DAY 31: Austin, Texas
Miles traveled: 4,401
States visited: 15
Weather: 93, hot
All around Austin were signs and merchandise that say “Keep Austin Weird.” Yet, I spent most of my days there wondering, Where are all the weird people? There were a good number of hipsters around town, but not nearly as many as I expected. I think there are just as many in Pittsburgh. That was the most surprising thing about the city.
One weird thing about Austin is the bat colony. Austin has the largest population of urban bats in America, and they all live under this bridge near downtown. Every night around dusk, people gather to watch them come out.
There are even boat cruises that allow you to watch from the river below.
At around 8:30, the bats started flying out from under the bridge. They kept coming for more than 20 minutes. There are supposedly 1.5 million bats there, and I believe it. Getting pictures of them was hard but here’s a small group I managed to capture.
Tuesday was Jason’s birthday, so we went to a few pubs to celebrate, including a couple of cowboy bars, to get a sense of what real Texas bars are like.
Earlier in the day we went to a beach on a lake. It was great to swim around for a while. Someone had left a water noodle there, so we used it as flotation to swim way farther out into the water than we should have.
That’s it for Austin. Despite the weather, much fun was had by all. It was nice spending time with Dan and Andy, my old Pittsburgh friends who live there now. Austin was the last big city I’ll be in for quite some time, so the posts are likely to shift back from urban nightlife tales to stories of nature and animals. Next up: Carlsbad Caverns!
Sorry to hear about the van problems. Good thing you had AAA and an emergency repair budget. On the brighter side, you got to swelter in Austin a little longer and help keep it weird.
We just got back from Austin last month, and loved the Bat Bridge — but didn’t get a great photo of the critters, like you did! I’m only sorry that you missed the sixty-something year-old woman with bright orange hair piled high on her head, shellacked with pancake makeup, dolled up in a white lace mini-dress, several sets of long pearls, fishnet stockings, and vinyl platform boots, bopping along to an indie band outside Jo’s Coffee at 2 in the afternoon. Or the lawn-parked car on a neighborhood side street covered with mirrored tiles and silver-painted plastic army men. Now THAT was weird…
When you pass through LA, give a holler and I’ll take you for coffee and a tour!
Sounds like you saw some great characters! I just arrived in LA, as soon as I get in some relaxation time I’ll be ready to hit the town!