Americans are known for their friendliness and hospitality, so it’s a bit of a shock to be tooted at aggressively by another driver, moments after landing on US soil.
Luckily it’s only another 20 minutes or so before my buddy Paul and I are safely checked in at the Houston Omni Galleria, enjoying a cooling beer on the balcony as we contemplate a 720-mile road trip taking in San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and some quieter backwaters.
After a first-rate steak dinner at Eddie V’s Diner, it’s off to bed to recharge our batt- eries for two of Houston’s major draws.
For a feel of Texas through the ages, we head to The George Ranch Historical Park.
It is a living history museum tracking four generations of one family, the Joneses, and how they evolved over 100 years, including cattle-working demonstrations and a working blacksmiths.
From Texas past to Texas future, we then head to the famed Johnson Space Centre.
NASA’s official visitors centre is a multi-sensory experience, where we pass a happy couple of hours learning about life in space.
In the evening we abandon the car and get a cab to McGonigel’s Mucky Duck. The bar has become a city favour-ite during the last 20 years.
Our good, wholesome food (beer-battered cod with fries, and salmon in a spicy Javanese glaze with spinach and wild rice) is way better than your typical British gastro fare.
The venue made its name through music and is known for featuring Texas-based singer-songwriters. We’re very lucky: country music legend Bill Kirchen is in town with two buddies and the performance is incredible.
With the music still ringing in our ears the next morning, we set off on the three-hour drive for San Antonio to enjoy breakfast at one of the city’s treasures: Mi Tierra Cafe. The family-owned restaurant, which brings the festive atmosphere of nearby El Mercado (market square) indoors, never closes, and feeds musicians, locals and tourists alike with a huge selection of classic Tex-Mex dishes under strings of colourful lights.
In the evening, we dust off our boots and head to the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo for a night of entertainment, Texas-style.
The evening passes in a blur of Stars and Stripes flags, public prayers led by the MC, and cowboy acts of bravery just the right side of lunacy.
The highlight of our road trip, however, is 90 miles on, in state capital Austin.
Austin dubs itself the live music capital of America and hosts the world-famous South by Southwest Festival.
And it lives up to its title: East 6th Street, the main area of bars, seems to showcase every type of musician.
We’d hoped for a taste of Texas in our all-too-short stay, and now we can’t wait to head back for more.
John Fahey was a guest of British Airways and Funway Holidays, with car hire provided by Alamo.
A seven-night stay in mid-November, with BA flight into Houston and out of Dallas Fort Worth leads in at £1,079.
This includes two nights at Westin Oaks Houston, two at Emily Morgan Hotel, San Antonio, two at Omni Austin Southpark, and one at Gaylord Texan Resort, Dallas Fort Worth.
For more information, go to funwayholidays.co.uk.