Friday, June 22, 2018

Sometimes it's not the journey, it's all about the destination . . .

     As a nomadic retiree for the past seven years, it's always been the journey for me, not the destination. I love exploring those back roads and admiring rural scenery -- and it's fun to look for a good place to camp for the night.
     But this month, I'm switching things around. It's not the journey, it's the destination! Here's a clue, it's a weird city in Texas.

     Yes, I'm in lovely downtown Austin for the month of June; living in the West Line Historic District. Half-a-block away from me is a beautiful 1893 home known as the Wroe-Bustin House. It's on the National Register of Historic Places; one of many homes in this neighborhood on the Register. Adding to the old-town ambiance, several trains along Third Street going less than 10 mph gently toot their horns.

     And once again, I'm home and pet-sitting. But this time I'm smack downtown in a condo with wrap-around windows and a view to die for. This is my view at 5 AM.

Setting sun view at 8:30 PM.

     On the other side of the great room with 8-foot high wrap-around windows, I can see the sun setting. The windows have beveled joints, offering a panoramic view of lovely Austin.

Quicksilver has an indoor perch in this great room. He's as wary as he looks. I haven't won his full confidence yet, but occasionally he lets me see his playful side.

Angie is totally opposite; 100 percent trusting and inquisitive of everybody.

Her theme song is "I long to be close to you". She naps near me quite a lot.

     Every other day, I swim laps three blocks away. How lucky can a lap swimmer get!? On my walk to the TownLake YMCA's indoor pool, I pass the infamous 500-plus-year-old Treaty Oak Tree.  Heroic measures were taken in 1989 to save this tree when someone intentionally poisoned it.

     In fact, the oak tree near where I'm home-sitting might be one of the original grove of 14 "Treaty Oak" trees where Comanche and Tonkawa tribes met 400 years ago.

     There is a steep driveway from the street and then 31 steps up to the condo's front door (another 6 steps over to the carport), then another 15 steps up to the second floor, and another 22 steps up to the third floor.  Physical fitness is a requirement to live in this gorgeous home! A low-profile vehicle is also a requirement. I can't park La Lair here; it's parked two miles away and I ride my bike here.

      Biking in Austin is better than driving anyway. Austin's bumper-to-bumper traffic downtown requires much patience. Mopeds, scooters, bikes, skateboards and uni-wheels are popular alternatives to vehicles. See this scooter whizzing past me in photo below? Click here for story about the increasing "scooter wars" phenomenon taking place in Austin, Denver, Miami, Washington DC and Santa Monica. Click here for story on a rental e-scooter's debut in Paris. Apparently the e-scooter is making big waves worldwide.

Not sure what this uni-wheel is . . . and folks are still skateboarding.

I've seen quite a few of these gasoline scooters ridden by young women.

I've seen several fat-tire electric scooters, too. And rental bikes are everywhere . . . .

Dog walkers everywhere too. Austin has several dog-friendly restaurants.

Music at small venues everywhere downtown, particularly the East Austin neighborhood. This is the Elephant Room (photo below), a grotto-type enclave which is too dark for my taste.

     Live music every night at many places. See all the folks walking downtown in photo below? This was Wednesday about 7 PM.

     Walk Score (private company that scores a city's walkability) lists Austin at 88 points out of a possible 100. Bike paths, the YMCA, the parks along the Colorado River, and even a very large grocery store are all within a couple hundred yards of my home-sit location. The original flagship Whole Foods Market is one block away! This isn't just any old grocery store, it's a destination grocery store.

     Austin by the way recently made AARP's Top Ten Livable Cities (with populations over one-half million). But Austin isn't without its share of urban problems, click here for why I heard the EMS sirens frequently a couple days ago. 

     Soon, I'll leave this wonderful livable city and La Lair and I will be traveling east. I've got more "destinations" on my agenda this summer.


  1. Porches make the house!! Beautiful rap-around porches on the Historic home. Elephant Room?! Is that like the "Dog friendly" restaurants?? :) Austin sounds great!

    1. Maybe the Elephant Room is a Republican hang-out? I could hardly see in there so maybe there were dogs in there . . . yes, I love downtown Austin!

  2. If you connect all those "soon to be" destinations, it will make a huge journey !!

  3. Yes! True words spoken by a mathematician who sees formulas in life!