Austin to New Orleans

Day 37 – May 15th

We hit the road at 9:45. Heading out of Austin in a slightly different way as to the arrival. The next 70 odd miles are through countryside, ranches and is more scenic. Fewer trucks as well, although having said that the truck drivers are very courteous, and will only use the overtaking lane to overtake, very unlike the pushy truck drivers back home. We went past the turnoff to La Grande ( Z Z Top) and went over the Colorado River at least four times. Pat has been playing more of Bob’s compilations and I am taken with one artist by the name of Big Daddy O. Gotta check him out some more.

At 11:15 we hit Houston, I am really struggling to keep my eyes open. Note sure how Pat is managing to stay wide awake. You know you are driving through Texas when you see a large billboard advertising the Taxidermy services of John with a picture of a deer in the cross-hairs. Also, every second billboard (and they are very frequent) is advertising a Litigation Lawyer.

It is 2:30 and we are all feeling a little hungry. We stopped at a Hamburger place in Beaumont, Texas by the name of Whatabuger. Founded in 1950 and based in San Antonio. Beaumont is redneck country. Sign in the window of Whatabuger, ‘One Nation, Under God, Indivisible’. But they don’t say which God!

At 3:10 we crossed over into Louisiana. There has not been much in the way of road kill but what there is is a little different from back home. An Armadillo and a reasonably large Alligator on its back.

Saw a sign saying forty miles to Baton Rouge. You think oh that is not far then remember that it is miles, not kilometers. The speed limit on the major roads is 70 Miles per hour (roughly 113 K’s). We got a heavy shower of rain but no more than 5 minutes. Once we went over the Atchafalaya River we were in the home straight. We got back to the house around 6:50.

Dropped off the bags, said g’day to Bob and then headed out to dinner at a local diner.

Dowie and Cara want to have a go at a shooting range tomorrow, There is a Range a few minutes-drive from Bob and Pats. We head over to the neighborhood bar, Roy’s. The barmaid on tonight (Julie) also works at the shooting range so we are going to scope (pun intended) out the cost to fire a few rounds. All locals at the bar and they are friendly as we had a nightcap. The Confederate flag flies in the bar. There are three darts boards and I was surprised to see that the scoreboards were set up for Cricket. Julie told us that she has a friend in Melbourne who has just reopened a New Orleans restaurant (Ding Dong Lounge)  in Market Lane called Girl with the Gris Gris which specializes in New Orleans food. We are going to go and say hi when we get back. The T.V. news is on and the weatherman is saying that New Orleans has had their hottest day on record for May 15th. Ninety-Four degrees which is four degrees above the previous record. Yeah, I know we get hotter, but remember this is still Spring here and the humidity is the real enemy. I got out of the air-conditioned car and my glasses fogged up so quickly that I could not see.

On the short drive back home, we witnessed an incredible show of heat lightning. No rain or thunder just flashed of lightning. Pretty spooky indeed.

The rain came about 20 minutes later.



Day 36 – May 14th

I am left to my own devices this morning. Everyone is going to a retail outlet which is about a 20-minute drive.

Left the apartment complex around 10:45 and believe it or not I could not find my way out. Finally backtracked to the carpark where Pat parks and went out that way. Could be a dangerous move letting Wendy take my Credit Card. I walked a short distance down to South Congress and found a trendy Japanese Restaurant (Lucky Robot) that opens at 11 AM (now). Ordered an appetizer of Pork and Shrimp Dumplings and an Entrée (Main) Spicy Chicken Bowl. Some of the best Japanese food I have ever eaten. Sure, got a sweat up eating it.

I browsed the shops on South Congress and found another shirt to buy. Just what I needed another shirt. It is humid in Austin.

The crew are back at 4 with a fair number of shopping bags.

Around 5ish we headed to a BBQ place housed in an old Iron Works and unsurprisingly called Iron Works. It is advertised as real Texas BBQ. The restaurant had been recommended to us by a local barman and our friend Cheryl. The food was ok but not as good as the ribs I had at Rendezvous’ in Memphis a few years back.

Pat dropped Dowie and Cara at the famous Graffiti Park ay nearby Castle Hill Pretty spectacular if you are into that sort of thing. Sadly, it is to be demolished to make way for a housing development. We drove past the New Orleans Saint’s Bar (Shoal Creek Saloon) which is a Mecca for expat New Orleanians when the Saints are playing. The place has 31 T.V’s to watch the games.

The Continental Club on South Congress is a famous Austin Music Venue which has been in operation for over 60 years. At 6:30 there is a young trio playing (the Peterson Brothers). Funk/Jazz Fusion and a little Blues. Free entry. They are pretty good. I think Pat and Wendy were surprised when I told them I have their C.D.

Driving around Austin as we have done for the last 3 days I have noticed how clean the City is. Also, the number of food trucks around the place is staggering. Each neighborhood has its own little restaurant hub. I like this city a lot.

At 8 o’clock we are off to meet Dowie and Cara as are hundreds of other tourists on the South Congress Bridge to watch the nightly awaking of some 1.5 million bats as they take off for nightly foraging. They leave around dusk from March through to November and are a must see. At 8:45 we are still waiting, at 9:00 we are still waiting then at 9:10 I thought I saw a few shadowy shapes. I guess us Aussies had imagined that the bats would be the size of our own Fruit Bats which was not the case and so initially I thought the show a bit underwhelming. Once we moved a little further along the bridge and could see more clearly where they were emerging from it was cool. Check it out

Our road trip is coming to an end as tomorrow we start back for the nine-hour drive back to New Orleans. It has been a fantastic 6-day adventure that would not have been possible without our lovely friend Pat taking time off work to drive us through the wonderful State of Texas taking in San Antonio, Gruene, and Austin. We will forever be grateful.