Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Different Kind of Vacation

Our trip to Austin was primarily for Tina to see where her son Matt would be staying, to say good-bye, and to get a feel for the city. I went because it was a trip. I shot all these photos, so they are typical of my photography.

We got off to a late start Wednesday morning, and then there was road construction, heavy traffic, and Matt to keep up with along the way. We went by the apartment where he's crashing with friends for him to take in his things Tina had in her car. Then Tina and I followed Jane's instructions to the hotel. A friend let us borrow her GPS. After a while, we started thinking of her as a real person and referred to her as "she" and named her Jane after giving her an English accent. It was 2:00 AM when we got in the room at the hotel. We were so exhausted that I barely played with the Sleep Number bed. Tina didn't even think about it she said.

Downtown Austin from the hotel window.

Friends from the Navy I haven't seen in 20 years live in Liberty Hill where he is a chiropractor and she works with him as office manager. It was so good to see them and catch up on Thursday. It's not that far from Austin and is about like Dickson is from Nashville, but it's much smaller. They gave us a tour of the office, and then we went to their house for a longer visit. They took us to dinner there in town, and we made it back to Austin around 10:00 just fine with Jane's help.

This is the building across the street from their office.
Jerry and Pam

Friday we went to see where Matt will be staying, and all of us went to lunch and did a bit of sightseeing and shopping. It was too hot to do much of that, though. Matt had things to do that evening, and we ate at Fridays there at the hotel and had an early night.

Matt outside his apartment.

Matt and Tina at lunch at Chuy's.

We usually go to Yarn Frenzy at home and knit on Saturdays, so Tina googled and found some knit shops to check out in Austin. The owner of the Knitting Nest Stacy was so helpful and a lot of fun. The layout of her shop is organized and creative with lots of places to knit. Her website is HERE.

The Knitting Nest

Next we went to Hill Country Weavers which is full to the brim of products and nowhere to sit and knit at all.

Hill Country Weavers

We walked around and went into some shops and had lunch in that area. There is a good vibe to Austin. It's called a Blue Dot in a sea of Red and feels like it. Matt should be right at home there and love it.

Capital Building in the distance.

Austin has the largest urban bat colony in North America. Each night from mid-March to November, the bats emerge from under the bridge at dusk to blanket the sky as they head out to forage for food. This event has become one of the most unusual tourist attractions in Texas. The most spectacular bat flights are during hot, dry August nights, when multiple columns of bats emerge. Because of this, bats are a symbol of Austin.

The bats are mothers in July and don't go out to feed until later, so we didn't get to see them even though many people tried, as you can see. We watched from the 5th Floor of the hotel parking garage and had a good breeze. I set the camera for night, put on the stabilizer, but still got a shaky photo.

People lined up on the Congress Street Bridge, boats and on boats to see the bats.

We made better time coming back and had help from Sam who told us about speed traps and where we could haul ass. He and I texted quite a bit on this trip. Sam knows about everywhere in the whole country!

It was a good trip and my first time to go to Texas. Austin is the Live Music Capital of the World, but we do pretty well in Nashville in that area and not just country music. I've wanted to go to the Austin City Limits Festival and South by Southwest (SXSW) for a long time. Maybe I'll make it there. They're in October and March respectively, so the weather shouldn't be too hot.

Oddly, they call this Hill Country.

This is where I'm from. This is hill country.


froggy said...

Sounds like a fun trip.
Only place I've seen a lot of bats is in Arizona.

Bob said...

I used to have family in Austin--my Uncle Merl and my Aunt Glroia--and loved visiting there.
Very pretty town....not at all Texas-y.

Wonder Man said...

I like the look of Matt's apartment

Berry Blog said...

Awwwww..the bat thing i've read about before...a real plague to some cities. Hoped you would get a pict of the swarm. Personally I would find it somewhat horrifying though I have sat at farms in Maine and watched them at work in spotlighted farmyards.
Austin looks very spic and span clean- almost sterile. Good choice of photos to show and so glad you had time to label them. I haven't seen hardly any picts of Tina over the years so it was nice you included her and her son. Pretty snappy photo of you in the black long shirt and dockers...nice look.
Thanks for sharing this.

mrs. miss alaineus said...

love your friend's cthulhu shirt! looks like you had a texas time and ps i loved the cowboy hat.


Kyle said...

Joy, I'm not sure what it is about the photo, but I really like the one you took of the Congress Street Bridge.

Joy said...

Thanks Mrs. Miss A and Kyle! Not sure where I'll wear that hat, but I like it. Kyle, that was such a pretty sight with the lights, boats, and people on that bridge.

Thanks to you, too, Charlie! It's a navy blue linen blouse which wrinkles like crazy but is cooler than some fabrics in this heat.

Didn't even hear any Texas accents there, Bob.

Sam said...

Austin is a great place for a young adult. glad you had a good time.