Tuesday, November 4, 2008

M.I.A. - Missing in Austin!

Hello. Where was I yesterday? Um...I was in Austin.

I love Austin.

Most of the time I don't even mind driving there. Yesterday I had a 10am meeting there. So I left at 5. Yup. AM. That meant I got up and dressed at 4:30.

Now it really only takes 3 1/2 hours to get there. If you do 80mph the whole way; which considering the speed limit is 70, is not hard to do.

But I have a weakness. Cracker Barrel.

There is one is Waco (yes THAT Waco) and it is about a half way point, so I stop. Yesterday I had the Old Timers Breakfast with Hash Brown Casserole. Yum. They game me grits too, even though I tell them every time that I don't need them....and they can hold the gravy for the biscuits as well. They still bring it. Then I poked around in their country store...but didn't buy anything.

I always have a hard time finding my way in one section of Austin. My GPS tells me to turn onto Mo-Pac, but the visual shows a straight path. After missing the invisible turn, it has to "recalculate route" and sets me on the right course. It tells me to make a legal u-turn and then a hard right. I don't see a hard right. And I don't see anything listed as Mo-Pac.

After another bit of time "recalculating route" it decides I must be blind and puts me back on the main, and highly trafficked, road, I35. I don't mind this either since I get the full impact of the Austin Skyline. I can see the Capitol Building AND my favorite skyscraper, the Frost Building, which looks like an Owl in the evening. If you click on the link you get to read about some of the rumors and urban myths about the design.

I was in Austin for a meeting about a committee I am on with the Texas Library Association. The meeting was productive. Not as passionate as the first, but I think we are making progress. We have one more in February, so it is always nice to see the end in sight.

After we finished with our meeting we were going out to dinner. I managed to get a quick visit into Tesoros before hand, and purchased a couple new things for my Dia de los Muertos altar.

Austin is great in a way that my part of TX is not. There are people running, walking and biking. There are old homes with mature trees on winding and hilly roads. There are tons of people out...all doing there thing. It is a true city where people live and work in the same area, not make a quick retreat for a McMansion in the suburbs. Local eateries and bars litter the sidewalk. The people are less barbie-beautiful there.

We went to dinner at Z-Tejas where I had the Smoked Chicken Chili Rellano. Yum. The chili was not batter dipped and fried, but roasted and stuffed with smoked chicken and apricots and then topped with a sour cream sauce and pumpkin seeds. The black beans rocked. As I mentioned before, the people are as eclectic as the town. There were many couple out and some, you could tell, were on dates, but they were missing the anorexic, over exercised, fake tan, fake boob, HUGE diamond, style that prevails in my area. I love that!

We got done dinner and I hit the road at 7 pm. I made one stop at the Starbucks in Temple, TX and quickly got back on the road. I made it (even with the stop) in 3 1/2 hours. I guess I may have been driving faster than 80 during certain legs of the drive.

Sorry for the rambling post, but I am still tired. And still very much in love with Austin. I would love to move and be able to roam the streets, walking of course, eating and shopping my way to the point where I am as comfortable in my skin as the natives seem.

PS...My lovely and wonderfully fuel efficient car made the 500 mile drive using only a half a tank. The average mpg for the trip (including getting tied up in a bit of traffic and some slight city driving) was 46 mpg. I love my car!

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