2. Keep Austin Weird…4.2009

I visited this little coffee house called "Mozart's" later in the evening...and took in some of Austin's live music scene...

and then Jill arrived!!!!  yeah!!! 

(Jill lives in Dallas, and we'd planned on taking a couple of days "vacation" together after the conference was over).

I thought the "bat swarms" were so cool, I took her to see them.

We began the WARM, SUNNY day at Starbucks, then picked up a few snacks at a huge and very busy whole foods store downtown.

I'd found a "Title Nine" store the first day I was here, and couldn't wait to go back, so that was our first shop-stop of the day.


After we left "Title Nine", we went to "REI"...one of my favorite outdoor gear shops.  I'd ordered a new "camping coffee thing" and wanted to pick it up....Jill found several items and we both just enjoyed looking at all the cool travel/camping stuff!

Then the car had issues.....short story...sounded like we were dragging a body under the car...or at the very least one of our suitcases....BUT, NOTHING WAS UNDER THE CAR WHEN WE LOOKED, so we found a mechanic to look it over.  They were able to fix it pretty quick and we were ready to keep exploring Austin in no time!

It was time to check into our B&B....and it's sooo neat.  We'll be staying a couple of nights at the Hyde Park Inn.



We hadn't eaten anything, so we went to eat a local Thai place we'd read about near the University...it was good! 

I'd printed off a list of vintage/used clothing shops in Austin...there's like 50 of them.  We were in the heart of where all the students are....and it looks like a pretty fun place....three of the clothing stores were just a few blocks apart...so we hit those one right after the other. 

The "Buffalo Exchange" was the last one we went to, but is by far, the best used clothing store I've ever been to...You wouldn't believe the quantity, the brands and the prices.  To say the least, we were both successful with purchases (and while I didn't buy it, I tried on my first "Betsy Johnson" dress...the dress was perfect...but my body wasn't!)


We walked for about 1- or 12 blocks, just taking it all in.  About the time I commented to Jill, that I was surprised there weren't more outdoor/gear shops in this area with all the students, we turned a corner and ran into a really cool outdoor shop!  We spent a lot of time in there...and Jill struck gold finding tons of really cool things....

Jill's shopping log today: 

From "Buffalo Exchange" she bought a dress, jacket, shawl, and shirt.  From the gear shop, she bought a purse, 3 bracelets, a necklace and a pair of sandals; and misc. stuff from "REI".  She also got a really cool and special outfit, including shoes, (not shown here) for her son, Zak's wedding in June. 


Vicki's shopping log today:

A visor woven in Columbia; a t-shirt and large bag from "Buffalo Exchange"; from "REI" I got my coffee-thing and a couple of travel tubes (I'm so NOT the Queen of shopping).

Oh yeah, I also bought a new carabineer...one not intended for climbing...but works as a corkscrew and bottle opener...and just to prove it's functional, we bought some really good wine....made right here in Texas....and made our own Sangria, once we returned to the B&B.

So, this is where I sit tonight, working on the web site....not a bad way to end the evening, huh?

I'm so happy to finally be discovering Austin.  It's one of those places that have been on my "list to travel to" for quite awhile, and I'm really enjoying it.  I think, though, it's not as weird as people make it out to be...or is it just that I hang out in Lawrence, KS so much, that weird is just normal?

And, it's been so great to spend time with Jill...laughing, talking, shopping and just catching up...so stayed tuned and see what weird things will happen tomorrow!


Thursday....April 9th

It was overcast when we first got up this morning and headed down to breakfast.  We had a wonderful meal of fresh berries & yogurt, followed by some really good french toast (the owner made Jill some special gluten-free pancakes), coffee and juice.  Pictured below is the kitchen and the dining room.


But the best thing about the beginning of our day, were the people we met.  There was a couple from San Diego in town to visit their son and grandchildren, and a couple currently living in Connecticut for 2 years...one is from Switzerland and the other from Germany.  We had sooo much fun visiting with them about all the places to see and experience in the US.  What a super way to start the day.  By the time we left, the sun was shining and the temps were supposed to reach record highs for today.


The outside of the Inn this morning.

Our first stop was Half-Price books.  Jill and I are both crazy-serious readers, and, because she's my dear friend, I'm trying to get her addicted to the same book series that I'm reading (my addiction was passed onto me by two of my co-workers.....thanks again Sandy and Lisa!....reading this series is like cocaine for my eyeballs...every time I finish one of the books, I hunt-down the next one, manically tear it open, and consume it all!)

We struck out on finding the series books, but I did find this one on the clearance shelf.....I could have written this one myself!

Photo of a castle-type house towering above the parking lot of our next stop...kind of weird.


This is the front of "Whole Earth Provision Company". 

Yesterday, we went to their store down on the "drag" (the gear shop I referred to)...this is their flagship store, so we went for a visit.  We found all sorts of neat things! 

My favorite being a watch I've been "visiting" on the internet for the past few months, and I finally got to see it, touch it, feel it and try it on....but it's still on my "wish list" being that it's super-expensive...but it's the perfect "hiking" watch...as soon as I win the lottery....I'll be ordering it!  I did, however, buy a dress I've been looking for....check that item off the list!

Jill hadn't been to the "south Congress" shopping district yet, so that's where we went next.  I bought a pair of red cowboy boots (at a re-sale store) and an Austin t-shirt....this finished off my list of "things I wanted to buy in Austin".

Our next stop was "Moxie"...a clothing and jewelry store that featured local artists creations....this was Jill's favorite store!  It was pretty cool...and right around the corner was a bead shop we'd read super-good reviews about (Jill and I've been in a lot of bead shops...this one ended up just being average).


We made yet another trip back by "Whole Foods" for something to drink and discovered this really fun escalator...(okay, you may think it's weird for someone to be visiting a super-active town filled with kayakers, mountain bikers, round the clock live-music, tons of bars, and so much to do, and that we're excited about an escalator that doesn't have steps,....)

wait a minute....that is pretty  weird!

We also stopped for like the fourth or fifth time at "REI"...but the reason this trip was so funny, is that, in spite of Jill making a small purchase....she got money back (at REI you get a dividend back once a year...and this was her lucky day....well, it only happened this once today....otherwise, the money was definitely going the other way the rest of the day!)

weird stuff up on top of this building!

After a few other stops, we ended up back the gear store we went to yesterday, looking for a couple of items in particular...and Jill found some flip-flops on sale...I call them her "Dorothy" flip-flops since they are covered in bright red sparkles....no clicking noise, but one could probably turn around in them and chant "there's no place like home" a few times.

The clerk at "Moxie's" suggested we eat dinner at "Mother's Cafe & Garden" and so that's where we headed next.  Turns out, it's very close to where our B&B is.  They serve all vegetarian food and was really nice on the inside and the food was the best I'd eaten in Austin so far!  There was a guy playing a harp that serenaded us during our meal.


Jill ordered a "garden veggie stir fry" and I had the "Schezwan stir fry" and we shared a small guacamole salad...it was all really, really good!

Vicki's shopping log for today:

a book on touring Austin, my red roper cowboy boots, my Austin t-shirt (with bats flying all around), a new dress and a pair of flip flops to match it!


Jill's shopping log today:

a new dress, a visor, her "Dorothy" flip-flops, a pair of really big white sunglasses, brown and orange pair of flip-flops, a new purse, some really funky Patagonia shoes (I really wanted these sale-shoes, but my size wasn't to be found!)....


These two really cute pieces of Austin-made pottery and lots of jewelry!!


Well, just when you thought we shopped enough yesterday, we managed to do a whole lot more today.  At the beginning of the day, the weather looked like it might begin to rain, so we nixed the idea of renting kayaks.  But as the morning went on, the sun came out and at one point, Jill's car thermometer read 100 degrees!  It didn't feel that warm to me...but it was at least in the 90's.

Not sure what's on the plan for tomorrow afternoon, except that my flight leaves Austin early in the evening...but, I'm sure we'll pack as much into the rest of the trip as we can!


Friday....April 10th....my last day in Austin

This morning's sky was overcast and the temps were forecasted to be cooler. I started the day, drinking coffee out by the pool/garden area...Jill and I just sat and visited while breakfast was being prepared...it was very nice.

I had a couple of things I was still trying to find at "Whole Earth Provisions" so we found their 3rd store in Austin and ventured in....this one doesn't have the character of the store on the drag, but I did find one of the two things I was looking for....it was a small stainless steel mug with a carabineer as a handle...great for stashing on the side of your pack.


We were hitting some more vintage shops today...our total would end up at 12 vintage/resale shops in three days!  We've purchased some fun stuff, laughed at a lot of what we've seen, smiled as some of the items brought back memories from our past, our parents past and even our grandparents past all while browsing through old clothes, handbags, dishes, posters, etc.



Okay... this next scene puts Austin way above Lawrence in being weird!  But, it was also probably our biggest surprise and bust-your-gut laughing episode of the trip....we were browsing in the above store, ""Flashback", which is in this little house of about 6 rooms, all filled to the brim with vintage.  As Jill and I are in one of the rooms, we hear someone come into the shop, and the owner say, "Oh I think the red really looks good with the black"...about that time I came around the corner and saw this guy standing there.  His fashion of the day was a hat, spandex top, with a denim vest, black socks, a black fanny pack (covering one hip) and a black purse....and nothing in between!   As I faced this new customer, I couldn't help but notice his "stuff" hanging down underneath his red top...and as I passed him, I turned and took a peek at his buns hanging out the back....now I begin to smile and think "Jill is right behind me and is going to get an eyeful!"....however, once out on the front porch, Jill said to me..."Did you see his big boobs?"....we were cracking up on our way to the car....I said "what boobs?  I was looking down...did you see his....stuff hanging there?"....obviously, we each were looking different directions.  Once in the car, Jill had her phone up and bravely snapped these pics as he came out onto the porch (how fortunate for you all that the corner post is exactly covering his "stuff")

As we drove off still cracking up, Jill began to question why if he went to all the trouble to get boobs, didn't he shave off his beard? (my friend the "fashionista of weird guys). I thought that was an hysterical question given the entire situation....anyway....this really does prove that Austin is weird!

(note: after doing a little "google research" I discovered Jill and I had seen one of Austin's most famous celebrities....."Leslie the Transvestite" who once ran for mayor and received 7% of the vote.....oohhh...lucky us!)

Our next stop displayed this awesome shirt on the mannequin just inside the front door....do you think Luke or Pete would like this? (both of my boys are poker dealers).....yeah....I don't think so either...no purchase here. 

Leaving this store, we spotted two women across the parking lot, entering an Indy movie theatre with pink hair and pink fuzzy tails...we just smiled....we'd already seen something much weirder than that today.

The day ended up cool, cloudy and spitting rain from time to time, so no kayaking today.  We read about the Kerbey Lane Cafe in my guidebook, so that's where we went for lunch...it was yummy.

It was time to say good bye to Jill and to Austin....time to fly back to Kansas.

Jill dropped me at the Austin airport, which is really small, but really cool for such a tiny airport...they even had live music there!


My flights back to Kansas were on-time, practically empty of passengers and smooth sailing through the skies.

It was great to see Danny when I arrived!


Well, what are my parting thoughts on Austin Texas?  I wasn't disappointed ....it was a great time!   If you have to live in Texas, this would be the place.  There is so much to do outdoors and so many people doing it!  and while it has it's share of weird, so what?  weird makes the world a more interesting place.

I didn't get to kayak on the lake, bike on any of their many trails, hear as much music as I'd like, or seek out any brewpubs...but those are all really superb reasons to come back for another visit.

It was really great to see Jill again, hang out and shop with her, crack up and laugh with her, discuss family and life in general (and mid-life too) and re-connect.  We "talk" on the internet, almost everyday...but there's nothing like the real thing...I'm so grateful she met me in Austin and enjoyed exploring and discovering the city as much as I did. 

I'll be back in Texas, Dallas this time, to attend Jill's son's wedding in June (we definitely have to go to the Buffalo Exchange and the Whole Earth Provision Company while I'm there!...yes we discovered both of the cool places are in Dallas too).

so, my trip is over...but I'm not quite ready to let "Austin" go!


Thank ya'll for traveling with me....check back in a few weeks...

I'm headed south again....here's a couple of clues...

the home of Mickey Mouse....sea shells galore...amazing sunsets...the most beautiful water, and one supremo ER doc!


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