I’ve probably made the drive to Austin and back about five times, excluding any trips with my parents, but I always hear people complain about how bad I35 is. Perhaps I’m just lucky, but I’ve never really experienced a bad road trip to Austin. Of course, when you travel over 230 miles in one direction, you’re going to encounter construction and congestion, but none of it felt excruciating.
There’s nothing like driving down the highway and seeing someone your wife has dated plastered on a billboard endorsing a product because he’s famous and remarkably successful in his line of work. Perhaps I’d deal with it better if she would offer believable verbal affirmation that I wasn’t someone she lowered her standards and simply settled for.
Every time we drive by Baylor’s new football stadium, WifeGeeding, a Baylor alum, makes a comment on how it looks a bit cheap looking, especially the letters on the stadium. But she’s certainly happy they are no longer playing at the old stadium which was located way off campus.
We first stopped in Georgetown, TX so WifeGeeding could visit her brother and our kids could play with their cousin. Most of the visit was spent at the city’s waterpark which had this entertaining warning sign.
The next morning we decided to stop by Texas legend Round Rock Donuts to see what the hype is about. The place was packed and the drive-thru was about 20 vehicles deep. The donut itself was pretty darn good, and I can totally see why Texans hype it up. The yellow hue comes about because they use the yolk of the egg, not just the egg white in their recipe. I felt the texture was a little like a croissant and after the initial bite, there was a hint of a funnel cake like after taste.
We spent a lot of Saturday morning at the Texas State Capital, which is slightly smaller than the U.S. Capitol and is taller. My father told me he used to attend meetings there on business trips so it’s a place I always wanted to visit. While under the dome, I placed my phone under the dome and snapped this family selfie.
We were also very fortunate to visit the floor of the Texas Senate. A certain friend used to work on that floor and I couldn’t help but think of him. And despite BoyGeeding’s crazed psycho look, I couldn’t help but think of my mother. My mother used to make her own clothes. When she died, I didn’t feel comfortable donating them. DaughterGeeding discovered them one day and has started to wear them quite often. She’s wearing one of Mom’s shirts in this pic. I bet Mom would have gotten a big kick knowing he shirt was worn on the floor of the Texas Senate.
I was told each desk in the Texas Senate is 122 years old. At the top center of each desk, you’ll find a microphone. Back in the day, in place of the microphone were ink wells.
I was surprised to see two portraits hanging in the Texas Senate, people I’ve admired and both Democrats, LBJ and Barbara Jordan. I’m not sure why there is a portrait of LBJ, he was never a state senator, unlike Barbara Jordan. If it’s because he’s a former U.S. President, then I was curious why no George W. Bush portrait; but then again, W does have a portrait in under the rotunda with all former Texas governors. As for Jordan, who was an exceptionally eloquent speaker, I would have thought the long-held Republican-controlled Senate would have a party hero. So, to see her portrait hanging there, I was truly touched.
Random Texas Capitol factoid: From what I was told, every door hinge, yes, every door hinge, says “Texas Capitol”.
We had lunch at some converted laundromat which was stereotypical Austin. I love that city. It has such a cool vibe and the people are chill yet expressive. However, I pray In ever move there because I’m sure my impression of it would change quickly. One very cool thing about the restaurant, they gave us straws which changed colors depending on the temperature of the beverage. our waiter was nice enough to give us extras to take home for the kids.
The concert hall is located on the University of Texas campus across from the football stadium. There’s no free parking on campus. However, they had a huge tent outside the concert hall entrance to provide shade for those in security lines. Not only did they provide shade, but they handed out free bottled water to keep folks hydrated.
The kids asked if they could attend the musical in period-dressed attire, we said sure, why not.
I’ve really lucked into buying tickets for what I consider a reasonable price. This time we were only six rows back and almost dead center. The lady sitting next to me was from London, which was interesting considering the subject matter – claiming independence from her country. We got along swimmingly well, so much so, she asked, “May I ask you a rather rude question, how much did you pay for your tickets?” It turns out the two tickets she and her husband paid was equal to the amount of all four of my family’s tickets.
Sitting close was rather interesting as I could see facial expressions and the detail in the costumes. It was the exact same cast which we saw in Dallas. However, in Dallas, the audio sounded louder and a bit harder to understand the lyrics and dialog. In Austin, the audio seemed softer and the lyrics and dialog were much easier to understand as if it was sharper and clearer, and I’m certain it had nothing to do with me being more familiar with the musical. It was neat noticing things we didn’t the first time, being able to understand the story and how things linked to one another, and to see how they may have tweaked a thing or two.
DaughterGeeding more than loved the performance and it was neat seeing her sing along quietly. It was so great being able to experience all of it and the roller coaster of emotions with my family. BoyGeeding loved it up until Alexander Hamilton’s son, Phillip, died and later when Alexander himself died. My son was heartbroken and just kept sobbing. One theater member was so impressed with his attire and touched by his emotions that she said she would escort us to where the cast members would appear so he could get a photo taken with an actor or two. That was exceptionally kind and would have been nice, but BoyGeeding didn’t want any of the actors to see him in tears and couldn’t muster up the courage. However, as we walked to the parking garage we did see some of the cast step outside and wait for an Uber. It was a bit weird seeing them wear nothing but Star Wars shirts and shorts and going unnoticed by everyone else. But we just let them be and started out long drive home, BoyGeeding slept the entire trip.