A few years back when Skye and I were heading across the country for the first time, I decided to buy an annual pass for Texas State Parks. It was a good investment then and it was a good investment this time around as well. If you do any camping and happen to be in Texas, I highly recommend it. With our 3 days of camping, it came just 6 dollars shy of the ala carte method. When we visited a park a few days later, we were coming out ahead by around 12 bucks and we still have 11 months and who knows how many more treks across the Lone Star State.
We rolled up to McKinney Falls State Park, around 15 minutes south of downtown Austin, on a Saturday of a 3-day weekend, and surprise of surprises, the park was full. It's easy to lose track of time when you don't have a work or school schedule to contend with.
Luckily, in the short time it took to pull the car and trailer to the side of the road and walk back to the park's office to get rerouted to another park, they had found a campsite that had cancelled and we were back in business.
The last time we were in Austin we drove around a bit and settled on eating at some neon sign filled joint that was good but not outstanding. I posted my whereabouts while waiting for our food. A couple of hours later, several restaurant recommendations came through.
I was not about to make the same mistake twice, so I queried my facebook friends on restaurants. The Magnolia Cafe was mentioned by more than one pal, so we gave it a go.
So glad we did. Fresh and delicous food and a nice local beer, yummy.
We enjoyed it so much we went to the second Magnolia Cafe for breakfast the next morning. There was a crazy line, so we headed to the one we'd been to the day before.
Yeah, it had a crazy line as well.
We found a lovely place down the street and had a wonderful meal before rushing out to help my friend and his wife with their Urban Challenge in Miami. The year before I had been helpful in their getting third place, or maybe it was second. This year I was too little too late. By the time I was able to find Wi-Fi and get set up, the race was practically over. Fortunately for them they had a couple of other good Googlers and still came in 6th place.
I like Whole Foods Market. On a lot of levels, it's a silly luxury. It's overpriced, has lots of issues with its stance on unions and a slew of other controversies. But they have a lot of stuff I like and compared to other markets, well....
Finding out that the first Whole Foods Market was in Austin and that their flagship was there, well, we sort of had to go.
So much fun. The place was massive. And excessive and yeah on and on.
How I enjoy guilty pleasures.
On one of our last tours to LA, the Venice/Santa Monica Whole Foods was right down the street from us. And this video pretty much nails it.
It has nothing to do with Texas and I haven't had this experience outside of Cali.
When you don't have a schedule to speak of, things can get a bit jumbly and joggly.
We ended up driving into downtown Austin Sunday, which we thought wouldn't be a problem. In fact, we figured it would be less crowded than during the week.
Unless, it was the day the Austin Marathon was being run, in which case it would be a not so good day to be in downtown Austin.
Not knowing our way around made escape from the gridlock madness even more impossible.
Oh well, it gave us a good reason to go really slowly and check out the buildings and such.
I'm running late for a dinner engagement, but my tales of our brief time in Austin and its environs will continue, up next, camping delights and debacles and keeping Austin Weird, more than a slogan.