Sunday, April 23, 2017

March 20, 2017 - Austin, TX

It was about a week before we came to Austin that we let Facebook friends know of our visit to Austin.  Kate, one of my Facebook friends, informed me that the Gallaudet alumni from Class '70s-'79s, living in Austin or nearby, meet at the cafe for breakfast on 3rd Monday of each month.  She told us that we are welcome to join in, which we were glad to do.

Kate gave us directions and wanted to be sure that we get on South Lamar Blvd, so we set up GPS and we did not have any trouble getting there.  The cafe is at the far end of Central Market, the grocery store.  I was hoping to see two college friends, Franna and Karyl, whom I had not seen since 1970.  Unfortunately, both were unable to come.  It was good to see Shirley and John.  We had never met Kate until today, thanked her for the information on the gathering.  We were introduced to Marilyn and Roger, who had just got back from RV traveling.  We spent all the morning sharing stories about travel, jobs, family, etc.. We had a wonderful time with the group.

From left: Roger, Marilyn, Kate, Shirely and John
After breakfast and bidding friends good bye we went shopping at Central Market. What a nice store it was!  I could easily spend hours checking out stuff in each aisle. 
We had groceries, so we were not able to go sightseeing anywhere, but to go back to McKinney Falls State Park.  After putting groceries away we drove to Lower Falls to check it out.  The waterfall was not flowing as much as it was at Upper Falls.  There were few bathers lounging around.
We did not do much for rest of the afternoon.  The weather was so pleasant we sat outside resting.  


March 19, 2017 - Montgomery, TX to Austin, TX

It was warmer today than it was yesterday.  The sky was riddled with lot of grey clouds, but at least, it did not rain.

Many RVs had already checked out when we were getting ready to check out. The spring break ends tonight, so there will be less kids at the campground after tomorrow.

Patty texted to let us know that she and Paul were going out for a ride and to look for wildflowers along the route. 

After hooking the Jeep to the Lil' Home we discovered that the left brake signal was not working. 😔  We were not sure what the problem was, but we left it at that. We left Lake Conroe KOA at 10:15 am. 

We got on Texas 105 West. much less cloud than early this morning.  The sun was playing peek-a-boo!
Our next destination: Austin, TX
We will be in that town until either March 24 or 25

We drove through the town of Brenham, but did not make any stops.  Patty texted to let us know that Southern Flyer Diner at Brenham Airport was still closed.  According to Google, it showed that it is permanently closed.  We had lunch there two years ago and enjoyed spending time watching the take-off and landing of small planes.
We pulled over to a wide shoulder area in Giddings, TX to fix lunch. Across the road is a cemetery, but I did not walk over to check it out.  I probably would if we were not pressing for time to get to Austin.
During lunch we checked the map to see where we need to pull over next.  Sometimes GPS gives us wrong routes because it does not know that we are driving a motorhome, so we have to be sure that the route we are taking is accessible for big rigs.  Sometimes we follow the sign “Truck Route” to be on the safe side.

Patty suggested that we stop at Buc-ee’s, a famous Texas convenience store chain, on TX 71 in Bastrop, TX.  The parking lot was huge and we did not have any trouble finding a parking spot for our LH. 
Buc-ee’s is open 24 hours a day, has fuel station, and sells coffee, prepared foods, beef jerky, speciality gifts. Its logo is a beaver. We browsed around, did not see anything we wanted to buy.  We did not hang around long.
All kinds of jerky

On TX 21 the traffic was jammed going east and we were going west. Whew!   There were lots of wildflowers on the median: Indian paintbrushes, bluebonnets, buttercups, yarrows and Texas yellow wildflowers.  

Wildflowers on the median
We took TX 71 from TX 21, continued until we went past Austin- Bergstrom International Airport, took exit to get on Highway 183.  Then to McKinney Falls Parkway to go to the state park.

Cars were lined up to go in McKinney Falls State Park and many had to be turned away because the parking lots at Upper and Lower Falls were full. They let us in because we had a reservation to camp there.  There were already three RVs in front of us and the campers were inside the ranger station for registration.
I went inside the ranger station to pick up pass, maps, etc.  Although I reserved a campsite via online three nights ago the registration process was slow.  It took like 15-20 minutes before I finally got the passes.

We were assigned to site #36, a pull-thru with electricity and water.  The dump station is not very far from us.  The campground host was across from us.
I texted Christy, Erwin’s niece by marriage, that we are in town. She had just dropped her son off at the airport and came by to visit with us. It was good to see her again.  The last time we saw each other was last year when she and her friend, on their way back home from their vacation, stopped by to visit us when we camped in Fredericksburg, TX.

Since Christy will be off from work on Tuesday she suggested that we get together for lunch and sightseeing.  She has been living in Austin over 25 years, knows many places for us to visit.  She plans to start traveling full-time soon.  She is also a photographer and if you have Instagram follow her account: wonderofbackroads

After Christy left we prepared a quick supper.  We biked around the campground, were going to bike to the Upper Falls, but realized the trail was steep and uneven.  We went back to the campground, left bikes, took the Jeep to the Upper Falls parking lot.

The Smith Visitor Center was closed due to previous flood damage.  However, the trail to view the Upper Falls was open.  There is also the Lower Falls and we plan to visit it tomorrow.  The sun was setting and it started to get dark, so we did not have time to visit other areas.
The field across from the Smith Visitor Center was filled with bluebonnets, and there were photographers taking pictures of couples and kids.

Erwin hit the sack very early, said he was really tired after driving from Montgomery, TX to here.  I spent time figuring out what to visit/do tomorrow.