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Report 1789: Spring Break in Central Texas

By Doug Phillips from Canada, Spring 2010

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Page 6 of 7: Thursday: Austin; The Oldest Living Person on Sixth Street

photo by Doug Phillips

Canada is weird enough for Austin at SXSW

Off to Austin shortly after 10:00am. Only three of us - Kelly & Liam stayed behind. We decided to start with a tour of the Capitol building - recommended by Dave who had heard good things about it. We parked at the Capitol parking garage. (Big Hint - great place to park in Austin - first two hours free, $6.00 maximum daily charge.) We got the 11:00am 45-minute guided tour which included a walking tour of the Capitol, some Texas history, and visits to both houses of the Texas legislature. The legislature was not in session. In fact it meets for only 140 days every second year. The tour was a very good experience - great building, knowledgeable and interesting guide (Art) & a great way to pick up some Texas history. When he was talking about a large portrait of Davy Crockett in the Capitol building, Art mentioned something that recalled our visit to the Alamo. Crockett was such a well-known figure in his time that one of the reasons that the Alamo became so well-known was that Crockett died there and not the other way around. Highly recommend this tour.

Following our tour of the Capitol building, we walked a few blocks to the entertainments district, home to SXSW. The festival lasted about 10 days, during which Sixth Street was blocked off to vehicular traffic - so it was a great place to walk around and take in the sights. We were there in the early afternoon for a couple of hours and noticed the crowd growing in number even so early in the day. I overheard one vendor asking another, "Are you ready for the onslaught again tonight?" Brad was determined to go to a certain place for lunch. He had seen a segment on the TV show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives featuring the Casino el Camino burger joint on Sixth Street. OK with Liz and I. We sat in the patio out back; 45-minute wait for the burgers ("Really?" I asked. "Yes, really." said the cook). OK time, warm & sunny, excellent waitress, busy spot. Recommended if you like a big burger.

Back out on Sixth Street, I noticed that it was a pretty young crowd. I figured I was at least a generation older than almost everybody else on the street. In fact, I'm pretty sure that I was THE OLDEST LIVING PERSON ON SIXTH STREET.

From Sixth Street we walked down to the Colorado River that flows through the city; followed the path over to the Congress Street Bridge (aka the bat bridge); and took an alternate route back to the parking garage. Over to the University of Texas campus with a stop at the store in the stadium to buy a Longhorn shirt - not many of those around where we live.

Back to Cedar Park by late in the afternoon. We decided to go out for dinner this evening. But before dinner Dave took us out to the Oasis Restaurant where we enjoyed some great views over Lake Travis. The food isn't the attraction at the Oasis; the sunset is. Apparently, the custom is to cheer the sun when it sets each evening. Busy spot with a lot of ongoing development on the property. While BBQ is very popular in the area, we chose to go to a nearby branch of the Saltgrass Steak House - a small chain mainly in Texas with an interesting history. Very popular and an enjoyable experience.

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