better, study of - Pete Carapetyan's personal blog

tExpert Advice

02 Oct 2009
Posted by Pete Carapetyan

If you're in Austin, Texas and you get this unexpected feeling "Hmm, there would have to be a very rich and colorful history underneath this layer of skyscraper glitz and contemporary 6th Street glamour" you would be right. So here's my question: How could you tap that rush of feeling that comes from getting intimate with a town (now city) so rich and exciting with history and geography? 

The answer to the question will cost you, but not much. Howie Richey has made it his life’s work to take people back through time, to explore the geography that was Texas, to scratch deeper than the surface, to share stories that enliven the personalities and events that make up the lore that is Texas, its capital city, and the hundreds of Hill Country and prairie miles surrounding it.

Thus, you shell out some hard-earned cash, and in return you get a tour through the Capitol, or through the Hill Country, or through any of several other vantage points that make Texas such an intriguing place.

It's an odd concept in our culture to hire someone to take you on a tour, but Texas has an odd history anyway, so it's really not such a mismatch. 

Use Cases ?

Some people use Howe's service to impress clients, it might be more effective than a skybox seat to a big game - but except for the Longhorns, Austin doesn't have any such teams anyway.

Other's use Howie as a fun way to do the Texas wineries.

Still others just like to learn the funny stories, so they can get a better feel for the area they have just moved into.

I'm even guessing there are people who showed up with the spouse for a convention and just want to do something more interesting than a trip to the outlet malls. A big win for this group - what an improvement!

Not Just Winging It

The best part about your tour? Now I’m getting a bit personal here: Howie Richey was born to do this. Neither awkward nor young, your guide has been living, eating, sleeping, and breathing Texas history for decades and decades. This is a lot like McDonalds, in that you can drive up and know you’re going to get a very predictable, consistent product.

My own experience with Howie is as an in-law, so of course I’m biased. (Bias is no source of shame for a Texan.) I much prefer his longer-lived moniker, 'The Texas Back Roads Scholar', and I’ve done some of his hardier trips that mere tourists might only wish for. Camping with a real covered wagon and authentic period meals cooked on the fire is an experience you’ll never forget.

"But hey" as we might say in Texas - that is not an offering you'll find on his site. Timing is everything :). I'll bet that even a trip like this could be arranged, with a little negotiating.

We even used Howie to advise us this on our annual Texas cycling trip, and as usual we got some great ideas.