My Great American Road Trip – In the Heart of Austin

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She's So Bright - Me & Galiya inside the Austin Capitol
Me & my friend, Galiya, inside the Texas capitol

We had a relaxing visit to Austin, Texas, staying with wonderful friends. Our plans were to spend one night and head out the next morning, but I was having such a nice visit we decided to hang out for another day.

Much of our time was spent chatting and relaxing, but we were able to see a little bit of Austin and eat at some great restaurants!

We started with the state capitol – which I had no idea was in Austin. As I said in my previous post, I had been to Texas only once. On that single day in San Antonio, I wasn’t able to do much more than shove guacamole in my face and see the Alamo. With that level of Lone Star experience, it was only natural to think that the capital was Dallas or Houston.

She's So Bright - Austin State Capitol Building

So, back to the building – it was beautiful inside, with a giant white dome.

She's So Bright - Inside the Austin State Capitol Dome
This symmetry is very satisfying

I snapped a hilarious picture of Jon posing in front of George W. Bush’s portrait (can’t show it because it’s too silly), and spent some time admiring a giant portrait of Davey Crockett. We snooped around as best we could and then climbed upstairs to peek into the giant assembly room. Along the walls were class photos of the congress going back to the 1890’s. It took a while for me to spot the first woman among all the heavily bearded men.

She's So Bright - Inside the Austin State Capitol Dome
The portraits along the walls are of Texas governors
She's So Bright - Inside the Austin State Capitol Dome

After, we headed to Mayfield Park to visit the peacocks. I’m pretty scared of birds, but Galiya had no fear!

She's So Bright - Peacocks at Mayfield Park in Austin, Texas
She touched it!
She's So Bright - Turtles at Mayfield Park in Austin, Texas
A little turtle romance happening nearby
She's So Bright - Peacocks at Mayfield Park in Austin, Texas
This little peacock, strutting his stuff

Then a quick hike up Mount Bonnell, for great views of the city! Look at that river!

Quite a climb!

It was so hot and we were so thirsty after, that I requested a smoothie at Mozart’s Coffee Roasters – a very cute riverside cafe, which was packed to the brim with students.

That night we had a delicious dinner at Sway, a hip Thai restaurant. I sipped a Thai iced tea and chowed on the peanut curry. YUM!

Later we took a night dip in our friend’s pool and enjoyed the view of Austin from their balcony. The next morning, after breakfast at South Congress Cafe, we loaded up the Mini and looked for a gas station.

Austin -> New Orleans

Distance: 556 miles
Driving Time: 9 hours, 15 minutes
She's So Bright - Austin to New Orleans GIF

It’s a good thing I didn’t know how long some of these driving days would be, because while I’m write this I’m thinking, NINE HOURS?!

Jon’s San Francisco guitar teacher was from Galveston, so Jon wanted to drive through the area and take the ferry. It added a few hours, but having never been to the Gulf Coast, I thought it’d be worth a visit. According to HBO’s The Jinx, Galveston is where you go if you want to “disappear.” While that’s a little creepy, we did ride the ferry to the Bolivar Peninsula. I love ferries, having fond memories from childhood of ferry trips around Seattle, and you can’t be creeped out when on a ferry. I also enjoyed the thrill of driving the car on a boat!

She's So Bright - The Galveston ferry to Bolivar Peninsula, in Texas
Loaded cars on the ferry; beyond them you can see the Texas oil tankers
She's So Bright - The back of the Galveston ferry to Bolivar Peninsula, in Texas
Birds flying off the back of the boat, and Jon looking suspiciously ready to “disappear”

This area of the Gulf Coast was lined with bright colored houses on huge stilts, some even three stories high!

As we crossed the state line into Louisiana, the sun was setting and I turned over the wheel to Jon for the night drive. There was lightning in the distance outside Baton Rouge, and our phones chimed with emergency flood alerts. It seemed like the perfect atmosphere for entering New Orleans.

She's So Bright - Welcome to Louisiana sign GIF

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