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Austin city limits, and beyond

November 9, 2015
Mural, 38th and Guadalupe

Keepin’ it weird (Orin O’Neill photos)

AUSTIN, Tex. — Time grows short… my visit will end when the Super Shuttle comes for me Tuesday afternoon. My first visit to Texas has been wonderful, and I look forward to returning soon. Highlights, none of which have anything to do with scooters, follow the jump.

It was with a twinge of sadness that I had to hand the rental car back. It was a 2016 Nissan Versa Note, so new it only had 77 miles on it when I picked it up.

Nissan Versa Note

I reviewed the Versa Note on my other blog, and four days spent with one confirmed my opinion. In fact, my friend Morgan, not into cars by any means, kept saying, wow, this is nice, I want one!

Kolache and coke

Kolaches are a big thing in Texas. What is a kolache, you ask? It’s a pastry with either sweet or savory fillings, brought to Texas by Czech immigrants. You can find them anywhere, just like you can find coffee in Seattle or pizza in New York. (Yes, that’s a Styrofoam cup. They’re still allowed in Texas.)

Texas state capitol

If you’re in the capital of Texas, it’s almost mandatory to visit the State Capitol. The weather was most Seattle-like on Thursday, so the building’s famous pink granite is rather muted in this photo. Everything being bigger in Texas, the Capitol is massive, easily dwarfing its sister buildings in Olympia and Salem.

LBJ's 1965 Lincoln limosine

Equally massive and difficult to photograph is the Lyndon B. Johnson presidential library and museum. So you get a picture of his presidential limo instead. The museum is fascinating, not just for its artifacts, but for its murals and interactive displays (the creepy animatronic LBJ that cracks jokes from the podium is in an exhibit about humor). Exit through the gift shop.

W 6th St

Like Seattle, Austin is in the midst of a construction boom that has obliterated many of its older buildings. Fortnately, there are still some that have escaped the wrecking ball. For now, anyway.

On Sunday, Morgan and I headed for the Hill Country, a place with very curvy roads and incredible scenery.

Lake Travis

Lake Travis, above, has seen its water level rise following recent torrential rain. It is surrounded by many small villages that contain rather expensive houses.

Longhorn Cavern

Morgan was particularly keen to see Longhorn Cavern State Park. Not only is it unique for its limestone formations, it has a colorful history as a refuge, munitions factory and even a speakeasy! 🙂

Enchanted Rock

We also went to Enchanted Rock, a popular place for hiking and camping. You can’t see it in the photo, but there were people walking up the side of the rock. The view from the top is spectacular. Or so I’m told.


In between stops, we saw a lot of cactus. This variety is edible. In the grocery store, it’s sliced up in a way that makes it look like green French fries.

Three meats, two sides

After a very long day burning up gas and putting break-in miles on the car, a plate of Texas BBQ at Stiles Switch really hit the spot. Favicon

One Comment
  1. November 9, 2015 6:05 pm

    You crack me up. Styrofoam has only been outlawed at your end of the country. Welcome to the outside world. I like Austin. Its on my list of good places to live. Occasional ice storms make it a bit rough for a weenie like me.

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