Yesterday morning was one of our earliest in weeks as we woke up early in order to hit the road as Debbie left for work. I’ve grown accustomed to waking up around 0830 and taking my time getting ready for the day. We said goodbye to Debbie and left Richmond for Austin, TX. However, on a strong recommendation from Debbie, we stopped at Bob’s Tacos for some breakfast on the way out of town. From the road, this place does not look overly inviting. Actually , it more resembles a garage. When you walk in and see the place full of people, mostly Mexicans, you know the food has to be authentic. It was excellent, another one of those great experiences. I had a bean and cheese taco and a couple of empanadas and you could tell everything was homemade and very fresh. We noticed from a poster inside that it was featured on the Food Network’s Guy Fieri’s show Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives. Debbie, thank you for that great recommendation and all of your hospitality. It was great to spend some time with you!
As we made our way to Austin, we decided it would be nice to have a picnic lunch on this gorgeous sunny day. We stopped at the grocery store and picked up the ingredients for steamers and beans. We stumbled on a nice park in La Grange, TX along the Colorado River (not “The Col. River”). While Mom & Shannon got the food ready, Jeff and I were scoping out a rope swing along the river for after lunch. We also decided to challenge our balance on the parking posts with the Miyagi “crane.” Shannon’s cheerleading skills gave her the clear upper-hand.
As we were cleaning up after lunch and getting ready to attempt the rope swing, an old car putted into the park. Three mouthy local kids jumped out of the car, had a quick lunch, and headed down the path to the rope swing. Skeptical of these hooligans, my first reaction was to lock up the car and trailer before following them down the trail to the swing. When we met them at the river bank, they were quick to show us their skills on the rope swing. As we started talking, we all warmed up to each other and they turned out to be nice kids despite their stories of getting kicked out of the military for fighting, and a recent return home from a juvenile school. From their descriptions of La Grange it seems that there was not much to do there — the rope swing was the most entertaining thing in town and becomes the hot spot on a nice summer day.
Rested up and enjoying the great weather, it seemed like an ideal time to ride the bike into Austin. Anxious to get a feel for the experience from the bike Jeff decided to come along as well. That’s not double vision, it’s two dudes on a bike and Jeff riding bitch.
As soon as we arrived in Austin, Jeff was anxious to head downtown to hear some live music. We arrived on 6th St and walked the strip to get a feel for the area, and it was like no other city I’ve ever seen. Bar after bar with live music blaring out onto the street. Each bar had a host at the door trying to entice us in with promises of cheap drinks. At one point a street entertainer/pan handler/sculptor caught up to us and asked what my favorite animal was. I know I’m supposed to avoid these people, but after seeing the schools of dolphins the previous day, “dolphin” flowed right out. He quickly tore off a sheet of tin foil and sculpted a dolphin that cost $4 of guilt.
Having fasted for so many hours, we decided it was finally time to stop at a restaurant and get some food in our stomachs. We went to El Camino, which was highly recommended at the hotel. We all split one of their famous burgers, verde chili fries, and buffalo wings. Again this was a Guy Fieri stop, but we thought it was over-rated. The food was just typical bar food with fancy descriptions. After endless criticism from my cousin Mike, it was time to exercise some of this food off with sport. Shannon and I took Mom and Jeff on in a game of pool. We lost, and I think it was because I was so out of shape.
Before heading back to the hotel to crash, we had to check out some more of the live music scene. We stopped back at a bar called Emo’s. This place was jammed with people crowded around two different stages. The only way I could describe the scene in this bar is to look up the word “emo,” which Wikipedia defines as a dark style of rock music and its associated subculture. Having been a huge fan of the Grunge era of the 90s, it seemed to me to be a step in a strange direction. Everyone appeared to be wearing that sweater from Christmas the rest of us put in the back of the dresser. I’ve come to understand that these are “hipsters” with “keychi” style.
My favorite was the acoustical music at the Blind Pig which sounded great, but was a few decibels too loud. The music at Emo’s was an interesting mix of the 50’s and contemporary alternative. I felt bad pulling Jeff away from this musical Mecca, but at 1 AM I was exhausted.