On the morning of October 10, we departed from Buffalo Gap for the ~250 mile ride to Austin. Our destination was the La Hacienda RV Resort on the shore of Lake Travis, just north of Austin. Our trip had multiple objectives - (1) visit our friends, Scott, Cynthia, Conner & Alyssa, (2) attend a swim-a-thon organized by Cynthia for Alyssa's swim team, (3) attend a marching band competition with a special performance by Conner's high school band from Austin Westlake, (4) celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary on October 13, (5) celebrate Cynthia's birthday on October 19 and (6) explore the city of Austin and some of the beautiful hill country surrounding the city. Here are a some fun facts from Wikipedia, and photos as well:
Lake Travis is a reservoir on the Colorado River in central Texas. The reservoir was formed in 1942 by the construction of Mansfield Dam on the western edge of Austin, Texas. Lake Travis has the largest storage capacity of the seven reservoirs known as the Highland Lakes, and stretches 65 miles upriver from western Travis County in a highly serpentine course into southern Burnet County to Max Starcke Dam, southwest of the town of Marble Falls. The Pedernales River, a major tributary of the Colorado River, flows into the lake from the southwest in western Travis County. The lake is used for flood control, water supply, electrical power generation and recreation. The lake is one of the most desired locations in the region for outdoor recreation, including fishing, boating, swimming, scuba diving, picnicking and camping. Among the parks along the lake is Hippie Hollow, the only clothing-optional public park in Texas. Austin is the capital of Texas, the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 16th-largest in the US. Austin proper has a population of about 750,000, while the metro Austin area has a population of about 1.6 million people. The area was settled in the 1830s on the banks of the Colorado River by white settlers, who named the village Waterloo. In 1839, Waterloo was chosen to become the capital of the newly independent Republic of Texas. The city was renamed Austin after Stephen F. Austin, known as the "Father of Texas." The city grew throughout the 19th century and became a center for government and education with the construction of the Texas State Capital and the University of Texas. After a lull in growth from the Great Depression, Austin resumed its development into a major city and emerged as a center for technology and business. Today, metro Austin is home to many companies, high-tech or otherwise, including three Fortune 500 listed corporations - Dell, Whole Foods Market and Temple Inland. Austin was selected as the No. 2 Best Big City in "Best Places to Live" by Money magazine in 2006, and the "Greenest" City in America" by MSN. Also, according to CNN Headline News and travel and leisure Austin ranks #2 on the list of cities with the best people, referring to the personalities and attributes of the citizens. Austin was also voted America's #1 College Town by the Travel Channel.
Residents of Austin are known as "Austinites" and include a diverse mix of university professors, students, politicians, musicians, state employees, high-tech workers,blue-collar workers and white-collar workers. The main campus of the University of Texas is located in Austin. The city is home to enough large sites of major technology corporations to have earned it the nickname "Silicon Hills." Austin's official slogan promotes the city as "The Live Music Capital of the World," a reference to its status as home to many musicians and music venues. In recent years, many Austinites have also adopted the unofficial slogan "Keep Austin Weird" -- this refers partly to the eclectic and progressive lifestyle of many Austin residents but is also the slogan for a campaign to preserve smaller local businesses and resist excessive commercialization.
Alyssa has been a swimmer since she was a little girl. She has grown into a beautiful young lady, and works out every day at the pool. It's amazing to see the discipline that this sport demands of its students. You go, girl!!
Alyssa preparing for a race.
For those of you who may not know, both Cary and Lota were in band in high school and college. So it was wonderful to have the opportunity to see Conner march in the Westlake High School Marching Band Festival. Here are a few shots from the competition, including a couple of the "adults" working in the band parents' concession stands. Go Conner!
Conner in rehearsal prior to the performance.
It was wonderful to have the opportunity to celebrate (a little early) Cynthia's birthday! Happy Birthday, friend!
While we were in Austin, we celebrated 18 wonderful years of marriage, and 34 years of friendship. We had the wonderful fortune of having a top-rated restaurant within a mile of our RV resort. The menu of Hudson's on the Bend was an eclectic mix of local game, beef and vegetables -- and way too many wines from which to choose. Since many of our friends are "foodies", we thought you might enjoy what we chose to eat that evening:
Salad - candied pecan crusted goat cheese and cabernet poached pears atop local mixed baby greens tossed in a cider cranberry vinagrette Entree - herb horseradish crusted halibut paired with dill gnocchi and baby spinach in a fresh corn broth Dessert - the Wild Turtle - caramel pecan pie dipped in Belgium chocolate Wine - Bergstrom Cumberland Reserve 2006 Pinot Noir - Willamette Valley, Oregon
It was an awesome evening, and a fitting celebration for many years of happiness - both past and in the future!
Cary & Lota celebrating 18 years of wedded bliss.
Here are a few photos from our "exploration" around Austin and the hill country. We barely scratched the surface, and we expect to travel in this area many more times in the future!