So after a mellow first night in Austin, we woke up and headed to the UT game versus the University of Central Florida. We took a bus from the intramural fields and were dropped off right at the stadium. From there, we basically walked around for the next 2 hours checking out the tailgate scene. It is fairly insane. People set up plasma TV’s under tents and have seating for those to watch it in their party, not to mention the giant trailer BBQ smokers that were in every parking lot we went to. We ran out of beer fairly fast, but went over to the Clear tent, which was providing information regarding the new 4G network they just got up and running around the Austin area, pretty cool, but we were mostly there for the 2 free kegs of beer they had. We managed to get 2 70-dollar tickets for 35, and headed into the game. Pretty decent game, but not as crazy as some, due to the fact it was a non-conference game and not a very fair match up. The marching band has to be one of the most talented I have ever seen.
From there, we headed out to The Salt Lick BBQ and were treated to some Texas style Bar-B-Q. The atmosphere was really cool, and the food was good, but not nearly as good as the stuff back north such as Leonard’s.
After a quick relaxation session at Prateek’s house, our host, we headed back into Austin to scope the 6th street scene. We started at Shakespeare’s Pub, and then made our way over to Maggie May’s where we caught the same band as the night before, who were really good. Check them out here Eric Tessmer. After that set, we headed back to Shakespeare’s to see the scene over there. Never have I seen 3 very different scenes at one bar. First level was college preps listening to classic songs (i.e. oldies and classic rock). Walk to the back where the outdoor stage is, and there was a pretty sick local hardcore band, Bonnie Blue, playing to hipsters and metal heads. In the back bar, there was hip-hop with no one really back there, and upstairs was trendy remixes and other hip hop. Pretty cool scene. We made our way back to Maggie May’s for some dancing to a pretty sick DJ, then headed home.
We got up at around 8 and Prateek brought us out for breakfast tacos, which were really good. We went to one of the headquarters for Whole Foods, which was huge.
We are currently on the road to Las Cruces, NM, where we will try to camp for the night before checking out White Sands National Monument, and heading off to Tucson. Some thoughts about Texas west of Austin: its flat, that’s about it. One other really cool feature that we came to east of Fort Stockton was the large quantity of wind farms out here on the plateaus. It was really cool to finally see some of those in person, and pretty ironic that there were oilrigs working in the foreground from some of them.
We arrived in Las Cruces around 7:30 pm on the 8th, and attempted to get some Mexican food. Needless to say, anywhere that looked really legit was either closed or also looked as if they did not speak any english. Taco Bell it is. After that authentic south west meal, we headed to White Sands to attempt to see the monument by moonlight, however, a gate awaited us, so we kept traveling to a small state park just south of Alamogordo, NM. We drove around trying to find a station, but decided to just post up our tent in a sand pit. It worked fine, and was way better than sleeping in the Wal-Mart parking lot, which was our back up to our back up. We awoke to the view of being in the presence of giant plateaus.
After a short drive, we arrived back at White Sands, which is a pretty cool National Monument. Jon and I thought about making turns on our skis, but settled for running instead.
We proceeded to drive towards Tucson, and stop at The Thing, a pretty popular tourist trap that we fell for due to the recommendations of some TGR'ers. After checking it out, we made it to Nolan's in Tucson, and headed to our first ever visit to In N Out Burger, which, I have to say, is the best fast food burgers I have ever had.
Now, I am relaxing, doing laundry, etc until Nolan gets out of work at 6. We will most likely stay here all day tomorrow and over night again before heading to the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce.
Thanks for reading, as always!
Do it for America.