Oh how wonderful, to find a sanctuary, somewhere out of the heat, where I can rest and regroup, mend punctures, sleep and eat. Susan was a client on a Hiking NZ trip just before I left home, and she offered me her home as a resting spot. Initially she and Robert were away, but I was told where keys were hidden, how to turn on AC and Netflix, and where the nearest supermarket was, should I run out of all the food Susan had left me. I cried as I entered the house. The heat, punctures, and kms have knocked me, and I'm tired.
Two days later, Susan and Robert return, to find me watching Season 3 of Breaking Bad, the fridge empty, but my washing is done, and I'm feeling a good deal more rested. They have now offered to be my "local guides". It's so good having a local show you around. I had been out once, to the supermarket, driving Roberts truck. Wooo. That was an adventure. Trying to navigate, stay on the right side of the road, and remember road rules. And then I lost the truck in the supermarket car park..... Hmmmm. What colour was it? Cycling is so much easier.....
But what has Austin got to offer? I've been told that it is a city of Democrats, in a State (Texas) of Republicans, and that sort of distinction is huge here in the USA. We went walking. Wow. There are heaps of cyclists, runners, and walkers in this city. I've seen nothing like it since Winston Salem and New York. There are cycle tracks, walking paths, lots of cycle rental places, skateboarders...... and footpaths. Just four days ago, I had to walk on the road from my motel to a supermarket, because there was no "pavement". Austin is very different. People are using public transport. Many inner city residents don't own cars. If they need to go to a supermarket, they use something like "Uber", a shared vehicle service. These guys are definitely thinking differently to most the rest of the "South".
I visited a barber. I've enjoyed comparing barbers around the world. These guys were great. Dressed in white shirts and ties, and very professional, and personable, interested in my story, and sharing their stories. A little ($15) more expensive than the $2 Nepali haircut, but a very pleasant experience.
And did you know Austin has music, as well as a incredibly active outdoor pursuits scene . Almost every night, one of half a dozen busy music venues, has a famous artist performing. Tuesday night, Gordon Lightfoot. In my university days, way back in the 70's, we spent many a night relaxing with a wine or beer, in front of an open fire, as he crooned in the background. Gotta go.... because we can.
The Austin City Limits Moody Theatre is an amazing venue. It has been used by many, many famous recording artists for "Life" recordings. Willy Nelson has performed here 3,333 times. We sat just above "stage right", very close to Gordon. I have to say, that at 77 years old, his voice hasn't got the vibrancy of his youth, but his songs bought back lots of memories, the atmosphere was amazing, the crowd boisterous, especially the lady just in front of us, and it certainly felt very special to be at such an amazing venue. (Lots of ideas for improving the Hanmer Springs Hall).
So I'm ready to hit the road again. But wait a minute. Wednesday night. James Taylor is performing. I'm here. He's here. Damn. Sorry guys. I might be a day late catching up with you in Denver, San Diego, Los Angeles (oops, not LA. I'm meeting Ju there. I'll be on time honey)