Departures: Austin 2015

In late May 2015, I traveled to Austin. My mission was to site-monitor the DASH 7 Puzzle Hunt. But I gave myself a few days before and after to look around.

This was not a typical time in Austin. A few days earlier, heavy rains had gone through, leading to floods, the worst in several decades. Later on I talked with a friend who lost the home she'd grown up in Houston in that flood. By the time I got there, the floods had receded, but folks were still shaken up and there were some scattered spots that were still being cleaned up.


I flew in; caught the 100 bus from the airport; checked in to motel. It was new comic book day, so I hopped a bus up to Austin Books & Comics, which turned out to be a darned good comic book store. (I didn't know it was going to be so good; I just wanted to pick up comics on new comic book day and Google Maps said this one was close.) Walked back to the motel, via Amy's Ice Creams, Tom's Tabooley, UT Austin campus, and the capitol grounds.

[photo: Flood Debris] [photo: Capitol at Night]

Thursday Morning

Walked downtown and through UT Austin campus. Met with Kenzie and Kimmy of DASH Game Control at Taco Joint, where I demonstrated my lack of taco-eating skills. (As a San Franciscan, I've been spoiled by legions of professional burrito rollers; the idea that I might have to manipulate my tacos to keep their fillings from escaping was novel.)

[photo: Silt] [photo: Riverwalk] [photo: Urbanscape] [photo: UT Austin Turtle Pond] [photo: Ancient Symbols] [photo: Computer Nerd Art] [photo: Canoes]

Thursday Middle

I walked through UT Austin some more, through downtown. I walked past the local Sierra Club HQ, which bore a sign "CONSERVE OUR WATER SUPPLY", which sounded ironic after a flood. (I later learned Austin was recovering from a few years' drought, so it wasn't so ironic, actually.) I crossed the bridge. down to South Congress ("soco")… and then it started pouring and I beat a hasty retreat back north, getting soaked (but protecting my electronics from drowning, yay), and finally catching a taxi back to the motel.

[photo: UT Austin Garage] [photo: Moonlight Tower] [photo: Construction] [photo: Old and New] [photo: Thursday, crossing to SoCo]

Thursday Late

I sat around in my motel room, letting my clothes hang and dry. After a while, I thought to look outside. It was bright and sunny out, as if the rain had never happened. I put on my damp clothes, and made a little foray in east Austin, eventually dining at Kebabalicious (the restaurant and home to the fleet of food trucks). My clothes were dry. More wandering in nearby east Austin. A lot with food trucks advertised itself as a SXSW Event Space. I walked around Texas State Cemetary, back to the motel, slept.

[photo: Cisco's] [photo: Rhapsody]

Friday Morning

I walked through east Austin. It was around 7:00 in the morning and Franklin's BBQ didn't open until around 11:00, but there were already people lined up. Fortunately, I wasn't going there. I broke my fast at Juan in a Million; then back through east Austin and then to downtown's visitor center. I took a van tour of Austin and a bit of the nearby Hill Country since that seemed like my best bet for seeing the Hill Country without a car. One of the Hill Country sights was Lord British's castle. After the tour, I walked down to South Congress again, this time with no rain to chase me away. South Congress had design-y shops; felt halfway between Texas and Haight Street.

[photo: East Austin Street] [photo: Fallen Sign] [photo: Environmental Puzzle?] [photo: Environmental Puzzle?] [photo: Bat Control] [photo: #alwayshandpaint] [photo: Skyline from Congress Ave]

Friday Afternoon

I wandered up through downtown to the HOPE Outdoor Gallery. Then I let Munzees tell me where to walk for a while, and saw more of downtown and the Capitol grounds. I tried to figure out what percentage of central Austin's area was given over to indoor/outdoor drinking establishments, but gave up. I saw more storm damage. A sign announced that Lamar St was a StormReday Community 2005-2008. Maybe if they'd stuck with that (whatever it means) for another seven years, not so many businesses would have been mucking out their buildings? Maybe. At night fall, I crossed the Congress Ave Bridge and watched the bats emerge.

[photo: Moore-Flack House] [photo: 10th and Lamar] [photo: Flood Leftovers] [photo: HOPE Outdoor Gallery] [photo: HOPE Outdoor Gallery Trash Can] [photo: HOPE Outdoor Gallery] [photo: It's Dangerous to go Alone] [photo: HOPE Outdoor Gallery] [photo: Whole Foods] [photo: New Construction] [photo: Bicycle Gear Tower] [photo: Utility Box] [photo: 1928 Granite Water Fountain] [photo: Waiting for Bats on the Congress Avenue Bridge] [photo: Waiting for Bats under the Congress Avenue Bridge] [photo: Congress Avenue Bridge at Night]


I headed to UT Austin campus to help run DASH 7, which I gave its own set of photos. Afterwards, I walked back to the motel through sprinkling, delightfully cool, rain.

[photo: Industrious Austin] [photo: Santa Rita No1] [photo: Possum!] [photo: Blackbird]

Sunday Morning

Sunday, I let the Munzees tell me where to walk. I walked amongst government buildings near the capitol. I headed west so that I could fail to finish a huge brunch at Magnolia Cafe. Letting the Munzees direct me again, I went to the Amtrak station.

[photo: 1500 San Jacinto] [photo: Plaza] [photo: Storm Cleanup] [photo: West Austin] [photo: Bike Trail] [photo: El Arroyo] [photo: Behind the Amtrak Station] [photo: Skyline]

Sunday Afternoon

I crossed the Colorado and went a little ways along Barton Springs Road (but not to your favorite places in that area, which were probably still mucking out). I got pretty overheated, went back to the motel to cool off, fell asleep.

[photo: Bird] [photo: NEVER GIVE UP] [photo: Barton Springs Road] [photo: First Street Bridge] [photo: Skyline]


I woke up before dawn and meandered through east Austin to Bennu, a 24-hour cafe. I took a last walk through UT Austin and the Capitol grounds before it was time to check out and catch the 100 bus back to the airport.

[photo: Sunrise and Moon Tower] [photo: Austin Cuisine] [photo: Cinder Block] [photo: UT Austin] [photo: State Parking Lots]


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