Deputy web editor Andrea Valdez, a Houstonian, graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and received her MSJ from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Two days after graduating from Medill, she began working at Texas Monthly as a fact-checker. In addition to dutifully guarding the magazine’s integrity, she wrote the Manual, reporting on topics ranging from how to buy a custom cowboy hat to the proper technique for riding a bull—an activity she does not recommend.
Some people call it a quartoseptcentennial, or a septaquintaquinquecentennial (seriously), but you’d better save your breath. You’ll need it on this wide-ranging 6,000-mile voyage commemorating Texas’s 175th birthday. It starts in Glen Rose, ends in Austin, and stops along the way at 175 places that tell the story of the state, from the grassy field in La Porte where independence was won to the parking garage in Dallas where the Super Bowl was dreamed up; from the Austin dorm room where Dell Inc. was born to the college hall in Houston where Barbara Jordan learned to debate; from the hotel in San Antonio where Lydia Mendoza recorded “Mal Hombre” to the—well, you get the idea. And you’d better get started. The road awaits . . .