Continuing on our quest to see Texas, this leg took us 113 miles south from Waco to Austin in the Hill Country.
We planted ourselves for a seven day stay at the Austin East KOA. The weather was perfect for a dip in the heated pool when we arrived.
Unfortunately, things took a drastic turn.
The weather in Texas is definitely keeping us on our toes. Later that night, the temperatures plunged, a storm pushed through, and we were entertained with quite the light show. Check it out below (no sound with this video):
Our time in Austin coincided with the SXSW (South by Southwest) Film Festival. There were no reasonable tickets to be had, but we did get to enjoy a great art fair that was part of the festival.
This was an especially neat part of our time in the area. Our Saturday was spent checking out the small town of Bastrop about 30 miles outside of Austin.
This community had a cute little downtown with shops, restaurants, a local brewery and a distillery. The Cooper Shot Old Fashion made with the Texas honey whiskey was particularly smooth.
We tried to enjoy a glass of wine at the Kane Wine tasting room, but we have yet to find a Texas wine that we really like.
Addie had a great day wandering with us. She got to do some shopping in one of the little boutique stores and found a beautiful dress to wear to Ella’s graduation.
After we enjoyed a tasty dinner at the highly rated Piney Creek Chop House, we headed around the corner to our main event. The community theater of Bastrop was putting on their rendition of The Addams Family, a musical. This show left us all smiling, rivaling any big city version.
The next day, the warmth of the afternoon sun made it very pleasant for enjoying our site.
The feel of spring was in the air with cool nights and warm days. The wild flowers were in full bloom.
Ashley grabbed the car scissors and hit the street, cutting her pick of wild flowers. Today’s beauties are the Indian paintbrush.
Big night out in Austin, off to the Rodeo we go. This is a first for all of us.
Not knowing what to expect, we got there a little early and had time to fill up on fair food and beverages.
It was only in the 40’s after the sun went down, so we went inside as soon as they opened the gates.
The rodeo goes on for two weeks with competitions progressing each night. We were there a week into things on a Tuesday and the stands were only about half full.
It was a fast paced program, that moves quickly from one event to the next, always with lots to keep you entertained.
After the competitions were all done, they cleared the arena and brought out a rotating stage. It was time for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
We were excited to hear them play our favorites, Mr. Bojangles and Fishin’ in the Dark. This was just an added benefit to an already awesome night.
Over the years, Shannon has been to Austin many times for work. He would always says, Austin just smells good. One of his greatest food finds here is Franklin’s Barbecue.
People wait in line for hours to get the sausages, ribs, brisket and sides, unless they know the trick. Thanks to Don and Mel asking after their 3 hour wait, we knew to call our order in a week in advance. Pick up took 10 minutes. Of course, we had to order enough for a small army, but that gave us extra to put in the freezer.
Another really cool food find in Austin are all the food trucks. There was so much great food out there, it was hard to choose.
Today we went with our favorite, Mexican. We enjoyed the beer at Meanwhile Brewery with some tacos from Pueblo Viejo. We ate lots of tacos while in Texas. YUM. YUM.
The picture below does not do justice to the massive complex that was near our campsite.
The new Tesla compound in Austin is enormous. The gigafactory building goes on for what seems like miles and is surrounded by many other smaller structures. It is all part of the new community Elon Musk is creating since moving his operation from CA.
Next stop on the Texas tour was a short 2 hour drive, 110 miles southwest to San Antonio, in the South Texas Plains area.
The weather was sunny and warm. For one of the first times, we were in a spot without the shade of trees, which we were longing for. So we just moved our chairs to the water’s edge in the shade. The dogs of course were looking back at the RV wanting to know where their Dad was (getting more beer of course!).
Seeking out the local favorites, we found ourselves eating a San Antonio original, the puffy taco. They’re made by frying fresh masa—a dough made from dried field corn that has been treated with lime, cooked, and ground. They are ok – not our favorite way to have tacos.
Rain or shine, San Antonio was calling to us to come and see her sights.
We spent time walking through the Alamo and taking in the history. It is so much more than just the 1836 Battle of the Alamo.
We next found ourselves along the water, exploring the shops and restaurants on the famous River Walk.
With it being such a beautiful day, we decided a great way to take in the River Walk was with a boat tour which gave us lots of great history.
Taking advantage of this glorious warmth, lunch outside on the river was the only option.
San Antonio is home to many Missions built along the San Antonio River. Mission San Francisco de la Espada, was built in 1730 to protect against the influx of the French from Louisiana.
The purpose of the missions was to create community between the locals and the Spaniards using the Catholic faith as a foundation. Teaching eachother their skills such as farming, hunting, blacksmithing and masonry, Mission Espada flourished for 50 years before the members started moving away wanting more land.
As we continued exploring, we found Kunstler Brewery.
This was a great place to enjoy a flavorful beverage and a tasty lunch.
With the temperatures in the low 90’s and the sun shining bright, we had to find a way to stay cool.
In answer to the question you are probably asking yourself, Yes, that is a pool and yes it is something we bought to have with us on this journey. It is meant to be a dog bath, but they were kind enough to share.
The temperature was hot, even for us. We had done everything we wanted to do in San Antonio, so we decided to go ahead and make our way to the coast a few days early. One of the joys of doing what we are doing is the ability to move as we need to or want to. Texas gulf coast here we come!