January 03, 2009 GMT
Austin

Once again we set about finding ingenious ways of drying our damp clothes in our motel room, got down to uploading our photos and carrying on our ritual of going through the photos of the day, deleting, straightening and fixing, separating the good from the bad, looking through the map, to see how far we had come, and how far we had to go, and checking the weather forecast before collapsing on the bed in preparation for the day ahead.

The day that followed was as grey as the day that came before, so we got togged up with our thermals under our jeans, a few layers, and off we went, back to Wholefoods, for a hearty breakfast. By the time we left there, it was still chilly, but the sun was breaking through. At Jacquie’s request, and much to my chagrin, we set off on a “brisk walk” to the downtown area and beyond, in search of Allen’s Boots, the World’s biggest boot store, one of the many “World’s Biggest’s” we would encounter in Texas.
We walked and walked, passed the Capitol building, down Congress, over the river, up South Congress, until we finally came across some signs of life, or at least, shops. We dived into the first thrift store we found, and started searching through T-shirts. I was coming out of the changing room with a dozen or so $1 T’s when I heard an English accent. Further investigation of this familiar accent led us to the guitar wielding Johnny UK, an ex Londoner who had moved to LA in the 70s and never gone home. We got to talking, and he insisted on playing us a song once we had finished shopping, Sure enough, he was waiting for us outside, and as he played for us, we were both reminded of our good ol’ pirate mate at home, Nick. Both old rockers, anti establishment, rough round the edges, but perfect gentlemen. johnny uk.jpg
The lyrics to his songs were so apt for our situation, they could have been written for us. We listened intently as he sang, it was more like listening to a gritty story, being told just for us-and they really hit home. Songs about living your life for yourself, and not for the corporations, treating each other well-stuff like that. It was great.
After a few tunes, we headed further up the street, passed the Austin Motel, whose slogan was “so close, yet so far out”.austen motel.jpg Nice- it pretty much summed up this cool little town-and on to Allen’s boots. Jacquie was in heaven, but unfortunately, her favourires were just a little too expensive, with a price tag of $1000! Talk about expensive taste!
The next two pair of favourites weren’t available in her size, so she put it down to Karma, and left the shop empty handed.
We caught a bus back to our end of town, headed back to our Motel, and got ready for our night out in The Music Capital of the World. After a flick through the local rag, we decided on the Broken Spoke Honky Tonk. brokenspoke dancers.jpgAn added bonus of this authentic venue was the 1-hour dance lesson in between bands. We were both looking forward to learning how to Line Dance, and thought it would be a right giggle. When we turned up, the band was in full swing, we ordered our cowboy nosh, and enquired about the dance lesson, but instead of the expected Line dancing, we were informed “only Europeans do that”. We decided to pass on the Waltz/Two Step class, and got chatting to Marley-the Man at the Bar- while we waited for the next band. Marley turned out to be another one of those diamond characters that we kept meeting on our trip. Extremely open, interested and interesting. We ended up chatting for hours with our new mate, until the time came to get back on the bike and head into town. 6th st.jpg
I couldn’t resist a quick glimpse of 6th Street, with its numerous bar and live music venues, but after putting our heads into the doors of a couple of very loud, and almost empty venues, we decided it was time to hit the sack. The next day we would head for San Antonio.

Posted by Dan Shell at January 03, 2009 06:07 AM GMT
 

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