Friday, November 20, 2015

Austin / Hill Country / Fredericksburg: November 20, 2015

If you visit Texas, you are required by law to take a shot like this.  Seriously.  Fredericksburg, midday. 

Hot again today.  More specifically, it started cold (8 degrees celsius?) but by midday, I was walking around in a t-shirt.  I'm told that this is not normal for this time of year.  Saturday is dropping down to around 15 degrees celsius, and more than one DJ on more than one country radio station was excited about it being football weather over the weekend.  Texas.

Drove in the Hill Country, which is the area around, and including Austin.  Naturally, the driving was hilly.  Yes, I was a cliche--I drove through Texas listening to country radio.

Visited Hamilton Pool, which is a naturally formed grotto, a waterfall that people can walk behind.  It's a place to swim in in the summer but no swimming today because of the high bacterial content in the water.  Thanks, Obama.

(For all the photos, click to enlarge, and then a little magnifying glass icon might come up, and you can click again to get larger.)

Hamilton Pool
Another view.  The walk down is some steep stairs, and uneven footing all around but worth it.

To give you an idea of scale, at the bottom of the photo, staring in the left corner, is the handrail down behind the falls, and you can see people walking around behind the falls, to the right of the falls.

I drove some rural roads, long stretches had no lines at all on the road and I had to cross a one-lane bridge that included signs on both sides to tell drivers to yield to drivers already on the bridge.  The few times I saw cars coming towards me, people waved.  I had read that Texan drivers are courteous, but it was still unnerving.

I stopped in Fredericksburg, a town originally settled by German immigrants because I wanted to see a small Texan town.
The way I pictured a Texan town.  Note the number of pick up trucks.

On the drive back from Fredericksburg to Austin, I stopped in Johnson City, boyhood home of former President Lyndon B. Johnson.  It was named for one of Johnson's ancestors.  

People are pretty proud of Johnson down here.  The woman working in the Johnson City Visitor Center recommended I visit the LBJ library, which I was already planning to do tomorrow.  She told me that Texas is the only state with three Presidential Library.  I said I know it's Johnson and the two Bushes.  

She said that only two presidents are Texan-born: Eisenhower and Johnson. She said, "The Bushes were *not* born in Texas," and then added emphatically, "That *must* be made abundantly clear.  This is Democrat country!"  
More small town Texas.  Johnson City.
An antique store on Highway 290, Johnson City.
Back in town, I watched the bats leave for their nightly feeding from the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge  (named for the former Democratic governor).  I think it's home to the largest urban bat colony.  I'm not sure why.  It was cool watching thousands of bats flying in the dark, but no photos turned out.  I only had my gorilla pod (a short tripod) and snapped this photo of the skyline.
Austin, night time, from less than a foot off the ground.

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