After the very long drive to the border of Texas we weren’t looking forward to the inevitable harassment and interrogation by US border security. Surprisingly though, we were stamped through with nothing more than a nod and a smile, so hastily jumped back into Fuego and shot up to San Antonio where we celebrated our return with a dinner of burgers and fries, then fell asleep in the parking lot of a nearby Walmart.
The next morning we continued our drive North to Austin where we found a perfect spot to vanp and to ventured into town. We first swung by the Hope Outdoor Gallery, an open-air exhibit with rotating art pieces and graffiti on public display. After a wander we continued on to the Texas Book Festival in town, perusing the long walkways of fresh books and interesting stalls. After a bit of a walk around town we headed down to the hip area of South Congress, sticking our heads into novelty shops and looking over the menus of fancy restaurants before finally reaching The Contintental Club for a live show featuring the legendary Soulman Sam.
Before coming back to the US I searched high and low for some good, authentic soul music venues in the South but sadly came up dry. That is of course until finding “Soulman Sam” Evans at The Continental Club, a soul singer who grew up in the same neighbourhood as Otis Redding, Issac Hayes, B.B. King and Al Green. Anita and I had such a great night watching Sam light up the stage as we threw back cocktail after cocktail, and even managed to make a new friend on the long walk back to the van.
The following morning we sat at coffee and eagerly awaited the Texas Monthly BBQ festival, an annual event where the top-rated and ranked BBQ joints from around the state come together to showcase their goods. Anita very kindly bought tickets for us as an early christmas present for me, thinking it would be a great way for us to sample the very best of Texas all in one place. Boy was she right. We ate tray after tray of butter-like brisket, succulent sausage and ridiculous ribs, so much so that after two or so hours of eating, we had to start turning meat down. And for me, that’s saying something. After walking off our day of eating we returned to join the crowds at Congress Bridge to see the world’s largest group of urban-dwelling bats fly out from underneath the walkway, but left dissapointed as our patience ran dry after an hour of waiting.
That night we headed to Barton Springs Pool, a natural spring that’s free to enter at certain parts of the year. We weren’t there to swim but instead just used the showers, and after a nice clean up returned back to our vanping spot to tuck in for the night.
Next stop, N’Orleans!