History, Whataburger, Luggage and Home

Trip Start Apr 02, 2011
Trip End Sep 29, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Illinois
Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Well, I didn't get up early and play golf...again. Follow my logic here. Was going to get up at 6:30, hit the road by 7:00 and golf near Dallas by 10:00. By the time I got there it was going to be 90 degrees anyway, and besides I really wanted to check out that large statue, or as David Craig's daughter used to call it, the big white man. I can rationalize about anything, can't I!

Anyway, up at 9:00 and out the door by 9:45 on my way to The Sam Houston Statue. The road takes you by the other thing Huntsville is noted for...the prison. Saw some men dressed in all white working on a road project with hot tar inside the fence...looked hot. The statue is about two miles south of Huntsville in the Sam Houston National Forrest. Visitors' center is nice...signed in and strolled the 100 yards to the statue. It was even more massive than I had imagined. It's a 67 foot high replica of Sam Houston made out of concrete and steel. It is all white in color (hence the reference to the big white man). They claim it to be the world's tallest statue of an American hero...OK.

Well, he was twice President of the Country of Texas (before statehood), and then Senator from Texas and helped them become a state. He was Governor of both Tennessee and Texas in his lifetime and the hero of the battle of San Jacinto. I guess that makes him an American hero.

The 60 tons of concrete and steel that make up "Big Sam" was begun in 1992 and completed in 1994. I will say, it's an imposing figure, especially driving down the highway at night as it was when I first saw it. Interestingly, I hadn't noticed it on my way out of town to Houston. I learned that Huntsville was the home of Sam Houston. Very cool stop.

Then it was on to Dallas. A three hour drive of Sirius radio and I was there.

Not sure I ever had a "Whataburger," so decided to try one. There was one close to the airport (Love Field). After eating it, I think they should re-name the burger to "What-an-average-burger." It was OK, but nothing to write home about. Certainly not a "Green Gables" burger or one of Smokey's Circle II burgers in Heyworth, or even an "In And Out Burger." But it was filling. On to the airport and Chili's Too in order to have a cold one and bog a bit. I'll finish this tomorrow when I get home.

Oh, by the way, filled up the rental car before returning it...$3.45 a gallon.  Guess they don't have to pump it too far!!! 

Getting home was full of good news and bad news:

Bad - My flight was delayed 20 minutes
Good - The beer was cold at Chili's Too

Bad - A screaming child all the way from DAL to STL
Good - My Bose Headphones and iPad songs drowned out most of it

Bad - Southwest lost a piece of my luggage
Good - At least it wasn't my clubs!

Bad - My one day of free parking required I park for 72 hours
Good - I was too tired to argue that I'd been parked there for 62 hours

Bad - There was a little traffic jam due to construction five miles from the airport
Good - Shaniqua from SWA called me and told me they found my luggage, so I returned to retrieve it.

Bad - I got home a little later
Good - SWA gave me a $100 voucher for my trouble

I have downloaded pics from my trip.  It was a short but event-filled one.  One I'll never forget.  Next up taking Sandy and Kevin on a 4th of July trip to see Mt. Rushmore and the Rockies...both the mountains and the baseball team!  So long till then!

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John Huffman on

Dave, disappointed to see that you were not able to make it to Angelo's BBQ in Ft. Worth, but that gives you a GREAT reason to return to the GREAT State. You hit the description of What-a-burger on the head.

Interesting that you stopped in Huntsville. I know of several people who attended Sam Houston State University there. Did you know it was originally called Sam Houston Institute of Teaching......true story, but you figure out why they changed the name and acronym to SHSU. There is a strong tie between the university and the prison (similar to university of Oklahoma, Florida State and soon to be Ohio State....come on buckeye fans you can laugh about it). it seems that everytime they electocuted a death row inmate the lights on the SHSU campus would dim. True Story.

Also, as a history major you probably knew that Houston was one of five state capitals. During the formation of the Republic of Texas (sorry us natives still consider it a free republic) the founders could not settle on one specific site until the capital was moved from Houston to Austin in 1839. Did you also know the original boundaries of the Republic included what is now New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming, How is that for an in-state road trip!

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