Michael Sombroek

From West to South

From West to South

It was quite busy the last few days. Monday I started with my roadtrip through Texas. So I had to leave Dallas which I totally have fallen in love with. Yes I love the city of Dallas, it is such a nice place to be. I could easily imagine to live there.

But I wanted to see most parts of Texas as well and so I took the road west towards Amarillo. First I must say that the drive is as boring as you can imagine. It is 5 1/2 hours driving straight on the same highway without anything to see right and left of the street. And then Amarillo itself is not really a place you want to be.

The old Route 66 goes through Amarillo, but all left is a great number of abandoned gas stations and a historic Route 66 which isn’t really inviting either.

And then it’s the people. Well in all of America I have never seen a place where everything basically tells you that strangers are not welcome. The absolute opposite of the welcoming metroplex. I heard now in other places from people as well that Amarillo is a place you can better not go to.

I visited Cadillac Ranch at Amarillo which is not more than 10 cadillacs buried in a row and although it might look cool on video or pictures, well in real life it is just a field with 10 old cadillacs. But yeah, now I had been there I got myself a spray can and painted a black ninja cat on one of the cars.

So the next day I was happy to leave Amarillo quickly and drive to the spot which is the reason I took the drive so far west, Palo Duro Canyon.

Wow this is impressive. Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the US and a great state park. There is a road you can take and drive all way through the canyon. There are always hiking paths right and left and because of the warm weather I decided to take the shortest of them.

It is unbelievable talking a walk through this nature and I have spotted a rabbit and a real lizard. And I had the impression that there are way more animals around that actually spotted me.

From Palo Duro Canyon I continued my trip to Lubbock where I had a hotel for the night.

Lubbock is home to the Texas Tech university with more than 40.000 students. So going out in the evening was quite fun at the “Bierhaus” which has great fried chicken as well. The next Day I played at Rawls GolfCourse which belongs to the university.

The course was designed by the famous architect Tom Doak. As I have never played a Ton Doak course before that course was on my list to play and I was curious as well on how a university golf course is like.

It was a very mixed experience. The crew at the clubhouse restaurant where I had breakfast was so nice. All students. There was a lot of wind which wasn’t really a problem and seems to be typical for west Texas. But yes, it might be a good layout, but absolutely not my favorite kind of tracks. A bit links style and pretty easy to play. And then comes the real bad part, the people who play there. Flights with loud music and absolutely no etiquette at all. I haven’t seen it so bad as here before. I mean what the hell do people on the golfcourse with beer cans and hard rock music loud in the golf cart. Sorry in my eyes that doesn’t belong on a GolfCourse and I have never seen something like that in America before.

So this was far enough for me in West Texas and I was happy to take the road towards south after golfing.

The road towards San Angelo is even more boring. It is basically dust, sand, oil rigs and a straight track that doesn’t seem to end. At some point there was nothing for a distance of about 90 miles. After 3 hours of driving I was happy to arrive at San Angelo.

San Angelo is a small town which is actually very charming with a small river walk. And it is a place that is very welcoming. So I had a great evening at a bar chatting with the nice ladies working there and enjoying some food. I actually got a bit late again as it had been a very nice evening out after a long day driving.

Fit again after a nice evening, I took the road today to drive further south. My first stop was Fredericksburg which is a town in hill country with a lot of German heritage. So you find the “willkommen” signs everywhere. Unfortunately it is more a kind of huge antique shopping mall nowadays. But close to the town is “enchanted mountain” state park. A great scenic drive through hill country brings me to this small, but very beautiful place. Monica the park ranger explains me everything about state parks and how that works and shows me on the map a small trail I can take. Normally it is possible as well to go up to the top of the mountain, but she says the with this heat she would not advice to do that today. Yes it was in the high 90s again today.

After another state park experience I went on driving even further sout to San Antonio. My destination, Brackenridge Park Golf Course.

The course is quite close to the city center which was a bit of a problem as I have gotten into rush hour on the rather chaotic highways of San Antonio. But finally I got there.

The GolfCourse is almost 100 years old and has been renovated to the original plans of the architect Tillinghast. It is one of the few tracks which are actually public designed by him as it might even be the only one.

Tillinghast is one of the most famous old architects and even the course is pretty short for today’s standards, the layout is really great and fun. I have never seen square greens before, but in the old days they where sometimes designed like this. And although it is a public course and does maybe not have the highest standards of maintenance, it was fun, relaxing and the people where real good etiquette golfers again. So definitely a great place to visit and by the way, it is the course where the first ever Texas Open has been played as well.

On top of a great public course they also have the Texas golf hall of fame. So this was a complete contrast to the bad experience at Rawls golf course.

The evening I finished at downtown San Antonio with its river walk and the famous Alamo. It is a bit too much tourist spot with a Biergarten, where a nice looking, but more mexican looking waitress serves in a typical German “dirndl”. Well that doesn’t fit into the picture.

So I have driven more than 1650 miles already now and as you can imagine I am a bit tired after this packed program today. But luckily my hotel room is quite nice so that I can sleep good now and am fit for some more adventures tomorrow.