Pancakes, Assassination, Stockyards & Music

Baby-Backed RibsIt was with a little twinge of regret that we left San Antonio and took the short trip up to Austin. On the way we stopped off at one of those American Icons: the International House of Pancakes (IHOP). I had traditional pancakes with bacon and Sarah had the chocolate chip pancakes.

We spent one night in Austin, which was really a bit of a letdown. I guess Austin’s nightlife is more suited to me than it is to Sarah 😉

We did resurrect the trip by having a very nice meal at Saltgrass on the way back up to Dallas. Once again, America’s proclivity for large helpings was painfully apparent (see the ribs pictured on the right).

The Grassy KnollOnce back in Dallas, we had one day left to explore the lone star state. Two of the most important places we had yet to meet were historic places in Dallas: Dealey plaza (the site of the JFK assassination) and the stockyards in Fortworth.

Dealey Plaza was fascinating. The image on the left is of the “grassy knoll” from where some people believe another shot was fired at the president. Most people agree, however, that Lee Harvey Oswald shot Kennedy from the top-right window of this building. There’s actually a museum to Kennedy’s presidency in this building.

Saloon at the StockyardsSuitably impressed by the historical gravity of the plaza, we left westward to see another historic part of town: the Fort Worth stockyards.

The stockyards are actually working. We had the pleasure of watching a few barrel races (video) and a real live cattle drive through the streets. Sarah and I both thoroughly enjoyed the feel of the old Texas.

Part of the Stockyards experience was our visit to the little beer garden (video) where we heard some rather common country music.

Billy Bob's Honkey Tonk BarBut that wasn’t to be our only cultural experience. As the day lengthened and the sun finally set, we made our way to one of the most remarkable secrets of the Fort Worth region: Billy Bob’s, the largest honkey tonk bar in the world.

They’re not kidding, the place is huge, with a cover charge (only $1). In contrast to trendy clubs, this place sports low carb beer, corn dogs, fried okra and other popular Texas fare. It also features a live music show, illuminated in part by a mirror ball made out of a saddle (video).

In short, Billy Bob’s is a cultural experience on a grand scale. They say that many of country music’s greats got their first break at Billy Bob’s and I can believe that. This young man, for example, is going to go far.

So, that’s it for Texas, the next post will be of Vegas, Nevada!