The Bucket List

Driving the River Road, in far West Texas; having a drink at the Mansion on Turtle Creek, in Dallas; fishing for bass in Caddo Lake; eating a chicken-fried steak in Strawn; searching for a lightning whelk along the coast; and 58 other things that all Texans must do before they die.
Photograph by Randal Ford

Life is too short not to live it in Texas. But recently we asked ourselves an uncomfortable question: If we had only one year left on earth, what would we do in the Lone Star State? A spirited conversation ensued, writers and editors submitted their picks, and more than two hundred ideas poured forth. We overlooked suggestions like seeing the Alamo or going to the Capitol because we assumed that everyone has already done those things (you have done them, right?). Instead, passionate arguments were made for who makes the best barbecue, which books to read, and where to see Willie Nelson perform. In the end, we asked the staff—and a few friends—to write about the 63 most interesting ideas in the bunch, which are numbered but not ranked. Of course, we fully expect you to have many more than twelve months to complete this list, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get started right away.

1. Take the Ultimate Road Trip

When you get tired of hearing about how big Texas is, go find out for yourself. Drive from Dalhart, in the Panhandle, to Brownsville, where Texas, Mexico, and the Gulf converge. Depending on your route, it’s about 842 miles. You’ll travel down the Staked Plains toward Amarillo, heading south by southeast to Lubbock, Big Spring, and San Angelo, lulled by a symphony of wind and space. Then weave through the Hill Country toward San Antonio, basking in the dry crackle of history. From there you’ll head to Corpus Christi, down U.S. 77 through Kingsville and the King Ranch.

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