Day 16 – San Angelo to Fort Worth, Texas

Another day of driving across Texas.

We’d left ourselves about 4 hours of driving to get to Fort Worth, where we were planning a 2 night stay with a day out of the car, which Jane and I were both looking forward to.

After the poor country of West Texas, as we drove further East the landscape became obviously better quality country, and with that, the districts seemed to became more affluent.

On the recommendation of a service station attendant, we pulled into the small town of Granbury for lunch.  After the previous evening’s so-so BBQ, I twisted Jane’s arm to try again.  As Jane had been trying to convince me, for a number of meals, we ordered one meal between us.  The platter we ordered was from BBQ heaven and included hickory smoked servings of five different meats – brisket, chicken, turkey, sausage and ribs – together with assorted condiments.  Any concern I had of going hungry by sharing a meal was quickly allayed when the food arrived … how do these people order these meals for one !?!?!

We were entertained through lunch by the “Real Housewives of Wealthy Small-town Texas” on the adjacent table – half a dozen thirty-something gals with big hair and big laughs, who were hootin’ and hollerin’ through a BBQ feast of their own, all the while discussing their daily beauty regimes (which sounded a bit scary to me).

After lunch, we strolled around the town square, full of boutiques, homeware stores and what Americans call Antique stores but the rest of the world would think of as curio stores.  As we entered a number of the homeware stores, full of good ole Texan girls, they turned their heads, seemingly in amazement, that a girl had managed to drag her husband along with them to go shopping.  I wasn’t sure whether to feel admired or emasculated …

We drove on and made it to Fort Worth mid-afternoon, and checked into our hotel in the heart of the Stockyards district.  Stockyards is built around the original Livestock Exchange, built in the late 1800’s, and is an historic district full of bars, restaurants and attractions, catering for the tourist crowd to give a taste of the good old West.

One of the key attractions on a Saturday night is a rodeo, so we duly bought our tickets and secured a ringside seat for two hours of bull riding, camp drafting (the American version), bronco riding and barrel racing in an indoor stadium.

Whilst it was entertaining, it was obviously the “made for tourists” version of a rodeo, complete with tributes to “our boys fighting overseas to defend our freedom”.  Awarding scores to the riders seemed somewhat of an afterthought, so it lacked the competitive element of a true rodeo.

Nonetheless, it was worth seeing, and we worked up a thirst to find a bar.  There were plenty to choose from, and we settled into the White Elephant Saloon.  The crowd were being entertained by a country and western band, which kept a steady stream of willing participants of all ages treading the dance floor.

Whilst the couples danced arm-in-arm, intriguingly the guys, rather than placing their hand in the small of the girl’s back, seemed to place the girl in a semi-headlock, with their arm placed over the girl’s shoulder so it rested in their arm-pit.  It looked like they were making sure them girls ain’t gonna get away.

We stayed on the sidelines watching the festivities, quietly having a drink and people-watching.  I’d noticed in a lot of bars in the south, guys seemed to drink beer with a whiskey chaser.  So while Jane sensibly stuck with gin and tonic, I thought “when in Rome…” and ordered beers with chasers of Jameson’s whiskey (I drew the line at bourbon).

We had a fun night, but even before we pulled stumps, I wasn’t sure the beer with whiskey chaser idea was a great one …  I’ll let you know tomorrow …

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