Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Arrived at Austin

I've relocated yet again. Successfully hit the road for three days and two nights and arrived in Austin TX a few days ago. Having now recovered from the rather taxing trip of sleeping in my car during the hot days and driving during the slightly cooler nights, I'm updating everyone on my safety status :)

It's good to be back in Austin. I always love visiting. Granted, not the most ideal month of the year, but always fun none the less. I'll be mountain biking, playing sand and water volleyball, hopefully playing some tennis if I can find a partner, and dancing dancing dancing of course! There's a contra and blues dance a week and sometimes two. It's hard to fit everything in to my permanent vacation schedule.

During this time in Austin I'll also be practicing hard for a couple upcoming auditions so everyone wish me steadfastness and stick-to-it-ness so I can be prepared when the time comes.

On the way across west TX I encountered a magnificent storm. Here's a subpar picture.

And if I hadn't been so exhausted I would have enjoyed the extended drive between Junction and Austin just before dawn. It is now apparent to me that a huge, I mean, enormous population of white tail deer inhabit that area. Instead of the 75 mph I was hoping to drive so that I made it to my new home by sunrise, I drove a measly 40-45 mph to avoid hitting the numerous deer in the road, beside the road, crossing the road, walking along the road, etc.  I could feel the knots forming in my back as I gripped the steering wheel with both hands and leaned forward slightly for the best view of the road around my car frame. As it was still dark, my high beams afforded me the only, still insufficient light to see the deer as they grazed on the grass. Fortunately I had no close encounters with the deer; just a couple of rabbits that tried to play chicken with my tires. Happy to say none were hurt in the process. It was a tiring feat to make sure that everyone and everything survived the night unscathed. Next time, I shall not drive through that part of TX at daybreak again. Lesson sufficiently learned.

If any of you readers have suggestions where to eat or party or play here in Austin please send it along. I've done lots, but there is lots more to do. It's Austin after all!!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

Today it just happened to coincide that I went to the Ronald Reagan museum on the 4th of July. I was hoping that there wouldn't be school tours and most people would be home with family enjoying their vacation day, but I was wrong. There was a big celebration with bands, face painting, hot dogs and water balloon tosses, dressed up presidents for pictures and other festivities. Since I had other plans that evening I got there within the first half hour of opening and boy was I glad I did. The cars were parked all the way down the long winding street that leads to the library by the time I left.

Once again a sunny day in southern California, I enjoyed the band for a small bit outside in the courtyard wishing I had a swing partner to dance with me. Then it was on to the tour of the library itself.

I've been to a couple other presidential libraries and this was indeed a very nice one. I think had I not been getting a blister on my toe and also been worried about the time I would have enjoyed it more. There was much to see and read.

This library is well known for it's inclusion of Air Force One, the actual plane that Reagan flew across the world with numerous times in his time as president. They have the plane set up so you can walk in the front just behind the pilot and controls and then wander back and exit at the rear where the press would have entered. Because it was a walk-through it seemed a little bizarre. Walls and doors were missing, a wax figure sat stiffly in a seat, curtains were drawn, and ropes were up with signs forbidding entry. There was no photography allowed, although I watched as two people snapped pictures on their phones before the third was reprimanded. If you're in my circles on google+, new photos will be added there eventually....still working on my last trips pictures first.

All in all, there was a nice flow with good definition between the rooms. Plenty of hands on fun for the kids (and adults), and numerous videos of varying lengths. So far this is in the top two of my favorite libraries. Can't decide yet between the Reagan and Bush library in College Station. Both had pros and cons that I really enjoyed or disliked. I'll have to weigh them all for a few days before declaring my verdict of favorite.

So glad I went. Not sure I should have spent the money at this point in time, but I was here, had the opportunity, had the motivation, and the interest. I couldn't say no. Next library to visit, LBJ in Austin. Slowly working my way through, learning of history, learning of people, learning of places, learning of myself.