Road Notes: Day 125
Today we went into Austin proper for the first time. Every time we enter a new city for the first time we take a day to just explore. No real plans, no appointments, no interviews, just explore. This was that day in Austin.
We both had trouble sleeping the night before (windy night that rocked the camper) so we slept in a little. I squeezed in a quick workout shortly after waking and then we headed to the showers. In the morning the sun pours right into the showers and makes the whole place a rainbow. I’m embarrassed about how happy that made me.
We then headed into a town and, based on the recommendation of a friend, dropped by Torchy’s Taco Truck on 1st St. for breakfast tacos (solid plans are discouraged today but considering recommendations is very much allowed). We, naturally, ordered too much food and ate it all in a matter of minutes. The green chile queso was like melted gold.
After that we headed to a small thrift store where Lauren purchased a lot and I purchased a little.
We then found a parking spot on Rainey St. (which we had heard was the place to be) and walked to a very cute café called Cenote just across the bridge. Lauren had a latté and I had two dirty iced Chai teas in rapid succession b/c I’m basic and I had to kick a headache. We sucked up some free wifi for phone and computer updates and then hit the road, on foot, to aimlessly explore downtown Austin. We stopped shortly after though at the Congress St. Bridge and joined the growing crowd, there to witness the feeding of the bats that would supposedly take place at dusk. Lauren could tell you more about this than I (she Googled it while we were waiting) but basically: this time of year a bunch of bats (like several thousand) that live under the bridge all come out at the same time and feed and/or give birth, etc., etc. ask Lauren/Google.
We waited for about 45mins (expending our last bit of daylight) until, all the way on the other side of bridge, a line of bats could be faintly seen disappearing over the horizon. A few fluttered here and there under the bridge but overall it was totes meh.
We then left to explore 6th St. which we had heard was the place to be if you wanted to take shots and then ride a mechanical bull. We wanted to do neither tonight but we are interested in drinking culture so there we were. We did a brisk walk through and put a mental pin in a few places to possibly visit in the future.
We then discovered the Driskel Hotel, which was too opulent not to explore. Our rule of thumb in these situations is that in lieu of a locked door or a sign saying otherwise (or, of course, a private residence) you are free to go where you choose. Worst case scenario: an employee tells you to “please come down from there.” Whatevs, no jail time. Anyway, it was a fantastically beautiful old hotel. We eventually ended up in a spacious wood and cowhide bar (fancier than it sounds) on the second floor that really reminded me of the bar in The Shining. I am a huge fan of hotel bars. I may write a little something in their honor in the near future.
We left the Driskell and went to a series of places that I wont here mention by name because they were somewhat disappointing and I don’t want to rustle any feathers. A few of these places have been written about quite extensively (and recommended highly) so I’m willing to chalk it up to the afterburn of SXSW. Whatever it was, we return home tonight generally disappointed in Austin’s nightlife (not the queso though, that was beyond reproach). We both know this is an unfair assessment given how little we’ve seen thus far but when you’re tired/buzzed you feel how you feel, ya know?
We’ll give it another shot tomorrow.
P.S. I will say, based on the little driving we’ve done around town during the day, Austin is obnoxiously cute. I think around 30% of the local businesses are run out of an Airstream. Their neon sign game is world class (which gets them a LOT of points in my book).
Road Notes are timed entries—written in thirty minutes or less at the end of each day. Considerations are made for spelling/legibility but not for grammar. Deal with it.