A Quick Taste of Austin, TX

Austin, Texas has been on our list of places to visit for a long time. A liberal mecca in a conservative state, Austin is known for its food, music and for being “weird”. We’re weird musicians who love to eat so it’s obvious why we wanted to check it out. 

Because we were on an extremely limited budget and I’m on a very limited diet, we chose to make Austin a quick visit and to return later. In fact we might have skipped it completely if it wasn’t for the fact that we wanted to participate in the Women’s March and realized Austin would be our best location for that. 

The logistics of our visit proved to be surprisingly challenging. It’s a very hilly community, and our first sign of challenge was when we could barely fit in the Lowe’s parking lot, our chosen location for Ross to teach as we headed into town. I also realized quickly that at least the outskirts of town make walking from place to place challenging. (It always makes me sad when new developments don’t encourage walking or biking.)

Our next challenge? We found an adequate Walmart to set up shop for the night, but we didn’t feel safe leaving the RV alone while we marched. As I called campground after campground (our top choice was booked up weeks ago), I realized we might not find any vacancies within an easy walk or Uber/Lyft ride or the march. This would significantly increase the cost of our visit and kind of defeat the purpose. 

Luckily, when I reached out to my mother’s cousin’s son about meeting up, he suggested we park on the street near his home. I’m so glad we gave that a shot. Although we weren’t completely level, we felt very safe parked on the street and it seemed to be allowed by the city, both from what I read and in practice. This location was actually amazing – we walked about 3 miles to the march and back without any issues! Our host let us use his shower and we got to spend a little time (not enough) getting to know him and his girlfriend and seeing his amazing custom guitar company, Moniker Guitars. (Ross was in heaven with that.) We also visited Prohibition Creamery for a fun ice cream and alcohol adventure.

We hoped to take our hosts to breakfast but we had to settle for coffee due to their schedule. Instead we drove to a local supermarket, bought a couple of groceries and walked a little over a mile to Picnik, a gluten, corn and soy-free restaurant where I had an entire menu of food specific to my diet to choose from! We had an outstanding local, healthy meal (Brussels sprouts with bacon, cassava pancakes with chocolate chips and a side of amazing vegetables for me) and the atmosphere is lovely too. Well-worth a splurge! 

Traffic in Austin isn’t fun but it beats Dallas, and we managed to avoid driving in it too often. We will definitely be returning to the area, but we highly recommend booking an RV park far in advance. There are plenty of Walmarts but since they don’t have great reviews I wouldn’t want to walk away from my home and hope for the best. 

Next up I’ll explore our quick taste of New Orleans. We’re currently settled in Florida for two more months. Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Making the Most of Midland, TX

We were delighted this January to get a phone call inviting us to spend a week or two at a campground in Midland, TX. We had passed through Midland as we headed to Arizona (staying at a local Walmart) and while it was clear that it’s a large city, it’s in the middle of the oil fields and we weren’t too motivated to explore it as we couldn’t picture ourselves staying for the long-term. That being said, it has plenty to do, and nearby San Angelo is full of super-nice people and a thriving arts scene too.

Midland RV Park invited us to take advantage of a campsite – full hookups, pay showers, decent internet for emails, nice if not fancy – in exchange for work on their website and organizing a community campaign to bring internet to the park. Without a separate car, we stocked up on groceries and planned to stay there for the week. They also invited Ross to give a concert at a dinner¬†for the local residents.¬†In fact, the area is very limiting to visit in this way. Walking the streets isn’t a great idea here. But across the street made an incredible difference in changing this from a basic RV park, great for our needs but not exciting (after all, I had to record about 40 piano tracks for a project) to a beautiful place I didn’t want to leave.

The 1-20 Wildlife Preserve is an almost 1.5 mile walking loop where you’ll find tons of birds, rodents, butterflies, lizards and even bobcats around a gorgeous body of water that will make you feel like you’re on the ocean. It is truly an oasis and besides Mondays, you can explore it daily for free.I made a point to take a walk every day we stayed in town. Whether it was in the 30s or the 80s (yes, both happened), I was out there. Only one day with lots of rain and flooding kept me inside.

The people in Midland were extremely nice and welcoming to us – one employee even gave me a ride to and from Walmart for groceries – and we loved our stay. If you need a place to pause and recharge for a few days, don’t overlook Midland!