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Relaxing in Austin

June 11, 2019

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The Pause that Refreshes

After my disastrous entry into the great State of Texas, I was thinking about just flying through to Louisiana, but the weather was a mess in every direction, so I decided to huddle in Austin and relax for a week rather than forging on.

There are worse places. Austin is the purple state’s most firmly entrenched liberal enclave, so I knew I could slap my Obama/Biden magnet on Gladis’s bumper and put on my trans pride shirt and I’d be amongst my people there. (I didn’t actually do either – but it’s the principle of the thing).

Barton Springs

I stayed in a conveniently located RV park over in Barton Springs, an area that is geared to touristy activities. Lots of barbecue restaurants with outdoor patios, live music, a whole food truck court, bike paths, kayaking, museums, and so on. Austin is a fun place.

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A river runs through downtown

One night after work, I walked over to the most unique and interesting swimming pool I had ever seen, local landmark Barton Springs. It is a natural pool 3 acres in size, fed by a cold spring that bubbles up from the ground. Some parts are 18 feet deep, and it is a chilly 68 degrees year round, so I didn’t swim. My preferred water temperature is 82.

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Barton Spring Municipal Pool

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The spring itself

Striking Conversations

I did, however, end up in an almost 2-hour conversation with Richard Powell, a fascinating gentleman. A 26-year vocational education teacher in Austin, he also invented a popular baseball pitching machine, the Louisville Slugger UPM . He told me all about his inventions and about his “non-academic” students’ successes, like the one who hated school but loved auto shop and ended up owning one of the largest mechanic shops in Texas.

Seeing places and going to attractions is all well and good, but it is the people who make the place. As my friend Charlie Sill (and talented voiceover artist who you should totally hire) used to say “If you don’t talk to strangers, you will never make any friends.”

La Grange, Home of Fine Kolaches

If you’re heading East out of Austin, stop in LaGrange and get some Czech pastries. I took an online class with a delightful Austinite named Melissa Sternberg, who runs a knitting shop, Gauge. She took me to lunch in Austin and clued me in to the Czech roots of LaGrange and told me to go there to get some pastries. I was not disappointed. I got this poppyseed coconut roll at a gas station named Weikel’s. They also sell the classic Czech pastry called kolach in about 20 different flavors. Best gas station food ever.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 12, 2019 06:54

    I’ve been to Austin and enjoyed it every time. There’s so much good food to eat and great beers and mostly I’m for any place where I can get tacos for all three of my meals.

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