I’ve made a few road trips between major cities with little to no concerns, so I felt unprepared for the challenge that was Houston to Dallas. It started out with some not great weather- the overcast skies from the Astros tour quickly turned to rain, which made visibility limited. The worst part, however, was that it was a two lane interstate for most of the drive, and based on the number of cars making the trip, it might warrant 4 lanes. Maybe we just caught it on a bad day, but it was white knuckle rush hour type traffic the whole three and a half hour drive. Another weird note about the drive is that the exits are quite a bit different than Montana. In Montana, when an exit sign says it has something, it is literally right off of the exit. There, you could potentially drive a mile or so (with several turns and twists) to find the gas station/Starbucks you’re looking for.
We made it to Dallas safe and sound though and right on time for making it to the Texas Rangers stadium for the second tour I had planned. Unfortunately, however, Google maps didn’t like Dallas too much, so we got lost and didn’t make it in time. The nice part about Dallas vs Houston is that the traffic is much more manageable because they have so many different interstate type routes, many of which have been built up, so the roads overlap slightly and can result in your phone’s GPS getting pretty confused on your whereabouts. I was bummed about missing the tour, but it’s an excuse to go back and we had a game that night that I was excited for- Dallas Mavericks vs Memphis Grizz.
I wanted to keep this whole trip pretty cheap (so as to not stress Joel out), and this was probably our lowest priority game, so we went with baseline seats. I don’t mind seats here, but the view is better at a football game from that angle than a basketball game, in my opinion. Still, we weren’t right behind the basket or anything and we were pretty close to the floor, so that was cool. And they were a steal of a deal! Unfortunately, I ran into the same problem I had at the Houston game- I had apparently needed to print the tickets off because they wouldn’t scan my phone, and I clearly hadn’t done so again. Here, they had an office specifically for that but they charged $10 per ticket to do it. I didn’t really have any other options, so we paid the fee, which was a buzzkill. However, once we walked into the arena, I felt better. It was so clean! Dallas in general was a pretty clean city, and the American Airlines Center matched that. They also had a decent number of food options and a few bars attached, which we didn’t take advantage of that night but would the following night after the hockey game, which is played in the same facility.
The game itself was a bit of a dud. It was actually a lot of a dud. Neither team could get much going offensively, so we basically just watched Harrison Barnes run around and miss a bunch of shots. I know you probably think I’m exaggerating, but the Mavericks scored 64 points. The whole game. Good teams score that in a half. Heck, high school teams can score that on a regular basis. It’s not like the defense was that good. Memphis was only marginally better, winning with 80 points. It put a bit of a cloud over an overall cool arena experience, but we had plenty to look forward to for the rest of the trip, including another visit back to American Airlines.
In front of the arena, there’s this cool little courtyard area where they can set up entertainment, similar to the one outside of the Staples Center in LA. Also similar to LA, there are some bar type food stops in that area, and we decided to try one out that night. We landed on Shooters, which was this tiny bar with the best drink deals. We shared some nachos and wings, which were pretty dang good, and a couple of drinks. Overall, it was pretty cheap and pretty good. The only negative was that the seating is limited, so we had to stand at the bar for a bit before we got a seat.
This is another arena in the downtown area, so parking can be tricky, but we found a parking garage a couple of blocks away that only charged $15 and was easy to get in and out of. It was chilly, especially walking back after the game, but still quite a bit warmer than Montana, so we weren’t complaining!
Scared by my AirBnB fail in New York City, I opted for the hotel route. If there’s an area that I skimp on these trips, it’s usually where we’re staying- I’ve stayed in plenty of crappy hotels, and we don’t spend much time there (hopefully). There are too many cool things to see and do! However, I was even shocked at how crummy our hotel was in Dallas. In fairness, I did little to no research on the part of the Dallas/Fort Worth area we were in, and I learned that south Dallas is probably not where you want to be. If you walk into a hotel and you see multiple signs warning you that they aren’t liable for stuff getting stolen out of your car, you’re probably not in the safest part of town. Warning sign number two is if you’re at a lower end hotel and they have a security guard who you have to show your room keys to before you’re able to get past the lobby. Warning sign three is more than one chain on the door. However, we survived and didn’t have to spend much time there. And we were close to a Wal-Mart and a gas station, which was convenient. Day one of Dallas didn’t exactly go according to plan, but we were ready for a busy day two!
Just a couple of sports fans touring the world, one stadium at a time.