“Everything’s bigger in Texas” and from the time I’ve spent here it’s hard to contest that. As someone who grew up in a more understated part of the world everything here does seem incredibly large. In this section I’ll try detail those strange phenomena I encounter whilst living here. These experiences will be abnormal from the perspective of someone who grew up in England and not here in Texas.
The only thing which i dislike about Texas is it’s potential for crazy weather (particularly violent tornados). A few weeks ago I visited the Preston Hollow area of Dallas. This area suffered an EF3 tornado in October 2019, the damage was still there nearly 3 months later and was a very sobering site. Back to this storm system though. During the first 10 days of 2020, there was unseasonably warm weather in Dallas (often as high as 72 Fahrenheit, 22 Celsius). On the morning of the 10th, warm humid air from the Gulf of Mexico combined with dry cool air from the west. There was potential for large isolated thunderstorms to break out during the day, thankfully they didn’t materialise. In the early evening though a squall line formed to the west of Fort Worth. A squall line is basically just a long continuous line of thunderstorms formed ahead of a cold front, or the cool air approaching from the West. These are often hundreds if not a thousand miles long. The image shows this weather phenomena moving across the U.S in a north easterly direction. This raised the emergency situation to a Tornado watch for the entire of North Texas. As this travelled east and intensified there were innumerable Tornado warnings (the heightened state of alert) in counties including my own. This means either a tornado has been sighted, or indicated by weather radar. Having never lived anywhere with inclement weather I’m not used to the idea of a storm front hundreds of miles long, travelling in excess of 60mph plowing towards the place where you live, so that thought was quite terrifying to be honest. I spent the majority of the evening in the storm closet surrounded by a sea of pillows and duvets. When it finally arrived there was an audible sound of the wind arriving on the building followed shortly after by intense rain / lightning/ Thunder. For the next few hours these continued as the squall line progressed east. Luckily we managed to avoid the worst case scenario here in Dallas for some very dangerous storms to develop. These storms will continue onwards into the eastern counties of Texas, and eventually into the Deep South early tomorrow. I’m very thankful that the storms weren’t too violent here and can only hope next time it’s the same. I wish all the best for those who will face these storms over the next few days.
Buc-ee’s is a mixture of petrol station, service station and convenience store all in one. They are located all over Texas and a great haven for any weary traveler. They were founded in 1982 in Texas and are instantly recognisable here due to their iconic beaver logo. What makes Buc-ee’s quite unique though is it’s scale and size. The store we went to in Temple, TX had 56 petrol pumps. Funnily enough by Buc-ee’s standards that’s actually quite low. They opened their largest site in New Braunfels in 2012 with a store offering 120 petrol pumps (Everything’s bigger in Texas).
I recently visited Austin Texas and managed to tick off one of my Bucket-list things to do here in the state. This was to go to an authentic dancehall. Dancehalls have been a part of Texan culture for a long time, not only are they places to drink and dance but have historically also been the centre of communities. In the early settlements of Texas these were usually the most prominent buildings. The Broken Spoke dancehall opened in 1964 making it an enduring venue in the City of Austin. Inside there was a large rectangular dance floor, where earlier in the evening new initiates were professionally taught the art of the two-step before a live band began playing. From what I remember (too many Lone Star Beers) the band played a whole range of music including Jonny Cash, Roy Orbison, Mudcrutch. It was a very enjoyable evening and something I would highly recommend if you’re in Austin.