From Big Bend to Austin

Flexibility has been one of the best parts of our trip. With the bad weather rolling into San Antonio and Austin, we diverted our route a bit to check out Big Bend National Park. The drive alone was beautifully scenic, following the Rio Grande along the border of the U.S. and Mexico. There was no one on the road but us and the border patrol, so we were lucky enough to be able to stop and snap a few pictures along the way. 

Big Bend national park -- looking into mexico

The rio grande

 The full setup

The full setup

Traveling in Texas is funny. When people would ask us where we were headed and we told them we were going to Austin, they would almost universally reply with, "Why would you want to go THERE?" I'm not going to lie to you. Most of what we did in Austin is eat, though I did go to some crazy yoga class and babysit three small kids under the age of 6. We enjoyed catching up with old friends. 

We made our entrance into Austin by way of Fredericksburg, a cute, little German town that boasts tons of wineries. The winos we are, we made a quick stop at Becker Vineyards for a tasting. We stuck with a red wine tasting, and were pleasantly impressed with a few of the wines we sampled.  We snagged a few crates of Fredericksburg peaches at a road-side stand, and made the final push into Austin. 

First up, we checked out the Capitol building. The Capitol in Austin is actually taller than the United States Capitol Building in D.C.  We toured the Senate Chambers, and (nerd alert!) stood where my beloved Wendy Davis made her epic 2013 filibuster against Texas Senate Bill 5. 

 The texas capitol building

The texas capitol building

inside of the dome of the capitol building in austin

Next, we were in need of some groceries and basic items so we made our way to a grocery store that was started in Austin: Whole Foods. Would it be weird/awful if I said my favorite part of Austin was the Whole Foods? Because holy s*** that place is nuts. I could have spent a whole day in there (it's the flagship store). 

The rain started coming down in Austin, so I tucked away my camera and we went to check out South Congress. We had a little while to wait for our table at South Congress Cafe, so we headed into Allen's Boots to check out the racks on racks of leather boots.

Image credit (left to right): Austin.smallplanetguide.com; 365thingsAustin.com; Roadtrippers.com

EATS

Everything we ate in Texas was basically bar-b-que or Mexican food. I'm not complaining, I'm just increasingly surprised by how hard it is to eat or find a vegetable in some parts of the country. And I can sum up every kids menu from Arizona to Florida with five things: Fried chicken tenders, grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese, fried, and fried. Why are we feeding our kids this stuff, America?! Meanwhile, we took A to The Salt Lick and she ate like a tiny grizzly bear. 

 The combo plate at The Salt Lick.

The combo plate at The Salt Lick.

On the way out of town, we stopped for some breakfast migas -- the last exciting thing we would probably eat until New Orleans. One short, sleepover stop and we would be in the Big Easy.