Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year from Austin

     I celebrated the Christmas and New Year holidays in Austin, Texas. The Colorado River fronts Austin's picturesque city skyline.

Here's a better view from the same bridge.

     Real estate prices are high, and its employment base reads like a "Who's who" list of the USA's most well-known public companies. Photo below shows Silicon Labs building.

     Other companies with operations in Austin include 3M, Apple, Amazon, Advance Micro Devices, Applied Materials, Cirrus Logic, Cisco Systems, Dropbox, eBay, PayPal, Electronic Arts, Flextronics, Facebook, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Hoover's, Intel Corporation, National Instruments, Nvidia, Oracle, Polycom, and Qualcomm. Whew! No wonder downtown Austin's buildings are reaching UP.

 Juxtaposing the increasing urban growth is the slow current of the Colorado River.

     I've been home and dogsitting for a family here in Austin. Olita is my canine companion and she's a sweetie. Her primary job is to guard the backyard birdfeeder from squirrels and birds; she doesn't discriminate. She looks like a tough bar bouncer, eh?

     I'm living two miles south of downtown Austin so I bike almost every other day over the various bridges to an outstanding YMCA. Getting there via urban bike trails is delightful. And the bike lanes along the main city roads are safe, too. Motorists here respect bicyclists.

There are several bridges over the Colorado.

Coming down off the high pedestrian bridge is a spiral ramp (photo below) which is fun. Going up is easy pedaling.

This pedestrian and bicyclists bridge (photo below) is under the MOPAC Expressway.

Pedestrians have the right of way so bicyclists must ride slowly.

There's a water fountain along the trail too.

And looking over the bridge, many paddlers.

     Along the river trail there's a place to rent paddle boards, various kayak styles, canoes, and sculling boats (rowing) to enjoy the placid Colorado River. There's no shortage of watercraft on the river any day of the week.

     See the historic sign to the left? That round structure is a clay pit tower from the early 1900s (click here for info). And a bit further down the trail is the historic outdoor Deep Eddy Pool (non-chlorinated well water averages high 60s during the winter).

And for all the dog lovers, a dog park with no containment fence just an ornamental fence, which seems odd.

     I wasn't surprised (click here to read Wikipedia's Austin article) that Austin was named by U.S. News & World Report as the #1 place to live in the U.S. for 2017. And the downtown area was named one of the "Best Cities and Neighborhoods for Millennials".

Improvisational drummers on the pedestrian bridge . . . 

. . . contributing to downtown Austin's good vibes.

Can't leave Austin without a visit at Texas' capitol building.

It has a rather simple rotunda as capitol rotundas go.

     The lobby of the rotunda includes portraits of Texas' governors through the years. Only two were women (both were Democrats), but Ann Richards won her election fair and square without the benefit of being an ex-governor's wife. Although I'm a Yankee, I've lived in rural Texas for the past 26 years and it still surprises me that a female Democrat managed to win a gubernatorial election in a very politically conservative male-oriented venue. She must have been a dynamic imposing woman.

   But the best part of Austin for me . . . . 

     No, not the river trails, it was the hot tub at the YMCA. After each swim (about one mile, an indoor pool on the cool side) I'd hurry over to the nearby hot tub. There was usually a handful of talkative folks there; weather, politics, news, all topics were fair game. My favorite acquaintant was Dotti, a 64-year-old woman who completed a triathlon three months ago. I've soaked in many hot tubs and Jacuzzis in the USA throughout my travels, and Austin's gregarious intelligent diversified hot tubbers win first prize in my book for delightful folks! 


  1. Austin is one city I have yet to visit. We never seem to time our travels through TX to fit in a trip to Austin. Perhaps next year. Enjoy your time soaking and doggie sitting.

    1. Best time to visit Austin are the Spring and Fall months; summers are pretty hot!