Signs Across Texas

Written by: Lynn Young, President General
March 8, 2016

As you can imagine, I spend a lot of time driving across Texas.  Let’s face it, everywhere you drive in Texas takes time. As a friend said “It’s miles and miles of miles and miles.”  Just in case you are planning a visit to the Lone Star State, I wanted to share a few of my favorite signs along the route.

One of the first major attractions driving from Houston to our ranch in Central Texas is Buc-ee’s, a Texas sized convenience store located along many of the highways in the central and Gulf Coast regions. To give you an idea of the size, each store has between 80-120 fuel pumps – and no eighteen wheelers are allowed.  The store in New Braunfels, along Highway 35 between Austin and San Antonio, is the largest convenience store in the world at 68,000 square feet. Each store offers fresh produce, outdoor grills, Texas themed clothing, jewelry and household items.  Some offer products for hunters and river rafters.  Did I mention the dozens of choices of beef jerky and fresh kolaches?

However, the biggest attractions (and the reason it should be included in your next trip to the Lone Star State) are the large, clean restrooms. Buc-ee’s is well known for having the best restrooms in the state – no fooling.  The New Braunfels store with 83 toilets was named the 2012 “Best Restroom in America” by Cintas. 

If you are still hungry after Buc-cee’s, plan to visit a Whataburger for a delicious hamburger.  In the 1950’s founder Harmon Dobson created a burger so big that it took two hands to hold and so good that after a single bite customers couldn't help but exclaim, “What a burger!” He named his humble burger stand in Corpus Christi, Texas, “Whataburger.” Each Whataburger restaurant has a distinctive orange and white striped roof, except for the one in College Station.  Home to Texas A&M University, that Whataburger has a maroon and white striped roof.  Gig ‘em!

Every Texan knows that Blue Bell Creameries, based in Brenham, has the best ice cream.  Brenham is about halfway from Houston to our ranch near Rockdale.  The Creamery was established in 1907 when local farmers brought in more cream than they could use for butter. Free tours of the Creamery are offered and of course, they end at the Soda Fountain where one can choose from any of the 66 flavors.  Homemade Vanilla is the best seller and I highly recommend it, particularly on top of a warm Pecan Pie. However, my favorite is Rocky Road. Yummy!  It was in a popular downtown restaurant that I enjoyed giving our granddaughter, Campbell, her first taste of ice cream (chocolate).  She didn’t need a second taste to appreciate how good it was.

Not far from Rockdale is a hair salon which caught my eye.  I couldn’t help but be amused at the hair salon’s name “Big Texas Hair.”  Does it seem redundant to you?  I believe it was Dolly Parton who said “The higher the hair, the closer to Heaven.”  That reminds me of a hand painted sign I saw years ago “BBQ, Sausage, Worms.”  That may be an example of being better of not knowing what the sausage is made of… Yuck! 

It is 140 miles from our house in Houston to our ranch outside of Rockdale, a town of 5,600 about 70 miles northeast of Austin.  Agriculture is the main industry as we have rich, black soil. The townspeople are the kind that pull off the road for funeral processions.  There are 35 churches in this small, rural community. That reminds me of a sign about a mile from our ranch “Prayer is the best way to meet the Lord but trespassing is faster.”  It is not theologically sound, but it does get to the point!

My favorite sign of all, though, is the entrance to our place, which Steve surprised me with last summer.  I must admit, when I know I’m only a mile or so from my husband and our peaceful porch, I start to relax immediately. Steve’s grandparents moved there in 1944 and he bought their place in 1977. His parents had an adjoining place which we purchased years ago, adding to it as other land became available.  Steve has spent his lifetime improving the place and recently began strip grazing the pastures, moving the cattle frequently so the pastures are not overgrazed.  I often think how proud his grandparents would be to see what a good steward Steve has been for almost 40 years. A historic maker nearby indicates the site of a Spanish mission in the 1770’s along the San Andres River, our southern border. Thankfully, Milam County has a strong historical society and they have done much to not only save the history, but to educate visitors.

Today there is a new sign just outside the window – a redbud tree, started by my father 30 years ago, is full of buds – the first sign of spring in Texas.  Bluebonnets are already appearing so spring is here!  

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