Monday, March 25, 2013

Lubbock to Austin

The decision to push on to Lubbock from Canyon De Chelly was based on the weather report that predicted winds gusting to 50 mph Saturday. The idea of towing a 28' trailer in such conditions did not appeal to us. By pressing on we could spend two nights in Lubbock and enjoy the local scenery. 

As predicted, the wind did begin to blow Saturday afternoon. The trailer rocked back and forth. The sky turned a dark reddish brown and I could see the dust blowing across the pavement. When I went out of doors to take pictures I could feel the dust in my eyes and the grit in my teeth. From what I've read about the dust bowl days, this was a bright sunny day compared to the conditions of those dismal times. 

About noon time
About four in the afternoon. Bad dust
The temperature dropped to 24F on Sunday morning. I forgot to disconnect the water hose and the sanitation hose. Both were frozen solid when we wanted to get ready to go. Fortunately, I only leave the gray water valve open and not the black water when in a campground with sewage. That meant a less unpleasant situation thawing and emptying the drain pipe. All it took was a hot shower to get the gray water flowing again. However, the expansion created a small leak in the hose. Again, glad it was the gray water. Discard the hose, buy a new one when we can.

We had hoped to rendezvous once again with Javier Janik, who is walking across the U.S. for peace. We learned that he was taking a northern route that would have kept us in the very cold part of Texas. Sadly, we turned southeast and set our destination to be Austin.
Although the wind had subsided considerably, we still had a very favorable tail wind that gave us great fuel economy. Getting over 14 mpg towing our home is always a joy. 

 On our first pass through Texas Sarah and I regretted that we would not be here to see the Blue Bonnets. We even talked about leaving the Mary Joan in Arizona and driving back to Texas. Well as you know, we have returned to Texas, and just in time to see the Blue Bonnets. They are beautiful. No wonder songs have been written about them. Nanci  Griffith. 
Blue Bonnets
Blue Bonnet Spring

Here is a link to Nanci's song:

Sarah scouted out places to stay near Austin and found a great state park just minutes from downtown Austin. McKinney Falls State Park is just southeast of town. Without reservations, the ranger at the visitor center said we were lucky because a large group had just arrived and there were only a few sites left. She then looked out and saw that we were towing an Airstream. She told me that the large group was an Airstream caravan that was spending the week at the park. 

The ranger gave us a site in the midst of the other Airstreams. I didn't tell Sarah about this. As we pulled through the campground, I exclaimed "look an Airstream, oh another and another".  As we drove by, two members of the caravan greeted us and invited us to happy hour the next evening. We were so happy to be among more than 30 other Airstreamers. Bill greeted us and was happy to see that there were some intelligent Yankees. 

Since we drove so long we decided to reward ourselves with dinner out. We decided that BBQ would be appropriate. Austin has more than an abundance of choices and the task of picking one was not easy. We got lucky when we walked into Green Mesquite. With no room in the parking lot and having to park a block away we had a good feeling. That feeling was reinforced as soon as we walked in the door. We were immediately from across the room by the bartender and offered a booth across the way. Instantly, our waiter arrived and took our drink order (beer and wine only). The place was packed for a Sunday night, when most other places are closed. It was clear that there were many 'regulars' as the waiter moved among them.

Sarah had the BBQ turkey breast, I had the 3 meat special, two pork ribs, a sausage and a generous portion of brisket. Sides of beans, and cajun rice or corn on the cob accompanied the meat. We both agreed that this was the best BBQ we had ever had. And the price was right, dinner with beer, wine and wonderful pecan pie plus tip was $40. 

As expected, the temperature is much warmer here in Austin. No frozen water lines. On Monday, after completing some errands, Sarah and I headed to the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum. It is an engaging, informative narration of the political life of President Johnson. As one who protested against his prosecution of the war in Viet Nam, I could not help but admire his genuine concern for the problems of poverty and civil rights. As expected, his complicity in the Gulf of Tonkin affair was not mentioned. I came away with a little more understanding of the compromises that a president has to make. 

Fourth through ninth floors are archives

November 1968; Johnson knows that Nixon is a traitor due to Nixon's unauthorized negotiations with North Viet Nam that resulted in six more years and 22,000 American soldiers dead. Not to mention the killing fields of Cambodia.

We rushed home to get our h'or derv ready for the happy hour. We met so many friendly Airstreamers, many of them inviting us to visit them at their home if we should come by again. 
The Texas Airstreamers

We wish we could spend the week with them, but we must push on towards Florida. Looks like Louisiana will be our next stop. Stay tuned

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