College football: Road trip to Austin
We drove to Austin, Texas, for the OSU-Texas game. You see a good chunk of the Southwest driving to Austin. Think of it this way. We went through four of the Big 12’s 10 cities, unless you don’t want to count Columbia, Mo. Then it was four of nine.
Lots to see. Lots to talk about. Here was our trip.
You can learn a lot about people sitting in a car together for six hours. Here’s what I learned. Somewhere along the line, I got old.
I traveled with colleagues John Helsley (Chopper) and Gina Mizell (Vinegar Bend). Chopper because he sweats like a wood chopper (don’t let anyone tell you it’s his racquetball swing) and Vinegar Bend as tribute to the multi-talented Wilmer Mizell, a major league pitcher who won 90 games in a nine-year career, mostly in the ‘50s, and then became a U.S. congressman. Heady stuff for a guy from Vinegar Bend, Miss.
Anyway, our Vinegar Bend is in her 20s, grew up in Phoenix, worked a little in San Diego. So she’s probably a little more sophisticated than old Wilmer Mizell was when he left Vinegar Bend.
Our conversation somehow ventured over to Raquel Welch. Our Vinegar Bend never heard of her. We told her Raquel Welch was the 1960s/1970s version of Jayne Mansfield. Uh, that didn’t help.
OK, this could be fun. Cheryl Ladd. Has Vinegar Bend ever heard of Cheryl Ladd? No. How about Farrah Fawcett? Yes. Valerie Bertinelli? Yes. So there’s the line of demarcation. Farrah Fawcett and Valerie Bertinelli.
Of course, that’s a two-way street. I asked Vinegar Bend to quiz me. Megan Fox? Have I heard of Megan Fox? Yes, barely. And recently. Like just the other day. Scarlett Johansson? Of course. Natalie Portman? Absolutely. Robert Pattinson. Uh, who does he play for? Sounds like Baylor’s backup quarterback. Seth Rogan? I don’t know. The hair guy? Zach Galifianakis? Atlanta Hawk draft pick from Greece?
Give me Michelle Pfeiffer, Diane Lane, Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange, Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall.
These road trips don’t make me old. They make me feel old.
IN-N-OUT of FORT WORTH
When going to Waco, Austin or San Antonio, we’ve always driven I-35W rather than I-35E. Go through Fort Worth, not Dallas. Avoid the heavy traffic.
What are we thinking?
The killer Dallas traffic isn’t in Dallas. It’s in Denton, 30 miles north of downtown Big D. And it lasts about two miles, just after I-35 splits. I don’t know why Denton traffic is so bad. It might be the narrow lanes; the freeway always seems under construction in Denton.
But Fort Worth is worse. Any week day, you bog down north of downtown Fort Worth, no matter the time. And it’s a lot longer than two miles. Someone please remind me. Go through Dallas. Not Fort Worth.
Except, of course, when we’re headed to TCU, our newest Big 12 destination.
And let me say this about Fort Worth. Fantastic, simply fantastic. What a cool city. I’ve spent a little time in Fort Worth and always liked it. I was there just two weeks ago for the OU Club of Fort Worth luncheon the day before the Texas game.
We got off the interstate on Friday and drove through some of the city. Really an attractive city. Cool architecture. Lots of scenery. And we didn’t even make it over to the TCU area, which is really inviting.
I love Fort Worth. It’s going to be a great Big 12 port.
In fact, now’s a good time to rank the cities in the old Southwest Conference, in terms of enjoyment and getting there: 1. Fort Worth; 2. Lubbock; 3. Dallas; 4. Waco; 5. Austin; 6. Houston; 7. College Station. College Station is hard to get to and hard to stay in, because of hotel price gouging.
Give me Fort Worth anytime. All I have to do is figure out a way to get there without going down I-35W.
IN-N-OUT BURGER of FORT WORTH
Maybe I’m not breaking news here, but In-N-Out Burger, the fast food chain that inspires fanatical devotion on the West Coast, has come to the Metroplex. Including a new store in the heart of Fort Worth.
Photographer Nate Billings wanted to grab some lunch there, so we went.
I ate at an In-N-Out nine years ago, during Rose Bowl week in Los Angeles. And it was just as I remembered it.
Amazingly simple menu, which is a good thing. Reasonably priced, which is a good thing. And incredibly overrated.
My cheeseburger was good. No doubt about it. But no better than Wendy’s. That’s not a knock. I like Wendy’s.
But the idea that an In-N-Out burger is something extra special, well, it just doesn’t hold.
So I tried to figure out the attraction. Why are so many Californians – or California visitors – so enamored with In-N-Out. I think it’s two things:
1. The hats. In-N-Out employees wear those old-fashioned paper hats. Old Old School. Really cool.
2. Organization. In-N-Out appears to be wonderfully managed. Plenty of employees, all seeming to take care of the things that matter. Customer service. Restaurant cleanliness. Organization goes a long way.
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