If you’re having a hard time finding things to do in the state of Texas, there is one man who’s got you covered. His name is Chet Garner and he is the host of The Daytripper on PBS. He has made it his mission to visit every fun and exciting place in the great state Texas and he brings a film crew along with him to document his exploits. On his recent Denton day trip, Chet and crew visited the Texas Motor Speedway, Beth Marie’s, Recycled Books, Rooster’s Roadhouse, and Dan’s Silverleaf among other places.
On May 4th, Chet came back with a bus full of fans to show them some of his favorite Denton locations. We were able to catch up with him and get him to answer a few questions about Texas day tripping and his thoughts on Denton. Be sure to check out Chet and all of his day trips on KERA, Saturday mornings at 10:30 or on his website, thedaytripper.com. ¡Vaya con dios amigos!
You’ve visited a lot of cool, crazy and interesting places in the state of Texas. What makes you decide to visit a city?
Eventually, I want to visit every town in Texas. But the main things I'm looking for are good food, interesting culture/history, and exciting adventures/outdoors. Every town has those things. It's just a matter of how hard you have to dig.
Have you ever arrived in a city and found out that it wasn’t nearly as exciting as you thought it was going to be?
Sure. But the boring cities never make the show. I do a lot of scouting. I've gotta visit everything and eat everything to know what is worthy of making the show and what isn't.
What has been your favorite day trip so far?
I've had a ton of awesome day trips. My favorite depends on what I want to do at the time I get asked the question. With the weather heating up, I'm eager to start visiting swimming holes again. So, my answer at this second is Burnet. I could spend days swimming and cliff jumping in the Devil's Waterhole on Ink's Lake.
We all know that Denton is pretty neat but what, specifically, made you decide to do your first group day trip here?
This was our first group day trip from Dallas. We've done group trips from Austin and Houston. But we picked Denton because of the diversity. Where else can you drive on a NASCAR track, visit a historic square, eat homemade ice cream, and travel to hell and back….all in a day.
Your show started out as a more Austin-centric show called the Austin Daytripper. A lot of people have compared Denton to the way Austin was a decade ago or more. What do you think about that?
I really do feel that visiting Denton is like visiting Austin in 1975. We all have to realize that things are cyclical. And the epicenter of cool in Texas moves. It currently happens to be Austin, but nobody wanted to move to Austin in the 80's. Denton is full of cool people doing cool stuff who don't have to be part of the "scene." Austin is full of people who want to be associated with the "scene" and aren't necessarily doing anything cool. To me, that marks the beginning of the end. Some city will rise next. Maybe that's Denton.
We noticed that you’ve never visited any of Denton’s many delicious taco establishments. Surely, you’ve heard of the East McKinney Taco Corridor (EMTC) and are excited to try some of its delicious offerings. What taco place are you most looking forward to trying someday? (If you are unfamiliar with the EMTC, here is a guide written by the folks at We Denton Do It.)
Chet: Dang. I didn't know anything about the EMTC. All those taco places sound awesome. Looks like I'll be headed back to Denton very soon.