While Dallas is not exactly famed for its tourist destinations, we made a point of it in order to visit family during our travels. By sheer coincidence, Both Anne and I had family in the area. My mother’s family is from the area and I had an open invitation from my uncle to visit. Trail’s brother and his wife recently moved to the area to be close to their family. The two family branches were only about 15 minutes drive from one another.
A Welcoming Oasis
Dallas actually has quite a few things to see in the area and my Uncle had provided me with a great list of both places to visit and sample the local cuisine. Unfortunately, we were also rather behind on our blogging at the time so we spent most of the time we were not visiting family, working on the trailer or writing. None the less we managed to get at least a taste of the city while we were there. We’d been warned it was not all that exciting, but in truth, we had a great time there.
We’d been in texas more than three months by this time, mostly in relatively remote areas. One thing we didn’t find a lot of in Texas was Asian food and Trail was beginning to grow desperate for anything made with curry or soy sauce. But Dallas proved to be an oasis of Korean and other Asian cuisines. There seems to be a pretty healthy community there and were able to both eat out and stock up on groceries. Other food encounters were likewise very satisfying. Surprisingly Dallas was one of the better cities for eating we’d been through.
Visiting Trail’s Family
Our time with Trail’s family featured a lot of food oriented adventures. Unfortunately, Trail’s brother was working out of town in Michigan so we didn’t get to see him, but his wife and her brother’s family were great hosts both at home and showing us around the town. My experience with Filipinos-American families is that no one ever is going to leave a gathering hungry. Trail did her part for the tradition by cooking a chicken and gravy dinner for everyone the last night we were together.
One of the coolest places we went was the Kula Revolving Sushi Bar. We have conveyor belt sushi places in Seattle, but not like this. Like others, Kula has a winding belt that carries Sushi offerings throughout the restaurant. You can sit down and just start grabbing whatever food looks tasty. Kula takes it up a notch by having a digital touch screen at each table where you can order additional goodies at any time. After a brief time, an alert sounds, and a special express conveyor belt zips your order to your table. Plates are disposed of into a mechanism at the end of the table, each time, a cartoon character appears on the screen to thank you for your patronage. Insert enough plates and a machine above the table plays a little song and dispenses plastic prize eggs to the table. The food was very good and the atmosphere absolutely bonkers. We loved it.
We were also treated to Hard Eight Pit BBQ. You can order your meat by the pound on a giant platter, then pick up sides in a cafeteria style set up. Finally, there are unlimited beans, condiments and drinks to round out your meal. We brought a lot of family with us and sat down for a pretty epic meal. The brisket was especially good, tender and smokey. I ate enough meat to constitute a small family farm. After everyone went next door to a retro style candy store for ice cream. I whimpered for mercy and stuck to enjoying the sugary treats with my eyes since my stomach had no room for such delights. Especially amused by the 5lb gummy bears they sold, I shuddered at the thought of what that charming monster would do to my digestion.
Visiting Hitch’s Family
Visiting my Uncle and Cousin’s family was exciting for me as this was the first time in my life that I’d seen them, at least so far as I can remember. I’d come to Texas once with my mother when I was young, but my memory of it is pretty limited. My Uncle and his wife were on vacation when we arrived so our visit came towards the end of our stay in Dallas. We were struck by their generosity when they offered to let us have the run of their house while they were away. We tend to stay in our trailer when visiting folks in order to care for our two kitties but we did take advantage of their amazing steam shower while they were away. For a couple of road-weary travelers, that thing was a godsend of luxury.
My cousin had just finished moving to the area so I felt privileged to get the chance to meet, him, and his family as well as my Uncle and his. We all had dinner together on my Uncle’s return. They were amazingly welcoming and treated us both, well, just like family. It’s a pretty great experience to meet someone for the first time and be so warmly embraced and welcomed. Both Trail and I were very moved by their kindness. We had a great meal together and spent the time sharing stories and getting to know one another. I very much look forward to the next time we meet.
Last Hurrahs in the Lone Star State
For our final day in Dallas, Trail’s Sister’s Brother took us out to see the daily Longhorn Cattle Drive at the Fort-Worth Stockyards. It seemed quite a lot of other people had this same plan and we got snarled up in traffic and just missed the actual drive. Undaunted, we headed to where they keep the Longhorns to get a good look at these famous cattle. They really are wonderful animals and we spent a good 45 minutes watching them. We were especially amused as they tried to move past one another to get to the hay piles. Their horns are sometimes as wide as their bodies are long making some awkward navigation in close quarters. After we all toured the open air market while the kids searched for the perfect candy treats.
Leaving Dallas both Trail and I were full of heart from such warm hospitality. Being able to visit far-flung family is one of the many great opportunities that can come from a life on the road. Full-time travel can be a little lonely in some respects as most of the folks you meet are strangers to you. The times when you can connect with family and friends make for a welcome change.