Thursday, February 28, 2013

Live, From Muleshoe, Texas!

It's early Thursday morning. I'm sitting in a hotel room in Muleshoe, Texas. I'm still tired from our 752 mile trip yesterday, and I'm ready to get back to Angelo and check on the progress of our house. I'm ready to get settled.

Donna and I left Laughlin just after 4:00 AM local time yesterday. We immediately lost an hour when we crossed the Colorado River, as Bullhead City is 1 hour ahead of Laughlin. It was dark as we climbed out of the Colorado River valley. The road to the summit of the ridge twists and turns as it wends its way to the top. Once atop the pass, it is a straight shot through Golden Valley down to Kingman, where we pick up Interstate 40.

From Kingman to near Williams, there are some ups and downs. This area looks like good ranch country. Near Williams, we approach alpine country. Pine trees appear on the slopes, and snow begins splotching the countryside, especially on the north side of slopes. From Williams to Flagstaff is probably the most beautiful stretch of this trip. If you were spirited away and suddenly placed down in this area, you could easily believe you were in Colorado. Humphreys Peak to the north of Flagstaff is snow covered. This 12,637 foot peak, the highest point in Arizona, is visible from as far away as Holbrook to the east, a distance of about 90 miles.

When we left Laughlin, the temperature was 57. We dip to as low as 10 in the high country around Williams. Some of the snow drifts here are quite deep, and the snow cover is still pretty solid from the storm that moved through a few days earlier.

As we leave Flagstaff and the mountains, the temp rises and the snow begins to disappear. From just east of Flagstaff to the Albuquerque area, the landscape is roughly the same. This is good driving as there are really no ups and downs and twists and turns of note.

We drive straight through Albuquerque, a city of about half a million people. From the freeway, the city is very attractive, with beautiful desert landscaping lining the road. It is an easy drive through town. On the eastern edge of town, we pass through the foothills of the Sandia Mountains. Sandia Crest, the highest point in this range, is 10,678 feet. As we break out of the foothills, we look out onto the plains of eastern New Mexico. We're surprised to see an expanse with quite a bit of snow, the greatest snow cover of our trip, in fact.

As we near Santa Rosa, the bulk of the snow gives away, and the temp begins to rise. We leave I-40 at Santa Rosa, and follow US 84 down through Ft. Sumner then to Clovis. Just east of Clovis, we finally reach Texas at the twin communities of Texico, New Mexico, and Farwell, Texas. 20 miles farther and we are in Muleshoe, where we spend the night. There must have been quite a bit of snow in this area, as bulldozed piles of snow are everywhere and snow melt runs down the streets. It really is quite messy.

Today, we have about a 5 hour trip to Angelo. We will stop in Big Spring and have lunch with our daughter.

I enjoy traveling, but it is always good to get back to Texas.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Where in the World are Donna and Keith?

I'm sitting in Starbuck's in the Aquarius Casino in Laughlin, Nevada. For the past week, we've been at Sam's Town in Las Vegas, and we've had no Internet connection. I refuse to pay $4.95 for Internet at casino hotels; yeah, I'm a cheapskate.

We're spending the next 2 nights at the Aquarius. We'll rest up here where things are a bit less hectic, then get a very early start for Texas on Wednesday morning. Hopefully, by Friday evening, I should be connected again and posting as fast as I can write blog entries.

We've not done much, so I really don't have much to share. Weather has been tolerable, but not as warm as we like it, so we've stayed inside for the most part. I'll be watching the weather now to see if we can return home on the northern route; I know there have been some winter storms in the north, and that Amarillo and Lubbock were getting snow this morning. Hopefully , that will be all cleared out when we get ready to head home.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Light and Shadows

I've always enjoyed how light plays on desert and mountain landscapes. When I used to travel through the Davis Mountains and Big Bend country in far West Texas several years ago, I was always fascinated by sunlight and shadows on the mountains. The same view in such landscapes can look very different depending on the time of day, time of year, and the way sun hits - or does not hit -- the land.

I came out of the Golden Nugget Casino a couple of nights ago and was struck by the view of the mountains on the east side of the Colorado River. Laughlin lies in a valley along the river, and rough desert mountains rise both east and west from the mountains. It was about 5:00 PM when I came outside, and the sun had already started descending below the mountains to the west. As a result, the sun was striking only the tops of the mountains on the east side of the river.

By the time I got my camera and found a place to take a picture, the scene had lost some of its golden color, but the picture below still is quite pretty. Just a few minutes after I snapped this picture, the sun had set enough so that the mountains in the picture were completely in the shadows.

Mountains on the Arizona side of the Colorado River

Many people unfamiliar with the desert do not find anything attractive about it. But if you know where to look and what to look for, there is a great deal of beauty in the desert.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Hanging Around in Laughlin

We've been in Laughlin since last Sunday. We're staying at the Pioneer Hotel and Gambling Hall in the middle of the Laughlin Strip. This is our first time to stay and play at the Pioneer. The Pioneer is a locally owned casino with a wild west theme. The casino is not very busy, but the hotel with its cheap room rates seems to have a high occupancy level.

We split our playing time between the Pioneer, the Golden Nugget (which is next door) and the Aquarius, our favorite place. The Pioneer has 9/6 Jacks or Better video poker at the center bar, and that's a good game. Next door, the Golden Nugget has several games above 99%. I hit a small jackpot there yesterday. But we spend most of our time playing at the Aquarius, which has the best video poker inventory in town for the low roller.

We've used comps to eat as much as possible, but we've eaten a few meals at other places. One of our favorite places to eat in Laughlin is at Daniel's in the Regency Casino. The Regency is a local casino stubbornly clinging to a tiny spot next to the Edgewater. The actual casino is small, probably the size of a shoe store in a stopping mall. There really are no good plays in the casino, and you seldom find many people playing. But the restaurant has some good bargains. Our favorite day is Wednesday, when burgers are 2 for 1. The burgers are good, and cooked to order. On this trip, we also stopped in on Tuesday, which is taco day, and sampled several of their tacos. Our favorites were the shrimp taco and the carne asado taco.

We'll stay here until Monday, when we head to Las Vegas for a few days. We will be staying at Sam's Town while there. We then return to Laughlin for a few days at the Aquarius before returning to San Angelo.

We've not done too much while here besides take it easy. We've looked around both Laughlin and Bullhead City, Arizona, across the river, and I think we've seen about all in this area we'd care to see.

It's been very windy here, with steady winds of 20 mph or so daily, gusting to 35 mph or more. Temps have been topping out in the 60s, with lows in the upper 30s. But the sun has been out every day. As always, the river is beautiful and clear. The river appears as a blue ribbon winding its way south through a brown landscape. We do enjoy watching the river.

Monday, February 11, 2013

On the Road: Tucson, AZ, to Laughlin, NV

Sunday, February 10, 2013

We rose early today. This is the second day of our trip, and we still have lots of miles ahead of us. After enjoying the complimentary breakfast at our hotel, we got back in the truck and started our day. After a brief stop for gas, we decided to drive through downtown Tucson on our way out of town.

I really like Tucson. It is a big town, but not so big that it swallows you. The downtown area reminded Donna and me of Santa Fe to some degree. The Mexican influence on the area is unmistakable. Lots of construction is going on downtown. Buildings are being renovated, roads are being improved – lots is going on. We would like to return and spend a few days. It would be good if we could stay downtown so we could walk to the museums, cafes, and other places of interest.

Our route today is 387 miles long

From downtown, we got back on I-10. Driving north out of Tucson, we saw fields to the east, watered by man-made canals which criss-cross the fields and parallel the highway. About halfway to Tucson, we passed

Pichacho Peak and its namesake state park. An impressive "forest" of saguaros was on both sides of the road.

At Casa Grande, I-8 splits from I-10 and heads west to San Diego, CA, via Yuma, AZ. We followed this route, as Phoenix is a monster we prefer to avoid. The stretch of I-8 west of the split is quite scenic from my perspective. For the first 10 miles of so, farmland lines the interstate, eventually giving away to desert dominated by saguaros for the next 40 miles or so.

At Gila Bend, we turn north off I-8 onto Arizona 85. This is a common route for travelers who wish to bypass Phoenix. It connects about 30 miles to the north with I-10, which then heads west towards Los Angeles. This is our route for another 50 miles or so before we turn off and work our way up to Parker, AZ, via Arizona 72. Along this stretch, we cross the Central Arizona Canal Project several times.

Central Arizona Project is a canal that provides Colorado River water to places as distant as Tucson

Parker is a busy community on the Colorado River, and is popular with RVers during the winter. From Parker, we follow Arizona 95 north through perhaps the most scenic section of our trip so far. Mountains line the Colorado River, and the road dips and curves in out, offering numerous beautiful views of the river. This area is heavily developed. It looks like the RV capital of the universe to me, for RV parks appear almost nonstop along the river. North of Parker Dam, the area is less developed. Eventually, we arrive at Lake Havasu City, AZ, home of the London Bridge. Yes, we did drive across the fabled bridge. Lake Havasu City comes across to me as a retirement home for wealthy individuals. Restaurants, shops, and beautiful homes line the roads. It's really an attractive community, and I'd like to return for a few days and wander the streets.

After a short detour through Lake Havasu City, we continue north on Arizona 95 and eventually intersect with I-40, where we turn west for about 10 or so miles. I misread the signs and exit too early. I should have stayed on the interstate until we crossed the Colorado River in Needles, California, but I exit before crossing the river when I see a sign for Bullhead City. The road we follow takes us along the east bank of the river through productive farmland until we eventually intersect once again with Arizona 95 in the Mohave Valley communities.

We follow the highway to an area just south of Bullhead City, then turn west on Aztec road and cross the river next to the Avi Casino. We then turn north and head to Laughlin, our home for the next week.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

On the Road: San Angelo, TX, to Tucson, AZ

Satuday, February 9, 2013

Donna and I rose early this morning. The wind was already blowing hard, and we knew it would only get worse later in the day. About 5:00, I got out and unhooked the trailer, then we moved it to the storage site at our park where we would leave it during our trip. After a quick stop at McDonald's for coffee and something to eat, we were on the road by 6:45 AM. We followed the same route we did in November, 2011. That trip is recorded in "Trip Report: Return to Laughlin, Day #1", and I'll try to avoid repeating myself in today's entry.

San Angelo to Tucson, a fun-filled 730 miles.

From Angelo to Monahans, I noticed quite a bit of increased oil-industry activity. You can really tell that we are in the beginning stages of an oil boom in this area. The farther west we drove, the more the wind blew. By the time we reached Sierra Blanca, Texas, the dust was beginning to blow.

Blowing dust as we approach El Paso

Sierra Blanca is an interesting little community. With a population of just over 500, it is the county seat of Hudspeth County. Today, the little town is a hub of border patrol activity. Just west of town, all east-bound traffic must go through the border patrol checkpoint.

We bypassed El Paso by taking Loop 375 around that sprawling metropolis. I found it interesting that this freeway-style loop actually slices through part of Fort Bliss. Once the highway leaves the military reservation, the freeway-style loop dissolves into a regular highway, then cuts through Franklin Mountains State Park. I chose to bypass this section of the road today, though, because of the high winds I expected we'd encounter at the higher elevations of the park; it was windy enough at the lower elevations. Maybe on our next trip we can take that route.

From El Paso, we moved into New Mexico. On the west side of the interstate were numerous cattle feed lots, and on the east side were the Organ Mountains, where Albert Jennings Fountain and his son disappeared about this time of year in 1896. In 1881, Fountain defended William Bonney aka "Billy the Kid" in Mesilla, where the kid was found guilty of the murder of Sheriff William Brady during the Lincoln County War. Mesilla is just up the road, and today blends into the larger Las Cruces. This whole route across southern New Mexico and southern Arizona reeks of history of the Old West, and there are so many places I'd like to visit.

All along I-10 through New Mexico and Arizona, there are a number of pecan orchards as well as at least one or two grape orchards and wineries. It's an interesting country, with various mountain ranges lining the road. At Deming I see signs inviting tourists up to Silver City, a small thriving town boasting art galleries and historic sites. Keeping with the William Bonney theme, the Kid's mother died in Silver City and is buried there. It was also in Silver City where the Kid served his first time in jail, and from where we executed his first jail break, all at the tender age of 14 or so.

Next is Lordsburg. We stopped there today for gas, but we didn't see much of the town. What we did see seemed neat and clean. In 1939, John Ford made his first sound movie. The film, based on a short story called "The Stage to Lordsburg", starred a young John Wayne. The movie, entitled Stagecoach, was Wayne's breakthrough role. The story followed the passengers of a stagecoach as they ride from Tonto, Arizona Territory, to Lordsburg, New Mexico, through Apache territory. However, most of the movie was shot in Monument Valley in northeaster Arizona and on a studio back lot in California.

As we approached Lordsburg, the dusty skies began to clear and we began seeing patches of blue. Although the wind continued to blow hard, there was much less dust in the air and driving became easier.

Mountains touching the clouds in the background behind a pecan orchard in southern Arizona.

One of the more interesting areas along this route is Texas Canyon, near Benson, Arizona. Most of the countryside is typical desert terrain with scattered grass and cactus. In Texas Canyon, rock jumbles appear.

Rock formations are abundant in Texas Canyon, near Benson.

To the south of the Interstate is Cochise's Stronghold and Fort Bowie. South of Benson is Tombstone, home of the OK Corral and that 30 second gun battle between the Earp brothers and their ally, Doc Holiday, and the Cowboy faction of Clantons and McLaurys.

A few saguaros began appearing as we approached Tucson, but most grow naturally to the east of the city in Saguaro National Park. We find a hotel for the night and rest up for another day of driving tomorrow.

Throughout the day, we monitored the thermometer on our truck's computer system. When we left Angelo, it was about 52 degrees. Gradually, the temperature rose until it topped out at 70 near El Paso. In southern New Mexico, the temp fell until it reached a low of 43, but it rose a little as we headed into Arizona. Higher elevations and dust blocking out the sun were 2 of the many reasons for the lower temps.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Off to Nevada . . . Again

Before our house is complete and our new grandchild (we're told it is a boy) arrives, we're going to make one more trip to Nevada. We don't know when we'll be able to get out there again. This time, we'll store our trailer in San Angelo and make the trip sans trailer. We leave Saturday morning. We have rooms -- some of them comped -- at 3 hotel/casinos in Laughlin and Las Vegas. We'll be gone for nearly 3 weeks. When we return, we'll check on our house, then take off on another trip -- this time with our trailer -- before returning to San Angelo to finish the house and move in.

I'm not sure how we will go on our trip to and from Nevada. We have 2 general routes, which we call the northern and southern routes. Basically, the northern route, which is generally shorter and easier, means getting up to Interstate 40 as quickly as possible, somewhere between the Texas/New Mexico border and Albuquerque, then following that highway all the way to Kingman, Arizona, before detouring off for the last 40 miles to Laughlin.

San Angelo to Laughlin via the northern route. Of course, there are little tweaks to this route, such as going up to I-40 through Clovis, NM, rather than Roswell, NM.

The southern route is a bit more complicated. From San Angelo, we get to either I-20 or I-10, then follow it through El Paso, southern New Mexico, and southern Arizona through Tucson. From the Phoenix area, there are 2 routes to take the final distance, one heading northwest through Wickenburg and the other heading west to the Colorado River then working up to Laughlin from there.

San Angelo to Laughlin via the southern route. As with the northern route, there are tweaks to this route, such as going west from the Phoenix are to the Colorado River, then following the river north to Laughlin.

Both routes are roughly about 1000 miles. We prefer the northern route, but during winter that route is susceptible to some pretty harsh weather, so the southern route is safer. I just checked the weather along the northern route for the day we will be traveling, and there is a good chance of snow west of Albuquerque with low temps in the lower teens. We'll probably follow the southern route; we don't like cold and snow, at least not unless we are safe and snug in a solid brick and mortar home with a good heating system.

We followed the southern route a little more than a year ago when we went to Laughlin. We had planned to come back on the northern route, but the weather did not cooperate. Entries on the blog for that trip begin with Trip Report: Return to Laughlin, Day #1.

I do not know what type of connectivity I'll have on the trip, so my postings will probably be few and far between. When I do get connected, I may post several entries at once.

I hope to see you down the road . . .

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

House Update: February 3, 2013

Our house is coming along nicely. The brick is up all around the house, cabinets are being installed throughout. Sheet rock is up in all rooms, and the fireplace is installed. It's looking like a house now.

Front of house

Main room, with fireplace and patio visible. Home is a patio home, so houses are close together.

Kitchen has lots of cabinets. Pantry behind kitchen is 8 feet deep.

Back of house showing garage, which has 2 storage rooms, one quite large. One of the things that attracted us to this floor plan was the large amount of storage it provides.

I had the builder raise my sink area in the master bathroom.

When we return from our next trip, we should see lots of changes in the house. I do think we will be in before April 19, our contract completion date.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Good Eats: Cooper's BBQ, Llano, Texas

If you've been following my blog then you know that I love barbeque. One place I've stopped at for many years is Cooper's. The Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que franchise now has locations in several cities in the Hill Country. About a year ago, we discovered a new location in Junction and enjoyed a good meal there. On our return trip from Bastrop State Park, we stopped at the location in Llano, a place I had visited a number of times on my travels between West Texas and Austin back in the days when I worked and traveled frequently.

Cooper's is a mix between the traditional meat markets I really enjoy and the more commercial establishments that most people are accustomed to. You begin your BBQ journey outside at the pits. The pit worker will raise the lid, and you select your meat and tell him how much you want. In addition to beef brisket, you can get pork, ribs, chicken, sausage, and probably one or two other types of meat. He'll ask you if you want sauce; if you do, he'll douse the meat in a bucket of sauce, then slap it on a tray.

Take your tray and enter the building at the first door. Give your tray to whomever welcomes you. That person will weigh and price your food, cut it up, and wrap it in butcher paper. Take your package of goodies and move down the line, getting any sides or desert you want. They have good selections. At the cashier, get your drink and pay up. Our eyes were bigger than our stomachs, and our bill totaled nearly $30, but we would take food home with us.

Find a table; you may have to share with someone else as all seating is communal bench style. Help yourself to drinks and beans (the beans are great!). White bread and jalapenos are available on the tables. Dig in and enjoy.

The food is good, and I want to stress that. I'll eat here again and again. But I do prefer the more traditional meat markets like those in Lockhart. We ordered brisket, half a chicken, and sausage. All was good. I think Donna prefers this type of commercial sausage that is tighter than what we had at Smitty's a few days earlier, though I prefer the more traditional sausage. Donna seemed to enjoy her chicken as there was soon nothing in front of her except a pile of bones.  My beef brisket was good.

Monday, February 4, 2013

On the Road: Bastrop, Texas, to San Angelo, Texas

When we left Bastrop State Park on January 28, 2013, we returned to San Angelo in a roundabout way. I'm not crazy about big cities in the first place, but when pulling the trailer, I really try to avoid highly populated areas. So I came up with a route that bypassed Austin.

Bastrop to Angelo, 261 miles

We left our campsite pretty early in the morning. We followed Texas 95 north to Elgin, where my family and I lived when I was in the 4th and 5th grades. This stretch of 2-lane highway is very busy as there are a number of subdivisions along the road, not to mention the Bastrop Federal Correctional Institution, the Camp Swift Training Center, and other places of activity.

At Elgin, I really wanted to drive through town and see how it has changed over the years, but decided against this since we had a long trailer in tow. Instead, I opted to follow the highway, which bypasses the downtown area. From Elgin to Taylor, traffic decreased considerably on Highway 95. Much of the countryside is rich farmland, and I enjoyed this stretch of road.

We drove straight through Taylor, a city which has enjoyed a lot of growth over the years. I was surprised at how much the city has grown on the north side of town. A few miles north, just after crossing the San Gabriel River, we turned west on Highway 29. This was a lovely stretch of highway paralleling the San Gabriel River to the south. The countryside mixed beautiful trees with open patches of farmland.

We entered Georgetown from the east. This is a beautiful old town that is struggling to retain its identity as Austin encroaches from the south. Home of Southwestern University, founded in 1840, the city's population has grown to almost 50,000. I can remember passing through here as a child when no more than 3,000 or 4,000 residents called this beautiful town home.

At Georgetown, Highway 29 becomes a 4-land road all the way to just beyond the Colorado River and Buchanan Lake. We crossed I-35 here. This interstate has always been my line separating East Texas from West Texas. I've always breathed a sigh of relief when crossing this line, because traditionally there have been fewer people, less traffic, and less buildup on the west side. But on this stretch of highway, I'm going to have to wait a while. There are a large number of subdivisions and businesses along Highway 29. It really isn't until about Buchanan Lake that things relax.

We passed through Liberty Hill, which not too many years ago was simply a crossroads but today is a growing community with new schools and businesses. Next is Bertram, home of the Oatmeal Festival, then Burnett (which rhymes with "durn it"). From Burnett to the Colorado River, which forms the Highland Lakes in the region, the road is like a roller coaster with easy up and down swales and curves.

At the junction of Highway 261, the road narrows to 2 lanes. Soon the Llano River appears on the south side of the road. This is the beginning of real ranch country, and large ranches dot both sides of the highway. Yes, I'm entering West Texas now.

At Llano, we stop for gas and lunch at Cooper's BBQ. Then we're back on the road on our way to Mason, an historic German community that was home to Fort Mason in the 19th century. Not much remains of the old post that was located on a hill on the south side of town, but the memory of Fred Gipson, a Mason native and author of Old Yeller and Savage Sam, lives on. Mason was also the site of the Hoo-Doo War, one of many notable Texas feuds.

From Mason, we continued west to Menard. There is little traffic, just the way I like it. I'm in my element now. This is beautiful country. There are still good oak trees everywhere, but the views are great and there are fewer houses visible from the roadway. This is the Hill Country, and I love it. This may be my favorite part of Texas.

We soon come to Menard. I've covered this part of the trip before in other "On the Road" entries, so I'll not repeat myself here.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Good Eats: Smitty's Meat Market, Lockhart, Texas

The only American food that I crave in the same manner that I crave Thai curry or other exotic foods is barbeque. So when I’m in Central Texas, I seek out traditional meat markets. Now, I’m not a BBQ snob who argues that Texas BBQ is better than Memphis BBQ or Kansas City BBQ or Carolina BBQ. If you like the BBQ you eat, then I’m happy. For me, though, I like traditional Texas smoked meat. I like a strong smoke flavor, and I usually prefer beef to other meats.

The last time we were in the Lockhart area – almost 3 years ago – we stopped in at Black’s Barbecue, the oldest of the three traditional meat markets in Lockhart, a town designated by the Texas Legislature as the BBQ capital of Texas. This time, our destination was Smitty’s Market, considered one of the top Texas BBQ joints year after year.

Smitty’s was originally called Kreuz Market. In 1948, Edgar A. "Smitty" Schmidt purchased the store and kept the name. However, about 1999, the property was divided among family members. One branch got the Kreuz name and moved to a new location a few blocks to the north of downtown, while the other branch got the building but had to get a new name. They selected the name Smitty’s in honor of Mr. Edgar A. "Smitty" Schmidt.

Smitty's today is owned by Nina Schmidt Sells, Smitty's daughter, and managed by her son, John Fullilove. The eatery has 2 entrances. The west entrance faces the square and enters through the dining room while the back entrance faces highway 183 across a gravel parking lot. We entered through the back, and that’s the way I recommend that everyone enter. As you walk through the door, you can smell the history and the years of smoke. In fact, you walk right past the smokers, and you're warmed by the oak fire.

Step up to the counter and order. I don’t know how others order, but when I’m in a traditional meat market, like Smitty's, I order by meat. For this trip, I ordered half a pound of brisket and 2 sausage rings for Donna and I to share. They don't carry much variety of meat. I don't think they have chicken or turkey, for example; just beef, pork, and sausage. The meat is slapped down on butcher paper, a couple of plastic knives are thrown in, and you get your choice of white bread or crackers. Don’t ask for forks – they don’t have any.

Step through the glass doors into the dining area. There is another counter where you can purchase drinks, cheese, jalapeno peppers, and other condiments. Tables are run together, so you’ll share a table with other folks. The place is loud and busy. The ambiance is part of the experience. Our total bill was just shy of $15.00.

I love that smoky flavor on the beef, and I really love the smoked sausage. A small part of my childhood was spent in Elgin, Texas, the home of Southside Market. When we lived there, Southside was located downtown in a smoky old building along the tracks, and the sausage I had at Smitty’s reminded me of that sausage from my childhood. Not everyone likes this type of sausage. It’s very juicy, and the casing will snap open when you cut into it.

I love these traditional old meat markets. I’m glad to see some places do not change, or if they do change, they do so grudgingly. Some of these old joints don’t even provide BBQ sauce, and others, like Smitty’s, don’t have forks. I’m already looking forward to my next visit.

Next time, I'll stop at the last of the big 3 in Lockhart, Kreuz Market.