This year the timing was not so great though. Chuck's conference coincided with the Austin City Limits Live Music Festival. This is only a small gathering of over 450,000 people jamming to tons of live bands in the heart of Austin at Zilker Park. Right where we were. The traffic was horrible! I don't know how we do this. We have an uncanny knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Take for instance the year we drove through South Dakota to get to Colorado only to find out we were following and being followed by over half a million Harleys on their way to Sturgis, SD. It is only the largest Harley gathering of it's kind each year in America. The sounds of Harley mufflers are still ringing in my ears. Loud doesn't begin to describe their noise. And everywhere we went, so did at least a thousand bikers. Not really what we would consider our type of crowd.
Then there was the time we decided to go to Washington D.C.. It was a beautifully hot day in the Capitol City. We walked non-stop all day long. We were on our walk back to our car when what should we hear but a loud, low, distant rumbling. We couldn't fathom what it would be. Then someone told us that a parade was coming. Chuck decided to take one of the kids across the street with him in search of a pretzel for us to snack on while we watched this exciting, unknown parade. Unfortunately, his timing was bad because as soon as he was to step foot to cross the street, over 200,000 Harleys start slowly passing in front of him. We were stranded across from each other forever while all these noise machines agonizingly sputtered past us. It was so loud, my ears are still ringing to this day.
So, it would come as no surprise that we ran smack dab into the middle of yet another loud, crowd-filled, noisy festival when we didn't plan on it. It's how we roll. Chuck and I didn't end up on the same flight out there. So after picking me up at the airport, the very first thing we wanted to do in Austin was to eat at our favorite Mexican joint, Chuy's. We thought it would be cool to go to the original one in downtown Austin. Unfortunately, we learned that the original one was also in the middle of the ginormous music festival that herds of humans were flocking to at the exact same moment as we were hunting for our late lunch. It took us 45 minutes to go 6 miles.
So we were off to a great start in Austin.
At the airport, Chuck greeted me with this beautiful Yellow Rose of Texas.
We went to the Westcave Discovery Center and had an amazing tour.
This was just a stunningly beautiful ecosystem.
If a cactus can be beautiful, this is what it would look like.
We ate lunch at the amazing Salt Lick BBQ Restaurant.
I hate BBQ and I loved this place.
We walked around the UT campus. This is Chuck taking a picture
of the beautiful limestone on the wall of the LBJ library.
We saw some spectacular views including the Pedernales River.
We learned that Pedernales means flint. This river contained the most
sought after flint for tools, trade and money in all the new world at the time.
We kayaked around Town Lake and the Barton Springs with the lovely music from
Austin City Limits in the background.
I got the chance to visit my friend Margot. We met 30 years ago in 6th grade.
We toured two arboretums, talked non-stop and ate at Torchy's Tacos in our activewear.
It was great catching up after all these years.
We waited for over 30 minutes at sunset/dusk to watch the bat colony soar overhead
for their famed evening meal. Apparently, the bats didn't feel like eating that night because
we didn't see a thing. But it was a lovely night to watch a sunset over Congress Ave. bridge.
I visited the Capitol while Chuck was busy learning important things for work.
On our last day, we took a little jaunt out to visit Fredericksburg. It is a quaint, vibrant,
old, German settlement known for all it's wineries.
It was great to actually fly back together on the same plane.
We're such great traveling buddies.