I have not been a fan of Texas—the land of big belt buckles and big just about everything else.

One reason for not caring much for Texas is its junior U.S. senator, Ted Cruz. I heard Cruz say the United States Constitution should be interpreted as written by the Founding Fathers—in other words, Black people count as three-fifths of a person.

Donald Trump questioned whether Cruz’s father, Rafael, was somehow connected with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Trump also belittled the appearance of Cruz’s wife, Heidi.

“His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald being—you know, shot,” Trump said of Rafael Cruz. “I mean, what was he doing? What was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting?”

Trump often referred to Cruz as “Lyin’ Ted.”

At one point, Trump posted photos of his wife, Melania, and Heidi Cruz with the caption “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Trump also threated to “spill the beans” on Heidi Cruz, but never did.

What was Cruz’s eventual reaction to Trump’s comments?

“After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided on election day I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump,” Cruz said on Facebook.

Maybe Ted should turn in his big belt buckle.

Another reason not to warm up to Texas is the state’s attorney general, Ken Paxton, who sued Wisconsin, claiming its election laws were unconstitutional after Trump narrowly lost in the Badger State in 2020. Numerous recounts and lawsuits turned up no election fraud in Wisconsin.

While I still have an overall dislike for Texas, I do see some redeeming features in the Lone Star State.

One of my ancestors, Benjamin Milam, was a hero during the Texas effort to detach from Mexico. He apparently led a group of volunteers, he but was not in the Alamo battle, having been killed in action on his way there. Some say he was shot by one of his own men. In any event, there’s a county in Texas named after him.

Texas has the Riverwalk in San Antonio in addition to what’s left of the Alamo. For those reasons, Texas gets a thumbs up.

I warmed up to Texas in big way when my wife and I on a recent vacation hopped on Texas State Highway 130, also known as the Pickle Parkway, between Austin and San Antonio. Built as an alternative to the highly traveled Interstate 35, the Pickle Parkway, named after former U.S. Rep. J. J. “Jake” Pickle, is the fastest road in the United States.

The Pickle Parkway boasts an 85 mph speed limit. Ramp speeds are 75 mph, and if you don’t scoot along at 90, you’ll get run over by all the truck traffic made up mainly of four-door Ford 250s with dual wheels at the rear.

Texas has a lot of fossil fuel, and a lot of it gets burned up on the Pickle Parkway. My kind of highway.

A Texas disappointment was when we tried to visit George and Laura Bush at their ranch a few miles outside Crawford. The road leading to the ranch just stops at a large iron gate.

A polite guard informed us we were not allowed on the private property. When I asked if George and Laura could come out to the gate to greet us—after all, we had come all the way from Wisconsin to meet them—I was told they were not at the ranch that day.

When you can, I suggest a road trip to Texas. Like me, you might even warm up to the state a bit.

Stan Milam, a Janesville native, is the host of the “Stan Milam Show” on WCLO Radio.

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