Sunday, July 15, 2012

Trip Story: The Road to Austin

We had several options for how to drive between Houston and Austin. I had a friend I wanted to visit who lives near the route that goes through Brenham, though, so we settled on taking US-290. The stop in Brenham was great. It was nice to see my friend and her husband, and how could I not love the fact that the coffee shop we met at was called the Mobius Strip?

And of course, we made the pilgrimage to the Blue Bell factory. We skipped the tour, because our timing wasn't right. But Pumpkin and I enjoyed an ice cream, and Pumpkin and Petunia enjoyed the souvenir shop. Petunia picked out a pen that smells like ice cream. Strangely, it is often the only pen I can find in the kitchen. It works well, but the sweet scent always takes me by surprise. Pumpkin picked out an ice cream scoop with a bottom shaped like a cow's udder. It also works well, and amuses Pumpkin and her father.

But the highlight of the drive was actually this road sign, which we passed not long after leaving Houston:

To understand why, I have to take you to Singapore, and our decision to try cooking for ourselves one night, in the apartment of the friend we were staying with. He was off on a long weekend to Indonesia with his girlfriend, but gave us directions to the nearest shops likely to stock things we recognized. We bought pasta and various other ingredients. My husband found a six pack of Tiger beer. And I found Kickapoo Joy Juice.

It delighted me, not so much for the taste- a bit like Mountain Dew- but for the ridiculousness of the name. So, of course, coming across a Kickapoo Road almost 10,000 miles away delighted me, too. Of course, the Kickapoo are a Native American tribe in Texas and Oklahoma, so the road name makes far more sense than the soda name.

Still, this is one of the things I like about travel- the unexpected connections. My husband has a tendency to look around some new place and saying how it reminds him of some other place, because of various reasons that always seem a bit of a stretch to me. This drives me a bit batty, to be honest, but I understand the underlying impulse. You travel the world, thinking the point is to see how different the various places are. But as you go, you realize that seeing the similarities is one of the rewards of travel, too.


  1. Anonymous9:17 AM

    Kickapoo Joy Juice is from Lil Abner! I'm old enough to have had a mother old enough to know both the comic strip and the movie.

    Also, 290 was my "preferred" route Austin-Houston route. I put that in quotes because the only reason I ever drove to Houston was to visit an ex-boyfriend who I'm very happy is an ex. Houston itself has never been on my list of favorite places.

    Meanwhile, I've had family in San Antonio or Austin since 1982 (there may have been as many as two years in there when no one lived in Texas). And I've never been to the Blue Bell factory, even though we were inveterate tourists in our own home towns.

    Wow. That was rambling.

  2. I actually enjoyed read through this posting. Cool adventure! Thanks for sharing this with us!

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