But on to the actual Austin experience. A few late nights in Austin occurred due to bouldering, Torchy's tacos and fate, which was kind enough to align a favorite musician playing a show while I was in town. I first fell in love with Ian Moore's music in high school. An incredibly satisfying artistic period in my life stemmed from a crush on a rival swim team member who introduced me to Ian's music. I coincidentally found an Ian Moore's self-titled 1993 release CD at my dad's house and subsequently became obsessed.
This trip, Ian played at a fantastic venue called Shady Grove. It's down on Barton Springs Road and situated between Zilker Park, where many a day was spent playing, wading and riding the train as both a child and an adult and Bicycle Sports Shop, where I rent my rocket ship also known as a Trek bike for long country rides. At the show, I found a pulled pork taco and beer to be the perfect accompaniment to the special free show. Ian Moore was still perfectly handsome and talented as ever.
Due to rain (a great thing for Texas overall but occasionally a party-pooper), my dad and I only got three rides in but on those rides, I saw two more Crested Caracara's (and two more a few days later), bringing my lifetime total to six bird. After one ride, beer and coffee were on tap at Radio Coffee and Beer. Go figure. A really delicious nitro stout (though perhaps not as good as Fore River Brewery's nitro in South Portland) and mocha were ordered multiple times in my twelve days in Austin. And at one point, a science experiment was unknowingly performed. While drinking the stout, a bee came over, hung out awhile and promptly fell into my brew. A rescue mission was launched, she was pulled out and placed to rest on the picnic table. She was alive, certainly drunk but eventually flew off! Alternatively, a few days later, a bee landed in my salad dressing and no amount of resuscitation attempts revived her. Too much oil : ( Moral of the story: drink more beer and eat less salad. Save the bees!
Another visit to Radio was accompanied by rain and lots of it. It was a beautiful day when we arrived so outside seating was a must. Within an hour, water was coming from the sky as if it never had before and never would again. Luckily, my dad and I, in the midst of writing down some favorite cycling memories, were under cover and merely watching the rain come. After awhile, it was as if a faucet was turned off and order was restored.
One epic day included a visit to Enchanted Rock near Fredericksburg, Texas. I came here as a kid and it has stayed in my mind as an awe-inspiring place. Oddly, this is the first time I made it there as an adult. We left rainy Austin behind and drove on to sunnier skies and a giant rock, once believed to be haunted by the Native Americans because of the noises emitted from the rock as it cooled in the dark after a long day of sunbathing. Mom and I summited the tallest point first and then branched out onto the lower trails. After a few hours in the "hot" sun, we drove to Fredericksburg for some light shopping and heavy eating. Burger Burger had outdoor seating and a great menu. Mom and I shared a salad (remember the bee story above?) and an entire tray full of chips and dips. Plus margaritas because it was vacation/a Wednesday. I hurt myself at this meal. See photo below.
Because the coffee shop is closing, I'll leave you with some observations from a walk by the lake:
As I walked and ran along the Hike and Bike Trail around the lake that was Towne, I breathed in the scent of freshly blossomed honeysuckle and experienced Grackles calling and flying about. As I continued on, the honeysuckle scent made way for guano. One and a half billion Mexican free-tailed bats live under the Congress Avenue Bridge and each night, fly out to feast on pesky mosquitoes and more. Farther on, Cypress trees lined the waterfront, reminding me of trees holding back the water in Dr Seuss' "The King's Stilts." Finally, I wrote an observation as I let nature completely take over my brain for the trillionth time: Just because you can hear and see noise from the city doesn't mean you have to pay attention to it.
Get out there!