Austin is not Texas



Austin is not Texas. I think if anything, that was the biggest learning from this trip. Rob generously offered to host me in Austin, but it seems like life here kept getting away.  I learned in late May that Rob was leaving Austin and relocating back to his hometown in Florida. If I was going to go, now was the time.

Meeting the Austin AUG

I also found out that we had an Atlassian User Group in Austin that was quite active. I’ve wanted to brush up on my speaking skills. This turned out to be a great opportunity to combine some business and pleasure. The Atlassian User Group was a great audience. We talked through some of the same principles in any concept to launch program. I was nervous the first couple of minutes, but after that it was nice to fall into the presentation and be comfortable with the audience. We didn’t video the conversation but Kye, the leader took some photos and we have a video of another presenter giving the same presentation.

BBQ and Sunsets

After that, I had to work the Friday and Monday but it was great to spend some time with Rob and see the city and eat some great food. Rob had a few great barbecue restaurants in mind and fortunately I got to try each of them. Friday night we were off to The County Line for dinner. The location was fantastic. We had a window view of the Colorado River that didn’t disappoint. The barbecue however was not quite my style. Carolina barbecue tends to be more vinegary than sweet or spicy. The meat was good. I just didn’t care for the barbecue sauce. Sides were limited to bread, coleslaw, and potato salad.

After dinner we headed out to The Oasis.  The Oasis is a rather large bar overlooking Lake Travis. The Oasis is known for its great view of the sunset. It was great to drink a beer as the sun was going down but unfortunately the cloud cover prevented a truly brilliant sunset. Being out by the lake reminded me a lot of growing up where the lake was a central part of our weekends as a family.

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Both of us had a good time.

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Good food, but no Q

Saturday we did some driving! Rob ensured me the best pie was at the Blue Bonnet Cafe in Marble Falls, Texas. The map here is somewhat approximate, as I wasn’t driving and don’t remember all the details. We hit a number of motorcycle worthy roads on our drive from Austin, Texas to Marble Falls. This was also the first time in life I can remember being car sick.  The drive was worth it.  Rob was right. The Blue Bonnet was Austin’s pie run place! Now it made sense wife 3 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon had a line running out the door.

After that, we headed over to Enchanted Rock State Park.  Lunch was good; but it would be nice to get some exercise in. The actual Enchanted Rock reminded me a lot of Stone Mountain.

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I took to the cacti in the park as we don’t have many of them in the Bay Area.

It was nearing 100° so we didn’t exert a whole lot of energy. It was nice however to stretch our legs.

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Everything in the park was really dry.  Even the lizard was pretty bold walking out and about to find something to eat.

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I’ve always heard the song Luckenbach, Texas. It was on the way home from Enchanted Rock State Park. Rob had asked if I wanted to swing in and responded with an enthusiastic yes! Luckenbach actually felt like Texas. It is now a defunct town turns tourist attraction but the post office was quite quaint. They had a bunch of neat license plates from locales all over including California and Georgia.

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I was looking at a Harley that had been converted into a trike. Another guy Roger, said “What a piece of crap!” I asked him why he thought the bike was a piece of crap and it turned out that the trike conversion was just a kit. The kit was fine by me but apparently not for him. He then went on to talk about being a Hell’s Angel, how he wasn’t writing a “real bike” anymore but settled on an off the rack Harley. He seemed to be a genuinely nice guy if not a bit opinionated. 🙂 Rob rolled his eyes and noted “Wow you talk to a lot of people”. I wish I had gotten a picture of him.

Sunday is sponsored by the letters B, B, & Q

Continuing the “be active” theme we headed over to Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin. There is a nice trail that goes around the lake that provides great views of the city as well as the locals. 🙂 It felt a touch cooler today, maybe only in the 90s. People were enjoying all parts of the area both on water and on land. Apparently the area is a bit of a success story as the lake was not always widely used for loved. The city spent considerable time cleaning up and making it a resource for the residents.  First off we hiked to the top of the hill for a nice view of the city and state.

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Walking around the lake we saw all sorts of things.  It was a great day to be out and about.

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After the hike we headed over to barbecue joint number two. This time it was Rudy’s at the gas station. Rudy’s was probably my favorite barbecue. The St. Louis pork ribs were truly excellent. The meat was tender and the spices really brought out the flavor. The atmosphere was very much cafeteria style and set up like Armadillo Willy’s here in the Bay Area.  Later that night we went downtown to get a few more sights at night.  The pointy topped building still caught my eye.

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World Famous Q!

Monday night we headed out to our last barbecue joint: The Salt Lick. The Salt Lick was quite a bit of a drive from Austin. It’s about halfway between Austin and San Antonio. The atmosphere of the place was great! It’s way out in the country and really has a Texas feel. Our waitress was awesome and the food was really good. I felt like the meat was better at The Salt Lick but Rudy’s edged them out on preparation and delivery. I posted the photo of dinner to Facebook and a high school friend of mine I haven’t seen since graduation guess the restaurant with no prompting from me or any apparent awareness that I was in Texas. It’s that famous!

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I have to say the week went quickly. It was great seeing Rob in his last few weeks of Austin. I got to meet his great two dogs: Cassie and Betty.

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It was nice to be able to engage with the local Atlassian User Group. I have a 6:30 AM flight to Calgary Tuesday morning. That means another pre-5 AM routine.

Oh the adventures ahead!


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