Antonio Riverwalk, and checked out some local BBQ fare at a joint called The County Line.  I enjoyed their sampler platter of meaty delights, and it was all quite tasty, especially that gi-normous beef rib, as well as the turkey and sausage.  Still not quite as good as K.C. barbecue, but not too shabby, Texas.

The Stadium Stalker struck again while in San Antonio, as he alertly spotted an open gate and snuck into Alamo Stadium, just north of downtown.  Built back during the Great Depression, it's home mostly to high school and small college football and track & field events now, but it was once upon a time home to professional football for very brief stints in the '70s and '80s with the short-lived San Antonio Wings of the World Football League and the San Antonio Gunslingers of the USFL.  Neat old stadium, but it loses a little something with the evil AstroTurf they haven't replaced with Field Turf yet.

Not pictured here, mostly because I didn't take any photos there, is the city of Austin, which I spent one night in.  During my previous visit to Austin in 2000, I only got to see it late at night from I-35 because of poor planning on my part.  It was a Friday night, and I'd just come from San Antonio, and was planning to get a room in Austin, but there were none to be had because of something called the Texas Relays.  Even rooms in nearby towns like Round Rock were booked solid, so I wound up catching a cat-nap in the car at a rest area instead.  I actually had a room this time, but it wasn't really worth it for what little I did in the city.  The traffic on I-35 (both northbound and southbound) was a total clusterfuck (even after rush hour), and I was too tired and frustrated to get out and do the drinking and music district south of downtown, so I just cruised the U ot T campus a bit, and passed by the state capitol, where people were out protesting the Trayvon Martin thing. [Never mind that his murder took place in Florida, but when there's political football to be played, I guess the state doesn't matter.]  Anyway, Austin wound up being the big disappointment of the trip.

Stadium Stalker struck again at the University of Baylor on a Wednesday morning, at Floyd Casey Stadium (not to be confused with Floyd Cramer Stadium).  That gaggle of people on the field was apparently the inquisition at one of these NFL "Pro Days".  Essentially, these exercises in overkill amount to an opportunity for budding young players like QB Robert Griffin III (that's him standing on the nearest goal line underneath the crossbar of the goal post) to show off for and/or impress the various scouts and media people.

...but worthy of mention is the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, also located in Waco.  Lots of great displays and exhibits there for pretty much all sports, including an outstanding tribute to the old Southwest Conference (SMU, TCU, Rice, Houston, Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Arkansas) that was housed in a psuedo mock-up of the Cotton Bowl stadium.

Lily and Herman weren't home, but I think I saw Grandpa flying about when I stopped by Waxahatchie, Texas' most famous homestead, the Munsters replica mansion, just a little ways south of the Dallas clusterfuck--er uh--Metroplex.  This isn't actually my photo--I stole it from the 'net because the house is located on a narrow country highway with no safe place to park my car.  Plus, this gate is shrouded by trees--I passed right by the place twice without seeing it because it was hidden so well.  The interior is also quite close in detail to the one on the TV show (I'd love to see Grandpa's dungeon!), apart from the coffin in the wall that served as a telephone booth--the wife of the house thought it was too creepy to replicate that.  O
ne weekend per year prior to Halloween, the folks who built and own the house open it up for public viewing, often in conjunction with guest appearances by former cast members Butch Patrick (Eddie) and Pat Priest (Marilyn).  Ironically, my hotel in Dallas was located near a street called Mockingbird Lane.

This was my Wednesday lunch at a place west of downtown Ft. Worth called Fred's Texas Cafe, featured on "Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives".  I was a bit leery about eating at a place run by a cook who sports a very respectable Z.Z. Top beard, but Fred's claim to fame is his spicy 16-ounce ribeye steak, which I couldn't resist trying.  It was pretty damn good, once my eyes stopped bleeding from the jalapeno smoke and I could actually taste it, that is.  I'm not quite sure if it was worth what I paid for it, but I enjoyed it anyway.  Guy Fieri was 2-for-2 at this point on the trip... 

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