On Tuesday, we headed for Austin, with our first stop being Cabelas . It was on the way and it's always fun to go in Cabelas and look at all of the "toys". The mantra of many full time RVers is " new item in; old item must go".There is only so much space, so it is fun to look but usually means not much buying. Joel got off cheap because he didn't find anything he could live without. I on the other hand treated myself to a few new rags.
We continued heading towards downtown Austin. There is also an REI (Recreation Coop Inc) near downtown Austin and we wanted to look for an extra PFD to keep on one of the Kayaks in case we ran into the same requirements we did at Big Bend NP where an extra PFD is required per group. Joel had received his REI dividend which was burning a hole in his pocket. :) We visited the REI and Joel was successful this time in purchasing a gadget for his kayak and I found the kayaking paddles that have been on my wish list for several years. We didn't purchase the extra PDF. This was getting to be an expensive day and we hadn't even made it to the heart of downtown yet?
The Capitol of Texas is also downtown and it's unique red structure is a "must see" . We caught the last docent tour of the day which was very interesting and full of Texas history. The capitol is open to the public until 10:00 P.M. at night, but the docent tours end around 5:00 p.m. We learned that Texans are very proud of their history, and very proud of being a Texan.
The capitol faces the down town area
The rotunda. The star in the middle is eight feet wide.
There is lots of intricate work the camera didn't pickup very well.
Our next stop was a Uncle Billies, which was a local brewery and suggested by one of the locals. It's an out door Bar B Que near the college area and it was hopping for a Tuesday night. We found out happy hour is until 7:00 p.m. which is later than we're used to. Brews were $3.00 . We later headed for the Warehouse District in search of dinner. The Warehouse District if full of all kinds of eateries and was bustling with activity. The parking is a bit of a challenge at 6:30 because happy hour was still in full force. We found a great little pub that served pizza and beer. The catch was it was three flights of stairs up...a good way to work off the pizza. In order to get your favorite brew you had to go back down the stairs and get it and bring it back. Joel got quite a workout! There was way too much to see in the Warehouse District so I am looking forward to returning before we leave the area.
It was getting very late and with a two hour drive back to Thousand Trails, we decided to spend the night at McKinney Falls State Park. Joel, being the ever prepared boy scout, had a tent and sleeping bags in the back of the car, so we pulled into the camp ground and pitched the tent in the dark. We paid for the site at the self registration station and put the sticker on the car per the directions on the self registration envelope. The campground host came along later after we were settled in and left a note stating we needed to register, which I thought was odd since there was a sticker on the car indicating we had already paid
The next morning we got up and walked to both upper and lower McKinney Falls. The trails are set up for mountain biking and hiking and made for pleasant walking. The morning was very humid and warm, and I was glad we were hiking early. I wouldn't have wanted to be walking much later. The trails are interesting, fallowing the river along limestone rock.
Upper McKinney Falls
Some unusual rock formations from the river.
The lower McKinney Falls.
The river was very low, allowing us to walk along the limestone. It would be pretty tricky to do this after a major rain fall.
When we returned to camp we had another notice, attached to the tent, asking us to register soon. We took down the tent and headed out, stopping at the ranger station to explain we had already registered. Big mistake. We had paid the entrance fee of $5.00 and the tent fee of $16.00. BUT, the entrance fee is $5.00 per person even though you are camping so we owned another $5.00. Nowhere in the written material did I see a $5.00 charge per person. This makes camping in a Texas State Park almost as much as staying in an RV park! The ironic thing is RVers pay the same as a tent camper. A family of four would have to pay $36.00 for the privilege of pitching a tent.Ouch!!
We headed back to Austin for the day our destination to walk around the eclectic old town area known as SoCo. But first we needed to stop and get some coffee. Somehow we got turned around and ended up on Seventh street full of construction, in an older area, that looked at little so, so. We saw Joe's Bakery and Joel put on the breaks so he could get coffee and satisfy his sweet tooth. It turned out to be a really good stop. They had the best Mexican food. The Huevos Rancheros were awesome.
We continued heading towards the SoCo shopping area with the intent of just looking. Joel stopped in at Allen's Boots which has a fantastic selection of boots, hats, and western wear. He didn't get off so cheaply this time and found himself purchasing a great pair of boots and another hat. He is really getting into this cowboy thing. We checked with one of the clerks to find out where a good place would be to eat close by and she suggested Red's Porch. Red's Porch turned out to be another hot spot and fun place. It really is a big porch over looking the river. Unfortunately, we never did get down to the river. Next time.
It was a very busy full two days and I can't wait to return to Austin and see more if this cool city.This is a longer than usual post. But, I think it gives you an idea that as full time Rvers who don't wear a watch we have absolutely no concept of time, but lots of it.