Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017

Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017
Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017

Monday, January 27, 2014

We Got Towed (not toad) - Sun., Jan. 26

The freezer door closed and Sunday we had gloriously sunny skies with a temp in the mid-70s. Perfect for taking our friend, Susan, on a birthday Volkswalk and out to lunch.

At 8:00 a.m. we picked her up for the 1-1/2 drive north to Austin, Texas. Traffic was light and we arrived at the Extended Stay America (our start point) at 9:40 a.m. A little after 10 a.m. we were on our 11K (6.8 mile) Volksmarch through downtown Austin.

Austin is a beautiful city. We took the Congress St. Bridge over Lady Bird Lake into the heart of downtown. (Note: From mid-March to November, the Congress St. Bridge is home to the largest urban bat colony in North America. If you're in Austin during those months, head to the bridge at dusk to watch the bats fly out from under the bridge.) On our route, our feet passed two Golden-Age-of-Cinema movie theaters, the Paramount (1915) and Stateside (1935).

Downtown Austin, Texas

Here are photos from our walk.

My favorite building
State Capitol
Austin is a town that's all about music. Instead of painted horses, buffalo, mermaids - whatever - Austin has painted guitars.

Bob and I with serious guitar art.
We passed the 1885 Driskill Hotel.

The Driskill Hotel
There must be an 1886 Cafe in The Driskill.
This car sits out in front.

The Driskill front entrance.
See the halo around the tower of this church?
The walk criss-crossed downtown and passed through the state capitol grounds.

We would have taken the tour through the Capitol; however, because it was Sunday, the first tour wasn't until noon and we were there at 10:30.

Texas state Capitol building, Austin
Susan photographing the dome.
Beautiful clock surround in the Rotunda.
The walk passed a veritable collection of interesting sites in Austin: The Old General Land Office (1857), Bob Bullock State History Museum, Blanton Museum of Art, replica of Santa Rita #1 (the 1923 oil well in west Texas whose royalties go to UT's Permanent University Fund), University of Texas, Texas Memorial Stadium, Bass Concert Hall, LBJ Library, the Littlefield Fountain, Masonic Temple, Eighth Street Mural Project, the Bremond block (one of the remaining Victorian neighborhoods in Austin built between 1850 and 1898), Republic Square Park, U.S. Federal Courthouse, and the City Hall.

Santa Rita #1 oil well
Soldier Susan is posing with a statue dedicated to soldiers of wars from World War I to the present.
Susan M., a soldier
University of Texas, Austin, Main Building
Littlefield Fountain
One of many murals we passed today.
Part of sculpture diorama dedicated to Tejano history.
Go spurs!
 The following photos are part of the Eighth Street Mural Project...

Bremond block Victorian homes...which now house businesses.

Along the way we stopped for lunch at City Hall Cafe at the corner of 2nd Ave. and Lavaca. The food was remarkably fresh and good. From the cafe it was a short walk back to our start point.

Snowy egret and turtles enjoying the sun and warmth.
Bob & Susan on 1st Street pedestrian bridge
Lady Bird Lake/Colorado River. What a day!
The following inflatable structures caught our eye. The lines were long to enter. We had no idea what they were for so I looked it up. Fascinating! Miracoco Luminaria

Once back at our start point, Susan needed to use the facilities. Bob and I were ready to hop in the car and take Susan to Sugar Mama's Cupcakes for her birthday cupcake. We walked around the corner of the motel. Screech! Put on the brakes. "Isn't this where we left the car?" No car, just empty space. Oh, no! The car got towed!

Into the front desk we trudged only to find out there were signs posted on the door and at the front desk saying a parking pass was needed for guests from Jan. 24-27 due to a tattoo convention at the Convention Center across the street. The sign on the front door could barely be seen because their door has dark shading on it and we didn't go to the front desk because the walk box was in a side area off the lobby. Sigh.

We explained our dilemma to the front desk clerk who called out an assistant manager. The assistant manager apologized and called the towing company asking them to release our  car because we were guests of the hotel. She told us it would save us $193!

Our next move was to hire a cab to drive us to the tow yard about seven miles away through downtown traffic (luckily it was Sunday). Twenty dollars lighter in the wallet, we claimed the car. J&J Towing honored their agreement with the assistant manager and did not charge us for towing and storage. The bill said, "No charge." Lucky ducks, that's us!

Next up, Sugar Mama's Cupcakes. When Bob and I did a different Volksmarch in Austin last year, we literally stumbled upon this delectable den of cupcake sin. We all ordered our just desserts and bought two extra cupcakes to take to the desk clerk and assistant manager at Extended Stay America to thank them for their help. As I was getting ready to pay for the cupcakes, the cashier said, "I'm only charging you for three cupcakes. The two cupcakes for the hotel are my treat. I'm paying it forward to someone who did a good deed." Impressive!

Sugar Mama's Cupcakes was winner of Food Network's Cupcake Wars.

The Pinup - my favorite!
James Brown cupcake
Pink Champagne! cupcakes
The champs of Cupcake Wars
Light fixture in Sugar Mama's Bakery - I want one!!
Sugar Mama's Bakery
More cupcake flavors
The cupcakes didn't last long. We ate them at the bakery. We then took the other two cupcakes to Extended Stay America. I hope they enjoyed theirs as much as we enjoyed ours!

But wait! The day isn't over yet. All of us wanted to see "American Hustle." Susan and Bob checked movie times (on their smart phones) for locations on our drive home. The movies just weren't playing at a time we'd be passing through. Finally, Bob found a movie that started at 4:15 p.m. in San Antonio. It was a long shot to make it there in time. We arrived at 4:30 p.m., bought tickets, headed straight for the theater and the movie was just starting.

Movie review in the next blog. Stay tuned.

Travel Bug out.


  1. What a busy day! Loved your post on Austin. What a great town. The inside of the state capitol is one of our favorites! You really covered a lot of ground. Glad the car towing situation turned out OK.

    1. We, too, love Austin. We have done all four Volksmarches that cover downtown and south of downtown. We've walked SoCo (South Congress) a couple of times and have walked around part of Lady Bird Lake to Barton Springs, through the park behind the Convention Center, and past the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue.

  2. A $20 hit is better than $193 ... good thing the hotel called. Yummm on the cupcakes ... Mui's not a fan, but I love cupcakes. (P.S. I fixed Mui's laptop, so we never did come up to San Antonio on Monday.)

    1. Good on you for fixing the laptop. What was wrong with it? Kept you form a long drive to SA and back.

  3. Oh wow on the tow job!!! Glad you got the car back, too bad they couldn't have comped you the taxi fare to retrieve it! The Driscoll building was lovely, as were the Victorian houses!

    Karen and Steve
    (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard

  4. Whew! What a day! You covered lots of ground. And a very lucky thing that you were not charged for the tow.

    1. Yes, as luck would have it, we discussed being lucky on our walk with Susan before we got back to the hotel. And ta-da, we got lucky!

  5. I'm surprised they don't get you some kind of stub to put on the dash to prevent the tow. Glad they made it right for you.

    1. Actually, there were signs stating we needed a parking permit that weekend. We didn't see the signs. The hotel went above and beyond to help us out.


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