Saturday, May 2, 2009

Day Sixty-one, 090430 - Austin, TX

Day Sixty-one, Date Thursday, April 30, 2009
Time in Saddle: n/a
Distance for the Day: n/a miles (Still in Austin)
Accumulated Trip Distance: n/a
Altitudes: Starting/Ending n/a, Highest: n/a Accumulated: n/a
Speeds: Avg: n/a mph, Max: n/a mph
Weather: Partly cloudy, warm, humid (get used to it)
Expenditures: $

Today, after a breakfast of bagels and milk, Walt took me to sit in on a couple of classes he was taking at the University of Texas, one on Texas politics, and another on photography from an award winning photojournalist and professor. After, we took a look at the LBJ Library, right there on campus. It’s the first presidential library I’ve ever been to, and it was a surprise to me, as I always thought presidential libraries were just regular libraries named after a president. Not really – they’re repositories of documents and exhibits and displays of what was happening in the world at the time of that president’s term. I found it particularly interesting, because LBJ was the president who was in office during the first days of America’s space program, so there were displays of astronaut stuff, and Apollo Moon Project related items, etc. Very interesting! Next, we drove over to REI to pick up my three new trike tires that my dealer, Steve, of BayTrail Trikes sent, and that REI was nice enough to hold for me. (We decided that the whole “general delivery” to the Post Office trick wasn’t reliable enough, and that it would be better to do deliveries to likely businesses, instead.) They were there, waiting for me, so I got them, and then we went to the Texas state capital building and did a tour, and sat in on the sessions of the state legislature and senate. In the legislature, there was a bill being discussed having to do with AIDS, and these two women, one a legislator, the other a witness, were facing each other about 30’ apart, speaking through microphones on the floor, and having a rather contentious exchange, each trying to belittle and dominate the other – our government at work. The senate was a little more civil, but I still got the idea that the guys who had the floor were trying to move the discussion in a direction they wanted it to go. Interesting. We ate lunch at the café there, and then made a quick stop back home to get some binoculars, and then we went out to The Oasis, which was a good 15 or 20 miles to the northwest of Austin on the east shore of Lake Travis. This was an amazing place! A huge, multi-level restaurant, each level with an outside terrace facing the lake, with a dance floor on the top level. The cliffs on which the restaurant sits high above the lake by a good 450’. Wow, what a view! We’d already just eaten, so we just had drinks and chips as we sat and chatted on one of the outside terraces; it was all very pleasant. There were also all these bronze statues, wind chimes, and various other forms of decorative art all over the restaurant itself, and also in a lot across the street, where they could be bought for one’s home décor. Some of them were pretty over-the-top, but others were quite nice. An amazing place, The Oasis! After that, we drove out to look at the dam, and then Walt showed me a former bike route he used to do in earlier days with four steep, industrial-strength (ie, “killer”) hills, and then we took a look at his old neighborhood, when he used to live here. After the grand tour, we returned back to Walt’s condo, and he fixed a delicious vegetarian concoction for dinner (I don’t know what else to call it, but it was gooood), and then a yummy fruit and whipped cream dessert. Tomorrow, I would meet his girlfriend, Mickie(sp?), and would help out at the two volunteer organizations he works at: a soup kitchen in the poor part of downtown called Caritas, and some Meals on Wheels deliveries. Cool!

No comments: