It’s only taken me seven weeks to realize that if I just buy some more socks then my laundry days will be much further apart. Wearing pants and shirts a few times on the road isn’t a big deal, after all nobody knows me. I can even get an extra day out of the boxer shorts. Wearing socks multiple days though isn’t exactly pleasant. Trust me, it only takes one day to make those puppies smell and two days is just criminal. My alpinestar riding boots keep out the water and lock in the odor. Keeping fresh socks on also helps the sleeping bag make it more days between washes and who wants to be cacooned up in that thing with the smell of funky feet. Before I took off for downtown Austin in the morning I did some laundry at the Americas Best Value Inn to replenish my supply of clean socks. I arrived in Austin the night before in the dark, so I told myself that I’m not going to do that again today. I planned a much shorter route that would land me at my final destination with daylight to spare. It was going to include two highlights from my 1000 places to see book.
I ran the idea of skipping Austin altogether and moving on toward San Antonio over and over in my head until I just said fekk it. Why not go see what the infamous sixth street looks like while I’m in town, despite city traffic. So I just rode downtown to see what all the fuss was about. Austin claims to be the live music capital of the world and as soon as I made it to 6th street I could see why. The street is concentrated with bars and there is a huge college presence in that section of Austin. I found a place to park and took off up the street to find something to snap pics of. Mission completed. I trekked on back to the Goose and was about to take off when the thought that I’ve at least got to step inside one of these joints hit me. The Jackalope bar was right beside the Goose and claimed to be the best dive bar in Austin so I paid it a visit. It’s full of that eclectic/rustic style that you tend to see in the older parts of cities. A giant jackalope figure greets you at the door and the there are all kinds of trendy pics on the wall. I walked up to the bar and ordered a yeungling only to be informed that they don’t sell yeungling in Texas. Interesting. Then I ordered a Shiner Bock, a native Texan beer. The bartender didn’t seem to friendly so after a bit I hit the road toward my next destination.
Lockhart Texas is home to some pretty serious brisket and bbq joints. This one in particular sparked my interest when I saw it on the Travel Channel a while back. It’s called Kreuz Market and was founded by a German feller in 1900. They are known for the best meat around served on nothing but butchers paper. They also hook you up with a half loaf of bread or a whole sleeve of crackers with your order. As soon as I entered the massive building I smelled the wood burning in huge brick ovens. The building is over-the-top Texan and has a real mans man feel to it. I almost felt like I wasn’t man enough for the meal that sat in front of me. Huge slabs of beef brisket, a suasage link, (best one ive ever had), baked beans. and a half loaf of bread. EERRRRGGGHHHH! Vegetarians beware of this place, you may spontaneously combust if you just walk through the door. I should’ve had John Wayne there to help me eat it. With a full belly and a few more hairs on my chest it was time to say adios to Lockhart.
A short ride through the Texas countryside landed me in the little town of Gruene (pronounced green)Texas and my next destination. I arrived in Gruene and found a campground just a few miles from downtown for just $15 a night. The campground is located right on the Guadalupe River and is as pretty as a picture. I popped my tent up right on the river bank and headed to town. While there I searched for a place to grab a few stickers. This one little shop, called Hunter Junction, had just what I was looking for. The lady behind the counter, Denny, and I talked for about a half hour about travel, careers, and the neat little town of Gruene. She was a transplant from her native New Jersey and gave me advice on what to see and do while staying in the area. Gruene Texas is the home of Gruene Hall, which is the oldest continuously operated dance hall in Texas and the reason I was in this part of the world in the first place. It’s a rather modest looking building. If I hadn’t read about it before, I would’ve just passed it by. Once you walk inside and damn near trip on the, not so solid, old wood floors, you get a feel for why the place is so special. Like Billy Bobs in Ft. Worth, it has hosted most of country musics greatest singers and the movie called “Micheal” that stars John Travolta was partially filmed there. The walls are plastered with autographed pictures. I was there to just sit and watch some live Texan music and take in a sense of what the walls have seen all of those years. The band sounded good, but had this annoying pattern of started every song with a super slow ballad from the lead singer and then half way cranking it up mid song and then finishing with another super slow and soft ballad from the lead singer. They did this for eight songs in a row. The other band mates standing behing the lead singer would just stand there and wait for him to finish so they could finally play. The eight songs unfortunately drove me out of the place. I spent about an hour roaming around the little historic downtown area before returning to Gruene Hall and a more alive lead singer. His first songs of the night could have put me to sleep, but he and his band were redeemed with their last set. I never got the name of the band, sorry. My night ended at about 10pm when I made it back to the campground.