Austin, the Capitol of the Lone Star State.
To start with Austin has probably the worst traffic and drivers that we have come across in the last 10 years, the way the streets and freeways are designed it almost forces you to drive like an Idiot, which reminds me of a quote from the late great George Carlin " Anybody that drives slower then me is an Idiot, Anybody that drives faster then me is an Asshole" so just let me say that Austin is full of assholes and idiots. Other then that we're having fun here, both of us are really starting to love Texas, some of the friendliest people we've ever run across, even the bad drivers, when they cut you off they're smiling while they flip you the bird.
We went to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center the other day, there were just enough flowers blooming to make it worth while to walk through, it looks like it would
really be great in the spring. It covers about 42 acres and is part of the University of Texas (Hookem Horns) so they do a lot of class room stuff and research.
Zilker Botanical Gardens is located inside one of the city's parks, even without a lot of blooms it's a very nice park, there is a fountain right at the start and it overflows into a little steam that you follow and it leads through the gardens.
We spent about two hours wondering around and I think I found out why I like Texas so much, from the historical marker in the gardens it looks like I might have some roots here, I could have been a Texas Ranger I guess.
Click to enlarge
After the Garden we drove across the street to the Umlauf Sculpture Garden, this is the home of the late American sculptor Charles Umlauf, it covers about an acre and a half and has about 30 of his sculpture on display, he had a wide assortment ranging from Christian sculptures to nudes. Watched their ten minute video when we went in and found out how the sculptures are made, it's a very interesting process that would start in his studio then go to Italy and then back to the USA. He was an instructor at UT, so well probably see more of his stuff when we go up there.
For more info: Click here
Since I couldn't get Cathy to dress up in the French Maid costume for Halloween we drove downtown after dinner to the Congress Street Bridge, why bother to go there for Halloween, well the largest urban bat colony in the USA lives right under the bridge, and every night they come out to search for bugs to eat. This is right at the very end of the season, they're Mexican Bats and the migrate back to Mexico for the winter and at least half have already left, but at the peak there are over 1.5 million of the little guys that come flying out. They circle under the bridge until there is a group of about 50,000 then they take off down the river or into downtown, it was to dark to get any pictures but I found a link for Youtube that shows you what it's like.
Congress Street Bats
Did I mention that we are now big Texas football Fans, well this brings a Bad news / Good news situation, the bad news is that our beloved Texas Longhorns lost last night (hookem Horns, when driving around Austin you have to hang out the window giving the hand signal for the horns while yelling HOOOOOOKEMMMMMM HORNS, Cathy is getting very good at this) to those no good bums the Texas Tech Red Raiders, the good news is that our beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders who are still undefeated.
You poor poor Michigan people.
They start them young in
Long Horn Territory.
Stopped by the LBJ Museum and Library, the hardest part was finding our way through the construction from the parking lot to the front door. This is a nice museum (and the only Presidential Library that is free, he insisted on it) and covers the life of LBJ and Lady Bird very well, there is a 20 minute movie which covers most of his election campaigns, you also find out that LBJ was a very funny guy. This is the 100th anniversary of LBJ and the 50th of NASA which he was responsible for getting off the ground (get it, off the ground) so there is a special exhibit covering the first part of the space race with Russia.
Teleprompter used by LBJ for his I will not run speech
Some of LBJ papers from his political career.......
Click to enlarge and read, this is the safety plug for the atom bomb to make sure it didn't go off to soon.
Amela Earharts' early pilots license notice that it is signed by Orville Wright.
This is one of the early Russia space capsules, gee they figured out how to make a ball, very very primitive when you look inside.
Can't leave Austin with out visiting the The Texas State Cemetery, as you know we stop at quiet a few cemeteries and this has to be one of the prettiest we've been to, it's also set up so you can actually follow the map and find what you are looking for. Sit back and enjoy the tour.
Stephen F Austin "The Father Of Texas" working with the Mexican Government he settled the first 300 American families in the Texas territory in 1820. He then served as the first Secretary of State for the Republic of Texas.
Johnston was a General for three different nations, the Republic of Texas, the United States and the Confederate States of America. He died leading his men in battle at Shiloh.
The Betsy Ross of Texas, living in Georgia when she learned that a Georgia Battalion was going to Texas to assist them with their battle for independence, she gave then a hand sewn flag that she had made for them. It was the lone star flag which they carried to Golaid, when Colonel Fannin heard of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence he raised the flag and it became the flag of the Republic of Texas. During the Battle of Goliad, Fannin and his men were captured and later executed.
Any stone that has the little gold star at the top is a member of one of the original 300 families that came to Texas with Austin in 1820.
James Michener, author of the book Texas which Cathy said is a must read and if you don't have the time for a 800 page Michener book then do like I did rent the DVD. It covers the history of Texas from Austin's 300 through the wars with Mexico for their independence to Texas joining the United States, a very good movie and a fantastic history.
Texas's number one Cowboy.
Colonel Christian was the Great Grandson of Stonewall Jackson, he died during WW II while flying a P-51 over Arras, France.
9-11 Monument, with two steel columns from Ground Zero.
Click to read, tells about a body found on the ship wreck Belle which was part of the La Salle expedition that landed in Texas in 1685.
Texas State Highway 165, the shortest highway in Texas, being 1/2 mile long, through the cemetery.
For more information on this Cemetery hit the Clicky This really a great website, give it a look.
Cathy and I are off to Comfort Texas, where she thinks we're just going to sit around for a month relaxing, NOT.