Texas, Round 2

When we got back into Texas it was like a different world from when we left. They had been getting rain about 4 times a week for 3 months and everything was so green. What was dusty western scrub brush was lush grassland. It was an AMAZING sight. It really was a stark difference from the extreme drought in southern California. It set the scene for a great visit in Texas

Abilene

Abilene KOA

IMAG4274.jpgThe second KOA in as many parks. Just a regular basic park, like most KOAs its a few years old but all the impprtant things are there (shade, flat sites, power). It does have a pool and a dog park, but we didn’t use either of those. What we did enjoy was the AMAZINGLY fast internet. I mean crazy download speeds. Probably the best in the country, with no limits or payment. This super fast internet is FREE AS IN BEER.

Barley Hoppers Drafthouse

IMAG4283.jpgThe pattern continues, check into park, ply disc golf, look for beer. Abilene isn’t a very big town so the options for beer are limited. But it is Texas so you can have a real ‘bar’ where they dont have to serve food. We went there kind of early, so it was just us and a couple local bar flies. We met a good bartender who was living in the area after graduating from theater school. He shared our love of terrible movies and we watched a little bit of ‘Jeepers Creepers 2’ before we left for the night.

Will Hair DGC

IMAG4287.jpgTexas is lousy with Disc Golf Courses. This one didn’t have the highest reviews but on my scale it’s pretty good. There was a huge storm brewing so I had some terrible shots that were blown away by the wind (sure they were). A couple holes I didn’t even throw because I was sure I would lose a disc in the creek. But there were a lot of open holes that you could really let it fly. The ‘top of the world’ hole is a pretty long downhill shot cross a creek, I was afraid of losing my favorite disc, so I threw a basic one as hard as I could.  I let a monster flick shot go that would have sailed 100 feet past the basket, had it not hit a tree and dropped 6 feet from the hole. amazingly lucky shot.

Abilene Christian DGC

IMAG4292.jpgA college with a disc golf course on the campus. Mason could learn a few things. It’s not the most challenging course, really open with a lot of long drives. but it’s really well maintained and beautiful. It’s strengths are the long downhill drives that you can really float a drive down on and the clean purple disccatcher baskets.

Weatherford

Weatherford KOA

IMAG4296.jpgWe had such great luck in Abeline that we decided to book the KOA in Weatherford also. It wasn’t as great but it did have everything we wanted. Its a little older and has less trees, but the staff is really friendly and they let us pick our own site because there was some rain coming that might flood some of the sites.

Baker’s Ribs

We decided to eat more BBQ in Texas this time. Mostly because we were sick of telling people that we didn’t really get much of it the first time through. This place might be a chain, but it serves delicious BBQ and fried pies. We had a good dinner here with Laurel’s grandparents.

Cooper Candy Company

Here’s the story, when we passes through Texas in August 2014 I found some habanero peanut brittle at a gas station. I LOVED IT! I spent the rest of the trip looking for something like it. I thought it must be a Texas thing, so when we were driving in Texas again I looked at every gas station that I could and tried to find it… I failed. AFTER we left Weatherford I decided to look online, I FOUND IT. They have a web store, I got a couple pounds of brittle and sent home so that I could share it. THEN I realized… THE CANDY COMPANY IS NEXT DOOR TO THE WEATHERFORD KOA! I was looking all over the state and we camped 500 feet from the factory!

Antibellum Ale House

IMAG4299.jpgThis is a great little craft beer bar with a fantastic patio and a ton of beers on tap. That would normally be enough for us! But this one just so happens to be owned by the people that bought Laurel’s grandfather Lee’s antique shop. They actually bought two houses in that neighborhood, live in one and use the other as the bar. It’s a family run place that has a great spirit to it. It’s even decorated with things from Lee’s shop. Stop by for the beer garden alone and look for the picture of Lee Simpson on the shelf (sort of).

Fort Worth

UNTAPPED ft worth

IMAG4327.jpgIMAG4320.jpgWe found out about this event by accident. I just happened to pick up a local paper while we were out on Friday and saw that they were having a big Beer and Music festival in Ft Worth. We were still staying in Weatherford so the drive was a little long. But it was really cool to be able to taste 100s of different beers and great food while seeing some music. The only down side is that a big storm rolled through and ended the event early.

The Flying Saucer

Since we got blown out of the festival grounds we decided to walk up into downtown and get one last beer at this place. It’s an upscale beer bar, 100s of taps. Great decor, everyone seems to be having a good time. It kind of reminds me of a Cheesecake Factory that serves limited edition beers.

DALLAS

Woodshire Mobile Home Park

OK, so we kind of got forced into staying here by our own procrastination. We couldn’t find anywhere else to stay so this place is what we got. To say that it’s not in the best neighborhood would be an insult to bad neighborhoods. But really it’s isolated by a big field and a cemetary so you’re not going to get many weirdos just walking by. We called ahead and set up a spot, but when we got there noone was around to help us. So being the RV professionals we are we just parked it in the biggest spot and set everything up ourselves. Which was fine really. We didn’t even pay until the day we left because noone seemed to be in the office. But it was only $150 per week and nothing happened to our RV. So mission accomplished.

Alamo Cinema Drafthouse

I think the original is in Austin, but being in Texas this seems authentic. I love these places, they have the formula down. Great food, great service, great beers. It’s a little more expensive, but it’s a great date. They have cool clips that run before the movie that are semi-related to the themes of the movie you’re about to see. It’s the details that matter.

Studio movie grill

Dinner and a movie you say? Well this is the Ruby Tuesday of eating in a movie theater. Replace the curated selection of craft beers with watered down margaritas and the great food with school lunch. But here are the things it has going for it. Bigger screen, cheaper prices, larger portions. That being said, I still prefer Alamo… but Mad Max was AMAZING.

Shell Shack

IMAG4378.jpgTwo things I’ve forgotten about from not being in the service industry anymore, eating dinner at midnight and seeing drunk people outside a club. We came into this place at about 12am because we needed to wait for Nicole to get off work. Which seemed totally normal for this place. I’ve never been to a place like this, you just order a a couple pounds of shrimp and some potatoes, then they come out in a bag and dump it on the table. Then you rip them to shreds like a bunch of wild animals. It’s very primal! What was also cool was seeing all the drunk people coming out of the club next door, also very primal! This is also going to sound dumb, but the automatic hand washing station alone is a reason to come to the place. It’s like a car wash for your hands!

B.B. Owen Disc Golf Course

IMAG4344.jpgWent to this course on the Tuesday, which may have been a mistake because a local club was having their weekly tournament so it was packed. I learned some things, disc golfers are some of the nicest people to meet in a new city. But that must be only when they aren’t being competitive, because the tournament players were not that welcoming. Luckily I found a couple nice guys who were just out to play a round. I had a great time with them. The course itself is a mix of wide open holes and some technical ones. Above average course.

Audubon Park Disc Golf Course

IMAG4369.jpgI had some time the Saturday before we left and decided that I would get in a round. It had been raining like crazy in Texas so any dry day is a good time to be on the course. I had a few good throws before I had to spend some time looking for a disc in a creek. After that I joined up with a nice local guy who helped me with some shot advice. He also warned me about all the standing water on the course right now, some of the holes here unplayable because of the foot of standing water on them. But overall it was a really good course with some long drives and some REALLY long drives. We ended up playing it twice.

Deep Ellum brewing company

IMAG4347.jpgIMAG4350.jpgWe didn’t really get the full tour of this place since we only stayed for about an hour. But their beers are some of the best in Dallas and their brewery is really cool. Maybe I’m biased because of their graphic design but they do seem to be one of the driving forces in Texas brewing. It could just be that they have a better distributor than the others. But I see them EVERYWHERE.

Brain Dead Brewing

IMAG4367.jpgIMAG4366.jpgAnother Deep Ellum brew pub, we just found it by walking around. They have a cool robot spaceman sculpture outside that drew me in. They don’t seem to have been open very long, but they have a great environment for hanging out and drinking some beers. Plus they have a big mural that says ‘Be excellent to each other’ so you have to love them.

Pecan Lodge

IMAG4360.jpgIMAG4362.jpgNicole, our local friend, told us that we HAD to go to this place. We’re always glad to get some local advice on places to go or eat. Now that we’ve been there I can tell you… THIS PLACE IS THE TRUTH. This might be the best BBQ place I’ve ever been to. It’s one of those places that has a 20 person line outside the door, when they open, and it should be longer. Whatever you get, it’s going be great. Just trust them! They know what they’re doing.

Texas was much better this time. We saw some things that we missed last time. We had a much more personal trip, we spent more time with family and friends. The whole town seemed more local and interesting this time, less full of corporate restaurants and strip malls. Maybe it takes a few times to peel back the onion that is Dallas. I don’t know if that was because it was the spring, or because we are better at traveling now? Something that this lifestyle has taught us is that you have to make an effort to get out there and do things. What we’ve also learned is that you don’t always have to spend money to have a great time. (we’re still working on that one.) But they main point is that every city has interesting people and things to do, GO OUT AND FIND THEM!

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