May 28, 2015


Frank will be working non-stop until mid-July. So, we decided to squeeze in one last trip before we're grounded for much of the summer. Two years ago, we visited Austin very briefly. We only stayed one night before moving on to San Antonio. We've been eager to get back since. When I saw Allegiant offered $65 one way fares from McCarran it was the perfect excuse to return. Even after paying for bags and our seats, it was only $90 per person. We flew Southwest home, Frank had a travel credit to use and I had enough points for a free flight.

I booked a rental car from Dollar so we could drive out to Lockhart and seek out other BBQ joints.

Our flight to Austin was flawless; no waiting at McCarran, then, a quick up and down. We were boggled when the car rental counter was across from baggage claim. It doesn't get more convenient. We were concerned what this meant for us. Nothing is ever this smooth. When we went up to claim our rental, signage was poor and we wandered a bit to locate our car. We knew it couldn't be so easy, but still we were on our way in no time.

When it came to accommodations, I priced the hotels and Airbnb. Airbnb was a better fit and we've had such good experiences, we were pleased when we secured a studio in the Zilker neighborhood. It had a king sized bed, it was close to downtown and there were plenty of bars and restaurants nearby.

We were happy to see the studio looked just as it did online and it was even bigger than I had imagined. It was perfect home base. Our host was fantastic, she'll really paid attention to the details. Little touches make all the difference, such as the welcome sign, wine, beer and water chilled in the fridge, and a night light in the bathroom. We felt right at home.

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We had a parking spot right out front so it was a breeze to come and go. We also used Lyft and Uber to get around. A car was never more than two minutes from the house and fares were less than ten bucks to/from downtown. We used ride sharing when bar hopping and one night when we were too lazy to walk back from Barley Swine. We had some really great drivers, two questionable ones (new drivers), but still better than most taxi drivers.

The city was booming last time and it's still going strong. We were in awe of the development. Honestly, I'm a bit nervous for them, I remember not long ago our skyline was filled with cranes and now we're left with skeletons of broken dreams. It's crushing, I don't wish that on anyone. There seems to be no end in sight for Austin. I wish them all the best.

When we visited Austin two years ago, they were in a serious drought. That is no longer the case. It rained off and on each day. We had major storms twice. The ground was well saturated and there were signs of flash flooding, then, and it's pretty much rained non-stop since. As I understand it, Lake Travis has risen 25 feet since we were there. Then, it was 50 feet from full. That is insanity. Seeing the footage on TV of the Central Texas floods makes my heartache for those affected. Many have lost homes and loved ones. The destruction is numbing. Especially since we drove all around hill country and crossed the Blanco and San Marcos Rivers a number of times, those neighborhoods are full charm under all that water, dirt and debris.

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