God knows we Houstonians love us some trail riders. Maybe it's the horses or the smiling and waving people. Maybe we just like to imagine how interesting life on the trail might be for us city folk. Then we remember dysentery and no cell phones, and we go back to waving and thanking the sweet lord we can get back in our cars soon.
But, one of the true drawbacks to the annual trail rides on Go Texan Day is the traffic they invariably create. Oh, sure, those horses are adorable until you drive through something they left behind on North Shepherd on your way to an important business meeting and you have to pick up a coworker who just wants to joke about how your car smells like crap. Then, it's not so funny, is it cowboy?
The point is traffic on Go Texan Day requires its own special brand of patience as well as constant updates from traffic apps. But, when you add in Houston's already horrifying freeway construction problem, trail riders start to look more and more like posses of marauding invaders. Or maybe you're just jealous of how slow they mosey along without a care in the world.
Either way, if you are in a hurry, this ain't your day, partner.
And on this particular Friday in February, you'll also get to contend with the continued torture of a terrifying West Loop. Conveniently, the West Loop is one of the primary entrances to Memorial Park, where most of the trail riders gather Friday evening before the parade on Saturday. That means increased traffic not just from horses but big trucks, trailers and other rodeo folk.
Good news, you guys! If you are on 69 going north, you can't get on the West Loop this weekend. Those ramps will be shut down. So, there is little chance of you being forced into a trail ride-induced traffic nightmare. Lucky you!
But, if you NEED to go that way, well, fella, you might be in for the kind of traffic that will make you feel like you've been sitting there for a month of Sundays.
So, if you do want to go down there, take Wescott or Shepherd down to Memorial. But, be patient because it ain't gon' be pretty.