A Texas Guide to Driving Distances
“I won’t say it’s far, but I had to grease the wagon twice before I hit the main road.”
An Old Texas Saying
For all y’all non-Texans out there, if you ever find yourself driving across one of the bluebonnet-lined highways and byways of the great state of Texas, you have almost 200,000 lane miles to choose from—and that doesn’t even count all the city and county roads, as well as caliche and dirt roads you can meander on. With all those miles going hither and tither, it’s easy to become discombobulated and find yourself running around the barn (that’s lost, for all you non-native speakers). So what do you do if you get as confused as a goat on astroturf while looking for a place to eat bacon in Bacon, or to enjoy an orange in Orange, or if you’d like a glass of sweet tea in Sweetwater, or find yourself somewhere in West Texas instead of eating klatches in West, Texas? Well, unless you’re one of those independent cusses, and as stubborn as a mule, you use your head for more than a hat rack: you ask for directions.
You never need worry about asking a Texan whichaway someplace is located. We’re a friendly bunch and are as happy as a hog in slop to help you get where you’re going. But keep in mind, with all those miles crisscrossing a parcel the size of Texas, and with some of the largest cities in the United States, we never measure driving distances in miles. We find that it works best to measure distance in time. For example, if you find yourself on Interstate 35 in Austin, at just about any hour of the day or night, it would do you no good to say the exit you’re looking for is just a mile up the road because it gonna take you at least an hour to scooch your butt that far.
So, with that in mind, as a public service to all my friends who hail from other (lesser) states: If you find yourself lost in Texas and asking for directions, depending on how far down the road you need to go, here are some of the most common answers you’ll get and how to convert them into driving times.*
*If you’re driving in Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, or El Paso all bets are off.
Right next door = 1–5 minutes
Right up the road = 5–10 minutes
A couple of miles = 10–20 minutes
Two hoots and a holler away = 20–30 minutes
Down (over) yonder aways = 30–45 minutes
A little ways = 45–60 minutes
Down the road apiece = 60–90 minutes
A pretty good drive = 90–120 minutes
A fur piece = 2 or more hours (which could be anywhere between 2 and 10 hours)
I won’t say it’s far, but I had to grease the wagon twice before I hit the main road = Plan on staying overnight, you won’t be getting out of Texas today.
I hope these directions were helpful and that you find your destination quickly, but if not, enjoy the grandeur that is Texas or pull over and smell the bluebonnets. However, a word of caution: Don’t pick the bluebonnets or you’ll be staying in Texas a lot longer—in one of our nicely appointed hoosegows.
And remember, wherever your travels take you in Texas: Drive friendly—the Texas way.