Travel to Texas – Episode 176

categories: USA Travel


The Amateur Traveler talks to Dennis Cheatham of about his home state of Texas.

Dennis takes us on a virtual road trip of Texas including some of the usual stops at Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin, and some of the more unusual stops like a fake Prada store, a replica of Stonehenge, and a haunted railroad crossing.

On the way, we will learn more about the history and people of this state that has been part of 6 different countries.

click here to download (mp3)
click here to download (iTunes enhanced)


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Show Notes

Love For Texas
Texas Online
The Handbook of Texas Online
Lone Star Junction
Texas Escapes
The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
Blue Bell Ice Cream
The Alamo
Battle of the Alamo
Texas road trip


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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

9 Responses to “Travel to Texas – Episode 176”



Dennis, good job on describing my home state of Texas. I’ll try not to hold it against you for not talking about Houston. 😉

Aaron J. Bossig


This was a great episode. I hit Texas as often as I can, Austin in particular. I almost don’t want to say why, it’s been my little secret for a while… but I suspect this place won’t be secret much longer. For all you movie lovers, check out the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, without a doubt my favorite movie theater in the world. It’s actually a small chain, and they serve full meals (and fermented beverages) with your movie. It’s not just first-run movies either, they make a specialty out of re-showing classics and cult films.

BTW, they are totally not paying me to say this, I just love the place.

Ira H. Bernstein


I am an adopted Texan of 45 years’ standing coming from New York by way of Michigan, Florida, Tennessee, and Illinois. As such (Dallasite), I would like to comment on Dennis Cheatham’s enjoyable podcast. For openers, think of describing Texas as the proverbial blindfolded people would; different ones feel its trunk, tail, body, etc. and describe it differently.

1. Texas’ ethnic diversity is often overlooked. Everyone knows about the Spanish influences, but not everyone knows about the wonderful Czech and (to a lesser extent) Slovak influence South of Dallas in places like West, Texas (which is not in West Texas). It is about 50 miles South of Dallas on I35 (the road to Austin). There is a second area around El Campo (near Houston). Similarly, the area between Austin and San Antonio, e.g., New Braunfels, is heavily German. There are smaller Italian (South of Dallas on I45, the road to Houston), Polish, and Scandanavian enclaves though these are not as prominent. I have not been there recently, but San Antonio’s Institute of Texan Culture pays homage to Texas ethnic diversity. Restaurants serving the relevant cuisine are available in the above communities. Recent years have seen an Asian influx, in all major cities, especially the Houston area, since many Vietnamese came here as fishermen.
2. Although it was decimated by Hurricane Ike, Galveston is making a comeback and is an enjoyable place to visit and swim in the Gulf of Mexico.
3. Speaking of same, the Houston/Galveston area is great for seafood because of its proximity to the Gulf. Try red snapper stuffed with crab.
4. When on San Antonio’s Riverwalk, be sure to go to the Landing in the basement of the Hyatt Regency. This is a jazz club featuring the Jim Cullum band, which plays traditional New Orleans and Swing era jazz. (do not call it Dixleland). Jim is from a Dallas family that was well known for founding an important grocery store chain. That left Jim’s father (a clarinetist, also named Jim) free to pursue his love of jazz. The present generation’s Jim is a cornet player who followed in his father’s footsteps. Perhaps because of the family’s business skill, his band has survived for several decades—a true San Antonio institution. This is amazing considering the usual 1-3 year life span of most jazz clubs. Its status allows it to hire the best available musicians. The band plays up to six nights a week except when out of town (check to see their schedule) and an evening is amazingly reasonable. You can also sit outside and hear small combos, but be sure to listen to the main band.
5. Many cities claim to have copied the Riverwalk, but all fail miserably. The best-defined example is Waco which has a walk along the Brazos. Waco’s conservativism makes it far different from San Antonio, 150 miles to the South on I35. Dallas’ West End is another not terribly exciting place for similar reasons IMHO. North and South Texas are quite different.
6. I enjoyed Laredo and El Paso. Unfortunately, border towns/cities do not get much press. Though incidental to my discussion about Texas, crossing the border into Mexico is not that great an experience. The Interior of Mexico can be—I had a wonderful time in Monterrey last year.
7. If one rents a car in Dallas, the drive on I45 to Houston and Galveston is dreadfully boring, but the drive on I35 to Austin, San Antonio, and Laredo is rather enjoyable.
8. Although the Riverwalk is fun and a great place to dine al fresco, there are perhaps better values, especially for Tex-Mex, outside of this area. BTW, it is a Texas law that Dallas has to hate Houston and vice versa, but we are all allowed to love San Antonio and Austin. Dallasites are also required to avoid Ft. Worth and vice versa.
9. Speaking of German influence, Shiner Bock (as noted on the show) is wonderful, especially the bock, but only visitors drink Lone Star longnecks. Those of us who have been here for a while know better.
10. Even though I am not supposed to admit it (see points 5. And 8.) Dallas does not have much of a downtown to visit, but Ft. Worth’s is quite good.
11. You may not like shopping for well-known designers, but having a wife and daughters got me in the spirit. In Dallas, there is the wonderful Northpark and, slightly behind it, the Galleria. Houston also has a Galleria. There is also a first rate outlet mall in San Marcos, roughly midway between Austin and San Antonio (exit 200 on I35). For example, it has a very good Ferragamo outlet.

In sum, Dennis and I could each do a show, not talk about anything in common, but validly describe Texas.



Ira, thanks for your extensive contribution!



Chris, Great show! I know we twittered back and forth about the things you discussed on this episode, but I had not actually heard it until today. There was so much to cover in such a short time, but your guest did a great job.

When you mentioned Stonehenge in your tweets, I thought for sure you were talking about the one we have in Odessa. That is why I mentioned the Globe Theatre we have in Odessa too.

Dennis Cheatham


You know that rule that the camera adds 10 pounds? Just listened to the podcast and I was reminded of just how much I missed about Texas – and the comments remind me of that. As a 15-year Houstonian, myself (but hater of the roaches and humidity) I can’t agree more laanba… Houston is a wonderful place not to be missed – blame Chris for only giving me one week to travel the state 🙂

Ira – wow. All words I’ve thought of but didn’t say – I enjoyed your recount. Especially the fact that I was driving through a part of Dallas just this week to eat some Red Curry at an excellent Indian (and authentic) Indian restaurant. The diversity of Texas is staggering and not to be underestimated. So about you and I doing a show and still talking about nothing in common… I am working up a future podcast about Texas: ever thought about contributing?

dpeach: really? Odessa has a Globe theater? Planning a trip that way now…

Chris – I’ve already said it: thanks for hosting me. It was an honor to be on the show.



Hi all, loving your podcasts, but the link here is dead. Cheers



Do you mean the link to get the podcast? My understanding is that Libsyn, which serves my content, has had an outage. It seems to be fixed.

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