Anyone who is from Texas, road-tripped through Texas, or has a soft heart for all things hickish will be familiar with this little dude...
Yep, that is Buc-ee the Beaver, famed and beloved mascot of the Texas-wide Buc-ee's Truck Stops. Why, you might ask, does a 'truck stop' need a bucktoothed beaver to represent them? It isn't a place you would usually associate with having a furry mascot. And I can't be 100% sure, but I don't even think there are beavers in Texas (*Wikipedia confirms, there are beavers in Texas, my bad). The short answer could be, that its because everything is bigger and better in Texas, but that might alienate some of my lovely readers from the other 49 and around the world. It's just a saying, Texas, not necessarily a way of life. Almost hurt writing that.
But really, Buc-ee the Beaver is a genius marketing strategy. Every major Interstate in Texas is dotted with huge, clever and funny billboards advertising Buc-ee's. Sayings such as "It's only 262 miles to Buc-ee's, you can hold it" or "OMG It's a Beaver, lol" and "Restrooms so clean, we leave mints in the urinals"are unique to the Beaver's sense of humor. It goes beyond the typical "Eat here and get gas" gags. Buc-ee's has carved a nitch into Texas memorabilia.
So, if the goofy looking beaver and clever signs get cars rolling into Buc-ee's what makes the weary traveler stick around? Well, first off, the term 'truck stop' really doesn't do this place justice. If you can imagine in your head for a second, a gas station, a local BBQ joint, a Texas gift shop, a small grocery store with local 'delicacies', the nicest public restrooms you have ever seen, and a feed shop (yes, a place where you get feed for animals) all in one place and all on steroids, then you might have somewhat of an idea of what all Buc-ee's entails.
Like it's welcoming you home...or tractor-beaming you in
Their soda fountains are about 25 flavors deep, the sliced beef sandwiches are freshly made right in front of you, and taste better than any other road food out there. They have the cutest Texas decorations and arts and crafts and the most delicious 'homemade' Texas treats you can find. My mouth is just watering thinking about all the flavors of salsa, the pecan butter, and my favorite, jellied jalapenos. Open those babies up and serve over a hunk of cream cheese. Your tongue will be burning for more!
Unbelievable delicious and so southernAnd then of course there are the Beaver Nuggets. So indescribably good, mostly because who knows what are in these little suckers! Actually, I looked it up, and shocking, the ingredients list starts off "Sugar, Corn Meal, Corn Syrup, Canola Oil, Molasses, etc." They are a mix between the cereal Corn Puffs and Kettle Corn, with the melt in your mouth consistency -not taste- of cheese puffs. It is physically impossible to put these nuggets down once you have opened a bag. I have a sneaking suspicion that they are laced with crack. And best of all, they don't fill you up and are loaded with calories. Mmmmm-mmmm, tastes like home :)
They never have a chance to make it home!
Buc-ee's gas stations aren't usually found in large cities, but rather strategically placed along busy highways veining between larger cities. And they really have become destinations in themselves. "I didn't necessarily plan on going to San Antonio, but there was a Buc-ee's on the way, so why the heck not".
If you ever get a chance to drive through Texas and see Buc-ee the Beaver flagging you down on the interstate, I highly suggest you take any route possible to stop by one of these marvels. You will experience true Texas culture, neatly wrapped up in the guise of a gas station.
And it's ok to think its gaudy, you know us Texans do too. But that's one thing that is great about our state. We are over the top, sometimes in your face, but I'd put money on the fact that we are some of the nicest and most genuine people you will ever meet. Even if we are absurdly amused by these (in your best Texas draw) gosh-darned, pretty little, all-in-one, truck stops.
And BTW, why my sudden urge to profess my love for Buc-ee's? The hubs and I got a matching pair of these suckers in the mail, and I just had to show them off. Thanks again mom!
We are styling...first thing in the morning. White trash, or beyond class. You be the judge!
You name it, you can get Buc-ee the Beaver on it. Shirts, hats, aprons, mugs, and yes, sweatpants. Represent!
(And be sure to check out the Buc-ee's website! Pictures not credited are from the Buc-ee website. Worth the visit!!!)