Chet Garner and Justin Hill attended Baylor Law School together. After law school, Chet went on to work for one of the biggest and most successful law firms in Texas. Feeling a little burned out, Chet took a swing at making a TV show highlighting all the wonderful things in Texas–including San Antonio. The rest is history.
Justin Hill: Hello. Bienvenidos San Antonio. Welcome to the Alamo Hour, discussing the people, places and passion that make our city. My name is Justin Hill, a local attorney, a proud San Antonion, and keeper of chickens and bees. On the Alamo Hour, you’ll get to hear from the people that make San Antonio great and unique, and the best-kept secret in Texas. We’re glad that you’re here. All right. Welcome to this episode of the Alamo Hour. Today’s guest is Chet Garner AKA the Daytripper. Previously known as the Texas Daytripper, right?
Chet Garner: Austin Daytripper, actually.
Justin: Okay. That’s what it was. All right.
Chet: Austin Daytripper. That’s OG. That’s season one.
Justin: Okay. All right. The six-episode season.
Chet: Yes, it was. When we went to Waco, our stomping ground, because we were in Waco before Waco was cool.
Justin: I know. It’s so different now.
Chet: Yes. Oh, man. So different.
Justin: The silos used to get shanked, and now you got to stand in line to get a sandwich.
Chet: [laughs] That’s exactly right, man. We started off. I thought, “Man, if I can convince Austinites to want to go to Waco, I can convince them to want to go anywhere in the world”. I started with the most difficult task first, so I like to take a lot of the credit for making Waco cool.
Justin: I think that’s fair.
Chet: [crosstalk] may disagree, but I’ll take 100% of the credit on that.
Justin: One of my good friends just became general counsel for Magnolia there, and I was thinking, “What a great gig”.
Chet: You’re kidding me. Really?
Justin: Yes. Chet is a graduate of Baylor Law School, where we met. He went on to work for one of the biggest and best law firms in Texas. After a few years, he made a pivot, created The Austin Daytripper to become The Daytripper. The Daytripper has won eight Lone Star Emmy awards. It’s one of her multiple different categories. It’s on PBS. It’s hosted by Chet. It highlights the culture, outdoors, food, tacos, swimming holes, barbecue, all the wonderful things about Texas.
As it relates to San Antonio and South Texas, he has won Emmys for episodes covering Seguin, San Antonio twice, and New Braunfels. He’s won outstanding program host. You have a brick and mortar store in Georgetown, and you just have a huge following. My old law partner one time, the coolest thing that his kids knew about me was that I knew you. They thought it was so cool that I knew who you were.
Chet: Hey, man. I’ve been very vocal. I tell all my friends, and this applies to you, that if you can use knowing me to any benefit in your life, do it frequently because it’s not going to last forever.
Justin: I am right now. I have got you on my podcast.
Chet: Good. There we go.
Justin: I got the mayor on before you, which was probably harder to– You’re a bigger get than the mayor of San Antonio, I think at this point.
Chet: Yes. You’re good at brow nosing. That’s a lie but okay.
Justin: Okay. Chet, on all these episodes, I start with a top 10 just to get a little bit of information about people. The sort of thing we’re going to go through, yours is a little bit different because you’re not a San Antonian, but you have spent plenty of time here highlighting our wonderful city. So I thought it’d be great to talk to you as an outsider who has also really actually done a lot to display our city. To start, this is a hard one I think. It looks like you won outstanding program host every year except for 2017. What happened?
Chet: I wish I could tell you. Those were my dark years, my dark years. I was just eating barbecue and crying. I was mailing it in, thinking I could walk home with the award. I think that’s the year I didn’t get nominated at all.
Justin: Really? Who won it that year?
Chet: Gosh. In all honesty, they took what I did, which is a program host, and they combined it with what a lot of other people do into this one massive category. The traditional program hosts like us were kept outside, so I couldn’t even tell you who won it, but it was an old– Is it Mickey Rooney? The guy who had the crazy eyebrows and would go like, “What’s the deal with typewriters? I don’t need a typewriter”. You know that-[crosstalk]
Justin: Yes, and also Seinfeld basically.
Chet: Yes, basically. Right. Those guys cleaned up that category that year, but we came back strong in ’18. We got it. We got it again. Man, the awards are always– They’re fun to get, but man, if you did it for the awards, you’d be a wreck because they’re so subjective, and they bounce around. So you can never do something for the recognition or else you’ll burn out too quick.
Justin: One of the newscaster, a friend of mine, she won one a few years ago, and she took pictures of it in her bed with her and next to her in the bathtub. It was a big deal. It was funny.
Chet: [laughs] Now, they’re like door stoppers. I bring them to things, and I let people pass them around because what good are they with me just collecting dust on the shelf.
Justin: There’s some behind you right now I can see.
Chet: Oh gosh. Yes. That was not planned, I promise. We’ve got one in the store in Georgetown, and I’ll let anybody once– It’s a fancy paperweight, essentially.
Justin: How heavy are they? Do they have some heft to them?
Chet: They’re heavy. You can kill a man with them. You could definitely kill a man.
Justin: Okay. That’s a good standard by which we should gauge things.
Chet: [laughs] Yes-[crosstalk]
Justin: I watched your episodes. I’d seen them previously about San Antonio. What were some of the neat things in San Antonio that you did not know prior to coming to doing these episodes?
Chet: Man, I love San Antonio. I know maybe I’m pandering to the audience. I promise I’m not. I’m not. I love San Antonio. San Antonio’s got a patina that other towns in Texas don’t. There’s only one other town in Texas that I think comes close to having the same patina that San Antonio does, and that’s El Paso. You know what I’m talking about?
Justin: I agree.
Chet: It can stop the crust on a cast iron. It’s just got this richness to it. I’ll say the more time I spend in San Antonio and South Texas and West Texas and even Central Texas to a certain degree, I start to identify more with being Spanish than– I realize how much of our culture as a Texan, more of it came from Mexico than it did the 13 original colonies.
Justin: Yes, I think that’s fair.
Chet: July 4th, we kind of inherited when we joined the union, but that’s not really our story. Our story comes from the South. Our story comes up, cross the Rio Grande and through San Antonio. You go to San Antonio, you start to realize that the history is so much deeper, so much richer, so much more complex than you think it is. That’s what I love.
You go to the [inaudible 00:06:53] gosh, the church right behind at the Spanish–
Justin: Market Square.
Chet: Yes, the [unintelligible 00:07:01], the Market Square and the governor’s mansion down there and see the old layouts of the town. Oh, man, I love it. I love San Antonio. That’s what stuck out to me is like, “Holy crap. I’m not in some city where the oldest thing was built in 1890”. I’m in a city where it was like, “We’re going way back 1700s and before”.
Justin: 1600s. Yes. I had no idea I was going to love it like I did. I came for a law job. You left for Waco and went to a law job. Mine ended up being San Antonio, and I just fell in love with the city. That brings me into my next question. Have you been to any Fiesta events? Have you been here for Fiesta ever?
Chet: Never. No. Never been to Fiesta-[crosstalk]
Justin: That would be a fantastic whole episode. Fiesta is probably my favorite thing about San Antonio. I have made lifelong friends, just out meeting over a margarita at some Fiesta event.
Chet: That’s cool.
Justin: It’s so great.
Chet: I met Rey Feo one year. He came up and he– It was a big ceremony where he gave me a coin, and I was like, “I don’t know what’s going on, but this is cool”.
Justin: Do you remember who it was that year?
Chet: Gosh, it’s written on the coin. I’ll have to go and look. I’m disappointing all your podcast guys. Can y’all name the legacy going back–
Justin: About how many years ago?
Justin: Okay. There’s a colorful history of Rey Feo’s, and there was one some number of years ago. I don’t remember, but I’ll tell you off-air. Some of his events were very much spectacles.
Chet: Oh, really?
Chet: He came to a conference I had to go to down there or something and was walking around in the white suit, the crown, the whole deal, and loved the attention, so I bet you it’s the same guy. Loved the attention.
Justin: That group will raise $200,0000 to $500,000 in scholarships. Just that group, just that one group’s fundraising efforts. Every single event is a fundraiser for something.
Chet: Holy moly. Wow.
Justin: Yes. I know it’s fantastic. The weirdest thing you have seen on your travels?
Chet: Like all over Texas or in San Antonio?
Justin: If you can break them down on the fly, let’s do it.
Chet: [laughs] Let me think about this. The weirdest thing I saw in San Antonio. One time I went to Henry’s Tacos, and I saw the giant walking taco walking around shaking hands. I got a picture with the walking taco. That was pretty awesome.
Justin: That’s fair.
Chet: Let me think of what else. What’s the weirdest thing I’ve seen in San Antonio? Oh, man. I’ve had some weird stuff happen to me all around in San Antonio. Gosh, man, you’re putting me on the spot. I need to think about this. I’d say the coolest place I’ve stayed in San Antonio is this– Somehow we got pushed out of our regular room in the Crockett Hotel, and so we got the room that has the big wraparound balcony to where I spent all night drinking beer on my balcony overlooking the grounds of The Alamo. That was pretty awesome. I don’t know how you swing that room. I think it was a mixup, and somehow we got that. But that’s not necessarily weird.
Justin: You’d be the Daytripper?
Chet: No. This was right as no one knew who I was. I don’t know if you’ve seen The Daytripper or not, and they’re like, “No, I haven’t”. It’s like, “Okay, moving on. Moving on”.
Justin: If it comes to you, if you become inspired along this, go ahead and pop in. How do you keep your stomach from not getting sick, all the tacos and barbecue and beer?
Justin: It’s just got to be overwhelming occasionally [laughs].
Chet: It’s a tough job. Someone’s got to do it. It’s funny. I eat copious amounts of food on the show. I’ll go and film stuff with other people who will have me in on things and– In my book, I’m just getting started, and they’re tapping out. They’re like, “How are you eating this much?” I’m like, “Whoa, bro, we haven’t even gotten started”. I realize some weird way, my stomach is conditioned just to pound down the food. I have to work out a lot too, and I can’t eat like garbage when I’m off the road. As far as the quantity of food, I scare myself sometimes.
Justin: I don’t think I’ve seen all hundred and something episodes, but somebody actually asked me today, do you ever do any of the food challenges in any of these cities you go to?
Chet: I’ve done the spice challenges like the ones where the ghost peppers and all that. Actually, I take it back. I’ve done two food challenges. One is I tried to eat the 72-ounce steak in Amarillo, failed miserably.
Justin: You got to eat the gristle and stuff too, don’t you?
Chet: Dude. No, it’s a sirloin. There’s not much fat in it.
Justin: Okay, 72-ouches.
Chet: Dude, 4 1/2 pounds of beef, you’re not playing around. We- let’s see -got that. I tried to eat the Mega Mel burger in Tomball one time which is– It’s about a foot and a half of meat. They slice two full tomatoes, and they don’t even bother putting the slices out. You just have two tomatoes with just kebab sticks. I don’t even know if I can eat two tomatoes, but people pound those things down. I suck at the food challenges because there’s usually a time on it too. I think I’m more of a marathon food eater. I can just eat all day, but if you want me to sprint through a 4 1/2 pound steak, I’m going to–
Justin: That’s how I am with beer. People are like, “Let’s chug a beer”. I’m like, “No, I’m fine drinking beers for a while, but I’m not going to chug one”.
Justin: What is your best recommendation for a day trip there and back for San Antonians? Something close to here where people could go out, get a full day worth and make it back in time for dinner.
Chet: Dude, I’m a big fan– The Hill Country is well-traveled. There’s plenty of places to go in the Hill Country. I’m going to throw out Seguin if you hadn’t been to Seguin. People are dogging Seguin right now, but just give it 10 years. Seguin is about the blow-up.
Justin: You think?
Chet: I think. I’m seeing something all over the state that’s true in San Antonio as well, that if you live within 30 miles of a major metropolitan area and you’ve got a historic square or historic assets somehow, the sky’s the limit right now because people who are living on the outskirts of all these big cities don’t feel like tripping down into the middle of the city just because it takes– It’s just maybe the stress of parking or traveling or whatever. So they’re looking for entertainment on the outskirts, and they don’t want to live in the big city necessarily either. A town like Seguin is in the same position a town like New Braunfels is, just New Braunfels got discovered a long time ago and Seguin isn’t discovered yet.
Justin: I love Mason. I think Mason has that feel.
Chet: Oh, I love Mason. I love Mason, Texas, man.
Justin: That happened about five years ago, where it kind of started blowing up?
Chet: Yes. It’s still pretty much under the radar. It’s nowhere near a Fredericksburg.
Justin: It reminds me of Sonoma. The town of Sonoma and the town of Mason, their squares, and everything look very similar. It’s a special place.
Chet: Yes, I could see that. I could totally see that. I would say, I’m always looking good barbecue, somewhere to jump in and get wet in a river. The Guadalupe Bay River goes right through Seguin. Awesome spot.
Justin: I’m a beekeeper, and I go buy all my bee supplies and my hives from Gretchen Bee Ranch out in Seguin.
Chet: Oh, do you really?
Chet: Oh, cool.
Justin: It’s fun. Have you had any interesting run-ins with the Texas Country Reporter guy, and are y’all friends?
Chet: One time, we met him at a Lone Star Emmy event, and I was like, “Oh man, is he–” He’s been doing this 40 years. He’s the grand patriarch of what I do. I was like, “Oh, man. I wonder how he feels about me or if he finds me threatening”, or whatever. I look up to him a lot, so I was like, “I’m going to go and introduce myself”. I was like, “Hi, I’m Chet. I do the Daytripper”. He goes, “Ah, okay. Uh”.
He didn’t have any clue who I was.
Justin: Is that right?
Chet: None. I don’t think so. He was so kind. He’s like, “Hey, if you’re coming up in the TV business, here’s my cell phone. Give me a call. Come see me in Dallas”.
Justin: That’s great.
Chet: Super friendly. I don’t think he knew who I was, honestly.
Justin: Y’all have very different shows though.
Chet: Yes, very different.
Justin: His is like the PBS of PBS show. It’s so calming and sweet.
Chet: Oh, totally. It is, man. Hopefully, I don’t have a show that you nap to. The other people in this like, “Oh yes, I put on Country Reporter and then sleep on the couch”. That’s not a compliment to people who make TV that you fall asleep watching our show. You know what, I’d say this, Laura, my wife, who you know from the law school days, she was gutsy and went up to him. She’s like, “Hey, I just need you to do one thing. Would you do one thing for me?” [laughs] She got him to go “blizzard” like he used to do on the DQ commercials. I was like, “Oh, that’s awesome”. I think that video-[crosstalk]
Justin: I don’t know if I remember him from the DQ commercials or from Texas Country Reporter. He was just kind of one in the same for a long time.
Chet: Oh, yes. For sure. He just “Hunger Buster Jr”. Oh, man.
Justin: Are you a reader?
Chet: Do I read? Man, I got too many kids to read much these days.
Justin: Fair enough.
Chet: I read magazines. What were you going to ask? What’s the question?
Justin: I was going to ask you what you’re reading right now.
Chet: Oh, let’s see. I will say this, this is the book I’m intimidated to open. A friend of mine just dropped it off, Big Wonderful Thing: The story of Texas.
Justin: Somebody told me about that book.
Chet: Look at that. How in the world do you ever go, “Oh, I’ve got 120 hours in my next–“
Justin: Do you say friend loosely when you say a friend gave you that?
Chet: Yes, right.
Chet: I was like, “No way you read this thing”. He goes, “I read some of it”. [crosstalk]
Justin: Somebody recently told me about that book.
Chet: It’s getting incredibly good reviews right now. Steve Harrigan is an awesome author, but we’ll see, man. We shall see.
Justin: I think it goes through the whole history of the old money, oil royalty and how they built Texas.
Justin: Okay. We’re going to get into the show and how you got there. The last thing I want to ask you in my top 10 list is, I read as many interviews of yours as I could find today. One thing you said you do currently is you go around and you do some public speaking, and typically, you said a lot of times it revolves around storytelling. What is your advice to me to be a better storyteller through a podcast platform?
Chet: Oh, good question. This was something I learned in law school, actually. You learn a lot about storytelling when you’re in law school, and it’s as simple as be yourself. I remember the first time I gave closing arguments, I stepped up and put on my Atticus Finch and suddenly started talking like I was from Charleston, South Carolina. I was like, “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury”. Powell rip me a new one for doing that. He’s like, “What the heck was that?” He goes, “It was fine. Felt like I was around a campfire with some actor telling me a story I didn’t believe. I don’t really trust you. You were clearly just putting on a show. It felt like a monologue from a character”.
I was like, “Yes, I was pretending I was a lawyer”. He’s like, “That’s garbage. Don’t do that”.
I think my show, from the very beginning, it took that to heart and said, “What do I offer people as a storyteller that’s natural to me that I can do?” One thing you can do better than anyone else is be yourself. What do you offer the world as a unique storyteller? How do you like to hear stories? So kind of melding those two things together, but you come across a place that’s natural to you because there’s great storytellers. There’s the great storytellers; they’re really animated. Then there’s the great storytellers that just talk really deep and slow and rip you into their world. Then they’re storytellers that make you laugh, ones that make you cry, and they’re all great storytellers. If I did the cheesy, sentimental NPR guy, I think I’d suck at it. I wouldn’t be any good.
Justin: Did you see Powell’s storytelling on the Baylor Facebook?
Chet: No. What did he do?
Justin: I think there’s a generational gap a little bit between that. Look, Powell told me whenever I was becoming a lawyer that a jury will never believe me if I’m not wearing cowboy boots, and I thought, “I’m not going to wear a suit and cowboy boots”. I wear cowboy boots plenty, but that’s not my vibe in a suit. But he told me that, like, “The jury will never believe you if you’re not wearing cowboy boots”. I talk like this and look like this. Nobody is going to question if I’m a carpetbagger if I have boots on or not, but I just remember thinking how strange of a very fine point that was.
Chet: Oh, gosh. I think you take that kind of stuff with a grain of salt. There’s a lot of people who if they– If you bring in a New Yorker and you throw them in cowboy boots, you’re going to do more damage to his credibility than anything because they’re going to go like, “Look, he’s trying to pretend like he’s one of us”.
Justin: My first boss is, to this day, one of the most successful trial lawyers in America. I remember the first case I tried with him in Seguin, and he wore one white shirt, and at the end of every day, he put it on the back of his chair and wore it again the next day. That was the least important thing to him was how he looked. He was just good.
Chet: Yes, there’s a lot to be said about just being dang good at it.
Justin: All right, Chet. My first introduction to you other than probably passing in the hallway was Law Day at Poppa Rollo’s, if I recall. Was that the name of that pizza place?
Chet: Yes [chuckles].
Justin: Do you remember what you did that day?
Chet: Was that the epic concert from Plan B? The Plan B to sing?
Justin: Plan B? I was thinking G and R.
Chet: No, I know exactly what you’re talking about. That was karaoke night.
Justin: Yes, and what’d you do?
Chet: Oh, man. It was probably Paradise City.
Justin: I think it was.
Chet: Was it Paradise City?
Chet: It was definitely Paradise City, but are we sure it was Poppa Rollo’s and wasn’t that seedy Irish bar over south of campus?
Justin: No, it was definitely the pizza joint that had the dumpy metal building and behind in the parking lot.
Chet: Yes. Okay. No, you’re absolutely right.
Justin: Was that Poppa Rollo’s?
Chet: That was Poppa Rollo’s.
Justin: I never said that word since law school, but I remember everybody there– That was the summer, so I had just started. You were a quarter ahead of me. Everybody is terrified in law school. We’re all of a sudden supposed to be buddies at a law day when you have an impossible amount of work, so everybody is laughing. They’re having fun, but they also know they got a bunch of work. Then Paradise City comes on, and you came out, but nobody knew who you were. Do you remember? You had a full wig. I don’t even know where you got that stuff. Everybody was like, “Who is that?”
Chet: What the heck? Hey, man. I’m just trying to cut the tension, I guess man.
Justin: That was fantastic because you also always knew the answers in class. You were obviously a hard-working, one of the smartest kids in the class, but then you come out like that. It was just this very odd dichotomy of law school in my mind.
Chet: I guess my whole life has been gearing me up toward dancing around entertaining people in wigs because that’s a lot of The Daytripper now.
Justin: Yes, Oatmeal. I remember your stop in Oatmeal Texas.
Chet: Oatmeal, exactly.
Justin: You came out dressed like Wilford Brimley or whatever.
Chet: Yes [laughs].
Justin: Who was that character? Is it Wilford Brimley or just the guy from the Quaker Oats box?
Chet: It was a combination of all of it, honestly. If Wilford Brimley were a colonial Quaker, what would he look like?
Justin: Who loved oatmeal.
Chet: That’s it. Professor Powell email me every now and then to compliment me on an episode.
Justin: Is that right?
Chet: Man, for me to think that he is out there watching kind of freaks me out a little bit.
Justin: I just feel like his hands tremble as he’s trying to give somebody a compliment. That’s the harder thing for me to accept in this discussion.
Chet: Yes, that’s very true. Very true.
Justin: I joke with people whoever bring your show up to them like, “No, that guy was at the top of his class”. You went and work for one of the best jobs you could get coming out of law school. Very few people got. You got that job, and then a few years in, you decided, “No, I’m doing different”. How did that come about?
Chet: Oh, man. I’ll take you the long way around to answer that. I was a film major in undergrad: radio, television, and film. I might be the only RTF major that’s ever gone to Baylor Law School. I need to look at that. I was always planning on doing entertainment law. Law was a backdoor way to get into the film industry, but maybe to have more credibility than the other guy who had just got jumped on the dogpile or something. I thought, “Man, you can do anything with a law degree”. I could produce or be an entertainment lawyer, and then I’ll have something to fall back on that is an actual trade.
I went to law school. Ended up doing pretty well to where those big jobs just start recruiting you, and the numbers they’re throwing around as your starting salary, you’re like, “Holy crap, I didn’t know I’d ever make that kind of money”. Your law school debt is through the roof, and you’re like, “I’ll give it a shot. Yes, I’ll try it out”. It may be hell, and everybody else is telling you, “Oh, it will be. It’s going to be”. You’re like, “Yes, but I’ll see. I’ll use it–“
Justin: I’ll be fine.
Chet: “I’ll be fine. It might work for me”. Now, I never really expected it was my long term solution, but I thought, “I’ll get there. I’ll make some money. I won’t spend the money, and then maybe I can fund my own television show”. No, that wasn’t my thought at all. I was like maybe I’ll make an independent film, or I thought I would have more opportunities to go into entertainment law. This was the time in the early 2000s, the law was– sorry. Movies were booming in Austin. Then other states started playing these incentive games where they would give you these insanely deep discounts in tax credits, and so the movies left.
The movies all left-right as I came to Austin and realize that, “Yes, I wasn’t going to be doing anything in entertainment law. I was a trademark copyright attorney, and I better get used to sitting in my office, listening to passive-aggressive partners yell at me, and generally be around people who hate their job 24 hours a day”. It was like, “This is awful”. You hear that thing like, “It’s better to be at the bottom of a ladder you want to climb than halfway up one you don’t”. I had no one that I could look up to and go, “Man, I want that guy’s job. That’s the job I want”. Because those guys hated their jobs more than us I think, the partners did.
It was like, “Okay, I got to come up with an escape plan”. I thought, “If it doesn’t work, I’ll just go back to being an attorney”, and not at a big law firm. I’ll go find some other place to be an attorney. I started in the fall of ’06. In the spring of ’07 we shot the pilot, which we went to Waco Aided Health Camp and all that stuff.
Justin: When you were in your workout clothes?
Chet: Yes, exactly. I found the shortest male– I don’t even think they were male shorts.
Justin: Red sweats.
Chet: I found the shortest red shorts I could buy, some killer tube socks and went to health camp.
Chet: Yes, like you do.
Justin: Ain’t the health camp gone now?
Chet: No, it’s still there.
Justin: Elite is gone.
Chet: Yes, that is now, whatever, Magnolia Table.
Justin: Yes. You went up to Waco. You filmed?
Chet: Filmed? That was the summer of ’07, and it took me a year- really two years in order to get the thing edited on top of billing the whatever amount of hours I was supposed to bill, having a kid and then finally got it in some shape that I could show sponsors. Found just a little bit of money, and when I say a little bit of money, a little bit of money. Fulbright & Jaworski sponsored me as I was walking out of the door, actually.
Justin: Wow. How cool. Good for them, though. That’s a class act.
Chet: Maybe that means they were happy to see me go. I don’t know. I think honestly, it was some people at the top like, “This is awesome. Take me with you”. That summer, I was like, “Listen, I’ll give it as long as it makes sense to give it to get it off the ground. If it fails miserably, hey I had a go at it. I’ll just go back to being a lawyer and work on the next thing”. That was 10 and a half years ago.
Justin: I understand how TV shows work if you get a contract with NBC. If you’re pitching to PBS, do you have to bring your own sponsors?
Chet: Yes, you do.
Chet: That was a rude awakening. They greenlit the show. That had been a long time coming. I was like, “Yes, awesome. Greenlit the show. What’s my budget?” They’re like, “Haha, young child. We’re PBS. We beg other people for money. We don’t give money away”. I’m like, “Ah, what?” “You’ve got to go and find your own sponsors”. Like, “Oh, gosh. How do I do that?” They’re like, “You make a pitch deck, and you talk to them”. I was like, “How much could I get?” They were like, “You could probably find $50,000 from five people and patch it together”. I thought, “I can make a show for that and make a living off of that”. It sounded great. Hollywood, at the time, they were like, “You need between $75,000 and $100,000 to make an episode of anything”. I was like, “I can make a season for about that”. Anyway, this was in 2008 as the world economy was crumbling, and I was out asking people for money. It was like a horrible sea storm of bad luck. I remember I kept dropping the sponsorship ask. I was like, “If no one will give me 50, maybe they’ll give me 25”. Phbbbt. “No one will give me 25, maybe they’ll give me 10”. Phbbbt.
If I cut my budget and I only take one car and I do this and I get my crew to work for free, what’s the most amount of money I can ask for somebody where they won’t think about it, they’ll just give it to me? I thought $2,000. I’ll just ask people for $2,000. Sure enough, Fulbright & Jaworski was like, “Sure”.
Chet: I remember my first sponsor was Live Oak Brewing. I called Live Oak Brewing. They were one of the OG craft beers in Austin then.
Justin: Them and Independence?
Chet: Yes, Independence was around.
Justin: Those two. Is Live Oak still around?
Chet: Yes, they’re still around. They’ve all just been slowly growing as opposed to crushing it with venture capital. Chip is the owner, and I love him dearly. He’s been real supportive, but he’s kind of like crusty old man. I’m sure he’s turned down every multimillion-dollar offer that has come in his door like, “Nah”. I remember talking to him on the phone, and he goes, “Chet, this sounds pretty cool. Let’s do it”. I was like, “Oh. Yes, sir”. I hung up the phone and slammed it down, and then I was like, “Oh, crap. If someone’s actually giving me money, that means I actually have to make the show”. Before that, it’s like all pipe dreams like, “No one gave me money. It didn’t work out. I’m fine”. As soon as he committed, it was like, “Oh, dang, I better actually make a show now”.
Justin: Are there limitations on who can be your sponsors or how much money you can get?
Chet: There’s no limitation on how much money I can get. We’re independent, so we’ve kept raising the money on our sponsors, and they’ve stood by us from the very beginning. Now, I’ve got a full staff and an office and all that stuff, so certainly, it’s a lot more expensive now to make the show than it was. I can’t have any liquor or porn. That’s it, though. Everything else is out there.
Chet: Cigarettes I think are fine.
I think they’re fine. It’s like, “How would that go over with the kids?”
Justin: Could you have 50 sponsors, or is there just a certain amount of airtime you’re allowed to give the sponsors?
Chet: That’s the killer. I get a minute before the show and a minute after the show, so whoever sponsors has to go in that minute block. We’ve got six sponsors. Everyone gets 10 seconds each. It’s worked really well. They’ll pay the same amount too.
Justin: Can you have in-show product sponsors because weren’t you driving around with Toyota at one point? That was a thing.
Chet: Yes, I was. Now, I’m proudly in a Don Hewlett Chevrolet. It’s one of those things you can have no blatant product placement. It’s a road trip show, so I have to drive something. There’s no prohibition that I can’t drive my sponsor’s truck. I just can’t go like, “I tell you, the handling and capability of this is really good for eating tacos”, or whatever.
Justin: Who checks this? Is there somebody at PBS that’ll watch these and be like, “This is too much”?
Chet: I don’t know, honestly. I think it’s like just– We’re just wise to not raise any red flags along the way.
Justin: What is the internal negotiations with PBS? I just want to know how this generally works. If you have X time slot, can you say, “We’re better now. We got more. We want a better time slot?” Are those kinds of negotiations that happen too?
Chet: I’ve never negotiated time slots, really. I guess I probably could push, but we were happy with what they gave us in the beginning. Then our audience has gotten so adapted to wherever we are that we don’t want to change it now.
Justin: Who are your six big sponsors or your six sponsors?
Chet: Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q, Don Hewlett Chevrolet, Texas Farm Bureau Insurance, the city of Georgetown, Dell Computers, and Ranch Hand grille guards made in Shiner, Texas. Not too bad. We had Lone Star for the longest time, and they– whatever. The sponsorship game is one of the hardest things about it. Luckily, our sponsors now, I know them personally.
I’ve always known our sponsors personally, but when one of them takes another job and then it gets filled by some new gal or guy coming out of some other– Lone Star hired some girl who had been a Texan but had lived overseas for forever, like in New York or somewhere and came in and was like, “Yes, we’re changing everything”. Every contract got canceled, and so you’re like, “All right”. That opened a door for Dell, which Dell’s been phenomenal partner.
Justin: Yes, I would think. What is the benefit of the PBS platform?
Chet: Control. I still own everything.
Justin: Oh, nice.
Chet: They just air it.
Justin: That’s fantastic.
Chet: At the end of the day, the big benefit, and I’ve got friends who played– I’ll give you an example. I’ve got a buddy who did five seasons of a show on the Food Network. They did the five seasons, and then the show got canceled, but they’re still reairing his show. They’re airing it– They just signed a deal. They’re airing it in South Africa, in Korea, and all of this stuff. He showed up, got paid, and now he doesn’t have anything.
Justin: Once you end your show, could you package it and syndicated on TNT or whatever?
Chet: Oh, yes. For sure.
Justin: Oh, nice. You’re over that threshold of where you can even be considered for that?
Chet: Yes. We’re trying to pass up Seinfeld. How many episodes did Seinfeld make? We’ve got 126 flipping episodes.
Justin: That’s got to be more than Seinfeld.
Chet: That’s a lot. Yes, I would think so. You look at like, this is where it’s a wake-up call to me. We’re in season 11. We’ve been on for 11 years. Guess how long The Munsters were on TV?
Justin: I don’t know.
Chet: Two years.
Justin: Is that right?
Chet: Two years.
Justin: The Simpsons like 34 years.
Chet: Yes, 34 like South Park. Yes, exactly. All these shows that were like, “Oh my gosh, it is iconic”, maybe it’s just for childhood or for throughout time. They were on for a few years, and then they went off, and I’m like, “Holy crap”. At which time am I like the old washed-up guy? I don’t know.
Justin: Not yet.
Chet: Yes, not yet. Thank you.
Justin: I think if I remember, you said that your early-on crew and some of the guys that were working with you put it together, were they film student buddies of yours?
Chet: Yes, a buddy of mine that I had graduated undergrad with, Nathan Locklear– I’m an attorney. I didn’t have any camera equipment. I didn’t have anything, but I’d kept in touch with some of my buddies from film school. It just so happened that one of my best buddies from film school was now working at ACC, Austin Community College and was the equipment manager for their entire arsenal of film equipment. I was like, “Hey, bud. Let’s do this”. He’s like, “Should we ask permission?” I was like, “Yes, we should probably ask for permission”. We went and asked the Dean of the department was like. “Awesome. Go, go. Take as much as you need”.
Justin: That’s great.
Chet: If we had to rent the equipment, that would have sunk the whole show straight off the bat. It’s just a little a whole meshwork of a blessing on the show, man, that you’re like, “Wow”. It would have been very different if that hadn’t been in place or that hadn’t been in place.
Justin: A lot of your older episodes, especially, you’d catch the crew in a lot of the scenes. Has the crew been the same general core group?
Chet: Yes, for sure. We’ve started in the newest episodes putting the crew and even more with our little in-car chatter with the GoPros, breaking stuff down. The crew is actually getting their own following, which is awesome. There’s some Richie and Daniel fans out there that are sending them little love letters online too.
Justin: Of the crew, were any of these people you knew back from college? Were these people that went that far back, or you met them as you were starting to do this?
Chet: Richie, he was part of the original four that went to Waco for the pilot. He’s still with the show. He’s been with the show ever since. He’s part of the original crew, which is awesome. Kellie, who runs audio for us about half the time, she’s freelance for us. She was an intern on the very first episode. It’s been pretty cool to have the same core group, for sure.
Justin: I was reading now it’s kind of been turned into an entire production company that does work outside of The Daytripper show.
Chet: People are still amazed to learn that we do other stuff. It’s not just The Daytripper. Honestly, I think I ended up being the host of The Daytripper because I was just the only guy who would work for free who was standing around. My intentions was not to be a travel show host. That was not what I was going for. It was like, “I’ve got an idea. I want to make the show. I certainly can’t hire anybody to do it. I think I know what I want, so I’ll just go and do it”.
People ask, “Do you do anything else?” Like, “We’ve got the cameras and stuff. Let’s start doing other stuff”. It’s just been one little build after another, and now we are a full-service production company that we made. This past year, we made all of the Texas Smokey Bear commercials, which was awesome.
Justin: I was terrified of Smokey the Bear as a child.
Chet: Dude, if you saw him
emerge out of a garbage can that he gets carried around in, you would have even more nightmares.
Justin: Is it mostly commercials type stuff?
Chet: Yes. Commercial stuff, we’ve got a couple other– I’m the executive producer of another television show that is going to hit PBS very soon called the High Pointers.
Justin: What is it about?
Chet: Some friends of mine who are obsessed with climbing the highest point in every state. Did you know about this, this is a whole subculture?
Justin: I knew there were like the fourteeners or whatever they call themselves.
Chet: Yes. In Colorado, it gets to 14. You got to tag the highest point in Colorado. The Colorado high point is really one of the easier ones honestly.
Justin: Is it Pikes Peak?
Chet: What’s that?
Justin: Is it Pikes Peak?
Chet: No, Pikes Peak is a fourteener but the highest point’s Mount Elbert. Kansas, it’s like you just jump a fence and roll on a molehill. Then Texas has a really great high point, Guadalupe Peak.
Justin: Yes, I saw that episode.
Chet: Some of the episodes will be a little less exciting than some of the other ones. Like, Washington Mount Rainier, there’s a real legitimate risk of death for everybody.
Justin: They’re going to go climb, is it McKinley in Alaska?
Chet: Yes. That’s the plan.
Justin: Do you have the– Because I just know Netflix is buying everything that walks and has a TV on it. Have they approached you ever? Like, “Hey, can we buy a trench of your shows or anything like that?”
Chet: Netflix– No, to answer your question. No and I’m really offended. I’m waiting for my phone to ring at any moment.
Justin: I have a friend here who makes reality shows and he’s talking about how they can almost put out any sort of sizzle reel and it’s getting picked up by either YouTube or Facebook or Netflix or one of them at this point.
Chet: Really, I need his number. I haven’t got called yet.
There are ways you can get on Amazon Prime, that’s pretty easy. You just submit. We’re in a wild west of content right now. It really is like–
Justin: It’s great for the consumer.
Chet: Yes. We’re watching stuff everywhere. It’s great for the content makers like myself. There’s just so many places to watch shows. It’s getting so fragmented. It’s wild. I don’t turn on broadcast television anymore. Do you?
Justin: No. Comedy Central sometimes. Just in the background.
Chet: We canceled cable years ago.
Justin: Is that right?
Chet: Yes. I don’t really watch much TV. I’ve got too many kids. I often say, “I’m a pusher not a user.”
Justin: Yes, that’s fair. I think that’s a really good point about your show like shows and TV anymore. If they don’t have an agenda or sometimes it’s just terrible. You’ve got the mix of shows with agendas or the mix with just scandal for the sake of getting people to watch almost like clickbait for TV. Your show is very family-friendly. It is very positive. It shows the best in people, it shows the best in cities. What is your goal for every episode?
Chet: I want everybody to finish an episode and go, “I want to go there.” I often said, “I want to make a show that makes people watch less TV.” That’s what I want. I want the reaction to be, “Man, I did not know that was there. Let’s get in the car and go this weekend or let’s plan our trip for the summer when we’re going to get to go to Big Bend or whatever.” I think Texas is just sitting on a treasure trove of stories and food and outdoor beauty. There’s so many people who sit in this discontent bubble thinking, “Man, I can’t afford to go overseas or isn’t that place in I don’t know, Turkey, Cappadocia beautiful.” It just breeds discontent.
I’m trying to give them this whole wealth of things that are literally an hour from their back door. That they can go like, “Hey man, let’s just get in the car and go.” There are so many things– I think we all want some sense of adventure in our lives, we just don’t realize how close it is and people can go. I guarantee you, you can have a better day, an hour from your back door than you can in Europe. Take that day out of a vacation, one to one, this day versus this day. You could have more fun somewhere in the hill country.
Justin: Big Bend in the winter is maybe my favorite place to go. I went every Christmas for a few years in a row. This year, I missed it because I went overseas. It is in the winter, it is magical. It really is and I had no idea. I just had no idea and I get out there and thought how have I never been here. You say your goal is to try to make every city be inviting and make people think they want to go there. There are some cities in the state of Texas that would be very hard to do that with. Have you run into any that you’re like, “We can’t air this or let’s not do that one.”
Chet: Dude, the hardest thing is when you go to– No, we’ve never shot something and then be, “We can’t air it.” By the time the crew is mobilized, we know exactly what we’re doing. Everything’s set up, you know the show you’re going to make. You don’t know exactly what you’re going to get. We say it like this, when we go to make a show, we have our best offensive strategy on earth. We just don’t know what the defense is going to give us. You got to bob and weave, but for the most part, you know what you’re going to be doing.
Justin: Who plans it out?
Chet: I do. I’m still doing that. I’ve got a producer that calls and arranges and sets the schedule, but as far as the linear narrative of the show, that’s still me. The most heartbreaking thing is when you go to this tiny town and you eat this amazing barbecue or a burger, and you’re like, “This is awesome, all right.” You looking around like that’s the only thing to do within 30 miles, and you are like, “Crap, this will never be on a show ever because there’s nothing to do.” There’s a bunch of things that, man, I’m just waiting on, and we’ll see. There’s some stinkers out there we just don’t have episodes about them.
Justin: Are y’all in a current season right now because I know you just had Waxahachie.
Chet: We just had Waxahachie. Yes, we got new ones coming out right now. We just did a Waxahachie, Palacios, McKinney, Spring Texas and it finishes up with the Texas Capitol. We went and did an episode about how do you trip to the state capitol. Justice Nathan Hecht gave us a tour of the Supreme Court. It was pretty darn awesome. I was intimidated seeing that name because I remember in law school, if I saw his name on an opinion, I was like, “I’m screwed.”
Justin: Yes, you just gave me chills. No, for the firm you worked at, you were fine when you saw that name on an opinion. On the firm I work at is not good.
Chet: Right. It’s a good point. A very good point.
Justin: When will you all start filming for season 12, right?
Chet: Yes, season 12. Hopefully, next month, that’s the fingers crossed in June, we’ll be out there on the road for season 12.
Justin: When do you all start releasing the names of the cities you’re going to do?
Chet: We keep that pretty tight wraps until we get them filmed. If you start, you just set up too many expectations, and things change. Like for instance, we’ve had season 12 in theory locked in for a while. Then one of our big tentpole episodes was going to be green, but you can’t do green without Green Hall. When are concerts coming back, Justin? I don’t know. We may be concertless for 2020.
Justin: Chet Daytripper might be able to pull in a solo concert, there’ll be plenty of distancing.
Chet: With like one person every six feet, that’s going to be so lame. Oh my gosh.
Justin: Okay, you have decided to put down your roots in Georgetown. Not only that, your family’s there, you’ve bought a handful of buildings around the square. What is your draw and what is your love of Georgetown?
Chet: I was in Austin and that city outgrew me. That city just flat out outgrew me. I looked around and didn’t recognize it anymore. Certainly not the Austin I went to school in. It’s funny you don’t realize you’re living in a golden age of a town until it’s over, and you’re like, “Dang.” That ’99 to 2003 in Austin, there wasn’t any development, it was kind of frozen–
Justin: Frost tower that was going up right about then. That was big deal.
Chet: Right at the end. That thing started peeking its head up, but for the most part of that town didn’t change. When I told my friends from Southeast Texas that I was moving to Austin, they thought I was a weirdo. Like, “Dude, that place no, no. It’s dirty and weird, you don’t want to move there.” Within my college years, that all changed and then boom. I needed to be centrally located just for the sake of the show and friends.
I didn’t want to live too far. We moved just 30 miles outside Austin to Georgetown, and it gave us the best of both worlds. The square feels like it’s frozen in time, but the businesses are vibrant. You got cool bars and restaurants and shopping, but it still feels small. It’s a town of 60,000 people now. If I’m down on the square, it could be a town of 5,000 people because I know everybody. It’s changing, but it’s still in that good zone. I was like, “This is perfect.” As soon as we moved our production company to square, I rented some space, I started walking around and just praying like, “Man, I would love to have a piece of this and I don’t know where that is.” I started looking at every building I thought was being underutilized, or maybe it had some legacy owner that didn’t really care about it anymore and just started cold calling people and found a couple of people who I can’t tell you why, but they were willing to sell me their buildings.
Chet: Some of them had been– It’s gross work, you got to get in there and rip out asbestos and [crosstalk]
Justin: Please tell me you were not ripping out asbestos.
Chet: I don’t believe any of that stuff, man. Come on. These plaintiff’s attorneys will tell you anything about asbestos, it’s harmless.
Justin: Can I have Laura sign up with me now?
Chet: It’s harmless.
I’m just kidding. You hire abatement people but it’s just–
Justin: Those are expensive and a pain.
Chet: It’s expensive and you’re walking through pretty grimy places trying to figure out how every old building has a– Every solution in an old building is custom, so you got to talk about, “Crap, how are we going to get the plumbing? How are we going to do the electrical? How are we going to do this?” Because there’s no– A lot of contractors won’t touch them because they like clean slab, build it up and I’m done.
Justin: Do you all have a historic design there that you have to go through or is it still [crosstalk]
Chet: The front facade can’t change historically. I’ve been fortunate enough, I got three buildings. The oldest building in Georgetown was built in 1870, and it was an old saddle shop, pretty cool and the saddle maker lived above it. The front doors are huge because you used to– They were big enough to ride your horse in, so you could get your saddle fitted and then– It’s pretty awesome. It’s just so cool to have pieces of history and to be the stewards of it. It’s not something I necessarily planned on but I’m certainly glad I do.
Justin: Are you planning on picking up more?
Chet: Not in Georgetown but if the right opportunity presented itself for a similar property in another city like Seguin, just throwing that out there that I’m like, “It’s been underappreciated but for some reason, I feel like has an upside.” There’s plenty of people who tell you there’s no reason to go to Seguin but I don’t know, my gut says it’s a good place. I think if the right opportunity presented itself, certainly. I love it because you– We started ripping out the walls in one of them and found a barbecue fire brick pit that was hidden underneath the floorboards that had been there since– I think the floor probably went down in 1899 and so whatever the fire pit was had been there before that. I was like, “Who had firebrick back then or something?”
Justin: You found horseshoes and the 1920 headlight?
Chet: Old horseshoes, we found old headlights and found out that one of the buildings where we are in now used to be an auto shop. We’ve traced the headlight back to some 1920s automobiles.
Justin: You said you found original hardwood floors and then you went through like eight layers it took to get there in one of your interviews.
Chet: Yes. It’s an archaeology dig, man. You just start ripping stuff down like, “What the crap?”
Justin: How cool is that though?
Chet: It’s fun, it’s a blast.
Justin: Whenever we were in law school, you come out and Georgetown is not a place to file a lawsuit if you’re the type of work I do and we tried a case there a year ago and the jury panel was very different than I expected. It was a much more, I don’t want to say Austin, but you had a lot more millennials on the jury panel, you had a lot more tech people living there that I’m sure were 10 years ago. You could tell that city is changing a lot and I was pretty surprised by that.
Chet: Changing a time. To the chagrin of many people in town, they’d want to keep it frozen but it’s getting better all the time, which I think is awesome.
Justin: You’re helping to do that by developing some of these buildings.
Chet: I hope so. Man, you know what, there are some buildings in downtown San Antonio that just make me cry because they’re falling apart. I love downtown San Antonio.
Justin: The city is doing a great job, a few years ago they basically passed a rule that said, “If you’ve got broken windows or a leaky roof, fix them or we’re going to fine you per day.” That led to all these just out-of-town or in-town investors that had been sitting on these dilapidated buildings, they just started offloading them. Now you’re getting this great turnover in town of those buildings getting renovated. One of them had this sheet metal siding that was super ugly, they pulled it off, it had these beautiful stone carving facades all throughout.
Chet: See, that’s awesome, that’s so cool.
Justin: They’re doing a good job at fixing that. The Castros were really dedicated to improving our downtown and now you’re starting to see the fruits of that come through. It’s great.
Chet: That’s awesome. I think the sky’s the limit for downtown San Antonio. What is the it city? In the ’80s, it was Dallas and Houston and then it became Austin, but I think Austin’s days are numbered in a sense just because it’s becoming something that I don’t think the people steering it wanted it to become. It’s still going to be vibrant and fun, I’m not dogging it that much– I’m kind of dogging it.
Justin: Nobody can afford to live there.
Chet: What now?
Justin: Nobody can afford to live in Austin now.
Chet: That’s a big part of it too.
Justin: It’s priced everybody out.
Chet: A big part of it. I see San Antonio within the next decade will become the it city of Texas.
Chet: I know, right? Y’all don’t want it to be but, man, as long as y’all can preserve some of that old patina, you’ll be a good man.
Justin: The people here care a lot about making San Antonio stay San Antonio. It’s a very weirdly friendly city where you just make friends randomly, and they’re friends for life, and I’ve only run into that kind in New Orleans before where you get that vibe that the person sitting next to you is your friend. I love that city.
Chet: That’s awesome.
Justin: I try to keep these about an hour, so we’re getting close and I want to run through just a few things. You brought it up, what are some of the other cities that just– You’re traveling unlike anybody else that I would know. You said you think Seguin is on the cusp of these old-school square cities, any others that you’re starting to see a different feel or attitude about them?
Chet: I think Seguin is popping up, I think the counterpart to Seguin in DFW is Waxahachie down south. I think that’s right on the corner of blowing up in a big way. Certainly Georgestown and we’re right in the crux of that right here. I think some of my favorite towns are out in the Hill country, like the undiscovered Hill country, I call it Mason, San Saba, Llano. Love those towns and they’re right– I’m curious, I can’t make a call as to what’s going to happen to those. They may stay small for infinity because they’re not comfortable to commute from anyway and only a certain amount of people actually want to live that lifestyle of the legitimately slow town where there’s still old-timers sitting in front of the hardware store drinking coffee till 11:00 AM. Those towns still exist, they really do.
Justin: Mason is the only county in Texas that has the state gemstone and I can’t remember if it’s a ruby or–
Chet: Blue topaz, man.
Justin: Blue topaz, yes.
Chet: Blue topaz.
Justin: Josh Fogleman, do you remember him from law school?
Chet: Yes, for sure. Definitely.
Justin: Him and his daughter have gotten really into geology and they’ve been to Llano, and they’ve been looking for topaz in Mason. He’s keeping me on the up and up about where all the geological finds are.
Chet: Is that really?
Chet: We went rockhounding in Mason in a Mason episode and we legitimately found a piece of topaz and as soon as I found it and showed it to everybody, I got the emails. “You’re fake, you’re a liar. How dare you plant that?”
Justin: No joke?
Chet: I was like, “I promise it was legit.” Because I think there’s a few ranches that’ll let you rockhound on the ranches and some of the locals hate that because they’re like, “They’re just stealing money, you can’t find that stuff out there.” We legitimately found a big chunk of it.
Justin: Do you have it?
Chet: Yes. I do somewhere. [crosstalk] No, I think it’s close.
Justin: Oh, wow.
Chet: I mean, it’s not–
Justin: No, I would have just thought that was quartz, though. Did you all have somebody out there with you telling you what it was?
Chet: Wait, what was that?
Justin: Did y’all have someone out there with you telling you what that was because I would’ve thought it was just quartz or something.
Chet: For sure, there’s no way I would’ve known like, “That’s worth something.”
Justin: How cool, though.
Chet: Pretty cool.
Justin: Your favorite swimming holes.
Chet: Favorite swimming holes, San Solomon Springs Balmorhea, Texas, it’s got to be the best swimming hole out there.
Justin: Is it open yet? It’s open-closed, open-closed?
Justin: I think it got closed, again. I think it’ll be closed this summer.
Justin: Your favorite barbecue. You can give a few.
Chet: I’ve got a top-five, Louie Mueller’s in Taylor, Miller’s in Belton, Terry Black’s in downtown Austin, Franklin in Austin, Pecan Lodge in Dallas. Dang, it gets out of hand real quick. Bodacious Barbecue in Long View. There’s some that I’ve been wanting to try down in San Antonio, 2M I have not tried yet.
Justin: 3M. Is it 2M? It’s 2M.
Chet: 3M? 3M makes the post-it notes.
Justin: You’re right. I haven’t been to 2M either because the line, I think.
Chet: Is it, really?
Justin: Also a Smoke Shack here is just unbelievable.
Justin: Yes. Their brisket is almost like short rib. I don’t know how to describe it. Favorite tacos in Texas?
Chet: Oh, man. Best tacos I’ve had down in the valley, two places that we put in our Brownsville episode. One is the only place in America left making traditional barbacoa where you cook the whole cow head in the ground.
Justin: I saw that episode.
Chet: Oh, man. Those are just unreal. Then there’s another place down there called Ultima Taco, which is like kind of the smaller street tacos where you eat– You’re getting started and you about a dozen and you’re just getting started. Dude, I love–
Justin: I used to go down there for work a lot.
Chet: You know what I’d love, though, like Ray’s Drive-Inn San Antonio with the inventor of the Puffy Taco if you want to believe that story. I love me some Ray’s, man.
Justin: Yes. it’s good.
Chet: I really do.
Justin: Best burger?
Chet: Best burger? Oh, man, I just had one in McKinney, Texas, at a place called The Yard. I’m a simple burger guy. To me, you can fancy them up with a fried egg and whatever, roasted chilies, and all that. I’ll happily eat that burger, but when you give me a perfectly seasoned patty, little thin so it’s crispy on the outside, with a nice American cheese and iceberg lettuce, that’s hard to beat, man. The Yard in McKinney was close. I love me a Chris Madrids burger, though. I can’t argue with that, man. I love– [crosstalk]
Justin: It’s open again now after it burned down.
Chet: Did it burn?
Chet: Oh, man, I missed that.
Justin: [laughs] It’s open again.
Chet: A lot of times those places don’t come back the same.
Justin: I haven’t been in yet but the pictures of it look like they built it exactly the same, not even changing at all.
Chet: That’s awesome.
Justin: What’s your favorite brewery tour?
Chet: Brewery tour. Real Ale in Blanco, they do a really good job. A really good job. You go there and the taproom will always have weird stuff. I love the tour in Shiner because you get the sense, it’s like Shiner, who you imagine in your head is this monster company is like it’s just a bunch of country guys that making some beer. I love the charm of Shiner but– You know in the taproom, at least the times I’ve gone, it’s like “Do you want to try Shiner Bock or Shiner Black or–
Justin: Here’s your four tokens.
Chet: Yes, I can get all this at the grocery store versus Real Ale, they’ll have some weird stuff in the taproom.
Justin: When you were in Shiner, did you go by Howard’s, the gas station with 10 beers on top?
Chet: Always. Nowadays, I’d just only go by Howard’s when I’m there. It’s like once you’ve done the brewery tour, you’ve done it, so I’ll just go to Howard’s. It’s still doing VHS.
Justin: I’m going to ask that.
Justin: Howard came out and showed us all these pictures of his kids one time, and I think we took pictures of his daughter going to prom that night with her. [laughs] He used to be a dentist. He’s got this wild story too. Yes.
Chet: Did he really?
Chet: That’s awesome. Legitimately, you could rent a DVD of Mission Impossible 2 and Jurassic Park and like, “Are you lying?” It still exist.
Justin: And get ice cream.
Chet: Yes. Ice cream. All your conveniences.
Justin: What about liquor distillery tour?
Chet: I’ll tell you, Garrison Brothers is pretty darn fun because they let you taste the whole process. I’ve been to some and it’s like you watch it, and then it’s really just a show to get to the tasting room but Garrison Brothers, they let you taste the beer. Then the White Dog, and this and this and this. They do a really good job at Garrison Brothers.
Justin: Where is that at?
Chet: Outside of Fredericksburg, Texas. High Texas.
Justin: Yes, I knew it was somewhere in the Hill Country, I don’t know exactly where it was.
Chet: Yes, Hill Country. Do you have one?
Justin: Here in San Antonio?
Chet: No, just favorite distillery tour.
Justin: I had the distillery owner and head distiller of Dorćol on recently and they make a classic Eastern European apricot brandy called rakia and he shipped in the still from Eastern Europe. it’s just the story behind it but also it tastes fantastic.
Chet: That’s awesome.
Justin: Here’s what I don’t like about tours when it’s just like, here’s this, here’s that, here’s this, go drink or go eat. They’re too small to have a really official tour, so when he goes and does it, it’s his story of him getting almost arrested when he’s ten for bootlegging in from Eastern Europe because his grandpa would send him Coke bottles full of rakia back to his dad. The personal story behind is just so fantastic and the still looks like it was made in Eastern Europe, it’s this– [crosstalk]
Chet: That’s awesome. Dorćol.
Justin: Dorćol, D-O-R-C-O-L. They also make beer now.
Chet: Okay, I’ve got to look them up. I didn’t know about that. That sounds awesome.
Justin: They have revitalized an entire part of our southern downtown area. They’ve become the hub for this art and music scene. It’s fantastic.
Chet: Cool. Southtown’s a pretty hit place. I love Southtown.
Justin: Yes, no, it’s great. That’s our office for a while. Are you going to do any shows ever outside of Texas?
Chet: That’d be grounds for treason, right?
Justin: It’s the Daytripper now, you’re no longer the Austin Daytripper.
Chet: It is true. People still are like, “That ain’t a day trip from Austin.” I was like, “That’s a 10 years old.” Our ideas, we just parachute into a town for a day and bounce out. No, I’ve got no interest in doing shows out of Texas, at least for now. I don’t want to make that a rule for forever but there’s still too much to explore here, man. There still is. I’m always learning more about the state, you know?
Chet: Every time I go to San Antonio, I learn more about it that it’s just like, “I’ve got to go back and try this or this or this.” I’d rather be an expert on a small thing than just a generalist about everything.
Justin: I want you to stay in Texas, but I want you to come to Fiesta.
Chet: That’d be a show. I’m going to need a local co-host.
Justin: I will happily tour you through it to the extent my tummy and liver can handle it.
Chet: Is it coming back, are we getting a Fiesta again?
Justin: It’s to reset in November.
Chet: Okay. All right.
Justin: We give medals out, that’s a big thing, so you people will be covered in medals, sashes full of medals, and people use them as fundraisers. My business and my podcast already made medals for this year.
Chet: Really? Okay. All right.
Justin: It’s this fantastic thing that I never even had heard of until I moved here and I love it.
Chet: Dude, that’s cool. It would be a shame if the Daytripper never covered Fiesta, we should make it happen.
Justin: I think. Chet, I don’t want to keep any more of your time but seriously, man, thank you so much for doing this. I have so many friends that love your show. I love your show. I am very happy for your success. I think you’re living a dream so really, man, thank you for giving us a little bit of your time.
Chet: Dude, I appreciate it. Any time you want me to come on, Justin, for real.
Justin: I’ll take you up on that and if you come to Fiesta, at least, I want to go to one of them with you.
Chet: We need to raise a beer, a German beer in the Beethoven Maennerchor. Again, a hidden gem of San Antonio, I love that place.
Justin: They have a whole Fiesta event themselves.
Chet: All right. That’s where we’re starting.
Justin: [chuckles] All right, brother.
Chet: That’s where we’ll start.
Justin: Take care. Tell your wife I said hi, thank you again.
Chet: I will.
Justin: All right, man.
Chet: Hey, good luck. Bye.
Justin: All right, man. I appreciate it. Yes, bye-bye.
All right. That does it for this episode of The Alamo Hour. Special thanks to Chet Garner, the Daytripper, for joining us. Guest wishlist continues with Coach Pop, Shea Serrano, Patty Mills, Jackie Earle Haley. We’ve got a few other people that have shown interest that has been pretty surprising to us, so thank you for listening. Subscribe on your favorite podcast platform and we’ll see you next time.
Thanks for joining us on this episode of The Alamo Hour. You are what make this city so great. We hope you join us next week. In the meantime, subscribe to our podcast. Check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/alamohour or our website, alamohour.com. Until next time, Viva San Antonio.
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