June 25th 2018
We planned on waking up early this morning to drive to Austin and walk around the city for a little bit. However, we didn’t wake up till around 10am. After several cups of coffee and a light breakfast, we were out the door. It took us about an hour to arrive downtown. We traveled about 75 miles an hour which was nice because in Portland, you can only go around 60 miles an hour.
Before arriving in Austin, we had to stop and pump gas. This was a treat because I hadn’t pumped gas in about 10 years. I had to read the directions but fortunately for me, gas pumping has not changed much over the years. For those of you reading this post and are not from Oregon, we are not allowed to pump our own gas. Every gas station has at least one attendant that will walk up to your window and do everything for you. I am not sure why the state does it this way perhaps it is because they are trying to create more jobs.
We don’t really know Austin that well, so we had to google some things to do in the Area before meeting up with my brother. We found a restaurant on Congress street. When we arrived at the location that the GPS signaled, we noticed that this particular street look very similar to the ones we have in Portland, Oregon. We walked around for a bit and entered several small shops. The shops carried a lot of similar items such as custom printed greeting cards, pillows, various scents, jewelry, and much more. I have heard a lot of people say that Austin and Portland are very similar to each other, and now I agree. Adding to the similarities, we stopped at a Quasi Mexican restaurant that was also very similar to Portland in decor and the style of the people who work there. The flavors, however, were very different. I wouldn’t say that they were better rather the chefs there have their own unique style that I am not used to, but I could grow to love. It was great.
We met up at Gus’s house, my father, and got a chance to spend some time with my brother Lucas, his girlfriend Gabby, and their new daughter Mandy. We had a great time sharing stories of where we are in life as well as reliving old and often embarrassing stories of past mistakes. I was able to film my father telling a lot of crazy stories from his past that are often very strange, and I question from time to time whether they are 100% accurate. I have no reason to doubt, it is just amazing that someone has gone through so many crazy things and is still around to talk about it. I intended to record the stories and make a blog about them, but he asked that I not put them online. We are going to respect his wishes, so for no I am going to sit on the recording and see what happens in the future.
After having some dinner together, we met up with Lucas and Gabby and they offered to put us up for the evening at their place. We stayed up till about one in the morning talking about their plans and where they see their family in the future. We also got to meet their two dogs who were great.
I would like to say that we started this day early and got to explore a lot of Austin before it got really hot, but that was not the case. We woke up around 10 in the morning and after some coffee, we headed to Austin about 12:00 in the afternoon. We found some parking off of congress street about a mile away from the State Capital. I paid for about six hours of parking which cost me about 25 dollars (ouch!). Lucas recommended a coffee shop, so we found it on google maps and began walking around the block several times with out any luck. The GPS showed the coffee shop in the middle of the city block, but there was no way to get to the center. After walking for several more minutes we finally headed toward a side of the building we had not checked because it was clear on the other side of where the coordinates pointed us. Of course, there it was. It was a cute place that again reminded us of the many coffee shops found in Portland, Houndstooth. I ordered an Americano and Alisa ordered a latte. The coffee was great and also had it’s own unique flavors that I had not tasted before.
While we were sitting and enjoying our coffee, I did a quick google search for things to do in downtown Austin. I found the Hope Outdoor Gallery. We decided to walk over to the gallery which was a couple of miles away. Arriving at the gallery we were greeted by an amazing sight. First, the gallery is the foundation of a failed condominium project that laid abandoned for a long time until a famous street artist named Shepard Fairey decorated the foundation, and that is where everything started. The site is completely covered with graffiti. There are really amazing murals and really bad ones, but they are all centralized in one spot. Something even more amazing was that there were families that showed up and were spray painting the sight together. One family was writing all their initials together and having a great time. It was really interesting. We decided to lookup some basic information on the site in order to do a quick vlog entry and discovered that sometime later this year the city is set to demolish the site.
Later that day, we meet up with my brother and his girlfriend for one last meal before heading back to San Antonio. We took one last picture and then headed back.