Austin Texas...or Home of My Second Favorite Coffee Shop

Austin, Texas
In an effort to save money and get the most ‘bang for our buck’ (after purchasing an annual Texas State Parks Pass...which saved us a bunch of money) we opted to stay at McKinney Falls State Park outside of Austin, Texas.  We both love music but Clarks has a much more refined appreciation for singers and songwriters (while I am happy to put on some Marilyn Manson while cleaning the RV). But I’m learning…so we were both eager to find some good live music and Austin has no shortages.

McKinney Falls
With this being our first year of RVing we knew there were going to be plenty of lessons to learn (one being not to drive up roads with big signs that say “No RV’s”). Well, Austin provided us another learning opportunity and one I hope my fellow RVer’s can appreciate. We have a fixed income (and opt to not work at this time) so we often look for the cheapest RV park in the area. We do take into consideration park reviews, location, hookups, amenities but it has become our habit to immediately rule out anything over $28 per night and always strive to keep it at or under $20 per night on average. This is why we stayed at McKinney Falls State Park (plus we had purchased a Texas State Park Pass and intended to get our use out of it).

The falls were gorgeous!
 What we learned was that we were at least 30 minutes drive to any thing we wanted to do.  Now double that because you have to drive back. An hour of our day would be spent on the road just driving back and forth from any of the sights we wanted to see. Couple that with the fact that we want to go out and bar-hop while listening to live music and you immediately see the problem.

We toured the capital building...

Enjoyed some libations...
Shopped some quirky stores...
Checked out some cool food trucks...
Experienced 6th Street...

 Our Jeep gets about the same gas mileage as the RV (okay, so maybe it’s slightly better but you get the point). This means that we are spending way too much on gas for the Jeep just to shuttle ourselves to the Points-of-Interest in our area. If you really want to get all anal…{I mean} analytical, add that fuel cost to the camping rate and see what it’s really costing per night. My point is, sometimes it is more cost effective to stay at a more expensive RV park if it means you are using less (or no) fuel to commute. Had I actually thought about this we would have stayed right in the heart of Austin and walked, biked or took public transportation to get around.
Went to a bar...
And then a few more bars...
Found it necessary to try the street vendor foods...
And found a photo-booth to document the night.
Instead, we spent less time in Austin than we intended. We also didn’t get to experience 6th Street the same way others had (drinking a lot, peeing in the alley and waking up hung-over…otherwise known as having a great time).  Don’t get me wrong…we still had a blast, heard some great singing, met some cool people and even had our portrait secretly drawn by a local street artist while we ate our Valentine’s Day in downtown.

We also made the most of our stay at the state park by biking and hiking. The falls were very cool and I’m glad we had a chance to see it. The RV sights are great…secluded and private and well shaded.  It was beautiful but a bit farther than we really wanted to driver every day to see Austin.

Limestone and water create beauty in nature...

Even with out leaves the trees were stunning.

More Valentine's from nature.
Since I’m a bit of a coffee addict…er, connoisseur, we tracked down the ever wonderful and hip Flipnotics for a latte. If there is one place in Austin you don’t want to miss it’s Flipnotics (okay, so I could be biased because at about 2 pm every afternoon something happens inside of me that demands a little kick of caffeine…call it a weakness if you want but I call it an opportunity to find the coolest coffee shops in the country). Not only do they serve pretty outstanding java but they also have beer and wine and LIVE MUSIC. Their patio seems more like a multi-level tree house with nooks and crannies suitable for those who like to mingle or those who want privacy. 

If you like coffee (or beer or wine or live music) go here!!
Just a couple of Flipnotics decks.
It may seem odd that with all that Austin has to offer I suggest a coffee shop but if you’re like me you will find Austin a strange yet interesting town. It’s defines amalgam to a T. It blends a tiny bit of Texas charm with pinch of trendy city and a huge splash of hipster. You’re more likely to see a group of young 20 somethings that look like they’ve stepped right out of a glossy Benetton  ad (in pastel jeans, polo shirts and dock-siders) than you are to see someone in a cowboy hat and regular old blue jeans. It’s more hipster than San Francisco and seems to work really hard at being so.

Now, I don’t mean to offend anyone from the Austin area. I like it just fine. It just doesn’t fit the mold of being a Texas city. Perhaps that’s the charm…a break from the norm, which it does quite well. I’d certainly go back but I’d be sure to stay at the RV park right in the middle of town.  There’s some killer food and great mixologists and certainly a lot of great music. But don’t forget to try the coffee!


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