Octagonal Bank of New Zealand banker's desk carved from Australian red cedar, Dunedin, circa 1883.

Octagonal Bank of New Zealand banker's desk carved from Australian red cedar, Dunedin, circa 1883.
Octagonal Bank of New Zealand banker's desk carved from Australian red cedar, Dunedin, circa 1883.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Bouldin Creek Walk and Bats - Sun., July 21

Weird, unique, quirky, unusual, maybe even kooky, definitely batty - that's Austin for you. We had quite a day.

On our 10K (6.2 mile) walk today it seemed something quirky or unusual was around every corner. There will be a lot of photos and you can judge for yourselves if you think Austin packs a lot of surprises.

Extended Stay Suites on South 1st St at Barton Springs Rd. was our start point. Within a few blocks, our route took us on Dawson Road where we had the option of walking on the street or hiking through West Bouldin Creek Greenbelt. We chose the Greenbelt.

On a SnoCone food truck.

The Greenbelt
After the Greenbelt we hooked up with Dawson Road again, then started winding through many neighborhoods.
Collector of classic cars.
On our itinerary were libraries, parks, schools, history of local architecture, churches, food trucks, SoCo (South Commerce) and tattoo studios (no we didn't get a tattoo). There were beautiful flowering trees and shrubs along the way too.

Bamboo, even.
Park with lots of fountains.
This park looked like so much fun - especially since it was in the 90s.
At Green Pastures Restaurant, peacocks have a home. There are also beautifully carved peacock sculptures. We even found babies.

White peacock (not sure if it's albino, no pink eyes)
Look at those gorgeous feathers!!
Mama and babies.

Peacock sculptures.
Baby peacock.
Isn't he magnificent?
Green Pastures Restaurant
Mural at a mechanic's shop.
Phoenix - tile work.
"Your Essential Magnificence" shrine by James Talbot
The day was HOT and we were dragging. Nothing a good cupcake won't cure. Our next stop was Sugar Mama's to have a cupcake in air-conditioned comfort. I had a Pinup cupcake (vanilla with chocolate buttercream frosting) and Bob had a mint chocolate chip bar (kind of like a brownie). Delish! A good break from the heat and some quick energy too.

Special cupcake flavors today were mud pie and French toast.

Sugar Mama's interior

Sugar Mama's sign

Mural on the side of Sugar Mama's Bakery.
The houses in the neighborhoods we walked ranged from cubist to modern to common.

This home looks Italianate.

The area that really pepped us up was SoCo (short for South Commerce). We would describe SoCo as bohemian, hip, trendy, and fun. If you go, look for food trucks in addition to traditional restaurants.

SoCo (South Commerce in Austin, Texas)
Zebra disguised as Carmen Miranda.
Costume shop: Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds

How do you like the classic RV below?

Lots of murals around the SoCo and 1st Ave. area.

On south side of "Roadhouse Relics" building.
Roadhouse Relics specializes in making authentic-looking relics. Even though everything in the store looks old, it's not. They sell well-made reproductions.

Mural on a tattoo studio.
Gingerbread cottage - looks like something from England.
Bouldin Castle.
Along someone's driveway - hubcap row.
Very large yard art!
Passion fruit flower.
 At the end of our walk, we needed some ↓↓↓↓↓↓. The heat really saps your strength.

Driving back to McKinney Falls State Park we saw this cool mural on a Chevron station in town. It shows a number of reasons Austin is famous:  Stevie Ray Vaughan, the State Capitol, the Colorado River, and bats coming out from under the Congress Street Bridge.

When we returned to the 5er we had lunch, then Bob called a special phone number to find out what time the bats were estimated to fly out. The window of probable bat departure was 8:15 to 9:15 p.m. We rested until it was time to head downtown.

Our evening included viewing bats flying out from under the Congress Street Bridge. Austin, Texas, has the nation's largest urban bat colony living under the bridge, estimated at 750,000 bats.

We parked at the Austin American-Statesman parking lot on the southeast side of the Congress Street Bridge at 8:00 p.m. and walked along Lady Bird Johnson Lake until we came to the bat-viewing area. Yep, this must be the place.

People line the Congress Street Bridge.
Congress Street Bridge downtown Austin, Texas.

Many people hang out on the lawn east of the bridge.
Others kayak, take a tourboat or paddleboat to watch the bats.
Downtown at dusk.

It's really hard to photograph bats because they're so fast. I gave it my best shot. The bats came out at exactly 8:15 p.m. By 8:30 p.m. we were back at our truck.

Mexican free-tailed bats.
The people are in focus. The bats are fast!
After our bat viewing, we went back to the park, made a nice campfire, roasted hot dogs, had coleslaw and then made S'mores. We're getting the most we can out of our state park experience. We're having a wonderful time.

The end (of a very long day)!

Stay tuned for tomorrow's blog. Whew, what a fun day we had in downtown Austin.

Travel Bug out.


  1. Very nice walk. I've even heard about your bat population here in Cape Town, truly amazing. As far as I can recall, there was a time when they were going to eradicate the bats for health reasons only to find that they are an essential part of insect control.
    The artworks and quirkiness of the human inhabitants, very interesting.
    Blessings, Geoff.

  2. Susan Sugar Momma's made my sugar go up just looking at the pictures :) All those bats was really something to see!! I am amazed at how far you walk every day. Enjoy your stay at the SP


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