Thanks Austin!

After three months of cycling across the desert, and through a long and cold winter, rolling into Austin was like stumbling into some great other-world. Everything was so green, people were so friendly, and there were bikes everywhere! We knew that we wanted to spend at least a couple weeks in town, to fix up the bikes and to rest. But we had no idea that we would enjoy Austin as much as we did, and we just wanted to say THANKS to everyone who made our stay so great!

Now we are on the road again, trying to find the humor in the fact that, after weeks of beautifully sunny spring weather, it started raining again the day we went back to camping. Or maybe Austin is just that sad to see us go?…

Our stay in Austin turned out to be just over a month. And, while we understand that we’re supposed to help keep Austin a “secret,” we have to say that it’s a really great city, and we loved the opportuity to stay and explore.

When we first rolled in, we were bombarded with the craziness of SXSW. After weeks of being in the middle of nowhere, it was hugely overwhelming, and we had no idea what to make of the thousands of people milling around the city. And then, one afternoon, we found ourselves on South Congress, with some friends and a few hundred strangers, drinking coffee on the sidewalk and listening to a free show.

We met the local bike shops, ordered a pile of new parts, and did some much-much-needed maintenance. New rear cassettes (with new hill-climbing gears!), new brakes for Russ, new cables, new chains, new lights, and new wheels… practically all new bicycles to take us another 5000 miles.

We hiked the greenbelt, rode the social ride, window-shopped South Congress. We watched thousands of kites soar over Zilker Park during the Kite Festival, and squeezed onto one of the innaugural light rail runs. We gave two presentations and led a great group of 13 on an overnight bike camping trip.

And we ate! After struggling to eat enough through Far West Texas, we were delighted to be surrounded by so many great food choices. We ate our way through food carts, breakfast taco joints, and dozens of local favorites. We learned about “queso,” ventured into the dizzying Whole Foods flagship store, and found some of the greatest bbq, pizza, and roast chicken. We gourged on good beer, sating a three-month-old thirst for something other than Budweiser, and discovered some fantastic local brews.

We saw old friends from California and made lots of new friends. We stayed with amazing people all over town, who helped us get a sense of what each neighborhood is like. And we were continually amazed by the similarities between Austin and Portland (and had to keep reminding ourselves that we were still in Texas!).

So, as we hit the road again, and return to our gypsy ways, we wanted to say thank you, people of Austin, for taking us in and sharing your great city with us! (We have a hunch we’ll see you all again…)