I arrived in Austin, TX Saturday early evening with no plans on what I was doing, where I was staying, or for how long, but ended up having a great time.
When I showed up in Austin I was just really tired. Traveling is awesome, but sleeping a different place every night with different people and keeping up with blogging and researching places to stay and where to go is really time-consuming. I decided I would get a hotel room for the night, nothing fancy but just somewhere that I could really relax and get some rest before venturing into Austin on Sunday. It was the first place that I have paid to stay since being on this trip. It was well worth it. It gave to a chance to regroup, I got all of my electronics charged, I took an hour-long shower, and slept for 12 hours. It was definitely something that I needed.
After waking up well-rested on Sunday and checking out of the motel, I decided to explore Austin, mostly following advice from Jesse Bicknell on where to go. I did, however, find a really sweet brunch spot all on my own. This place was called Coal Vines and they had a great brunch menu, from which I selected the breakfast calzone, which was outstanding. The best part though was $1 mimosas. I mean, how can you go wrong with $1 mimosas on Sunday morning?
I was already downtown and had paid for parking for the day so I set out on foot from Breakfast to Zilker Park, which Jesse recommended I see. It’s this huge park in the middle of Austin where people play sports, picnic and bring their dogs. There are also tons of walking trails all with really scenic views. There is also a botanical garden in the park, that was worth seeing, though I think it would be even better when everything was in bloom.
I walked all over that park, and it was really nice to see some nature after being in so many cities for so long, because I’m definitely a country kid at heart. It was also beautiful in Austin, 80 degrees and sunny, I even waded in the river to cool off. After the park I headed back towards downtown to check out the more urban side of Austin. I ended up eating some Tex Mex at a little bar called Chupacabaras, which was good, but nothing special. I wandered around into the night, and stopped at Starbucks to get some stuff done on the computer.
I decided, after splurging on the hotel that I would sleep in my car for my second night in Austin. I went back and parked at the motel I had stayed at the night before so I could steal their wi-fi (sneaky sneaky) and rearranged my car so I could sleep. It’s actually not that uncomfortable to sleep in the car, however, one must always check the weather before doing so. I went to sleep and it was high 60s, woke up in the middle of the night and the wind was raging and it was freezing! Despite the cold I slept until well after 9am, but woke up to find my windshield covered in frost. I thought I was safe in Texas.. apparently not.
Monday morning I went out to be productive. Despite being on the road, laundry still needs to get done, and my car needed an oil change because I have put well more than 3k miles on it since being on the road. Luckily, I found a laundromat within walking distance of an oil change shop called Groovy Lube, where you get 13% off for being in a band? And even better, you get 25% off for being a college student, which according to my WSU ID, I am.
After getting some stuff done I drove to Dallas, it’s a 3 hour drive, but that seems like nothing after all of these 7 hour, 9 hour, 12 hour drives I’ve been doing. In Dallas I used Couchsurfing.org again and ended up staying with an ER doctor at his house, where he put me up in my own room, in a queen size bed, with my own bathroom, which was awesome. He was also a very well-traveled interesting guy, who uses almost all of his vacation time to travel the world, mostly staying in hostels or using couch surfing to do so.
He also took me out to a delicious burger joint called Twisted Root, where I had a Mexican Burger with pepper-jack, fried onions, jalapeños, and BBQ sauce. It was phenomenal. Then we met up with a group of his friends at the local watering hole, many of whom were couch surfers. We all drank beers and I got to be with a group of Texans in Texas while the Patriots kicked the crap out of the Texans 42-7, which was a very awesome experience.
I didn’t get to do much exploring in Dallas, but what I saw was good. Austin, however, was really awesome. It’s somewhere I wouldn’t mind going back to. Granted I only saw a small part of Austin, but it seemed like a really cool place to live, it had all the amenities of a large city, but also was very pedestrian friendly and had lots of nature and trees as well.