Upon entering most other States, the mile markers on the side of the road seldom top 300. But when we crossed into Texas, they read 880 miles to the other side. Texas was gonna be a long haul. Unlike other “regions” of the United States, such as the Pacific Northwest, the South, New England, Texas stands alone. Neither the South nor the West, the Lone Star State is almost a nation of its own. So as we left the South behind, we rode with curiosity into the seemingly endless Texas plains.
Like most American travelers, whenever we cross into a new State we stop for a photo with the State sign. Usually this involves a dangerous stop on the shoulder of the highway with trucks racing by as we try to pose. But with Texas there was an entire visitor center with parking, a giant lone star sculpture, and a pullout just for State sign photos. Texas was proud to welcome new visitors to its border.
Although Austin was the only city we were able to visit, we were able to take in the immensity of the landscape that dwarfed even the tallest buildings on the horizon during the days it took us to cross the State. But our time in Austin was three days of pure fun and adventure. Everyone says that Austin is like nowhere else in Texas. And except for all the honky-tonks and cowboy boots, it was definitely unique.
Not only was it one of the youngest cities we’ve visited on the trip so far, but it’s also full of artists and musicians, all swimming in the river during the day and dancing the two-step by night. It’s a college town that has attracted young people from all over, and so the attitude and opinions of the town are very progressive. And yet, it’s Texas. And all of the culture and hospitality of the State was still alive. Austin, like Texas as a whole, seemed to be not an international city in regard to other cultures, but rather a national city where all the cultures of America have gathered to form a really extraordinary city.