Monday, January 31, 2011


Heading into the interior of Texas we left the coastal plains and entered hill country. It's been months since Gigantor had to downshift to climb a hill! We arrived at McKinney Falls State Park, which is just minutes from downtown Austin, but feels remote. We found many nice sites to choose from and got settle in. The foliage is starting to get a bit prickly!:

That evening we drove out to the west side of Austin to the home of Glenn and Carole, and their perfectly mannered four children and friendly dog. We drove together out into the country to a very popular barbeque restaurant called the Salt Lick. When I saw parking attendants waving us into the parking lot, and then saw how big and full the lot was, I began to appreciate just how popular this place is. The pungent aroma of the meat smoker was in the air as we searched for a spot big enough for Gigantor. We put in our name and settled in for the 1 1/2 hour wait, which went quickly with good conversation, a cooler full of beer, and the occasional chunk of smoked sausage passed out to the waiting crowd to keep the peace. Once we got seated the tray of meat and sides was brought:

The sausage and pork ribs were awesome, but the brisket was revelatory! Songs could be written about this stuff, and probably have. Outstanding. It was a great visit and meal with Glenn and his family.

The next day we drove into Austin to see the city. We walked Congress Street from Lady Bird Lake up to the Capitol:

Pausing to admire the reflection of the sky in this tower:

6th street west of Congress is Austin's night spot - almost every door opens into a club or bar. It was Sunday afternoon when we walked there, so it was low key, but looked like a fun place to enjoy Austin's renowned live music scene.

As the sun set over SoCo, we sat and watched rowers and kayakers glide up and down the lake...

...then walked out onto the Congress street bridge to see if we might spot some of the bats that live under it. We were lucky to pick a good spot, and watched with fascination as hundreds of bats wheeled around the abuttments in a blur of wings. In summer the hundreds become thousands and it is a real tourist attraction to watch them at dusk.

Our dinner that night was at the Hula Hut (thanks for the recommendation Dan!). Being a wonderfully warm evening it was quite crowded, but our wait was not long and we sat to enjoy a fish-bowl of Hu-la-la cocktail:

Then enjoyed warm chips & fresh salsa, chicken enchiladas, and this crazy fried banana desert:

After all that city life and dining out we were ready for some natural landscapes and exercize. At McKinney Falls state park there are two trail loops, one paved, one single track dirt, and a river with two waterfalls. The falls areas are large open moonscapes where the river has carved the limestone into fantastic shapes. We enjoyed walking and bicycling on the trails and around the falls:

1 comment:

  1. You guys are gone already right? We just pulled into the park today.