Left Austin and headed back north to Dallas (Tuesday 13 October). We’ve been to Dallas before so didn’t need to do the touristy things, and anyways, I was at the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (USA) conference for the Wednesday through to Saturday so no time. Dropped the rental off at Avis and unfortunately it was one notch from being full so we had to drive round the block to 7-11 for a fill-up (or pay over $20 for a tank – yes folks, $20 for a full tank). This was easily achieved, only cost a couple of bucks and an experience. This 7-11 was like the one you’d see in the movies in some seedy part of town – a cop car parked out the front (for looks maybe because it was still there the next day), homies fillin’ up next to red-necks, hooker ’round the corner struggling to stand up – ah, America it is just like the movies. (The picture is not the 7-11 but some other station we filled up at along the way – don’t where it was and sure don’t need to go back unless I need me some o’ them fireworks and deer.)

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Let’s Get These Ratings Finished: Dallas

To quote from that all-time classic The Blues Brothers – “Well, this is it?”

Not that far off twelve months ago we embarked on our bars, beers, music, food and BBQ tour (with the dog trainers conference thrown in for a reason for travelling). By stretching out these ratings it brings back the memories. And for the final memory we have Dallas – key things to know about Dallas: have a car and have some time to use it. We had neither but still enjoyed ourselves, especially as we scored yet another hotel upgrade.

Accommodation – we stayed at the very, very nice Magnolia downtown. Loved the complementary beer and cookies, hotel staff were friendly and accommodating – the shuttle was a bonus and took us beyond the limits because we asked nicely. Would recommend this hotel with a 4.5 out of 5.

Food – this was such a long time ago I don’t remember everything but I do remember the excellent Mexican at the Iron Cactus (see the earlier tequila post), and first night we ate at some pub around the corner – typical pub. We didn’t venture but what we had was enough for a 3 out of 5.

Activities – there was probably quite a lot we didn’t see but 100% for the sixth floor museum and the Dealey Plaza. And Caroline wanted me to mention how disappointed she was with Nieuman Marcus (means nothing to me but I’m sure it means plenty to others). We were restricted without transport but didn’t really find enough to get us over a 2 out of 5.

X Factor – in my notes I have written “dead downtown”, and it was surprisingly quiet. We never went to Fortworth as again we were relying on shanks’ pony so I am sure there is plenty more than we saw but I can only give a 2 out of 5.

So that’s it folks. The end of the ratings as after Dallas we flew to LA then home. One day I may tally the scores or if you are very bored then you can look back through the older posts and add them up yourself.


Never been into the lick-sip-suck but I don’t mind a shot of tequila (and in a margarita) but it’s not something I would generally go for – although it is fun drowning a few shots while singing the song (originally recorded by The Champs – there are some interesting youtube clips but I kind of liked this sped-up version –

But in Dallas we went for our final USA dinner (the airport doesn’t count) at the Iron Cactus, which is a Mexican (small) chain. It was pouring with rain and to get there we walked out the hotel door and ran about thirty yards to the front door. We went to the Iron Cactus in Austin on our first visit many years back and I remember they had a flight of tequila – so, naturally the flight was on my taste buds this time too.

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The Ratings Continue – Dallas Part 1

We did two trips to Dallas – the first was after a flight from San Diego so we could pick up a rental and prepare ourselves for our road trip. It was an overnight stop only but it is still worthy of a rating. (Or if you like, a layover as they are known in the States.)

It was that quick a stopover that the only photo I have is of the half eaten Texas shaped waffle and some comments way back in earlier posts – And Now It Begins and Deep in the Heart of Texas.

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Just One More Tiny, Little, Thin Rib

Cousins BBQ


What do you do at Dallas International for a few hours before take-off – eat BBQ of course! Cousins BBQ (another tick from Texas Monthly) has an outlet at the airport so we thought we better get one last filling of ribs in before we get home and I find the energy (and the right rack of ribs) to fire up the Big Green Egg.

Cousins BBQ


I went the ribs and chicken and a very nice volcano of mash and gravy. The ribs were moist with a nice smoky flavour but they also tasted “old” – perhaps because they are kept warm in a large oven tray rather than coming straight from the smoker (but there probably is no smoker at the airport). I did enjoy the lightly toasted bread and the slaw was okay, and the chicken was tasty, moist and melt in your mouth. For a ribs rating – maybe a 3.5 out of 5.

There are several eating choices at the airport (which is quite nice, clean and modern) so if BBQ is not your choice then you can have something else. But BBQ is my choice (I now have to try the Australian BBQ joints I heard have started up).

Conspiracy Theory

Room with a View

We finished our trip where we picked the car up from – Dallas. Not really sure what to expect but it was a pleasant enough place but I don’t know if there is a great many things to do without a car – we returned the car when we first arrived then had two days to fill without it.

Our accommodation again was excellent and we scored another upgrade to a room that had a full kitchen bigger than that at our old place in Ascot Vale, a lounge room and bedroom. Were we part of some conspiracy that was getting us such great accommodation or is the only conspiracy in Dallas that involving Lee Harvey Oswald?

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And now it begins

Conference over – San Diego long gone – we are now on the road.

Said goodbye to the last white toast I’ll be having for breakfast and an easy luxury shuttle to San Diego airport, waived the luggage fee (which was upsetting a few unprepared people) and filled in a bit of time before we boarded for Dallas (the most upsetting thing with our flying so far is that I left my puzzle book on our flight from LA and I haven’t been able to find a suitable replacement – and no, that does not mean the ones that have the answers in the back). Because we had a less than three hour flight there was no real food (not even the food you have to pay for on board) but at least there was a soft drink. Smooth flight and into Dallas. Don’t you love it in cattle class when you are sitting against the window and you know you can’t wait until you land and you just have to get up and climb over two people, one of which you have never met before and is sound asleep – I never knew I was so nimble (Caroline disagrees about my nimbleness.)

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