I checked out of the hostel yesterday morning and, in search of better sleeping accommodations, headed downtown to puddle around for the day. Around noon I heard from Steve Peeples and Amy Lewis, two friends from Humboldt spending the weekend in Austin to escape the rains for a moment. Woo hoo! So great to see those guys. We spent the day biking all over Austin, visiting the botanical gardens, the Capitol building, and a few bars.
The Capitol building. We even got to watch the house in session. Soooo boring. No wonder nothing ever gets done in politics. Half of them were sleeping or playing games on their phones.
The rotunda. Ooh. aaah. It looks just like all the others. Just kidding. It was cool.
The beech trees of Asia at the Zilken botanical gardens
Colorado river and Austin skyline.
After all that sight seein it was well past beer thirty, so we stopped at the Jackalope on east 6th street to partake in the delicious IPA, a craving we all shared after a long day in the sun. Three pints and a couple red faces later....."well, I guess we should eat." Amy ordered her first catfish Po'boy, Steve got the pulled pork BBQ and I had a honey jalapeño bacon burger. Muah! I think we all agreed it was pretty much delicious.
Onward! It just so happened that the hot rod round up is this weekend, so the streets of Austin were full of awesome hot rods and they were all gathering next to the Continental club on south congress. We headed out in that direction through a New York style traffic jam, one of the few and glorious times it is faster to travel by bicycle. Yeah, I felt a little high and mighty. But i think i deserve it a little. On our way down 6th street a man got tased by the cops right next to me. I couldn't help but laugh. Sorry bro.
When we got there I suddenly had reservations about locking up my fully loaded bike in a crowd that big, so I hustled back to the hostel and dropped my gear in steve and amy's room lest it be stolen in the huge crowds. I couldn't have possibly predicted how ironic this would be later.
When I came back, the streets were packed. I locked Ida up next to S and A's bikes and set out to find them in the crowd. I got distracted. Oh, hey, live music. OH, HEY....Alejandro Escovedo!!!!!! Totally killer. This is yet another reason I love Austin.
Steve and Amy found him, too. They were stage right. Too bad we didn't mosey on over sooner. But a half hour of Alejandro is better than no Alejandro at all.
After the show, we walked around and checked out the cars while a great number of them were parading down the street, revving their giant engines and showing off all their tricks.
The other side said, "so close yet so far out." I should've snapped that side.
Two hours of sleep were starting to hit me by this point and I started trying to find ways to keep from falling asleep in corners of bars. Not too long after we were all ready to hit the hay. Thankfully, the ride back to the hostel was quick.
I didn't actually have a room reserved so I just pitched my tent in the backyard and called it good. This was around 2 am. Sleep at last!
I woke up around 7 and broke down camp before anyone important noticed. Everything was packed up and sitting next to Ida on the back patio, ready to be loaded. The only thing that remained was to charge this here voodoo box for a while. Not surprisingly, I fell asleep next to it on the couch for about an hour. When I woke up and went back outside, one of my panniers was missing. It took me a minute to realize someone had actually stolen it. Wow. Really? I was upset mainly because my UK shirt was in there, but also all of my street clothes and toiletries.
The hostel desk clerk replayed the security camera footage and we discovered a man on a bicycle (shocking! What a jerk!!) had taken it. We decided it would be best if I walked around and looked for it in case he had tossed it (when he realized it only had my smelly clothes in it) before we called the police. Good call! I thought I spotted it across the street about two blocks down....and I was right! It didn't even look like he had opened it. I can imagine how awkward it would be to carry it on a bike without it being on a rack. It is too heavy for that.
Tragedy narrowly avoided! My handlebar bag, which contains everything valuable I have with me, was sitting right next to that pannier. Had he taken that, he would've scored a wallet and an IPod, and normally my phone, had I not been charging it. I'm always amazed by the things thieves choose to take.
Well, thats about all the exciting stuff for today. So far, anyway. I only made it about 40 miles to Wimberly because I wanted to make sure I could find a place to watch the Kentucky game. I do have priorities, you know. The ride was beautiful. I have officially entered hill country. Although the climbs are difficult, I'm loving it. It really is gorgeous.
Ah, that picture doesn't do it the least bit of justice.
Well, it's a close one between Butler and VCU so I should focus. I'm not sure who I would rather play, not that it matters.