Valerie and I are on the way from Charlottesville, VA, to Carlsbad, CA. Here’s an update from Gila Bend, AZ!
Prose by Robert, photos by Valerie
We started our day with a donut from Gourdough’s (pronounced like “Gordo’s”). It’s a famous food truck in Austin. For some reason, Austin has loads of stationary RVs which have been converted to kitchens and serve customers through a window. Anyways, I had the Flying Pig and Valerie had the Miss Shortcake:
After facing the likes of those, we were quite satisfied (/sick?), which prepared us well for our next stop. Whole Foods started in Austin and they still maintain their “Flagship Store”:
(You might notice stroopwafels on the cookie bar!)
We wandered through and ate samples, mostly :) Then, we visited 6th Street, which is the heart of Austin’s nightlife. It was quite slow in the early afternoon, so we moved on to Barton Springs Pool. We had a blast, and the pictures speak for themselves:
As you can see, it’s a pool fed by a natural spring. As you can’t see, it was incredibly cold. I guess we “got used to it.” It felt good to get out, then get in, then get out, then get in…
Parts of the pool floor are covered in underwater grasses. Interestingly, some of the grasses were in bloom:
Valerie raised a good question: “Normally, plants make flowers so bugs can
pollenate pollinate them. Why would an underwater plant bloom?” I dont know!
In the afternoon, we spent time along Austin’s South Congress Avenue. We visited some (dangerously hip) thrift stores:
…Had a drink at the Hotel San José:
…And then had dinner at Lucky Robot. We loved Lucky Robot – good food, friendly staff and very cool decor:
Texas Hill Country / West Texas
We got a (relatively, you know us) early start with our eyes set on Marfa, TX. We had hundreds of miles of Texas highway ahead of us. I’ll share some takeaways from the day’s drive:
- Texas is just so big. And with so much time on the road (and no viable alternative), you find yourself approaching Texas on its own terms: “Oh, only 80 more miles, we’re almost there!”
- This attitude is reinforced by billboard advertisements. We saw an add for a Hampton Inn “just 120 miles ahead.” Think about it: that’s like being in Charlottesville and seeing: “Days Inn, just ahead in Williamsburg, VA!”
- We did see some interesting wildlife: a badger, a roadrunner, and some armadillos (admittedly, as roadkill only :( ).
- On Texas highways, you can go as fast as you want, but don’t. It kills your gas mileage. And you’d hate to run out of gas out there.
- We washed our windshield as many times in West Texas (and New Mexico and Arizona for that matter) as I have in the rest of my life. You’d think that with such a big state, those bugs would get out of the way.
Some pictures for you:
The main appeal of Marfa, TX (at least, for us) was El Cosmico, a hip(pie) hotel which offers many distinctive lodgings.
We had dinner in Marfa, strolled the (quiet) streets of town, and enjoyed the hammocks and reading room at El Cosmico. At last, we settled in to the Vagabond for the night. Although it wasn’t air conditioned, we were quite comfortable because the desert gets very cold at night. We needed blankets!
We’re in Gila Bend, AZ, now, after doing lots of driving. We should be in Carlsbad tomorrow!