Sometimes it’s not just about the places you go, it’s the people you meet along the way. A little Dr. Suess’y of sorts, but rang true at our Austin stop.
First, we were really looking forward to Austin as this past summer it was a tad too hot (okay, it was scorching!!) to do a lot of exploring and Austin is a town that needs exploration. And plus, we just got a good overall vibe about Austin and wanted to spend some time there. I’m sure the town’s mantra of “Keep it Weird Austin” has nothing to do why we felt like it was a town we would feel at home at!?
Our campground—McKinney Falls State Park—was just on the outskirts of town, so a fantastic location to be close enough to the city, but yet, a little outside of the hustle. Perfect.
Our campsite. Hard to believe the city of Austin was just outside the park!!
So, we had all the makings of an awesome stop. Places to explore? Check. Great campground? Check. Good weather? No? Uh, no!! How could that be? We were in Austin…you know, that place where it may rain for a day. The place where the sun shines 300 days a year! Well, our good fortune of the weather gods looking out for us came to a screeching halt. OK, maybe a little dramatic, but it was rainy, misty and a wet cold (much different than a dry cold…honest!) for most of our visit. Bummer.
So, while we were disappointed about the weather, the bright spot of our trip was making some new friends in Austin. As I typed that, I had flashbacks to kindergarten, you know, when mom asks, “did you make any new friends today?” Well, the answer for our Austin stop was yes!! Three great couples, all living the RV dream in their own way.
One couple—Eric and Brittany, of RV Wanderlust, I had known “virtually” for awhile as we both purchased our RV’s right around the same time. They hit the road long before us, so it has been fun to watch their journey. They are from Austin, so they were able to make a lot of great recommendations for places to go and of course, places to eat!! They have their own business doing digital and social media marketing and are quite good at it. They also started a blog way back when blogging wasn’t’ cool (okay, maybe it was cool, we just weren’t hip to it yet!!) called the Austinot, about all things Austin.
Brittany and Eric in front of Meriwether
Greg also had an install at this stop, and post install, we got to spend some time with Paul and Mary, who are retired and doing the RV thing part time for now. Paul is originally from England, and they owned a T-shirt/embroidery business prior to retiring. Great couple with a real neat energy about them; hoping to see them again next year in our travels.
Greg walking Paul through his system. I went down to take a picture of Mary and Paul,
but got to talking and forgot to get that picture.....next time!!
The last couple we met was Jake and Liz, Life with Dyna. On the first sunny day (which was a day before we were leaving), Liz came and knocked seeking some guidance on some solar. Their coach has solar, but isn’t working properly, and unfortunately it needed more work than Greg had time for. But, this did give us the chance to meet them and spend some time with them. Liz is a speech pathologist and Jake is a computer programming guru…..perhaps, genius….not sure. He was working for himself, but then one of his clients hired him so he works from the coach, in front of a computer, attached to a headset. Liz does most of the driving, and Jake works from his desk while she’s at the wheel. We saw this firsthand as they went to empty their tanks, Jake was at his desk, and Liz handled the driving…and also had tank duty. Impressive, but what’s most impressive to us is that they are both in their 20’s. And while technology has provided a gateway for more and more people to hit the road, the fact that they figured this out before “life happened” is amazing and inspiring.
Jake and Liz, with Dyna (their old people coach!!)
Jake hard at work while the rest of us goofed off.
So…campfire shared, great conversations, facebook friends, and hopefully our paths will cross again with these cool people again soon. Just one of the benefits of being a nomad and today’s technology….making friends along the way and being able to stay in touch.
Well, back to Austin. We did manage to tackle a few things on our Austin bucket list, but have many more things to do. And as I take inventory of what we did, about half of our activities revolved around food. I’m going to use weather as our excuse for that.
Kennedy (our niece) was with us for a few days before Thanksgiving, so she and I did get to explore the park a bit, hiking to the small falls before the rain started. There are two falls at the park and because of flooding in November, the small one is the only one that was open. Nice hike; interesting landscape and while the fall was on the smaller side, was still fun. (Probably explains the name--Small Falls. Creative.)
McKinney Falls State Park....the interesting landscape
McKinney Falls State Park
The Small Falls
Hobie had the best time as the water was perfect height for him to get wet, but not get “in.” He was a muddy mess afterwards and ended up in the shower immediately upon returning to the coach!!
Kennedy and Hobie wading in the water
Hobie loving the water
Austin is known for their food trucks, so we did hit up a few of them. Greg hit Torchy Tacos, which is a popular one and Kennedy and I opted for Gourdough’s Donuts, another popular one. Seriously, who doesn’t love donuts for lunch!!
We didn't eat here, but looked cool
Gourdough's. Big. Fat. Donuts.....
Which is what you will become if you eat too many of these!
See for yourself, here's the menu. Not a low cal option on here!!
The Mother Clucker. It was lunch afterall!!
We took a stroll down Congress Street, which is one of the “happening” streets in
Austin. Lots of cool shops and restaurants and had the weather been a little better, we probably could have spent a whole day exploring.
Of course we hit the candy shop.Big Top Candy Store. Nostalgic.
After our food truck stop, we just looked and didn't buy!!
HOPE Outdoor Gallery/Graffiti Park, was also on our list. The HOPE Outdoor Gallery (HOG) is a three-story educational art project–-one of the largest outdoor galleries in the USA. This project was developed to provide muralists, graffiti artists and community groups the opportunity to display large scale art pieces driven by inspirational, positive and educational messaging. It is what it is, however. Graffiti. Street art at its best. And you also get a great view of Austin in the process! Cool stop.
Hope Outdoor Gallery, aka Graffiti Park
Salt Lick BBQ. Whenever we mentioned to friends, acquaintances, strangers, etc. that we were going to Austin, without fail, people would tell us to go to The Salt Lick BBQ. So we did. And we were not disappointed. First, this place is a production. The parking lot is huge and they have a building just for take out, an outdoor area, and lots and lots of seating. We went on a Monday, so didn’t have to tackle the crowds, which was good because Greg was hungry!! (What’s new?) Overall, great BBQ all the way around. Brisket, ribs, sausage and chicken….all fantastic! The sides however, in our opinion, weren’t as good as the BBQ. So, ultimately Fox Brothers still on the top of our BBQ list. The Salt Lick, probably second.
Greg preparing for the feast! Look how serious he is!!
A cool longhorn and just one of the many seating areas!!
As our time of staying in Austin came to an end, the good news was that we are still close enough to explore, so we’ll be making some more trips back to check off a few more things on the bucket list.
Also, wrapping up this post, we came to a conclusion, which is probably obvious (sometimes we're a little slow!!) but….not only are our travels a new adventure, but new friends are an adventure and the start of even more memories. So, we made some more memories on this stop…regardless of the weather.
Our next stops—Canyon Lake and New Braunfels. Thanks for following along!!
Hobie living the rough life at McKinney...and yes, a haircut is in his future!