Podcast 30 – “Talkin’ Texas” August 2016

Talkin_Texas_30

Join us this month as we discuss Pokemon Go, camping…or is it glamping, the new campus carry law and more as we explore the news across Texas. We also address a fan rant about wearing our hats indoors. Joining us on this episode are Linsey and Sullivan to kick around these topics and more.

We love your questions or feedback on the show…so if you have comments or questions you’d like us to address or topics you’d like us to feature, email us at: podcast@thedaytripper.com.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and the Windows store!

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This endeavor is generously supported by Mighty Fine Burgers Fries Shakes.
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Welcome to Georgetown, Sheraton!

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This past week, the new Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center opened in Georgetown, and we were so excited to be invited to the Grand Opening! We attended the ribbon cutting ceremony where we heard special guests like the Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross and Sheraton General Manager Rita Healy speak. This new 16,000 sq. ft. Conference Center is right in time because Georgetown is now the fastest growing city in the U.S.!

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Afterwards we attended a reception in one of the ballrooms of the Conference Center where we met tons of awesome people, enjoyed delicious food and got to look around the Sheraton. This Conference Center is so big, we bet it’ll be hosting the Williamson County Comic Con in no time…

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And as we explored, we found that the hotel is decorated with local art from Georgetown.

A photo posted by Chet Garner (@chettripper) on

Chet got the honor of being the first guest to check in to the Sheraton and I got to stay in the hotel as well. Here’s Chet receiving the first Sheraton key card!

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The rooms were very spacious and those beds were so comfy, I had a hard time getting up in the morning…which is never a bad thing! The hotel pool was quite refreshing on a hot Texas day and Jack’s Lounge, the hotel bar, is a great place to sip wine or enjoy a beer on tap.

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Chet enjoyed his own little convention in the center’s lobby, but it mostly just involved napping on the comfy chairs….

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We’re so happy that Georgetown has the new Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center so people from all over Texas (or even the world!) can discover what we already knew — that Georgetown is an amazing place to trip!

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August Newsletter

August Newsletter_blog

In this month’s newsletter, we have great tips for spending your last days of summer! Learn more about Harper Frontier Days, the next Chet Chat featuring famed CBS sports announcer, VERNE LUNDQUIST, our Big Bend Podcast and more! Here’s the link to the newsletterhttp://eepurl.com/b_qTin 

Click here to sign up for the monthly newsletter.

Quirky Texas: 12 Unique Sights in Texas

Quirky Texas

You knew about the beauty of Texas and of course, the BBQ and Swimming Holes, but we bet you didn’t realize that some of Texas’s attractions are out of this world…literally. From alien landings and meteor craters to monumental trash and deadly swimming holes, here’s a list of the strangest, quirkiest and most interesting spots in Texas.

Starship Pegasus – Italy, TX

Jason Eppink CC by 2.0

“Starship Pegasus and Flying Saucer” Jason Eppink CC by 2.0

Greetings, Texans! This abandoned spaceship was built in Italy, TX as a tribute to “The Starship Enterprise,” from Star Trek. It was originally built to live long and prosper as an arcade and restaurant, but that never stuck. Now it’s just a selfie stop. But you better hurry if you want to trek here, rumor has it that this ship will be demolished soon. 

Odessa Meteor Crater Museum – Odessa, TX

In prehistoric times, a meteor shower struck the town, leaving behind various craters in the area, including the 500 ft. diameter Odessa Meteor Crater, which is the second largest meteor crater in the U.S. Though the crater is now mostly filled, there are trails and signs showing where the impact was, as well as a nearby museum where you can learn more about meteor sites in Texas. Other crater sites in Texas include the Sierra Madera near Fort Stockton, TX and Marquez Crater in Leon County.

Stonehenge II – Ingram, TX

Picture by Bill Morgan

Picture by Bill Morgan

Forget traveling to the UK to see the mysterious Stonehenge monument, you’ll find that Stonehenge II is alot closer and just as epic. Over 20 years ago, Al Sheppard and his neighbor, Doug Hill, built their own version of the famous stone figures in the Texas Hill Country, but theirs also includes two 13-foot Easter Island heads…take that UK! It’s located on the campus of the Hill Country Arts Foundation.

Jacob’s Well - Wimberley, TX

Jacob’s Well may be one of the most hauntingly beautiful sites in Texas. It bubbles up where the limestone of Cypress Creek dips down to the dark shaft of one of the largest underground caves in Texas creating an enchanting sight. Yet this wonder can turn deadly for those who attempt to explore the 120 ft-deep cave, and since 1970, multiple people have lost their lives in its rocky depths.

Huge Pair of Legs – Amarillo, TX

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This leg statue is the most outstanding you’ll find randomly out standing in a field…(sorry, had to!) The same eclectic millionaire who commissioned Cadillac Ranch Stanley Marsh 3 paid artist Lightnin’ McDuff to create this strange statue that was modeled after an Egyptian statue. And though it looks broken, the legs were actually built to look incomplete like the original statue. Check out our day trip through Amarillo here.

Prada Marfa - Marfa, TX

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This is one designer store that won’t cost you a penny! The Prada Marfa art installation, which has no actual connection to the designer Prada, was created in 2005 by artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset. It is filled with real Prada bags and shoes picked out by Miuccia Prada and perfectly symbolizes the kind of creativity that makes up this West Texas desert town. Check out our time in Marfa here.  

Cathedral of Junk - Austin, TX

It may be made of junk, but there’s nothing trashy about this cathedral. Vince Hannemann’s Cathedral of Junk contains everything you can think of from wheels to signs to surf boards all tangled together to form this towering structure that’s gained fans and fame since it began in 1988 with just Vince’s junk. Over the years, people from all over the world have brought their random items to add to Vince’s wacky castle in his backyard.  Check out our time in South Austin here.

Alien Grave - Aurora, TX

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Yes, you read that right…there is an alien buried in the Aurora Cemetery. On May 9, 1897, an alien aircraft was spotted flying over the town of Aurora where it hit a windmill and crashed. The original newspaper article about the incident in The Dallas Morning News described the ship as “traveling due north, and much nearer the earth than ever before.” Being kind as Texans are, the Aurora citizens held a funeral for the alien pilot and he was buried in the cemetery on Cemetery Road, where visitors still visit in search of the little guy’s grave.

The “Last Supper” Display – Fort Worth, TX

In the 1920s, sculptures Katherine Stubergh and her daughter created a life-size, wax version of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting “The Last Supper,” complete with glass eyes and human hair that was hand-sewn onto each figurine. The odd part is that over the next few years, this beautiful art work was displayed in a shopping center in Fort Worth! The sculpture moved all around town and in 2009, it was finally moved to the Christian Arts Museum, where you can still view the iconic scene.

VW Slug Bug Ranch- Conway, TX

Barbara Brannon/Texas Plains Trail.

Barbara Brannon/Texas Plains Trail.

You probably knew about Cadillac Ranch, but did you know that there is also a VW Slug Bug Ranch along the Historic Route 66? This car-art installation features five Volkswagens that have been buried nose-down in the ground. They make for a pretty psychedelic selfie, and don’t forget the spray paint, so you can leave your mark on the cars! While you’re there, check out the rest of Historic Route 66

Art Car Museum - Houston, TX

Irv Tepper/ Art Car Museum

Irv Tepper/ Art Car Museum

The Art Car Museum in Houston is dedicated to a new kind of self-expression. The gallery showcases dozens of cars that have been decked out in graffiti, beads, lights and even giant creepy rat-dinosaur heads and roach shells. This place is a must-see for sure!

Waco Mammoth National Monument – Waco, TX

Mark Randolph/ City of Waco

Mark Randolph/ City of Waco

In Waco, you can see the only recorded discovery of a nursery herd of Columbian mammoths in America! On a guided tour of the park, you’ll see the bones of 22 Mammoths that were uncovered at this site between 1978 and 1997, as well as the remains of a prehistoric camel. All the fossils are still sitting in the ground exactly where they were found. In 2015, President Obama issued a proclamation that made the Waco Mammoth Site a National Monument.

Podcast 29 – “Big Bend” July 2016

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Tune in this episode as we talk about our recent trip to Big Bend. We share some tips on what to expect at the park, preparation to go the park and tips on choosing and enjoying activities while at Big Bend. If you are making plans to head to Big Bend, you won’t want to miss this episode!

We love your questions or feedback on the show…so if you have comments or questions you’d like us to address or topics you’d like us to feature, email us at: podcast@thedaytripper.com.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and the Windows store!

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This endeavor is generously supported by Mighty Fine Burgers Fries Shakes.
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Explore Texas: 13 Stunning Nature Parks

Natural Parks

From giant canyons and towering mountains to majestic sand dunes and intriguing caves, Texas is home to a wide range of natural wonders and you never have to travel far to find them. To celebrate the beauty of this great state and help you discover the awe-inspiring landscapes of Texas, here is a list of 13 State and National Parks. Now go explore!

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

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About 60 miles north of Van Horn, TX, you’ll find the tallest peak in Texas! Atop Guadalupe Peak, which sits 8,749 ft. in the sky, you’ll get the best view of Texas for miles and miles around. The trek to the top of the peak covers a grueling 8 miles and can take 6-8 hours to complete, but it’s worth it once you reach the top (watch our trek here). For those who can’t make this hike, there are tons of other things to do at this national park including birding, hiking (they’ve got over 80 miles of trails – including handicap-accessible trails) and backpacking!

Lost Maples State Natural Area

When the nights get longer and the leaves start turning in October and November, the place you need to be is at Lost Maples State Natural Area in Vanderpool, TX. At Lost Maples, you can hike along the limestone of the Edwards Plateau and bubbling Sabinal River surrounded by the breathtaking bright orange and red fall foliage in the maples around the trails. Be sure to check the Fall Foliage Report before you arrive.

Caprock Canyons State Park

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Texas is not flat (which you already know if you’ve watched our Turkey, TX episode), and at the Caprock Canyons State Park, you can roam massive, rocky, red-orange canyons. The Caprock Canyons, as well as Palo Duro Canyon in Amarillo, are a part of the Llano Estacado where the flat Texas land dips into gorgeous canyons. As you explore this rugged terrain, you might just spot the Official Texas State Bison Herd, direct descendants of the preservation herd Charles Goodnight started in 1878. It’s also a great place to horseback ride, mountain bike, fish and, of course, feel like you’re a cowboy in an old Western film! 

Blanco State Park

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In Blanco State Park exists one of the most underrated swimming holes in Texas, The Blanco River. The calming blue waters flow right through the middle of this park and cascade into dozens of waterfalls over the dam, making it the perfect spot to cool off on a hot summer day or fish for trout or bass when the weather is too cold for a swim. There are also great nature trails for hiking along the river. View our time at this park here.

Big Bend National Park

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Big Bend National Park sits on the northern end of the Chihuahuan Desert right next to the border of Mexico and near Terlingua,TX, It includes the Chisos Mountains with the tallest point, Emory Peak reaching up to 8,000 ft. There are so many stunning sights to see in this park like the famous Balanced Rock, a giant boulder balancing atop two stones, or the Santa Elena Canyon, a 1,500 ft. limestone canyon towering majestically over the gently rolling Rio Grande. Big Bend National Park is the perfect place for hiking, mountain biking and backpacking as it is the largest expanse of roadless land in Texas, but they also have scenic drives ranging from smooth, paved roads to primitive, dirt roads for those that prefer to drive. Check out this view from atop the South Rim.

Monahans Sandhills State Park

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The Monahans Sandhills State Park looks more like it belongs in the Middle East rather than the middle of West Texas in Monahans, TX. You can explore the miles of ever-changing sand dunes on foot or by renting a sled at the park office for “sand surfing.” At the visitor’s center, there are also hands-on activities for children and windows overlooking a waterhole for observing wildlife. Check out our time at the park here.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

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Palo Duro Canyon in Canyon, TX is the second largest canyon in the United States (the Grand Canyon being the largest) and a must-see spot for every Texan. As a part of the Llano Estacado, Palo Duro contains rocky ridges that plunge down 800 ft. into  beautiful canyons and rivers. (Check out our time at the canyon here!) The park has over 30 trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding through the colorful canyon and contains a variety of wildlife that only call Palo Duro Canyon home like the Palo Duro Mouse and part of the Official State Longhorn Herd. And don’t miss the famous Lighthouse rock formation! While you’re near Amarillo, check out the Historic Route 66!

Mustang Island State Park

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There’s nothing better than a State Park that you can make a splash in! And at Mustang Island State Park in Port Aransas, TX, there are miles and miles of open beach where you can swim, float or even build a sandcastle! If you’d rather explore than splash, paddle the Mustang Island Paddling Trail - the 20 miles of trails pass through waters that are great for birding and fishing. Either way, enjoy some good ol’ fun in the sun!

Davis Mountains State Park

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For an amazing view of Fort Davis, TX and the surrounding town, visit Davis Mountains State Park where you can hike or bike this West Texas mountain range that was formed by volcanic activity over 25 million years ago (you can see our time at the park here). Check out the epic sights like Frazier Canyon and The Sleeping Lion formation. Also in this mountain range is Baldy Peak, the fourth tallest peak in Texas at 8,379 ft. And if mountain climbing isn’t your thing, you can also stargaze at the McDonald Observatory or explore the Indian Lodge which was built in the 1930s and is still serving guests as a hotel.

Caddo Lake State Park

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Caddo Lake, in Jefferson, TX, is one of the most eerily beautiful sights in Texas. Don’t come expecting wide expanses of blue sky and open lake waters because Caddo Lake is actually more of a swamp that sits along the Cypress Bayou where you’ll find watery lanes slowly twisting and turning through thickets of tall Bald Cypress Trees and marshy backlands. The whole sight is awe-inspiring. Caddo Lake is a great place for fishing (the 26,000-acre lake contains over 70 species of fish), paddling and just admiring the East Texas wildlife.

Old Tunnel State Park

This State Park in Fredericksburg is one of the strangest in Texas. The park, which is the smallest State Park in Texas, features a cave that was built by Fredericksburg residents in 1913 to provide a faster trade route to San Antonio and ran until the 1940s. In 2012, Texas Parks and Wildlife discovered the abandoned railroad tunnel housed a colony of over 3 million Mexican free-tailed bats, and bought the land to preserve the colony. The park is open nightly May – October so visitors can watch the bats fly out of the cave in search of food. There is also a half-mile nature trail where you can view the various wildlife that call this habitat home.

Brazos Bend State Park

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At this State Park that is called “The Home of the American Alligator,” you can get up close and personal with gators. Brazos Bend contains 5,000 acres of diverse ecosystems like forests, wetlands, swamps and coastal prairies. Throughout the park, you’ll find animals like Armadillos and American Alligators living in their natural habitat. Activities provided by the park include self-guided and guided nature tours, hands-on exhibits about wildlife at the Nature Center and fishing.

Longhorn Caverns State Park

The cavern was formed by an underground river meaning it has smooth, carved stone instead of stalactites and stalagmites. One room is full of colorful crystals! Yet, the Longhorn Caverns State Park’s human history is just as amazing as it’s natural features. The largest rooms have been Indian tribal council rooms, a speakeasy, a church and more! Legend holds that famous outlaw Sam Bass buried treasure in these caves and  LBJ had an emergency bomb shelter. Spend the day exploring the caverns and uncovering history on one of their many guided tours

The HISTORIC Route 66 Road Trip!

ROUTE 66

Here at “The Daytripper” we love road trips, and there is no road trip more iconic than Route 66. So we’ve created the Historic Route 66 Road Trip to remind you of the good old days when folks were driving cross country to chase their dreams and the journey was just as fun as the destination.

Route 66 was paved in 1926 to carry travelers, tourists and dreamers, alike, from Santa Monica, CA to Chicago, IL, and since we’d never ask you to leave this great state, our road trip will take you along the historic route from the Texas town farthest west, Glenrio, east to Shamrock, TX. And while Route 66, itself, doesn’t exist anymore, this road trip passes along where it used to be and where nostalgic treasures still remain. So crank up those tunes, roll down your windows and cruise!

HERE’S THE MAP

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Destination 1: Ghost Town – Glenrio, NM-TX

Photo by Barbara Brannon/ Texas Plains Trail.

Photo by Barbara Brannon/ Texas Plains Trail.

Your first stop is actually in New Mexico…but it’s also in Texas (confused yet…?) The ghost town lies across the New Mexico-Texas border. Settled in 1905, Glenrio had a liquor store in the New Mexico side of town (where alcohol was allowed) and the post office on the Texas side (but no bars — Texas was dry at that time.) It is also one of the only Exit 0′s in the country. Though you’d never be able to tell from the now eerily abandoned buildings, this town was a hot spot in the Route 66 days.

 

Destination 2: Midpoint Cafe – Adrian, TX

Photo by Barbara Brannon/ Texas Plains Trail.

Photo by Barbara Brannon/ Texas Plains Trail.

This little diner is a Route 66 legend. Built in 1928 and located exactly halfway between Santa Monica and Chicago, it provided the perfect place for travelers to relax along the route, and 88 years later, it’s still doing just that. Midpoint Cafe serves up classics like fried bologna and juicy burgers and contains a Route 66 Souvenir and Antique shop. Most important of all are their “ugly” homemade pies that taste heavenly.

TIP: The next town you’ll pass through is Vega, where you’ll find the strange Dot’s Mini Museum, a little room full of quirky artifacts from the historic Route 66 collected by Dot, herself. The Cowboy Boot Tree that sits in front of the museum is both odd and beautiful.

 

Destination 3: Cadillac Ranch – Amarillo, TX

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This art installation was originally “planted” by the art group “Ant Farm” in 1974 on billionaire Stanley Marsh 3′s property. It’s become a famous must-see attraction in Texas and no road trip would be complete without it. Be sure to bring spray paint so you, too, can leave your mark!

PHOTO OP: About 25 minutes away from Cadillac Ranch, is another art installation paid for by Stanley Marsh 3 and created by Lightnin’ McDuff called “Huge Pair of Legs” that was modeled after an Egyptian statue. These feet may not be along Route 66 (it’s at 4743 W Sundown Ln.), but it’s weird enough that it’s definitely worth visiting.

Destination 4: Jack Sisemore Traveland RV Museum – Amarillo, TX

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There’s nothing better than a long family road trip in an old-timey RV, and while you can no longer travel in such style, you can visit the RV Museum to learn all about these classic trailers. It’s great place to get your mind in that yesteryear-frame-of-mind as you continue traveling down the historic highway.

TIP: Hungry? As you pass along Route 66 through Amarillo, there are plenty of places to eat like the Golden Light Cantina (the oldest restaurant in town, built on Route 66 in 1946)  in the Historic District on 2906 SW 6th Ave. Of course, we’re a fan of the Big Texan Steak House, view our encounter with their giant 72 oz. steak here.

Destination 5: Lile Art Gallery – Amarillo TX

Photo by Lile Art Gallery

Photo by Lile Art Gallery

If you were looking at Cadillac Ranch and thought, “Man I wish I could wear that” then this is the place for you. Bob “Crocodile” Lile takes chips of paint that have fallen off the iconic cars and through a process of buffing and UV lighting, makes them into beautiful jewelry he’s calling “Cadilite.”

Destination 6: US Route 66 Sixth Street Historic District – Amarillo, TX

Photo by  Barbara Brannon/Texas Plains Trail

Photo by Barbara Brannon/Texas Plains Trail

While you’re in Amarillo, take a drive down the actual Historic Route 66 which is now SW 6th Ave. It still contains buildings from when this was the central part of town as travelers trekked across the country in the 20s like The Nat which was once an indoor pool and then a ballroom where Duke Ellington performed. It’s now an antique shop. You’ll also find Amarillo’s Route 66 Store and tons of live music venues and restaurants along this road.

Destination 7: VW Slug Bug Ranch – Conway, TX

Barbara Brannon/Texas Plains Trail.

Barbara Brannon/Texas Plains Trail.

This next destination is especially helpful if you’re losing at the “Punch Buggy” car game. Just like Cadillac Ranch, this lesser-known car art installation features five Volkswagens that have been buried nose-down in the ground and left for every tourist with spray paint to leave their name. And unlike Cadillac Ranch, chances are it won’t be packed. Find it next to the Conway Inn and Restaurant (9696 Interstate 40).

 

Destination 8: Giant Cross – Groom, TX

Photo by Tony Hisget

Photo by Tony Hisget

In Groom, you can spot this 190 ft. cross looming over the land from the freeway. This structure which is a part of the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ Ministries, is actually the largest cross in the Western Hemisphere.  As you continue through Groom, if you see a leaning water tower, your eyes aren’t tricking you. It’s the “Leaning Tower of Texas” that was built before the cross with a 10-degree lean as a marketing ploy to attract visitors to the small town.

TIP: About 20 minutes after you leave Groom, you’ll come across the I-40 East Rest Area at Mile Marker 129 , which is an attraction in itself. It is built to resemble an old building from the 1950s and now has a Route 66 Museum (as well as actual restrooms) inside…what more could you need??

Destination 9: First Phillips 66 Station in Texas – McLean, TX

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Built in the early 1920s, this little house was the first Phillips 66 Station in Texas. It has since been restored by The Old Route 66 Association of Texas. It is no longer a working gas station, but it is a great place for a photo op! You can find it at 219 Gray Street.

Destination 10: Devil’s Rope Museum and Route 66 Museum- McLean, TX

Photo by Barbara Brannon/ Texas Plains Trail

Photo by Barbara Brannon/ Texas Plains Trail

One side of the museum is dedicated to barbed wire, with everything from barbed wire types to barbed wire sculptures. The other side is the largest Route 66 museum in Texas featuring over 700 artifacts like the original cow from Amarillo’s Big Texan Steak Ranch, road signs, advertisements and more!  Find it at 100 Kingsley St. And while you’re in town, check out the Cactus Inn — a motel built in 1956 that’s still hosting travelers 1950′s-style!

TIP: As you drive through Lela on your way to Shamrock look out for the RATTLESNAKES sign that was once an advertisement for the famous Regal Reptiles Ranch, a famed Route 66 attraction until the 80′s. The sign is on the corner of Donley and First Street.

 

Destination 11: U Drop Inn Cafe – Shamrock, TX

Photo by Keith George

Photo by Keith George

This 1920s art-deco style building is one of the coolest sights along Route 66, and possibly the most well-known site along the route in Texas, thanks to the 2006 Disney animated-film Cars, where it was featured as Ramone’s House of Body Art. U Drop-Inn was built in 1936 and was a service station and cafe. It is now a visitor’s center, museum and gift shop.

YOU DID IT! Our attractions stop here, but Route 66 continues all the way to Texola, OK taking you through Benonine, TX. If you aren’t done “getting your kicks,” you can continue riding the highway all the way to the end of Texas (or even Chicago…)

Podcast 28 – “Talkin’ Texas July 2016″

Talkin_Texas28

Tune in this episode as share what we’ve been up to for the past month including filming in Conroe, Boerne and Big Bend. We also talk about other Texas oddities and news including…

  • Flesh eating bacteria on Texas beaches
  • Alligator wrestling in Houston
  • Anthony Bourdain invades our turf
  • Texans in the Summer Olympics
  • …and more!

In our Texas Music minute, Bree Wagner from KJ 97 in San Antonio and KVET 98.1 in Austin, features an up and coming band called The Last Bandoleros.

We love your questions or feedback on the show…so if you have comments or questions you’d like us to address or topics you’d like us to feature, email us at: podcast@thedaytripper.com.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and the Windows store!

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Windows – Search for the Daytripper Podcast in your dedicated podcast app.
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This endeavor is generously supported by Mighty Fine Burgers Fries Shakes.
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Dive In: SCUBA in Texas!

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You may be planning your vacation to finish out the last weeks of summer (and you’ve probably already finished the Ultimate Swimming Holes Road Trip by now), so you’re wondering what to do next to keep cooled off. Well, this year you can skip the pricey tropical getaways because we’ve got you covered! All the sunshine, exotic sea life and crazy adventure you need is right here in this great state! Here is a list of just a few of our favorite SCUBA Spots across Texas to help you DIVE IN!

Athens SCUBA Park – Athens, TX

Just half a mile from the Athens, TX square, you’ll find a glimmering Mediterranean-blue lake full of sunken planes, boats, obstacles and more. It’s a great place for beginners because if you aren’t certified, Athens SCUBA Park can teach you and they will rent you the gear you need. CLICK HERE to watch our trip to Athens.

 

San Solomon Springs – Balmorhea, TX

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The San Solomon Springs in Balmorhea State Park is a spring-fed, clear-blue oasis in the middle of the desert, and at a constant 72-degrees, it’s just the right temperature to keep you cool. This is the perfect spot for divers and non-divers. If SCUBA isn’t your thing, you can splash near the surface on the shallow, concreted end, while SCUBA divers can explore the rocky depths and natural sea life (like the Comanche Springs Pupfish) on the deep end. Forget your SCUBA gear? The Toyahvale Desert Oasis shop across the street can rent you some. CLICK HERE to watch our episode in Balmorhea.

 

Valhalla Missile Silo – Abilene, TX

The Valhalla Missile Silo is one of the rarest (and most adventurous) places to dive in Texas. In the 1960′s, the silo housed an Atlas nuclear missile but today its concrete walls hold 120 ft of ground water that are ripe for exploration. At 58 degrees, it’s a cold (and not to mention dark) swim, but this Abilene SCUBA spot is a perfect way to dive deeper into the history of Texas. It’s only open to private groups, so call the Family Scuba Center in Midland to make reservations. CLICK HERE to watch our trip to Abilene.

Blue Lagoon – Huntsville, TX 

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Beneath the trees of Huntsville is a beautiful swimming hole with pure turquoise waters and sandy beaches that rival the shores of Cancun. At Blue Lagoon you can spend your afternoon diving to the depths or swim through sunken wooden ships. They even allow non-SCUBA divers in the waters, but the capacity is limited so call ahead. And if you aren’t a diver, they offer SCUBA lessons on the weekends and you can rent gear from them.  CLICK HERE to watch our trip to Huntsville.