I once heard Texas governor Bill Clements claim that, in the course of his long political career, he had visited all 254 counties in the Lone Star State. “Well,” I remember thinking at the time, “how hard would that be with a sizable campaign chest and a private jet at your disposal.” Reasonably difficult, perhaps, but not quite the same as doing it on your own.
What would it take to do it on your own? My esteemed spouse and I have decided to find out. We’re going to try to visit every county in Texas. It’s early days yet, but I have already learned a few things that I am happy to pass along. First, this is one big damn place, with awkward geographic projections that require a lot of driving to get to the end of. Second, the diversity of plant and animal life is as breathtaking as the distances. I recently learned, for example, that four out of five types of carnivorous plants indigenous to North America are found in the Big Thicket National Preserve in the southeastern part of the state. (See? Even the plants in Texas want to kill us.) Finally, the people who have dismissed this as “fly-over” country are missing out in a big way. There are rich pockets of cultural variety—ancient and modern—and an equally vivid history that goes far beyond the cliché of cowboys and Indians.
So from time to time I’ll be posting here about our progress and the things we have seen or done. Whether it’s a colonial mission, a Hill Country winery, or the Pumpkin Capital of Texas (a town called Floydada), it should be interesting.