By Christopher Briscoe
I feel as though I have pedaled into another country. Many folks here don't think of themselves as Americans. They think of themselves as Texans.
Texans are some of the friendliest people I have ever met. The moment you cross the state line, a huge blue sign reminds you of what could be the state mantra: "Drive Friendly - The Texan Way." It seems that every passing pickup driver waves and nodes, as if to say "howdy." Given half a chance, anyone will open a door for you or lend you a helping hand.
While we lunched at a truck shop, our waitress, greeted us with a smile as big as her Texas-sized belly, proudly wearing here bright red TRUMP hat. (I left a tip anyway.)
Smiles aside, I feel as though I'm a stranger in a strange land where Hooters is a family restaurant and folks name their kids Nugget and Rifle. The Rebel flag flys proudly in front of some homes. Today I saw a driveway sign with a mounted rifle on it that reads, We don't dial 911. Why call - aim.
In 1976, a wealthy rancher named Standley Marsh, commissioned a few Bay Area artists to bury several Cadillacs nose-first into one of his fields. Every day, dozens of people (and a few cyclists) make their pilgrimage and pull over on the side of the frontage road to take photos of the rusting line of "art." It's as if The Cadillac Ranch is one of the Seventh Wonders of Texas. Many bring along a can of spray paint to add their own autograph to decades of colorful layers.
Just down the road is the Cadillac Ranch RV Park, with its own row of still shiny Cadillacs. Towering above is a giant statue of a cowboy wearing a bright yellow shirt inscribed with "2nd Amendment Cowboy" on the front. I always get the feeling that everyone here is packing heat.
Further down the highway is a feedlot - I mean - restaurant, called The Big Texan Steak Ranch where they offer patrons a FREE 72 oz. steak dinner if they can eat the entire dinner in less than an hour. A local told me that he was once there with his family and watched as a patron almost ate the entire slab of beef - just before barfing all over the table.
Restaurant Rule # 7 states: "Should you become sick, the contest is over… YOU LOSE! (Please use the container provided as necessary.)"