Update: This post has been edited recently, since I realized my first crack at it totally sucked. Apologies. I will try to be a better storyteller in the future.
(Note: This is the first part of a series of posts on our December 2012 road trip. See the full series here)
This is the story of a trip that almost didn't happen. Shortly after realizing we were going to be in Texas for a wedding in December, Ross and I started thinking about how we could use seize an opportunity to realize one of our travel fantasies, a road trip through the southeast. For a long time we were excited about the idea, and even booked our Key West hotel really early, but then we started getting cold feet. Our plan, after all, was to drive 700 miles, which is obviously insane. In fact, we came close to calling it off entirely. I'm so glad we didn't.
Our adventure began with a barreling, all night drive from DC to Allen, Texas (near Dallas) for the wedding of our dear friends, Katie and Evan. I was a bridesmaid (for the first time!) and danced all. night. long.
After the wedding, the plan was for the bridal party to drive down to Austin. However, Ross and I left early to meet up with a friend of mine, a former GW student whom I'd met at a conference in Boston. This is Dan:
Dan was an amazing tour guide. He picked us up downtown, drove us all over the city, and came up with lots of fun things to do, even though when he asked us what we wanted to do in Austin all we said was "eat." And eat we did, with stops at food trucks, multiple taco places, and the flagship Whole Foods store for BBQ. The food was delicious, and the company was even better.
After Dan dropped us off, we walked down to the river. Austin has a massive bat community living under a bridge, and every night at dusk people gather to watch them pour out. Starting at about 6pm, we watched an endless stream of bats emerge from the bridge for almost an hour. They were still coming when we finally left. It was amazing.
Later that night, and at Dan's insistence, we crashed a Christmas party thrown by some of his friends (many of whom are musicians and otherwise fascinating people). Dan couldn't actually make the party, as he had to leave early the next day for his own road trip, so we really were crashing. But everyone was extremely nice to us, and we left feeling like we'd infiltrated the hipster capital of the world.
The next day we met up with the bridal party to walk around Austin some more (by which I really mean eat some more).
Get ready for a whole bunch of tacos:
That night on a whim Ross and I visited the state capitol, which was (surprise surprise) big. Also, there were lots of stars. Whole lotta stars in Texas.
While in Austin, we stayed with one of the other bridesmaids. Courtney lives with her sweet boyfriend, Trevor, and some equally sweet animals. I made friends.
Next up: New Orleans!