Christy and Brian do the Dirty South ... Austin, that is!
First stop, Friday: Llano area to conquer Enchanted Rock.
But first, a stop in Bertram on Highway 29 and 1174 for some BBQ.
This is one tony joint.
The people who ran the place were friendly. One rotund, goatee'd guy wielding a spatula couldn't believe I wasn't ordering anything. When I told him I had eaten earlier in the car and wasn't hungry, his kitchen friend bellered "Then come back at 5 -- our 24-oz. T-bone is on special for $10.99!"
Gotta have the beans.
Brian's chopped beef sandwhich and potato salad, dotted with what appeared to be Bac-o-bits. That's bad form, fellas.
But Brian didn't care; they were Longhorn fans here.
Outside the eatery was old-time Bertram, apparently frozen in time.
The trusty Saturn rental. It had XM radio the whole time, a fact we discovered the last 30 minutes of the trip.
Brian trying to get some volleyball coaches hired before we get back.
Ok, NOW we're going to Enchanted Rock.
Yeah, we're here!
"Take. The. Effing. Picture."
You'll be seeing a lot of my Forehead Veins of Strain in this album.
That's some Central Texas right there.
Nice lady: "Want me to take yall's picture together?" Did we look THAT much like tourists? Oh well.
Up, up, up the rock we go, taking lil rests along the way ...
.... til Brian said "Yeeeeah ... I think I'll let you take it from here, Christy."
Which I totally understood. For someone with a profound fear of heights, Brian went WAY up high. Go Brian!
I hadn't gotten to go all the way to the top my last few times at the Rock, and Brian was nice enough to wait for me while I played. And wait he did ...
It looks like Mars up there. All barren, pink rock, broken up by beautiful little pools of water.
Even Pac Man likes to scale the Rock now and again.
Maybe because it was a Friday during the day, but I was the ONLY one on top of the rock the entire time up there.
Just me, the rock and the wind. Well, and the vulture.
I wonder if the Park Service would notice if I built a small house up here?
I'd almost forgotten what it was like, it'd been so long.
I was so tempted to stick my feet in or otherwise splash around, but I didn't know what surprises (read: critters) the special biosphere held up there.
Now, if you're just standing on the very top of the Rock, you might think that was it. But if you keep going a bit farther like you're hiking back down the other side, huge rocks and trees offer more play time.
Inside the mini-cave. It was nice and cool inside but I have to admit ... I was kind of scurred. I was up there all by myself; I'm not used to such quiet!
New Balance = best trail running shoes.
Warning: Lots o' landscape shots from the top of the rocks headed your way.
Ok, and a self portrait or five.
Most bluffs like this one seem as if they drop off into oblivion, but they actually just drop off five feet to the next tier. This one actually drops off into oblivion.
The same oblivion bluff.
I've always wondered where this dirt road leads.
Very happy in Hill Country
Those are trees, not clouds.
Time to head back down. Sigh.
On my way back, I start sensing that I'm, um, a bit lost. But that doesn't mean I can't play some more. Wee!
My buffalo stance.
Hahaha just kidding!
Ok, but I was really lost. Like, on the other side of the mountain lost. After a loooong time of hoisting myself over rocks and wacking through vegetation, I finally found the riverbed, then a trail, then the front of the park, then had to climb halfway back up the Rock til I heard Brian's voice, "Um yeah, Christy ... over here." Sorry Brian!!!
Time to get more lodging and get ready to go to this Oasis restaurant I kept hearing about. I heard that it's one of the best places to watch the sun set, so we gotta hurry. We head to the Bee Cave/Lakeway area just west of Austin, b/c the restaurant is on the southeast shores of Lake Travis. This, my dearies, is the hilliest, most scenic part of Central Texas I'd ever seen. I can't believe I'd never been to that area before.
Oh wow, this place is massive. Bigger than Joe T. Garcia's and even more outdoor-seating-oriented. The view of the lake is gorgeous. The voice of the guy singing live country and soft rock covers? Not so much.
Waiting on a table, and for Brian "Oh crap I left my wallet in the car" Peters to come back ; )
Errbody chillin and waitin outside the outside-seating area of the restaurant
The cornflake- and almond-crusted tilapia at this joint was definitely worth putting on eyeliner and shaving my legs for.
Yes, Brian did find his wallet ; )
Next morning: The vista at the Mountain View Lodge or whatever it was called was unreal.
Right out the back door of the room was the adorable pool. It overlooked the widest, deepest valley I've ever seen in Texas this side of Big Bend.
Next stop: Wimberley, an adorable little hamlet that has trade days the first Saturday of the month. Ends up the town itself is where all the action is at, not the trade days (which suuuucks by the way).
Awwww yeeeeeah ... bowchickieBOWWOW!!
Oh, if not for the gluten.
"I'll have a slice of the pecan and a slice of buttermilk chess and a slice of that Texas German chocolate ...."
Such funky little stores everywhere, I would have never guessed.
An eccentric and thoroughly hot German woman ran this little second-hand cowboy boot store out of a darling old frame house. Every corner of the place from top to bottom was filled with the wildest cowboy boots ever. I fell in love with a turquoise pair that had embroidered butterflys on the front. But alas, I'm a suburban girl who would shame her West Texas cowgirl mother by wearing boots like a tongue-in-cheek novelty. Anyway, all the boots are vintage (before they began manufacturing boots overseas and making junk, she says) and most show very little wear.
Brian gets a sound round of Bronx cheers for making us eat lunch at this toilet. Pfffft! The cheese fries were literally french fries from a freezer bag microwaved with a sprinkling of Hytop-brand shredded cheese on top. The tea and water? Tap. The chemicals are so strong, you'd think they were trying to ward off ebola from the water supply. Flies were ALL over the place (this is indoor, mind you), and not in a charming, organic, third world way, either. The only bathroom? A porta potty out back.
Perusing my digital photos during the second hour of waiting for the cheese fries at Booger Barn ... I mean Burger Barn, heh heh. Love you Brian.
An assorted collection of chrome animals n' dinosaurs and things behind an art gallery in downtown. Quite random.
On the side of that art gallery, which specialized in beautiful glass. It sold some vibrant oils of bluebonnets and colorful, playful abstracts, too.
Speaking of eccentric ladies, and older one owned this, oh, I guess it was an antique store. She said people dump off unwanted cats in the area all the time, and that's how she inherited this 10-year-old furball. It was a full-blooded, champagne-colored Persian. She was gorgeous and totally knew it.
"Can't a girl bathe without an audience?"
On the road again.
No ... howYOUdoin?
I spied an interesting little road off the highway, like I'm prone to doing on road trips. "Brian, can we please turn around and see what's up that road? Pleeeeeease?" It led to some gorgeous houses nestled into the sides of steep inclines and surrounded by thick woods. The little road got so steep and so narrow that Brian had to put the kibosh on the excursion. Sorry Brian!!
Either these deer weren't scared of humans, or they were the these homeowners' pets. They were chilling in yard like they owned the place, so I'm tempted to think somebody owned them. Do people own deer? Besides, like, in dead trophy form, I mean?
The conclusion of our trip is upon us. Boo.
But wait! Can't leave the Austin area and not eat on our favorite patio in the city, Shady Grove.
Not exactly Joe T. Garcia's (or the Oasis), but those trees ....
Do huh say what?
"Where are our cheese fries? I refuse to finish the day without a plate of proper cheese fries!"
The flies were out bad, though, just like at every outdoor joint this season. Gotta love the rain, but so do fly and mosquito eggs. Ick.
AWW YEAAH!! BOW CHICKIEbowWOW!!! That's what I'm talking about.
"Brian, get back in your seat and help me eat these fries!"
Shady Grove has kitch down pat, from the trailer with the faux clothes line to the adorable outdoor terlit-as-art.
Across the street and down the road a ways ... Sandy's frozen custard, ladies and gentlemen. Brian: Oreo shake. Me: Butterscotch shake. Both of us: Bloated the whole way home. We waited in line with some exceptionally nice people who chatted us up. (Nothing says "I'M SO NOT FROM HERE" quite like a camera).
Now we're just goobin because we're on our way home and need to pretend like we don't have to face the real world in mere three hours.
Back to Agg-town, Big D, Waxascratchie ....