Wednesday, September 12, 2012


The stretch of Interstate 35 between Dallas and Houston is notable for many thingsa lot of advertising for "fried pies,"  the off-ramp for both the Texas State Prison (just west of the highway) and the Texas State Prison Museum (just to the east), an unthinkable amount of green fields for what you might have thought was a desert statenot the least of which is the reocurrance of a cheerful cartoon beaver wearing a red cap at the various Buc-ee's establishments along the way. The blog Yodi's Big Move gives a tremendous account of this 60-pump "rest stop/convenience store/gas station/deli/bakery/gift shop," and I bow to the headline writer at The Statesman for the gem "Buc-ee's gnaws itself a notch on Texas' tourism belt." So wholly has the phenomenon been treated that I find there is almost nothing more to add, except to say that one night from a bus I watched a Buc-ee's marquee blink out phrases in patterns of red light bulbs overhanging an offramp. Some phrases were connected, a whole sentence parsed out in two or three consecutive messages, the marquee flashing one fragment for two seconds and then blinking to the next. Buc-ee's had a lot to say that night, cycled through statements without repeating for as long as I could keep the marquee in sight, calling out to me, FABULOUS RESTROOMS, blink, APPLY TODAY.

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