Monday, May 7, 2012

Road Trip 2011 Days 6-11

After leaving Tuscaloosa, it was time to head to Texas.  I was pretty excited to finally visit Texas since it was the original destination for the trip.  My goals for the vacation were to see as many states I'd never been to before, sample local foods, visit old friends, and generally indulge my adventurous spirit.  This leg was somewhat more relaxed than the long drives at the beginning and end of the trip.

Day 6:  Thursday Dec 8  Left Tuscaloosa early in the morning, headed to New Orleans for lunch.  I had Creole shrimp at Buffa's (  Unfortunately I was unable to stay for long, since I was trying to make it to Austin before it got too late.  I snapped a few pictures of Lake Pontchartrain, the skyline, and the Superdome.  NOLA seemed like an interesting town for sure.  Definite vacation material, but not a place I could see myself calling home.  A tried to make a side-trip to the Tabasco factory at Avery Island, LA, but it was too late by the time I got into town.

Day 7:  First day in Austin.  Since I ended up getting in to Austin so late, and Sadie had class in the morning, I slept in.  Keeping with my trend of "picking random shit to do via GPS," I tracked down a place to eat lunch. Matt's El Rancho ( checked out with my AAA book, so I headed over there.  It was a pretty relaxed environment, with enough back-story to be interesting but not overwhelming.  After about 11 bucks, my stomach was full of delicious enchiladas (with salsa verde).  I drove around for a little while to get my bearings and see a little of the city before going back to Sadie's apartment.

Later that night, Sadie and I headed to the legendary 6th street bars.  We started at Maggie Mae's, looked around the Driskill bar, and eventually moved on to the Library.  I had never seen so many bars in such a small area before in my life.  There seemed to be somewhere for every type of drinker, and I naturally gravitated to the place.  I would certainly like to revisit 6th Street at some point.

Day 8: Second day in Austin.  Feeling somewhat under the weather, we headed to IHOP.  Once we were feeling better we headed back to her place. She worked on her project, and I watched TV and napped off and on.  Later on, we went to the Christmas party for her lab group.  I enjoyed the free drinks and finger foods.  It was also good for some quirky fun when they presented the flying helium-filled shark to their boss.

Day 9:  Last day in Austin.  Since Sadie had finished most of her work the previous day, we had a little free time to kill.  I asked her if she could show me around campus.  We walked around for an hour or so.  I took some good pictures (they're on my facebook page).  After the tour, we headed to Pok-E-Jo's BBQ for lunch.  I had a two-meat plate with coleslaw and baked potato casserole.  Before heading out of town, Sadie insisted that we get some ice cream at Amy's.  Then we said our goodbyes and I headed on to San Antonio.

Day 10:  I had decided to get in to San Antonio a day earlier than my scheduled campus tour at UTSA to scope out the town.  I checked in at a Super 8 and unloaded my stuff, and researched things to do.  I neglected to realize that it was Sunday, so not much was going on downtown.  I still managed to track down a watering hole to chat with some locals.  The Liquid Monkey Lounge was nearly empty, so I had a chance to actually talk to the few people sitting at the bar.  Among other advice about San Antonio attractions, one guy told me to visit South Padre Island, because that's where "all the bad bitches" were.  It seemed like solid advice.

Day 11:  I was somewhat nervous for my campus tour and meeting with my potential advisor.  The campus was much larger than I had expected, but I was pretty impressed.  The meeting went well, and the potential advisor seemed quite receptive.  We talked for a few hours and I toured his lab and some of the instrumentation rooms.  Overall, I was pretty excited that it went well.  Now I just need to finalize the application and wait to hear back.  I walked around town for a while; went to the Alamo and the Riverwalk, and headed back to the hotel.

In the morning I headed on west towards Las Cruces...

The Superdome, New Orleans, LA

Capitol view from UT Campus, Austin, TX

UT Bell Tower, Austin, TX

UTSA campus, San Antonio, TX

UTSA campus, San Antonio, TX

UTSA campus, San Antonio, TX

UTSA campus, San Antonio, TX

Christmas Tree, Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX

Obligatory Alamo picture, San Antonio, TX

The River Walk, San Antonio, TX

Interesting trees, San Antonio, TX

Approximations from Google Maps

Total Mileage:  2,202
Driving Time: 38 hours

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