Friday, April 3, 2015

Austin, Fredericksburg & Luckenbach, TX

The fastest growing city in the United States right now and there sure is lots of traffic.  We're a little out of town so have to drive in to do things.  But we go on side roads and there is lots of scenery and greenery........this is not West Texas, they call it Hill Country.  Austin is weird and love to be weird.  Liberal, hipster, cool, organic, vegan, open and it just must be a mecca in conservative Texas.

Had a great breakfast at The Omelettery which was great.  I had gingerbread pancakes for the first time (something popular here).  The pot holes in the parking tried to swallow our car, but luckily we escaped unharmed.  After eating we headed out to the Zilker Botanic Garden, 18 acres established as non profit in 1955.  There is also a Zilker Municipal Park which is huge.  How lucky Austin is to have this gift.

We were there during Fairy Trail Days and groups or families created
fairy homes along the walk.  It was so fun to see the creativity.

I never tire of photographing great live oaks

Mexican Honeysuckle

Thursday we took a much needed rest day.  Around 6:00 p.m. we headed out to see the famous Austin bats emerge from under the bridge for their night time feeding.  We saw this 3 years ago, but later in the year.  Last night was really great.

Congress Avenue Bridge, perfect bat habitat

Interesting Frost Bank Building in the middle
33 floors, 3rd tallest in city, but most unusual

A bat did "get" me.  It was creepy and I washed up really good.
Hope I don't turn into a vampire from this experience.

Broken Spoke - famous honky tonk
Had their touted chicken fried steak and a Lone Star - the TX beer

Big agenda so up early.  We went to Mount Bonnell, highest point above Austin.  Quite a walk up, but gradual and worth it.  Below is the Colorado River.

Bremond Block
Austin's historical homes from late 1800's

Love this oak

Beautiful corner mansion that is perfectly preserved 
This is one of the most beautiful homes I've ever seen.

McKinney Falls State Park
Lower and upper falls 

The park's peaceful existence was interrupted when a historic natural disaster — the Halloween Flood of 2013 occurred.  The Visitor's Center is still closed.  Onion Creek rose 41 feet from its banks and flowed at 120,000 cubic feet per second. All of a sudden, this little tributary of the Colorado River was a raging river flowing with nearly twice the force of Niagara Falls.

Lower Falls

Liquid refreshments needed after all our hiking and sightseeing

Denny Freeman - right hand side.
Played with Bob Dylan.  Great old musicians

Nice bike in parking lot

Rollie, bike owner, we had a nice visit

Up early and drove to San Antonio to meet Yvonne and Scott at La Madeleine for breakfast. I met Yvonne through Trip Advisor when we wrote each other about our trip to Alaska and tried to meet there but we couldn't. So we've been FB friends. It was so neat to meet these two, such nice people. I could tell they would be.

Beautiful French bistro/bakery.  There are several in Austin
and San Antonio.  Recordings in the bathrooms teach
simple French phrases, that was different.

Yvonne and Gena

Yvonne brought us TX treats - that was so sweet

Scott and John

Yvonne and Scott suggested we go see Fredericksburg, TX.  We have seen lots of things in San Antonio and we really didn't want to be downtown in traffic.  So we took their advice and made the hour drive.  It was just a great little town with so much history preserved.  Couldn't have had a better day.  Interesting history:,_Texas

Unusual architecture on old home

Zion Luthern Church, 1852

Mayan chocolate (square) silver with birds was rare 'Pure Nacional' bean chocolate from Peru – called Fortunato No. 4, two others were Florida orange and so, so good.

 Quintessential Chocolate (

St. Mary's Catholic Church

Beautiful stained glass

Visited with these Texas bikers
This guy had a great bike

Line up for beer, food, bathrooms

Rockin out armadillo

New friends, Michael and Julia

Real cowboys, live in Luckenbach
Nice guys and they tipped their hats when we said good bye

Canvas signing to put Willie Nelson in Guinness Book

Willie is well loved in Texas

This tree was unbelievable.  See our shadow on the truck. 
It would take at least 6 men to hold hands to go around this trunk.

Woody, a friendly guy we met and visited with

Sunday slept late, did the wash and some rest.

3/30/15 - Monday
Fort Stockton founded for travelers heading west.
We visited the fort on our last trip here.

Must have worked hard to cut through these
mountains to make the roads

Pretty scenery along the way

Cute restaurant we ate dinner at
Good fresh cut Idaho fries

Interesting decor

I've heard of purple sage

Neat home decor store full of south west/Mexican stuff

I'll post this.  Next stop will be Carlsbad, NM.  Can't wait to see Carlsbad Caverns.  Been wanting to see them for a long time.  Been on the road 16 days, getting a little tired but having amazing adventures and meeting great people.