Sunday, April 7, 2013

Turtles in a Tree -- Sun., Apr. 7

Today is a free day from the A-to-Z Challenge, so tomorrow's letter will be "G."

Austin, Texas was our destination to see our son Randall who is now living there. We picked him up at the place he's staying and headed to lunch at Luke's. Marissa, his girlfriend in Portland, Oregon, saw a show on TV about this place. When we got there, they were not serving lunch; instead they were serving brunch in Gibson's next door for $19.00 a plate. That was a little steep for our budget, so we took him to Chuy's instead. We will go back to Luke's on a day we can have their normal lunch. (Marissa I took these photos for you.)

Bob and Randall outside Luke's food trailer.
Randall the chameleon blending in with Luke's trailer.
The menu.
Gibson's Restaurant which served the brunch we didn't eat.
Chuy's--where we ate.
Chuy's loves all things Elvis!
Then, because Randall's new to Texas, we hauled him over to Barton Springs at Zilker Park so he could see the swimming hole all his friends told him about. We walked from Barton Springs to Lady Bird Lake for a view of downtown Austin.

Barton Springs swimming area.
Barton Springs--83 degrees outside today.
"Get away from me or I'll kick your face!"
Six turtles sunning in a tree.
Austin, Texas with Lady Bird Lake in the foreground.
Our after-lunch walk was enjoyable. We had a chance to catch up with Randall's life. He had quite an adventure getting from Nebraska's freezing cold to Austin by bus a few weeks ago. He was moving three heavy boxes of tools and had to change buses three or four times. But he made it safe and sound.

We did a "let's get lost" driving tour to look for wildflowers east of Austin. We went through Elgin, headed north, saw a good roadside display of bluebonnets. We turned off the road we were on and meandered through beautiful green farmland. Randall got to see his first longhorn cattle.

The road we were on lead us directly to Luminant's Three Oaks Mine. From what we could see it looked like a huge strip mining operation with coal-scooping machines known as "draglines" sprinkled across the landscape. We also saw coal. Coal? In Texas? We learning something new today.

In my Google search, I found an Austin Chronicle article from 2008 regarding strip mining in Elgin, Texas, 25 miles east of Austin. According to the article, "...there are 14 active strip mines in Texas, all producing lignite, a low-grade coal that emits nearly twice the greenhouse gases, smog, and mercury pollution of higher density coals."

A few wildflowers graced the countryside, but nowhere near what we expected to see. I took a couple of photos.

The landscape as we whizzed by at 70 mph.
Indian paintbrush.
Drummond's phlox
With that we ended our serene, green drive, dropped Randall off at his place, and headed to San Antonio. We enjoyed re-connecting with him as we hadn't seen him for 1-1/2 years. We plan to get together more frequently. And we'll make it to Barton Springs for swimming, and Luke's for lunch yet!

Travel Bug out.