Trippin Out

A Collection of Day Trips: Texas Hill Country

The patio area is a very popular spot at Moontower Saloon. Photo by Courtney Sellers

Ask anyone who knows me where my favorite place on earth is, and they will tell you it’s the Texas Hill Country. There’s nothing like it. Sure, people migrate to Houston for the opportunity, the culture, and the aggressive melting pot that is this diverse city; but they go to the hill country to get away from everything that makes Houston Houston.

A “day trip” to Austin is difficult — it’s easily three hours away from central Houston and traffic is never good going in or out of our fair city or Austin, so just getting there can be a struggle. Generally, I would take I10 to Highway 71, but on this trip we decided to take 290. Additionally, this post serves less as an appeal for you to visit Austin the city (because truly there are thousands of articles that do this very thing), as it does to implore you to go to Moontower Saloon while you’re there.

Moontower Saloon was so unique that we spent several hours on the way home trying to figure out if we’ve ever been to a bar anything like it in Houston. First of all, they’ve completely changed the game by checking your ID BEFORE you even pull into the parking lot. That’s right; they have you pull it out when you are coming in. This is genius — four to five guys’ sole job is to ensure everyone in a car is 21, instead of the bartender or one single bouncer having this responsibility so the flow isn’t interrupted at any point. There isn’t a huge line of people getting their ID checked by a single, apathetic bouncer and it removes the burden from an already busy bartender. I love it.

Once you park you start to realize how utterly immense this bar is, but it isn’t until you’re inside that it actually hits you. Moontower Saloon is humongous. As you walk up, there are people sort of milling about enjoying drinks. A bar inside has the familiar feel. People are playing pool or sitting at tables enjoying pitchers of beer. They’ve got a wide range of domestic, imports and craft beers — I was happy to see several Houston beers on tap! We ordered a pitcher, and started looking for a table to sit at. There were no available tables inside, despite it being enormous, so we ventured to the immense outdoor patio. The patio area is what sets Moontower Saloon apart. There was a folksy band playing acoustic covers of familiar songs. Several large fire pits were occupied by young people chatting. At a large open space with no tables, a group of about 25 people were having a conversation in sign language. “The people watching here is glorious” I thought as we walked around looking for a place to sit. Two food trucks offered tacos or burgers and, shockingly the lines weren’t too long. We ordered burgers, fried pickle spears, and loaded chili/cheese fries and posted up shop at the one remaining picnic table. Despite how busy it was, the vibe at Moontower was still relaxed. No need to shout to hear people, and we could still hear the soft humming of the music.

We stayed at the bar for about three hours and spent probably $40 on pitchers of beer and food together. The cost wasn’t too high that you wouldn’t go back, perfectly on par with what you’d expect for a casual night out. I recommend this bar to anyone visiting Austin!

H-Town Run Tourist: Experiences

Volunteering at the 2019 Speedgolf Championships

Author’s own

Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @TourismGymHtx. Facebook @TourismGymHtx

So, the last couple of articles have been about Speedgolf and Speedgolf USA founder, Scott Dawley. Let me tell you about my experiences with the sport and Scott.

​Golf course is so beautiful in the dewy morning.

Author’s own

It was August of 2015 when we met at his race Links Run. I had so much fun running on the green. It is really the softest surface and I got to take pics and whack some balls at the driving range. I was writing for my own blog called IHopeIComeBackAlive.com and thought this would be great for content. Scott was creating more events strictly for speedgolf. Now, this will make some great content. His next event was the next coming week. He allowed me to tag along with my camera.

That morning, I was to meet Scott at Cypresswood Golf Course at 5AM. I set my alarm for 3AM. It would take 45 minutes to get from my place in Memorial to Spring. I had to remind myself that I owed myself a new experience and to get out of bed.

Cari and Pardon striking a pose!

Author’s own

It was well worth it. There is nothing like a golf course in the morning when the sun just comes up. Fog is in the air. Dew is on the grass. And moss is hanging from the trees. Footprints in the grass. To get my content, I had to follow the speedgolfers to get great pictures in a golf cart. I had the time of my life. I didn't reallize how fast they could go until I felt like I was having a hard time keeping up in a cart. I got my story and we were done by 6:15AM with plenty to do in the day. It was worth getting up and everyone should have this experience.

October of 2019:

So, four years later I still do not know how to play golf. I flirted with it, but chose to do traveling marathons instead. I do not know even how to swing properly, but when I reconnected with Scott, he had another opportunity for me. This time, I wanted to share it with others. Scott needed volunteers for the 2019 Speedgolf Championships coming up. My volunteers showed up on Saturday, September 29 ready to work.

​Pardon learning his golf swing.

Author’s own

We arrived early to make sure we didn't miss anything. We got to tour the golf course, take pictures, and chill in the grill until Scott called for us. We had a great time getting to know each other over a margarita. (Yeah, I said margarita. See how hard it is to volunteer with Houston Tourism Gym).

Soon Scott come over to tell us what our jobs were. We had to choose our speed golfer that we would be working with. We were to follow them to all 18 holes in a golf cart and keep their score. (Don't worry, we were taught how to do this. By the way, the golfers would yell their swings to us before they moved on to the next hole. Still pretty easy volunteering).

​Pardon and his new golf coach Joey Froman

Author’s own

My speed golfer was David Harding from Lake Oswego, Oregon. I got in my cart and drove to the start hole. I had actually met David earlier, but reintroduced myself. For the next hour and 15 minutes, I gave David my undivided attention. I took this job seriously and knew how much it counted. But, I also got some great pictures.

After the race, I went and gathered my volunteers to see what they had gotten themselves into. I found Cari (from Conroe) at the entrance waiting for her next assignment. I found Pardon (from Zimbabwe) at the driving range whacking some balls. He found a benevolent golfer to teach him how to swing. Everyone had a great time on the golf course, as I knew they would.

To learn more about Speedgolf, visit SpeedGolfUSA or listen to Scott Dawley, founder of Speedgolf USA, on his podcast Pace of Change which can be downloaded from iTunes. Contact him directly at 832.524.9994 or by emailing info@speedgolfusa.com.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome