Austin is a strange little monster. The inexhaustible abundance of live music. The incredible tropical weather. The backyard barbeque mentality. Everywhere you go feels like a friendly midsummer house-party. Drinking beers on wooden picnic benches under white lights strung between big live oak trees.
The energy of the city flares up each weekend as the extraordinary Texan party scene unfurls across town. Literally bursting at the seems during festivities like South by Southwest and Saint Patrick’s Day. A place where “good” weather means under a hundred degrees, as opposed to the Pacific Northwest where anything over sixty-five warrants a sundress and sandals.
There’s a special lust for life here. Everyone has an outlet of some kind. Whether it’s hiking the greenbelt (a wide expanse of rural-ish trails that run quite literally through the city and back out again.), playing live music at every opportunity or smashing on bikes all day, just to go ride bikes. The amount of sunny days and outdoor livability brings an ease and sweetness to the people down here.
For those of you who know me, worry not, I’ve still yet to find a town that can contain me year round. But I invite everyone to get a little taste of this Tex-mexy, Southwest-ish, Cheeseburger-in-paradiseness that’s sizzlin’ on the grill down here in Austin.
Three week countdown till blazing saddles gets back on the open road. Thank you people of Austin it has been a wonderful, colorful, at times sweaty but enjoyable few months. I will greatly miss your swimming holes and Carpe Omnia ideology.
It has been an incredible journey, the last month since I left Oregon. I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset. I watched an old friend play music in Los Angeles and blow the crowd away. I acquainted myself with Las Vegas, thank you, once was enough. I had a picnic in the snow at the Grand Canyon. I passed by the Hoover Dam (missed the exit, Damn!). I moseyed up Canyon Road in Santa Fe in a faux fur coat and chatted up more than one gallery curator that seemed to think I could afford to buy something. I drove straight through the worst snow storm I’ve ever seen, on closed highways and icy frontage roads to get to Austin by Christmas Eve. I sat patiently in the hospital waiting room as my beautiful nephew, Henry David, came into the world and greeted him warmly with tears in my eyes and a stuffed monkey named Bongo. I danced down Bourbon Street in New Orleans with a sugary cocktail in my hand. And at last, I rang in the New Year with some of my very favorite people in St. Louis, to the masterful sounds of Umphrey’s McGee.
5,000 miles in two and a half weeks. I reconnected with old friends and new family and am only mildly sick of my music collection. Thank you Kathleen Mannis, Sam Daggett, Sat-Kaur Khalsa, Nick and Sarah Mandelberg, Caroline Strickland and Roger Linehan, Peggy Walton-Walker, Tim Maggio and The Schers for taking me in and making this whole silly shebang not only possible but damn fun too.
Now I find myself back at altitude in the outskirts of Boulder, Colorado. For the first time in four years I am experiencing an actual winter without running away to the tropics. (Not yet at least.) Next week I will be paying rent for the first time since 2008! I don’t know how the hell I get away with it but outlaw, vagabond, nomadic, gypsy wayfaring has somehow come naturally to me.
“What next?” is the question I always come back to. I truly have no idea. One foot in front of the other usually leads to something interesting, so I’ll start there. Taking time to write. Maybe picking up some banjo lessons. Building Bowrain a colorful little sister. Dreaming of beaches and palm trees. Snuggling with Grizzly, my favorite four-legged roommate. Enjoying having a kitchen and my own room while it lasts, and tentatively planning the next great adventure. I’ll keep you all posted from the edge.
“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.” -Vonnegut
a little more…