I’m coming to you from Austin, TX y’all!
Chris and I decided last year that we were going to go on a U.S. adventure by visiting all 50 states. Here are the rules. . .
Rule 1: We don’t have to hit each state together (even though that’s more fun) — we just each individually have to cover all 50.
Rule 2: To qualify as “visiting the state” we have to have spent at least one night there, simply driving through doesn’t count.
Rule 3: We will go on at least two vacations each year: a 3-5 day trip in the spring that I pick, and a 5-7 day trip in the fall that he picks.
That’s it. Those are the rules. And when we return from said travels, we put pins in the map I bought Chris for Christmas from Wayfaren (we each have our own colored pins so we can tell which he’s been to vs. which I’ve been to — and if you’re wondering, we’ve each roughly hit 25 states with the majority overlapping). As we travel this lovely country, I will share on the blog what we did to give you ideas, rave about the best place to find chips and queso, or save you time researching if you’re traveling the great U.S. of A. too!
I’m writing this from the Austin, TX airport. I just saw Chris off as he heads home, and I’m sitting by The Salt Lick Taco Bar near gate 12 with a stomach full of breakfast tacos and country music playing in the background as I wait for my flight to Vegas to meet up with my mom and our friend Joy for a few days (if you’ve read my book, you understand all the voo doo, spells, and good luck charms we’re doing to relive our last trip there together).
Texas was actually not a stop on the “Spring/Fall Hocker Tour of the U.S.A” type of situation. I was attending a conference called RISE put on by Rachel Hollis of the Chic site (a recap and blog post for another day — but this was her first year putting it on and she nailed it!) and Chris was “pinless” in the state of Texas on the map, so we thought this was a perfect reason for him to tag along. While I had been to Texas, I had never been to Austin, so this was a new adventure for me too. So here we go y’all, this is what Austin had to offer us in our short time in this heat. . .
Texas State Capitol: The capitol building is beautiful on the outside and surrounded with park benches and nice areas to walk, but it was a bonus when we realized the building itself was open and you could tour it (they may offer formal tours, but we just strolled around ourselves). Bonus: Chris saw an older gentleman outside on a bench that he was convinced he knew, later convincing himself the guy was famous, but also unable to recall any film, television show, or play the man could’ve appeared in. So, keep an eye out for celebrities at the Texas State Capitol, I guess.
Torchy’s Tacos: I wanted to list this as the first item. I should have. It’s my blog. Torchy’s Tacos is the hot spot ’round these parts and the chips and queso (it’s got a kick!) did not disappoint. Because Chris has a better ability to commit to a healthy lifestyle all the days of his life, and I do not, I ate the whole basket of chips myself (I feel no guilt. . . no guilt whatsoever). I got the chicken fajita taco and it was excellent. Chris got a variety of tacos but left saying beef was his fav (well, he said “favorite” because he wouldn’t say something like “fav”).
Texas Pecan Coffee: My favorite podcaster, Jamie Ivey, is from Austin and has referenced Texas pecan coffee as her fav (she probably says “fav”). Not only did I get to try a cup at the airport, but Chris went to a grocery store while I was at the conference and bought me a box of k-cups because he’s just that kind of guy.
Bats!: You heard me. . . bats! Under the Congress Avenue bridge (which just-so-happened to be outside our hotel) lives nearly 2 million bats. Eek! And every night when the sun starts to go down, fools (like us) line the bridge and the grassy area on the side to watch the little-yet-creepy things fly out. It’s a whole thing. Google it. It’s weird. What I will say here is, if you happened to be near the bridge when the sun is going down, then gather ’round and watch the bats because it’s the tourist thing to do. If you’re considering a special trip or can’t stand for a long period of time or are wondering if getting stuck in traffic in the lot by the grassy area is worth it — it’s not. We happen to be walking back from dinner so we stopped but it was a bit anticlimactic because even though 2 million bats flew out, it was getting dark (ha!) and hard to see.
(I have no photos of the bats, because, well. . . yeah).
True Food: We came across the restaurant True Food on a trip to Arizona and were excited to find there’s one in Austin too. If you’re into healthier options it’s a must on your itinerary of meals. This isn’t my photo but one I found on google images of it, so I hope I don’t get put into blog jail for that. . .
Walking paths: There was a very nice walking path by the water (I’m proud to say I know it is the Colorado River. . . because I’m a traveler now and I know important things like rivers and where to find the best tacos). It was very wide, gravel/path-ish, had nice bathrooms along the way, semi-covered by trees, and nice benches to sit and rest. We put in 7 miles one morning between city walkin’ (I’m droppin’ the g’s on the end of some words here because, well, Texas) and walkin’ path walkin’.
South Congress: If you’re in Austin and you want the tourist flare, hit South Congress for all the shops and coffee stops and restaurants and ice cream shops and random juice places and houses that sell pie and custom cowboy boots. With the conference, I didn’t have time to actually stroll South Congress, but we did drive down it and it looks like it could entertain for at least half a day if not more.
There’s SO much more to do in Austin. There’s music and events and a gazillion good restaurants and literally tacos on every corner, but these were the high points of our three days in Austin — and in a handful of hours, Chris will arrive home and can put a pin in Texas.
Yee haw <<tips cowgirl hat>>