Travel By Numbers: Texas
Saturday 05 February 2011
The minimum number of continuous comfortable riding hours a Texan cowboy can rack up on a personally crafted saddle (a bespoke saddle will set you back by about $600). If you fancy yourself as a would-be cowboy or girl, then Ranch Rider offers riding holidays at the Dixie Dude Ranch near Bandera, the self-styled Cowboy Capital of the World. Prices start at £799 per person full board with riding and saddle included, but excluding flights from the UK.
The number of days and nights in a week you can catch live music in "the music capital of the world", Austin. Choose from indie-rock to jazz funk, and swing to samba. This is the former playground of Willie Nelson and Janis Joplin and the place for many an up-and-coming performer to blow their Tejano trumpet. The biggest event is the South by South West festival, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year from 11-20 March.
The capacity of the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, which will be full with American football fans tomorrow when the Pittsburgh Steelers meet the Wisconsin Green Bay Packers for the 45th Super Bowl. The match is the cream of the National Football League and attracts more than 100 million television viewers annually, making it the "most watched American television broadcast".
The number of restaurants in Lockhart, the "barbecue capital" of Texas, famed for its traditional smokehouse cuisine. Barbecue is a state obsession and no visit is complete without a taste of Texan-style meat: rubbed with spices or sauces and slow-cooked for up to 16 hours over a wood fire. No two Texans agree on how to do it best. Try Black's Barbecue, run by the Black family since 1932.
The area, in acres, of the rugged Big Bend National Park, making it the same size as Wiltshire. The park borders Mexico and is blanketed by the Chihuahuan Desert. Tumbleweed, cacti and dramatic Western landscapes set the scene. The arid terrain blossoms after rainfall from July to October. Float on the Rio Grande, toast marshmallows around a campfire, or hike through dramatic scenery.
The distance in miles of wild coastline lapped by the Gulf of Mexico, from Port Isabel in the south to Port Arthur in the north. This stretch of almost undeveloped shoreline is known as America's "third coast" for its wildlife reserves and the 625 species of birds that migrate via the coast every year. Visit the World Birding Center, which has nine sites along the historic river road in the Rio Grande Valley.
The number of attractions at the Nasa Space Center Houston, including the new "cosmic" lunch with a Nasa astronaut, visits to Mission Control Center and the Blast Off Theater (if you want to feel what it is like to be launched into space). Tickets cost from $11.95.
Simon Calder looks at communities fighting back against the poachers
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