The big hole in the East River bike path doesn't look all that much worse than it did last year. Rebuilding of the bulkhead are moving southward from near the RFK Bridge so maybe the path will get fixed before someone falls into the river.
I've now scouted all the trails in Morningside Park, finding two more markers with arrows in them. Both of these are on the upper trail between 120th and 121st Streets. Unlike the other markers these two are just east of the trail. Even though these last two markers are only a hundred feet or so apart, their arrows point in almost opposite directions.
Luling was founded as a railroad town in 1874 but it really grew after Edgar Davis discovered oil in 1922. The watermelon-eating kids were see-sawing up and down while I was there so I guess these wells are still producing some oil. There were a whole bunch of other decorated pump jacks in town. I saw the kids and the killer whale along the highway on the way north to Lockhart.
As I've probably mentioned before, when I'm traveling I'll often stop in to the local library to see what's going on and to pick up a bookmark or two. Sometimes the library is really beautiful inside, sometimes there's a local history display. I'll skim through the local newspaper and check out the collections. You'd be surprised at how many libraries have really terrible weather and climate books from the 1970s still in the stacks. People, support your local library!
In the fiction section I'll look to see if they have any of the original editions of Dawn Powell's novels, and since I'm in the POWE's I'll also look for Richard Powers. Haruki Murakami isn't too far away, neither is Richard Russo in the opposite direction. I'll check to see if they have an edition of David Foster Wallace's first novel that pre-dates Infinite Jest. All but Powell have had books on the best seller list.
This is where I got confused in Luling. There was no Powell, which is not surprising. No Powers either, which happens sometimes. No Russo, no Murakami, no Wallace. This was getting unusual. I started looking for other authors. No Jonathan Lethem, no Chuck Palahniuk (really wasn't expecting to find one of his), no Truman Capote, no Willa Cather, no Jack London... There was plenty of James Patterson, Richard North Patterson and Danielle Steel. I thought maybe they had separated popular fiction from literary fiction, but no, on either side of the Steven King section was To Kill A Mockingbird and The Old Man and The Sea. I found copies of Catcher in the Rye, East of Eden and the Grapes of Wrath.
It was amazing. I had never been in a library where the fiction section was almost entirely mass-market publications. My two favorite finds were the Dickens novels above. Sorry, that's not such a great photo. What I liked about those books are the covers. Do they look like wallpaper to you? They should.
Here's why I went to Luling. The City Market has been smoking meats since the 1930s. It is one of the holy of holies of Texas BBQ. They cook three things: beef brisket, pork ribs and beef sausage. To order you go into the pit room at the back of the market. Make sure the door closes behind you. As I was eating someone in line did not and she was informed in a manner that left no doubt that the door should be closed.
Once inside the pit master takes your order, cuts the meat, puts it on butcher paper, and rings you up on a cash register protected by a plastic cover that is blackened with smoke and worn through at the more popular buttons. Back in the dining area I picked up the plastic utensils and a Big Red soda.
Brisket isn't a cut of meat I'd normally get but in the interests of science I gave it a try. I mean, when am I returning to Luling? The brisket was really good. I made a little sandwich out of it and the house-made orange bbq sauce. The ribs, hiding underneat the brisket, were outstanding. Outstanding as in, wow, way more tasty than any ribs I've ever eaten. The homemade sausage? Let's just say I could have happily sat there eating sausage until the cows came home, at which point more sausage could have been made and the cycle could continue.
Having consumed more than my fair share of protein, I headed out into the sunshine to see what else Luling offered.