I was a couple of weeks shy of my 37th birthday before I ever came to San Antonio, Texas. Now, it seems like I come all the time. Football games. Final Fours. Vacations. NBA playoffs.
And I’m always reminded of what Eddie Sutton said years and years ago. San Antonio is one of America’s most unique cities.
We drove down to San Antonio on Sunday. Six Oklahoman staffers, which is a little too many for a Ford Expedition. So we came in two cars. I came down with Jenni Carlson and photographer Sarah Phipps, in a rented GMC Terrain. And Sunday afternoon is a lovely time to drive to San Antone.
You know that traffic snarl just north of downtown Fort Worth that’s always a monster? It’s minimal on Sunday evening. And the Austin traffic is bearable on Sunday, at least it was this time. I’m not looking forward to the trip home on Thursday, but it was OK on Sunday.
We left Norman around 3 p.m. and headed south. Stopped at Sonic for a drink and a rare bad experience – Sarah ordered some sweet potato tots, and we asked for the ketchup. Didn’t get any in our sack, and we already had pulled out of the drive-through. So I pulled into a stall and asked for some. Didn’t come. So I pushed the button and asked again. Finally out came so ketchup. About 10 minutes after we had pulled out of the drive-through. That’s not the Sonic standard. How about this change in policy. Just put some ketchup in the bag when someone orders tots?
We passed the time by listening to the Heat-Pacers game. I also turned it over to listen to the end of the OU-Texas A&M softball game. Softball games once were knocked out in 80-90 minutes. But now they got 21/2 hours. Go as long as an NBA game.
I drove all the way to Waco, where we stopped for dinner about 7:30 p.m. We stopped in at Buzzard Billy’s, a Cajun place right on the Brazos River. I’ve eaten there a couple of times before, it’s always been good. But a woman smoking a cigarette out front warned us as we went in that the place was out of Creole.
I didn’t know exactly what that meant. Out of Creole at a Cajun place is like being out of Mexican food at a Mexican joint. But soon we discovered. No gumbo. No jambalaya. Seems Buzzard Billy’s had run out of tomatoes. Which made me wonder why someone didn’t scoot down to the H-E-B and buy some tomatoes. I bought some Saturday night at Wright’s IGA. I’ll bet someone in Waco was selling tomatoes.
No matter. I had a seafood platter, Sarah had the shrimp boil and Jackie O. had catfish. It was good and solid. I like to eat fish on the road, because it’s not too filling.
Jackie O. took over the driving, and we stopped off in Georgetown, a far north suburb of Austin, for a Dairy Queen blizzard. The Texas DQs remain somewhat solid. Decently managed. Clean. Not the fate of our Oklahoma Dairy Queens the last 30 years. But DQ got us on marketing. They are plugging a blizzard in a waffle cone. Sounds great. But it’s a scam. You pay more and get less. I’d say the waffle cone gives you less than you get in a small blizzard. Oh well. Live and learn.
We pulled into San Antonio and drove to the Springhill Suites on the edge of downtown. Nice location. Not on the Riverwalk, but close enough to walk. And not far from the arena where the Thunder will try to take down the Spurs.
A far cry from Los Angeles, where everything is spread out and congested, one of the worst combinations known to man. Should be a good time in San Antone.