New Mexico

So far all I have seen is the landscape leading up to Santa Fe. And it is beautiful. The colors are blue, red, brown, and green. The most earthy combinations. I can see how so many artists were inspired to pick up a paint brush and try to trace nature’s lines.

We’re staying with such a generous family. There’s a cabin in the back of the house with an old Gutenberg printing press, where they sit with food and wine listening to music and make prints when the sun goes down. The two dogs, one little and one big, are constant presences. And the sunset is the most incredible locus of yellow and orange I have ever seen in the bluest hazy night sky.

Dinner was a picnic of burrata, our Libellula extra virgin olive oil, garden tomatoes, pesto, cannoli beans and baked prosciutto. Now to bed!

Honky Tonk

Learning how to two-step is much more fun in cowboy boots. We went to Broken Spoke, a honky tonk institution in Austin, to learn a few new moves. We ended up experiencing much more, including a dance teacher with a couple questionable gender-based jokes and beer recommendations from local two-step experts.

Tomorrow we leave for Santa Fe, so I’m taking in all of Austin as possible. We had dinner on Rainy St., which is lined with a couple hip bars and food trucks with all kinds of food. I also managed to say my goodbyes to Barton Springs. The trampoline that juts out onto the water becomes an opportunity for a performance piece. A five year-old boy got out to the very end of the trampoline three times, and ran all the way back all three times. Everyone cheered. What a metaphor for every giving up to face your fears!

Getting ready for the 10 hour drive. Next up: New Mexico!

Texan BBQ

Penultimate day in Austin and I finally had BBQ! The drive out to Salt Lick BBQ (apparently the best barbecue in Texas) added to the week-long anticipation. The place is in the “middle of nowhere” but actually nestled among vineyards and miles of hill country. The restaurant itself is all wood, from the walls to the tables, and ribs, sausage and brisket sizzle on a large stone grill by the entrance.

We each ordered Thurman’s choice, “the plate that poppa ate,” which comes with a selection of meats and a side of potato salad, cole slaw and beans. Bread, pickles and onions upon request.

The day was spent back at Barton Springs, away from the 100 degree weather and in 68 degree water. I’ll miss this special sweet escape!

Lady Bird Lake

I finally witnessed the Austin bats crawl out from under the South Congress Bridge at dusk. The anticipation is almost a scene on its own: swarms of people line the bridge and the banks of Lady Bird Lake to wait for the bat show. Now I know why Austin has so few mosquitos!

We walked along a running trail as we made our way to the bridge. There one if not the largest bat colony awaits for just-cool-enough weather to begin its journey in search for dinner. It was beautiful to see the city at this time of day, from the park overlooking the skyline. City Hall is an angular modern building with large square glass windows that overlook the lake.

Before our evening of bat-watching I hosted another fun event at WeWork Barton Springs, a new location that fills the entire building. The community space has large glass windows that overlook downtown Austin. Provably my favorite location yet (and it’s close to Barton Spring Pool for a post-work swim). Rating Austin high on the meter for quality of life!

Austin Sizzle

EVOO for breakfast. Today the day started with an olive oil tasting rather than ending with one. From there I made my way to another neighborhood in Austin (par a recommendation at that WeWork event) called Holly. May be my new favorite place due to the industrial architecture and hip craft coffee shop called Greater Goods. I know, these days of #werk have been spent mostly at coffee shops, if you didn’t catch onto the trend already.

A couple days ago someone told me about Barton Springs, a natural spring pool that offers a nice escape from the Texan heat. Just make sure you don’t go on the dog side like I initially did if you’re hoping to chill on some lush grass by the water, unless you’re looking to make some furry friends and don’t mind a refreshing splash of water or two.

Fun events are in the works for the next few legs of the road trip once we leave Austin in 3 days. Stay tuned!