Monday, February 1, 2010
Austin Exploration, Rest, and Resupply
Today we set out to explore and resupply in Austin. We slept in a little at our gracious hosts' home and then got ready to go. We went to a local Mexican bakery (La Mexicana) with Michelle, one of the roomates and a friend of our friend Jeff in Missoula. This place was not far from their home and when we went in, we were confronted with huge cases full of many assorted pastries of unknown flavors and fillings. We picked out a few and were delighted with some and disappointed with others. Greg picked out a few good ones with pineapple filling, and I picked out one that looked like a turnover, but was empty! It was fun to hang out there and see what we got. Greg, Michelle, and I laughed about how the bakery we were in also served as a jewelry store, similar to another store we visited in Oceano California.
After Michelle left to go to work, we decided to get another bite to eat at a different bakery with more filling food. We found ourselves at Pie Slice Bakery where we had an amazing breakfast. They called it migas, which is an egg scramble, tomatoes, onions, fried tortilla slices, and queso sauce and greens served with tortillas and salsa. Greg also had an equally filling and delicious taco for a mere 99 cents.
After breakfast we headed down to the biggest bike shop in Austin, and probably in Texas, called Bicycle Sport Shop. We found Greg a new seatpost to alleviate his pain from the saddle now being too far forward, although now nigh enough. And it worked! We also asked about a new BoB wheel, as ours is severely out of round. They did not have one, which made us very concerned that we may not find one on hand. After the shop, we headed downtown.
We were very pleased to find that Austin has a great bike path system. They had the most impressive bike/pedestrian bridge we have ever seen over the river in town (actually, the Colorado River, but not the famous one.) The bridge even had an entrance ramp that funneled traffic from both sides of the path below. Our first stop downtown was REI, to pick up the new bike shorts and pants Greg had ordered over a week ago. It was nice to know we would have them waiting for us. We also bought a new tire for Greg's bike. Next, we went to an awesome, large bookstore called Book People. We spent several hours reading and using the computer here.
After much anticipation, we visited the Driskill Hotel. Jesse Driskill was a cattle baron who built this hotel in 1886. Jesse Driskill is also Greg's great-great grandfather. We found this out when we were visiting Greg's Grandparents in Mesa, Arizona. It was awesome to visit this grand old hotel and see all of the beautiful details adorning the place. On the building outside were busts of Jesse Driskill's sons. Inside was a large portrait of the man. President Lyndon B. Johnson really put this hotel on the map, as he began frequenting the Driskill on his first date with his future wife, Lady Bird. We mentioned Greg's connection to the hotel to the concierge and she told us that Jesse must have had lots of grandchildren because about every sic months or so, someone will visit the hotel and claim to be Jesse's descendant. We had a great time touring and learning about this piece of history.
Eventually we returned to the house and spent some time talking to Katherine Ann and her roomates. We worked on bikes and had an all around great time. As we tried to put the new tire on Greg's bike, it became apparent that it would not fit. It seems these Vittoria tires run slightly small, and Greg's rim seems to be slightly on the large side, which made it such that the tire could not be correctly seated. Katherine Ann let us borrow her vehicle and we returned to REI before they closed to exchange the new tire. Luckily, we met a bike mechanic there who recommended a great tire for us and we bought it. We hope it works out great for touring, but the trip will tell. We went to dinner at a pizza place and them finished it up with a sampling from the local, natural food fast-food place, P. Terry's. What a fun and full day. We got everything done and had a great time, we have never been so productive on a rest day in a city before.