Texas

We didn’t miss the opportunity to check out the new Cowboys Stadium in December 2009.  We started our adventures in Austin.  After a tour of the State Capitol, we went to the University of Texas for a high school championship football game.  Then our drive to Dallas, we stopped at Texas A&M and Baylor University before watching the Chargers beat the Cowboys.

We picked our rental car at the Austin airport and immediately starting driving to Salt Lick BBQ.  It was about 45 minutes away, but after seeing the restaurant featured on the Travel Channel, we knew it would be worth the drive.  We knew we were getting close when the smell of delicious BBQ filled the air and we didn’t even have the windows down!

We were seated at a wooden bench table and handed a menu.  For $18.95, you can get beef, sausage, pork ribs, potato salad, cole slaw, beans, and bread – ALL YOU CAN EAT!  We thought that might be too much food for our first night in Texas and opted for the combination plates which were $11.95 (note: they only accept cash at the Driftwood location). We tried the beef brisket, sausage, and pork ribs.  The food was delicious, by far the best BBQ place we have ever had, perhaps even the greatest restaurant ever.  They even encourage you to bring in your own alcoholic beverages!

After dinner, we made the drive to downtown Austin.  On the way, we made a quick stop to see the beautiful Texas State Capitol and had dessert at The Melting Pot.

We finally checked into our hotel, the three-star Austin Town Lake Holiday Inn which was located next to Lady Bird Lake.  The parking was free and we only paid $69 per night through Hotwire.

In the morning, this was the view from right outside our hotel.  We don’t have the opportunity to see many leaves change color in San Diego, so this was a real treat.

We spent the next few hours on the road driving to College Station to visit the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library and Kyle Field at Texas A&M University.

On our way back to Austin, we were tempted to stop at the Salt Lick BBQ again, but it had been a long day and we wanted a good nights rest before our drive to Dallas the next day.

We spent Saturday morning at the Texas State Capitol and then our final stop in Austin was at the University of Texas, home of the Longhorns.  The initial plan was to watch a basketball game, however we found out the Texas State High School semi-final championship football game, Austin Westlake Chaparrals vs. Katy Cinco Ranch Cougars, was taking place and had to go. After a quick shopping trip at the University Bookstore, also known as the Co-Op, it was time end our Austin adventures and start our three-hour drive to Dallas.

We made a stop in Waco, to see where LT grew up.  We also had lunch at The Cracker Barrel.  Then we made a brief stop at Baylor University and saw their gorgeous campus. We also saw the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, but it was closed.

It was dark by the time we drove into Dallas, but we couldn’t wait to see the stadium.  We went to see it before checking into our hotel.  It looked like a spaceship, bigger than I imagined, and the bright lights lit up the dark sky. We were able to drive through the parking lot for a look inside.  It looked so amazing and we were so excited for the game.  Our hotel was about 25 minutes away, near downtown Dallas.  The Le Meridian was a steal for only $54 per night on Hotwire.  It was across the street from the Dallas Galleria shopping center where we had dinner.

The next morning, we left our hotel around 9 a.m. to make sure we got to the stadium with plenty of time to look around before the 3 p.m. kick-off.  We parked about two blocks away from the stadium on Nolan Ryan Expressway for $40.  On our way to the entrance of the stadium, we walked past the Texas Rangers ballpark, a beautiful brick stadium built in 2004. Then we grabbed a pulled pork sandwich from the pre-game festivities before waiting in line at the entrance to Cowboys Stadium.