We detoured west on the way back to Dallas in order to check out Enchanted Rock State Park. It's a giant rock in the middle of hill-country that natives once believed to be haunted. At night, as the temperature changes the rock will creak, groan and apparently shimmer and reflect unexplained lights. On that day, many people had the same idea as us and it was over an hour wait in the car on the highway to even get into the park. Once in, we put on our hiking shoes and got an amazing view of the area. It almost felt like being on the moon. If you were quiet and looked closely however, there was wildlife all over the area including birds, deer and lizards.
- Seeing our first roadrunner. I chased after him with a rocket and roller-skates but he escaped.
- Enjoying the beauty of a grazing herd of deer. (Dun dun DAAAAA....*foreshadowing*)
- Getting some exercise.
River Walk, The Alamo, and Good Food
With four days off for Thanksgiving, we kidnapped Jenn and Travis for a roadtrip south to San Antonio. Once again we went with no agenda other than seeing the River Walk. Nestled just underneath the downtown core is a Venetian-style river canal lined with cobble-stone paths and restaurants and shops. We arrived at a perfect time, getting to see the city empty (on Thanksgiving night) then exploding with people the very next night for the Christmas float parade. We can also now say we "remember the Alamo!"
- Guacamole made in front of us at Boudro's by a really weird waiter.....at least I *think* he worked there.
- Prickly Pear martinis.
- Cards Against Humanity.
One of Many State Parks
A camping trip was in order so we headed east towards Louisiana to find some woodlands. Near the border on the Texas side we found one of the eeriest and most beautiful parks we had ever seen. Caddo Lake is the largest natural lake in Texas and is home to fish, frogs, turtles, gators and whatever the heck that green thing Jackie photographed is. The lake itself is almost like a natural graveyard - it's dead calm and quiet with spindly cypress trees rising out of the water. The trees have formed buttresses around their trunks that make them look almost prehistoric and skeletal. It was very cool to see the lake as the leaves were turning colour. We'd love to make a return trip to see what it feels like when the trees are bare.
We were fortunate to be joined by two of Nashville, Tennessee's finest. Travis and Jenn were the best camping buddies you could ask for and came prepared with food, great humour and a tent that had a basement and parking garage. Stories of ghost-cowboys and snack-hands made it our most enjoyable weekend in Texas yet!
- The family that swamped their canoe by the dock, then left it (and the paddles) in the water.
- Travis' breakfast biscuits.
- Evening campfire.
The State Capitol
As an excuse to do a road-trip in our 'new' car, Rusty, we got on the I-35 and rolled three hours south towards Austin. We went with no real itinerary other than to see the Congress Bridge bats. At sunset, a gigantic flock (swarm?...gaggle?) of bats leave their roosts under the bridge and swirl around the air. It was pretty dark by the time it occurred, but it was still pretty spectacular. Our night was capped off in a pub where two good-ol-boys sang songs about pick-up trucks and heartache. We also ate breakfast tacos in a park, drank Moose-drool beer, and found the last hotel room in all of Austin.
- Eating spicy tacos from a trailer.
- Walking through an oddities shop that had everything you'd never want plus creepy taxidermy furniture.
- Visiting the tallest capital building in all of 'merica.
Jackie's first weekend in Dallas started out in true southern style. Less than 24 hours after her plane landed, the two of us were buying our coupons to get into the Texas State Fair. The Fair is renowned for its rides and attractions, but mostly for its inventiveness with fried foods. If it can be deep-fried, you can find it on the fairgrounds. We tried the deep-fried grill-cheese, and samoas (Girl Guide cookies). We stayed away from the deep-fried butter, beer, lemonade and Twinkies.
Our day was made when we found ourselves at the foot of the official mascot of the fair, Big Tex. This larger than life animatronic icon of the fair has been awkwardly greeting guests for over 50 years. Only days after our visit, the electronics in his head malfunctioned and he caught on fire, completely burning up and emotionally scarring thousands of Texas lil'uns. RIP, Big Tex.
- Watching the pig races. Perhaps only cheetahs are faster land mammals.
- Trying the original Corny-Dog - the first real corn dog I've ever had. Delicious.
- A slightly off-model mural of Nicolas Cage. He's not from Texas, he's just beautiful.
Home Sweet Home
Dallas is more than just a hugely popular '80s soap opera. It will be forever tied to American history as the place where JFK was assassinated. In addition, the cinematic classic, Robocop was filmed in Dallas and there are graffiti murals to prove it. Dr. Pepper originated in Texas as a miracle cure-all. Sore foot? Rub some Dr. Pepper on it. Upset stomach? Drink this. The food down here has been fantastic. We put avocados on EVERYTHING!
We are working at ReelFX, located in a quirky old neighbourhood called Deep Ellum. The name comes from the Southern drawl pronunciation of 'Deep Elm'. Say it aloud, y'all will get it. The people we work with have showed us the true meaning of southern hospitality. The project we're animating on is hilarious and working on it every day has been a blast. Though we never thought we'd ever say it, living here in Texas feels right.
- Dallas is hot.
- Honey Badger pizza.
- Making up country songs.