My neglect of this blog has been weighing on my soul like a kettle bell on my pinky toe for nearly two months. I realize my readers weren’t waiting with bated breath for an update, but for me, the experiences fade from my memory more quickly now. If I don’t get them down right away, I may lose them forever! With that, I will commit to blogging on regular intervals and do my best to recall what I can now and let the pictures say the rest!
We choose to stay in Austin for two weeks mostly to buckle down and get our new business on its feet, but also because it had gotten tiresome moving so quickly from campsite to campsite. What we didn’t know was that the famous South By Southwest festival was happening midway through our stay. We were lucky to find any availability at all when we did! Our campground was in Leander, about 20 miles north of downtown. While we weren’t in the midst of any action, we did have a pool and a hot tub… Always a bonus!
The heavens must have wanted that we stay focused on our work because they opened up and dumped buckets on us for a week straight. There were tornadoes and flash floods and unusual winds. The weather forecasters blamed El Nino. I think it was our fault somehow. We have an uncanny knack of arriving places presently witnessing historic weather patterns. Call it a curse. Even my friend Tim from high school who has been living in the Austin area for four years said he’d never seen rain like that in all his time there. (Hi Tim!)
Anyhow, it kept our noses to the grindstone anyhow, and let up long enough for us to enjoy the downtown charm and Barton Springs.
We saw why everyone seems to love this city. It is very young, vibrant, hip, fun, and active. Part of our endeavor on this odyssey is to scope out a (semi) permanent place to park this RV and our behinds if the location suits our needs well enough to be stationary. Matt tends to evaluate based on tangible features like walkability and access to mountains. Although I need everything to look “right” on paper too, I operate a little more on instinct regarding such major decisions. And as much as I dug Austin as a cool city, it’s not where I’d want to stay long term. Matt agrees. And acknowledges that it gets far too hot here for his liking in the summers.
When we took breaks from the computer, we brought Mina to the massive one acre dog run, brought Marcella to the pool, which she loved, and to an indoor bounce gym where she only wanted to ride the tiny carousel, and I also locked the car key in the truck (which I didn’t even think was possible with these keyless entry doodads!) and had to call a locksmith. Good times! We also had a little kitten show up out of nowhere and spend the night under our rig and I helped the groundskeeper catch her in the morning to take her to the local shelter. My instinct told me that someone dumped this sweetie, which always breaks my heart, but even Matt was enamored by her. “Awww, we should keep her!” Yeah right! An aging, senile, deaf dog is hard enough on the road! But, once an animal advocate always one!
I don’t know if he was just placating me, but the groundskeeper told me the next day that someone came in right behind him and adopted her! We did some other fun stuff like brunch and a dinner out, and also made a day trip to McKinney Falls, where we got in a hike, waded in the shallow water, and Cella learned to skip rocks!
If you’re social enough (we really need to get better at this part), you get to meet some interesting people at these campgrounds. A woman from Louisiana who travels in her BBQ food truck and also became a government liasion for all of the American Indian Tribes; a music producer with a sound studio on his rig who was there with his sons for the festival; and the funky couple around our age who have a custom coffin business on their trailer. They moved sites before we could ask for a tour! When our two week stay in Austin was up, we mentally geared up for the long pilgramage through the rest of Western Texas, which I insisted on breaking up the trip and staying over night after short driving stints. Cella is simply to active a toddler to be confined to a car seat for more than four hours a day. To me it borders on cruelty to try to push it! So, we stayed one night at a Kampground of America (KOA) in Abilene, TX, drove through some more very flat desert,and right before we crossed into New Mexico, I was blown away by some of the enormous rock formations and mountains that Texas can certainly boast. It made me realize how much I missed the majestic red rock of the Southwest!
Stay tuned for our trek Carlsbad, NM a short dip back through El Paso, Texas and our relaxing stay in Arizona!