[photopress:DSC_8769_sm_blog.jpg,thumb,alignleft]My bride by my side,
The road long and wide,
I left on a mystery ride.
Friday morning, I was zipping down the road at 70 miles per hour without any idea where I was going, and I liked it. It’s liberating for a dad with a cubicle job to get behind the wheel without knowing his destination.
Shannon had arranged everything for our anniversary weekend — the location, the lodging, and at least one outdoor activity. That was all I knew.
(click any pic to enlarge it)
I started guessing inside my head. Would she take us as far as Big Bend? No, too far for just a two-night stay. San Antonio?. Possibly. We’ve been there a few times, but never as just a couple. Austin?
And that was my new first guess. After four years living in Texas, we never had visited Austin. It had city life, nearby outdoor fun, hills. It must be Austin. I told Shannon I had two guesses, but didn’t reveal them.
Once we reached Austin, it wasn’t long before I saw the University of Texas football stadium looming to the right. Shannon told me to take the next exit.
Okay, so Austin it is. Cool.
She guided me to a parking spot and announced, “We’re going to the capitol building.”
“Sounds great,” I said, as Shannon scrounged up change for the parking meter.
“It’s taller than the capitol building in D.C.,” she said.
“It figures, in Texas,” I said. (It is not the only state capitol with that distinction, but it is the largest state capitol.)
We wandered around the hills of downtown Austin, on foot, completely unable to see the capitol. It seemed crazy. Finally we found it, and that first step through its doors was like a step back in time.
We had a nice self-guided tour at our own pace, and stumbled upon a mock Senate meeting of some sort. I laughed when, asked if the floor was open for questions, one of the young participants answered, “Bring it on.” He was arguing that no-fault divorce should be banned in Texas, but was having a very hard time presenting his reasons in a convincing manner.
It hits me just now that we were a couple celebrating our 17th anniversary, and accidentally wandered into a room where most of the people were arguing for our right to dissolve our marriage without much hassle. Thanks, kids.
Next we drove several blocks and slowly dragged Austin’s fabled Sixth Street.* Unlike Memphis’ Beale Street, this city’s entertainment district was a ghost town during daylight hours. Granted, it was Friday afternoon, but I expected to see some activity.
We headed on over and checked into our hotel, several miles from downtown. We had a suite with an L-shaped couch and an HDTV at least 46 inches large, viewable from the bedroom and the living area. The little ‘fridge rounded the room out perfectly.
For dinner, Shannon had in mind a restaurant called The Oasis, in a reportedly picturesque setting on nearby Lake Travis. Hungry as we were, however, it was too difficult to resist the Buca di Beppo right next door. The Oasis could wait until Saturday night. That art and other items adorning the restaurant’s walls were not the same as those in the location back home.
Shannon still had one more surprise up her sleeve. That adventure will have to wait for a later post.
* – You haven’t heard any of the fables? I present exhibit A, linked here completely without permission (hey, if I can find it on Google, then it’s public, right?).
Click for Part 2.