Austin Stays Weird – A Pictorial

greetings from Sumoflam in Austin
greetings from Sumoflam in Austin

After a good night’s rest at my cousins house in late June, I was able to spend my morning and part of my early afternoon in Austin, Texas. The motto of that town is “keep Austin weird.” I must say that they have done that very successfully!

Roadhouse Relics
Sumoflam at Austin’s Roadhouse Relics, one of the unique and quirky shops on South Congress
i had breakfast at the South Congress Cafe. It was truly an upscale cafe, if there is such a thing
I had breakfast at the South Congress Cafe. It was truly an upscale cafe, if there is such a thing

There are not many offbeat and quirky towns in this country, but those that are really go to town and Austin is certainly one of the best of these. Portland is another fun and quirky town and I am sure there are a few more bouncing around out there in the country.

Texas Capital Building in Austin
Texas Capital Building in Austin
Austin Cityscape including the Frost Bank Tower -- the "Owl Building" (due to the shape of the top of the building)
Austin Skyline including the Frost Bank Tower — the “Owl Building” (due to the shape of the top of the building)
Another view of Frost Tower - The Owl
Another view of Frost Tower – The Owl
Fun Austin
Fun in Austin

What makes the town of Austin fun is all of the old neon signs, the unique in kitschy stores and eateries.

Freddie's Place on South Congress seems to be covered with kitsch
Freddie’s Place on South Congress seems to be covered with kitsch
Amy's Ice Cream
Amy’s Ice Cream is a chain out of San Antonio. Their shop on 6th St. in Austin is fun to look at and fits in well with keeping Austin weird

The main drag through the best part of Austin is on South Congress Ave. Here one can see an abundance of unique shops and restaurants and cafés. They also have special parks set aside for food trucks and food trailers. I was even surprised to see what appeared to be a trailer park with a number of Airstreams including some really nicely painted ones.

Trailer Park Eatery in Austin -- a hybrid "food truck" type of place comprised of trailers that are actually like food trucks
Trailer Park Eatery in Austin — a hybrid “food truck” type of place comprised of trailers that are actually like food trucks
Trailer Park Eatery. Check out the Airstreams!
Trailer Park Eatery. Check out the Airstreams!
Lovely quirky Airstream
Lovely quirky Airstream
Another one of many food parks in Austin
Another one of many food parks in Austin

Then there is Gourdough’s – Also in an Airstream

Gourdough's
Gourdough’s Big Fat Donuts in Austin. Giant gourmet donuts

While in Austin I stopped at one of them, Gourdough’s, which did custom gourmet donut (thus Gourdough’s – get it?) I figured I needed to at least try it out because it looks so unique. My last unique donut shop visit was in Portland, Oregon where I visited Voodoo Doughnut, which is one of the quirkiest eateries I have ever been to.

Gourdough’s certainly had unique gourmet donuts. The following photo is part of their menu.

Gourdough's Menu - Yum!!
Gourdough’s Menu – Yum!!
The Flying Pig at Gourdough's was yummy
The Flying Pig at Gourdough’s was yummy
Two sweet gooey yummiferous ly rich giant donuts from Gourdough's. Made to order fresh in the trailer. What a kick!
Two sweet gooey yummiferously rich giant donuts from Gourdough’s. Made to order fresh in the trailer. What a kick! And yes, that’s the Flying Pig on the left and bacon on the right (the Porkey’s)

I wish I would have had three or four days to just spend in Austin as there is so much to see there. But I did my usual swing through and found a number of neon signs, a few murals and of course, the “greetings from Austin” mural which is like a giant postcard.

Welcome to Austin Mural - Austin, TX
Welcome to Austin Mural – Austin, TX

Another place I would’ve liked to have gone in and visited where is the Lucy in Disguise shop. The storefront, including the roof, is phenomenal and quirky as ever.

Lucy in Disguise, Austin, TX
Lucy in Disguise, Austin, TX
Lucy Statue at Lucy in Disguise in Austin
Lucy Statue at Lucy in Disguise in Austin

As I drove down South Congress and on 6th Street, I captured a few more scenes of the essence of Austin’s weirdness!

Doc's Motorworks Bar & Grill in Austin
Doc’s Motorworks Bar & Grill in Austin
Autin Motel
Austin Motel in Austin – No Preservatives!!
Home Slice Pizza
Home Slice Pizza and the Queen of Pies in Austin
New Bohemia in Austin
New Bohemia in Austin – Quirky retailer featuring vintage men’s & women’s apparel, plus a wide array of boots & accessories.
Uncommon Objects
Lasso Cowboy on a rabbit on Uncommon Objects, an antiques, oddities, and curious goods store on South Congress in Austin
Roadhouse Relics in Austin
This Is It at Roadhouse Relics in Austin
Roadhouse Relics Wall Sign in Austin
Roadhouse Relics Wall Sign in Austin
Nostalgicalaly Austin
Nostalgically Austin
Fun mural in Austin
Fun mural in Austin
South Congress Cafe in Austin
South Congress Cafe in Austin

Unfortunately, I did not have time to visit some of the historical sites in Austin, but hope to do so in the future.  Austin is a place worth spending a few days in!! Happy Trails until we meet again Austin.

Custom Boots Wall Art
Texas Custom Boots Wall Art

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Houston to Austin: The Scenic Route

IMG_7418This is the second part of my Galveston return trip journey (see first post if you missed it).  After a night in Houston with my Uncle, I was back on the road through Houston and on to Austin, the long and scenic route….

My route from Houston to Austin ... the long and scenic route
My route from Houston to Austin … the long and scenic route

I chose this roundabout way through the heart of Texas in order to enjoy the unique Texas scenery and perhaps run into some of those quirky things that little towns have.  Initially, I had a business meeting scheduled in Conroe, but it fell through, so I headed to Huntsville, but, as I checked the map I noticed that not too far from Conroe was a small town called Cut and Shoot, Texas.  Voila!!  An unexpected town name treat!

Cut and Shoot City Hall
Cut and Shoot City Hall

According to the history of Cut and Shoot, the town had its unusual beginning and acquired its peculiar name in July 1912.  It was all a result of a religious confrontation and comments made by an 8 year old boy.  Today the town is incorporated and has a post office and a city all (as shown above).

Cut and Shoot Post Office in Texas
Cut and Shoot Post Office in Texas
Cut and Shoot Police
Cut and Shoot Police

From Cut and Shoot it was on to Huntsville to see what some call “The World’s Largest Statue of an American Hero.”  This is the statue of Sam Houston, called “Tribute to Courage”, it stands 67 feet but also has a 10 foot pedestal, giving it a ground to top height of 77 feet.

Welcome to Huntsville
Welcome to Huntsville
Sam Houston Statue
Sam Houston Statue

According to the Huntsville Visitor’s Center, Houston Sculptor David Adickes needed 30 tons of concrete and two years to work on the project. The statue was dedicated on October 22, 1994. Every year, between 50,000 and 65,000 people visit the huge tribute.  Adickes was born in Huntsville, Texas. After graduating from Sam Houston State University with degrees in both math and physics in 1948, Adickes went to the Kansas City Art Institute. He studied painting there, and then went to Paris where he studied art for two years. In 1957, he lived for a year in Japan and then traveled extensively over the next 10 years in the Far East, Middle East, Europe, Russia and North Africa.

This is a full size replica of the head of Sam Houston that sits atop this giant statue
This is a full size replica of the head of Sam Houston that sits atop this giant statue
Sam Houston
Sam Houston

I was really amazed at the size of this one. Perhaps it was because I couldn’t see it from the same distance that I saw the Stephen Austin statue from a few days ago. Plus, when looking across the interstate, you really can get a sense of the size in relation to vehicles, as shown in the photo above. For those interested and with some time, Huntsville is also the home of the HEARTS Veterans Museum and the Texas Prison Museum. If you like Ghost Tours (and I know a couple of readers who do), then you’ll be interested in Huntsville’s Ghost Tours.

Texas Hwy 30
Texas Hwy 30

To cut through the heart of Texas, I took Texas Highway 30 west out of Huntsville towards College Station and Bryan, TX.  The first little town I passed through was Shiro.  The town was founded in 1902 by farm families in the vicinity. The settlement’s name, Shiro, was provided by postmaster Frances Marion Mayfield, who selected it from the botanical names in a nursery catalog.

Texas Hwy 30 between Huntsville and Shiro.
Texas Hwy 30 between Huntsville and Shiro.
Welcome to Shiro, TX
Welcome to Shiro, TX

There was not much to see in Shiro, but the joy of taking these back roads is seeing things like the old car below advertising a bar in Shiro.

Bare Bones Bar advertising car - Shiro, TX
Bare Bones Bar advertising car – Shiro, TX
Old Ghost Sign for Coca Cola on a wall in Shiro, TX
Old Ghost Sign for Coca Cola on a wall in Shiro, TX
Downtown Shiro, Texas
Downtown Shiro, Texas
Old Furniture Store in Shiro, TX
Old Furniture Store in Shiro, TX

From Shiro, it was westward on TX 30 towards Bryan, TX

TX Hwy 30 west of Shiro
TX Hwy 30 west of Shiro

The sky was beautiful that day. Couldn’t resist a shot…

Sky and clouds deep in the heart of Texas
Sky and clouds deep in the heart of Texas

After Bryan the highway turned into US 79/190 heading west towards Austin.  When I got to Hearne I followed 79 south towards Rockdale.

Shining sky above US 79/190 in central Texas
Shining sky above US 79/190 in central Texas
Rockdale, Texas
Rockdale, Texas
Thorndale, Texas
Thorndale, Texas

When I got into Thorndale, there was this huge pyramid-looking grain elevator.  It was an unusual site.

Huge unique grain elevator in Thorndale, Texas
Huge unique grain elevator in Thorndale, Texas

After Thorndale, it was on to Hutto, home of the Hippos and the into Round Rock.

Hutto, Texas
Hutto, Texas

I didn’t have time to stop in Hutto, but I did see something pretty funny to me….  Covert Auto has a less than Covert sign….

Covert Chevrolet in Hutto, TX
Covert Chevrolet in Hutto, TX

I had to push into Austin since I was meeting my cousin for dinner in Austin.  I finally got into Austin (the town that wants to stay weird) after a fun drive through the heart of Texas.  I joined my cousin for dinner at the world famous Threadgill’s.

Threadgills in Austin
Threadgill’s in Austin
Threadgill's Home Cooking
Threadgill’s Home Cooking

Threadgill’s started off as a gas station  just north of Austin by Kenneth Threadgill in 1933.  He soon made it a beer joint for musicians to drop in after their gigs.

Howdy from Threadgill's
Howdy from Threadgill’s
Threadgill's is Cool!
Threadgill’s is Cool!

Even though I have always been known to be a music trivia wiz, I learned something new here at Threadgill’s…this was where Janis Joplin got her start as she developed her brassy style that would propel her to become the first female rock and roll superstar.

Janis Joplin painting at Threadgill's
Janis Joplin painting at Threadgill’s
Threadgill's Diner Style
Threadgill’s Diner Style

And of course, they are famous for their food too….how about Texas style Chicken Fried Steak…

Threadgill's Chicken Fried Steak
Threadgill’s Chicken Fried Steak

After dinner, we took a ride for the night life of Austin.  A couple of shots to end the day and end this post.  Next post is all about Austin and the drive to Keller.

The "Owl" in downtown Austin
The “Owl” in downtown Austin – Frost Bank Tower
Stoplight over the capital
Stoplight over the Capital

 

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