I was 13 or 14 the first time that I went to Texas. My Dad had moved to Austin the year before and invited my sister and I down for what became an annual summer trip. That first year, we nearly died from boredom! And, we probably would have had it not been for two things: #1, a whiffle ball and bat set that my Dad happen to have lying around the house and #2, my Dad's boat which we used for trips to Lake Travis. The next few years were more or less the same except my Dad put in a pool and we began to explore Texas a little more. Since that first trip, I have come to a three conclusions about Texas. First, Texas is geographically appealing. It has beautiful hills, deserts, lakes, rivers, shoreline, flora, fauna. It also has some cities and small towns that are, at least in part, quite attractive.
Second, the diversity of cultures found in Texas appealing. There's cowboy culture, rancher culture, agriculture culture, Mexican culture, urban culture, small town culture, beach culture.
Third, and most important, is that Texas is NOT appealing at all. In fact, it is down right offensive. This is in most part due to the "Texan culture" which trumps anything and everything that is remotely good, attractive, or sacred about Texas. So, what is "Texan culture?" If you've been to Texas and spent some time there among its inhabitants you know what it is. If not, here it is in a nutshell--it's an ego that's artificial, loud, flashy, larger-than-life, individualistic (as in "I'll do what I want without regard for you"), obnoxious. Yeah, it is a whole other country. My most recent visit confirmed this. I give you two quick examples. One, Austin is probably Texas' greenest city and while I was there (2 days driving around Austin), I saw only 2 hybrids. And, one had Pennsylvania plates. Seems like about every 1 outta 10 cars in STL is a hybrid! And, metro St. Louisians are not known as being particularly environmentally or socially concerned as a group. Okay. Enough. Example 2 (as illustrated in the photo below), Dodge, Ford, and other American made big-as-big-can-be gas guzzling trucks, SUV's, driving on the beach! Yes! As in a never-ending stream of gianormous vehicles coming at you the entire day. No matter the fragility and importance of dune ecology. No matter the health and safety of beach goers. No matter the shoreline aesthetics. Yes, just what I want with my vacation, a side of noise and pollution. Ugh.