Austin, LBJ, and the Bush Twins

Trip Start Jun 19, 2006
Trip End Jul 28, 2006

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Saturday, July 15, 2006

It was time for a solo jaunt away from MACC, so I figured it was a good day to travel up to Austin.

7:00 AM - Departed San Antonio
8:30 AM - Arrived Austin
7:00 PM - Departed Austin
8:30 PM - Arrived San Antonio

First stop was to find breakfast. Downtown Austin has practically no place to eat breakfast except for hotel restaurants and Starbucks. I found a bakery, Bakery Man, where I dined on a cheese danish and apple juice.

Next stop was the Austin Overture mini-bus tour of the city. They have a duck boat tour, but the bus tour goes to more places so I opted for that ninety minute tour. The tour covers many sites including the hill country in West Austin, including Lake Travis. This is where the rich people live including Sandra Bullock and Lance Armstrong. I was fascinated by the highways cut out of limestone mountains and how hilly the area is around the lake.

On the way out to the hill country, the driver passed by the hip restaurant row across the river from downtown Austin. The driver pointed out Chuy's the restaurant where, it is alleged, the Bush Twins ran into underage alcohol problems in 2001.

The tour also covered some interesting tourist sites: the Treaty Oak, the French Legation, the Texas State Cemetery, the building where Lady Bird Johnson lives, etc. Overall, it was a great trip.

After the tour, I attended mass at the St. Mary Cathedral. I guess I am on a cathedral tour of the country since I have now been to the cathedrals in Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin; Phoenix is next.

Following mass, I grabbed a slice of pizza for lunch and headed to the Austin Museum of Art. What a rip-off!. They should call it the Austin Art Gallery. They only have one floor with a couple of temporary exhibits. No old masters here!

From there, I drove to the U. of Texas campus to go to the LBJ Library and Museum. So now I'm touring presidential libraries. The building looks like an old-fashioned flash cube. Unfortunately, it is undergoing renovation so it is enclosed in scaffolding. This is the only presidential library that does not charge admission. Like the Clinton Museum, you can view an orientation film that chronicles LBJ's life. The museum exhibits are quite interesting. On another floor, they have an animatronic LBJ leaning on a rail post telling jokes. The top floor has a reproduction of the LBJ oval office and a reproduction of Lady Bird's office. Lady Bird gets plenty of exhibit space here. Quite different from the Clinton Museum where Hillary does not get her own exhibit space.

After the LBJ museum I went to the Blanton Museum on the UT campus. What a relief! A real museum. If you want to see classical art in Austin you must go to the Blanton. They have a small, but nice collection of European and American art. The current temporary exhibit of contemporary American art contains some bizarre artwork.

From the Blanton, it was across the street to the Museum of Texas History. An interesting museum, but I breezed through pretty fast. They also show a fun film about the Texas spirit that features some goofy, but fun "realistic" special effects.

After that museum, I was hungry for dinner so I headed back across the river to the area we passed on the tour. I settled on The Green Mesquite, a little barbecue shack that the tour guide recommended. The food was inexpensive and delicious. I opted for the two meat barbecue dinner plate (ribs and brisket) with cole slaw and corn on the cob for dessert. I topped it all off with a small peach cobbler for dessert. A much better barbecue experience than the Rendevouz in Memphis. The staff was friendlier and the barbecue was tastier.

Following dinner, it was back on the road to San Antonio.

I took many pictures in Austin, including Lady Bird's home and the Bush Twins restaurant. I look forward to posting them as soon as I have a proper high speed connection.
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