Monday, September 12, 2011

Austin Weekend

Last weekend we took a mini roadtrip to Austin to visit our friend Dain. Traveling further west will become a trend for us. We're aiming to take a few trips out there while we're in Houston. Then it's fingers crossed we make it out to California.

We got there later in the evening but had lots of fun walking around, peeking into stores, and having a couple of beers.

Bacon? oh, yes.

Tom's squiggly night photography

On a tasty note, Dain lives behind a giant lot of food trucks! Food trucks might be the greatest invention ever (originating in Texas too!) and I was so excited to be a city that is known for loads and loads of tasty treats on wheels. We have a some in Houston but there are just so many more options here. These lots are called "trailor parks" in these parts.

Dain's lot had trucks speciailizing in Po Boys, fried foods, thai, shaved ice, donuts, diner food, and more.

and of course, cupcakes! I've seen a show on food network on this particular truck so I was dying to try it out. All day passing by I noticed lines in front of all of the trucks but this one always had the longest. By the time we got to it in the afternoon, they were sold out of every flavor except red velvet and vanilla. I opted for a steep $3.00 vanilla cupcake that was refrigerator dry with icing that made me thirsty for days. Disappointing, but worth a try.

This is not my picture, I've been in a non-photographic funk lately. This is the capital building downtown. It is perfectly placed and in center view when you are walking or driving towards downtown on Commerce. Gorgeous building!

The stores in Austin were very very similar to Asheville. Artsy stuff, very unique. Here are some funky rubber chicken purses in their coup.

Austin houses are super cute and quaint. Lots of pretty trees like in Houston but no grass. I imagine the heat must be absolutely ridiculous when there aren't nice gusts of wind from passing tropical storm bands. Even with the wind, my skin felt like it was instantly burning.

We obviously didn't think about the temperature when we went hiking. Let's just conclude that hiking in the middle of Texas in 100+ degree weather with no leaves on any trees to give you shade is never a good idea. Asheville called, it says hiking is way better over there.

While blazin' the trail Dain found some sort of animal tail that looked like it had simply popped right off. It made a very stylish tie.

Some canyons/cliffs. See the cactus up there?! A rock climber told us passing by that the rocks were so hot they were melting his shoes!

desert plants can be very pretty

This was a river before the drought

Austin had painted cows all over. This one was my favorite. There was a chia pet one too! I remember when I went to Toronto when I was younger they did this with moose.

We went to Barton Springs where I just hung around and people watched. 70 degree water in 100+ heat really feels like ice. Tom and Dain braved it though.

The biggest and coolest park ever. This is where they have Austin City Limits Festival (which we should've gone to yesterday since Arcade Fire & The Walkmen played). Really nice view of the city. So much space. I was yearning for a picnic!

On the way home, the highway was closed for miles from wildfires in Bastrop (caused by the tropical storm winds). We pulled over for detour directions and we were told the entire town was being evacuated but we could take some backroads highway to get back onto i-10 into Houston.

Here's the thing, driving in Texas scares the crap out of me. One wrong turn and you are in the middle of nowhere in one of the vastest states with miles and miles of nothing and worse, desert. The thought of getting lost in Texas could be considered a nightmare in my eyes.

So this two lane highway with no lights and no civilization in sight was putting us a little bit on edge. We really had no idea how bad the wildfires were until passed through a tiny town that was surrounded on all sides by fires. The flames reached higher than the trees! People were parked on the sides of the road watching and waiting to see if their house would be next. I didn't have any luck taking pictures.

These wildfires have been burning for a full week, burning 1,500 homes and who knows how many acres. Considered the worst wildfire in Texas history. Here's to hoping these fires burn out soon and that the towns can recover.

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