Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Proper Texas Hold 'em. With Guns. Austin indoor ranges (In which it transpires I am much less badass than I thought...)

Hand guns basically horrify me (I'm a teacher. There have been 74 school shootings here in America since the Sandy Hook horror in 2012. This is a healthy fear) but I've always been a little bit fascinated - as one tends to be by things that scare you. Having grown up mostly in England, where the only guns you can legally own are sports rifles for game shooting, I'd never even seen a pistol in real life until we arrived in Texas - and I rapidly learned that holsters are an actual thing outside of spaghetti westerns and fancy dress parties. Who knew..! 


Thursday, 12 June 2014

Bandera Texas: Cowboy Capital (where you won't get a DUI on your horse as long as you're not touching the reins)

Austin, although a generally pretty brilliant place to live, is a bit of a disappointment if you're expecting a stereotypical Texan holiday. I've spotted a guy on a horse going through the burger drive-thru once but other than that - no lonely cacti, deserts, bolo ties or genuine cowboys hats. I've been gagging to get out of town and see proper cowboy country ever since we arrived and we've been waiting for Horse-friendly visitors to go with. Luke and Marina were perfect: like Jon and I - she's a horse-loving, mud wallowing, stable stomping rider and he is completely nonplussed by them. 

Bandera likes to market it self as the 'cowboy capital', and 'red neck riviera'. While much of the rest of the states has seen a gradual disappearance of genuine cowboys, the Rodeo lifestyle is going strong in central Texas - so we jumped in to a car and made the three hour drive to Twin Elms Guest Ranch for three days of Roping, Rodeo and Riding.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Paddle Boarding Austin: A Stand up Safari

I've only started paddle boarding regularly this month but it's definitely my current favourite way to spend the early evening. Town lake is rarely particularly windy and has reliably calm water so balancing is easy for beginners like me and you can get up some speed pretty quickly - so whenever I have a quiet afternoon I can nip down to the Texas Rowing Center on Town Lake and borrow a SUP board for an hour or two.

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