Tuesday, June 14, 2011

DALLAS - deep in the heart of TEXAS

It was tough to leave Austin. Actually the last night in that area, I was in Round Rock, a northern suburb. Julie had to go to work early Sunday morning, so I got an early start on the road to DALLAS. Hunger was talking to me as I rolled into town, so I went straight to The Spiral Cafe! Their slogan is "Organic, Vegan food in the Lone Star state!" My pal, Meg, was recently in Dallas and recommended the spot to me.
the Spiral welcomed me unconditionally
I arrived a few minutes before they opened and got to talking to a fella outside. A fellow, like myself, seeking a bite to eat and some free wifi. He assumed that I was there for the All You Can Eat pancakes served on Sunday mornings. That's not really what I had in mind, but part of what this trip is all about, is "going with the flow"... When in Rome, do as the Romans' do, right? So I got a seat, set up the computer and got a mighty plate of apple cinnamon VEGAN pancakes.
AYCE pancakes - every Sunday at Spiral Cafe
I visited some shops that afternoon and then was able to link up with my disc golf sensei, John Boyd. John and I lived in an off campus apartment when I was a junior in college. He was WAY into disc golf back then and taught me a thing or two about the game. After I graduated and moved to San Diego, I lost track of John. I found him on facebook last year and learned he's been living in Plano, just outside Dallas. The rain held off, but the wind was strong.
John Boyd putts into the wind.
After rapping out and golfing, John swung me by a huge skatepark in Lewisville, TX, just as it began to rain.
Lewisville, TX there is a fun spined mini ramp too!
I'd called Katie, the gal I'd met in Austin a few days prior, and we set up a dinner date for the Cosmic Cafe.
long on atmosphere, short on good vegan options
We had a nice dinner and then walked to a nearby market in search of a quality vegan chocolate bar for desert. It took some looking but we found one and sat outside and talked for 2 hours. The night came to a close and we had made plans for the following evening. Initially in Austin, I thought I saw her eating a meat burrito. Well, I was wrong, she works in renewable energy.....the job took her to Dallas....  She's been a long time vegetarian and even grew up in Lincoln, NE. Educated, funny, athletic.... I was psyched on Katie and looking forward to the next evening.

The next day I dropped in on several more shops and visited the PIER skatepark.
the street course at the Pier
the mini ramp at the Pier.
Later that evening I made my way to Katie's apartment where she was cooking dinner for me and two of her gal pals.
Katie is not afraid to experiment.
I was impressed with Katie's excitement in the kitchen. She had multiple dishes going all at once. Her pal made homemade hummus. I'm not too sure what you'd call the 2 main dishes we had....I'll go out on a limb and say it had an Indian angle. Lots of veggies! The dinner was delightful as was the company. Katie and her pals are super into their neighborhood and do promotions for their Deep Ellum neighborhood.
The view from her apt was top notch.
Katie was great but by the end of the evening it was apparent that she wasn't interested, but her hospitality was greatly appreciated....... Nothing ventured, nothing gained.....

The next morning I drove out via the TEXAS SCHOOL BOOK DEPOSITORY route. I visited the Daley Plaza years ago and since have learned lots of troubling issues that make me trust our government very little.
the book depository is the 3rd building up on the right.
Before I could leave I hit up the Spiral Cafe one final time. I went a little nuts... Meg had recommended the shakes, so I elected for a strawberry one and it was out of this world !! !
creamy and delicious
I always like a good noodle dish! thai peanut
then I saw the Philly Cheese steak sando....
I thought I'd take most of the sandwich on the road with me, but that didn't happen... In my defense, it was a pretty small sandwich.  My favorite item from my two visits was certainly the strawberry shake... When in Dallas, pay a visit to the SPIRAL.

Allen, TX
The guys at Skate Bus encouraged me to stop at the Allen Skatepark. It's huge and has a lot to offer, but nothing that really grabbed my attention....

a dream come true, comes crashing down on me...
Two months before I'd left on the trip, I threw my disc into a tree and cracked it down the middle.  A little duct tape later and it seemed to be functional.. I'm still playing with it. One of the reasons that I continued on with it, is that I had an idea that when I played with John, he'd have some old discs that I could take. My dream for the last year is to find a tye dyed disc on the course.... To no avail... So after I did play with John Boyd, he did give me a handful of discs including my HOLY GRAIL a purple, blue, and white tye dyed CYCLONE. He'd suggested a course in northern Texas on my way to Tulsa and I took the time to try out my new disc. Turns out this course had a fast moving river running through it. My first time really playing with true water hazards..... Long story short. On hole #2, I threw out over the river and sure enough hit the one little branch in the area and my tye dyed baby plunged to the middle of the river... No HOPE of getting it.... I ran back to the van to get a back up and continue and by hole #8, I'd lost that one in the water as well. GAME OVER time to get back on the road....

next stop TULSA

Saturday, June 11, 2011

the people - AUSTIN

not the best pic, but this gal was the first to approach me about the BOX
Like I mentioned in an early post, I spent a good deal of time in Austin @ Wheatsville co-op. Sitting outside with the FREE BOX was a keen way to interact with the Austin locals.
these two took the Business up front, Party out back VHS - can't recall names...
Katie (on the left) was from Dallas..

Katie, who I met out front of Wheatsville with her two buddies, intrigued me. So much so, that I commented to her, "You are the sort of gal that I would love to take out on a date if I lived here." To which her friends were quick to respond, "Well, you are going to Dallas next, right?"  And so the light bulb went on.... I am going to DALLAS and that IS where Katie lives.... She offered up her digits and told me to call her when I was in Dallas.

Also met some dogs... Elwood is an epic bloodhound
One of the things I loved about Austin were all the funky neon signs.... I particularly enjoyed this one...
I'd love to get my auto worked on here!
Ed Templeton  - self portrait
Ed and Deanna Templeton had a dual photography showing at a local book store. I squeezed in on the last day that it was up... Stoked!  I'm a huge fan of Ed's work. He and his wife, Deanna, have been vegan for decades and are guiding lights in the skateboard and art circles for plight of the animals. For those of you who don't know, Ed, runs my favorite skateboard company, TOY MACHINE!
One of Ed's installation or was this one Deanna's?
deanna and ed's work - interspersed
Julie gets a good shot in the grotto
One my last day in town, my long time friend, Julie O'Conner, took me out to Westcave Preserve. Turns out it was just a little bit past Hamilton Pool. We took a guided tour and glimpsed into the past. Epic overhang in the grotto and lots of stalagtites in the cave.
Julie shoots the drinking straws that dangle from the ceiling.
It was tough to leave Austin. I feel like I left many activities undone. I was glad that I did manage to play my first round of DISC GOLF in Austin. It was refreshing to be able to jog to the course from my VAN LIFE spot at Barton Springs. I ran the 9 hole course then ran back and swam in the SPRINGS. Austin gets an A on my score sheet. I would consider moving here if the conditions were right....Try it out for a year or so...

next up... DALLAS!

Friday, June 10, 2011

the skate spots - Austin

My first day skating in Austin had me tagging along with Michael Sieben and his ROGER bunch as they filmed at the local ditches for a new segment on the berrics called TRAJECTORY. Not sure when the ROGER episode will air, but the one for VOYAGE skateboards is up now filmed by Chris Mulhern. I think that link will get you to episode ONE. You might have to search for voyage to find the 2nd episode.

I met up with the crew near the train tracks where 3 ditch spots are located in south Austin.
They were filming on a bank to wall that was pretty squirrelly. 

Ryan Holloway mighty fs wallride
Michael and I took off to the airport to pick up team co-captain, Stacy Lowery, who wasted no time getting busy in the 2nd part of the ditch complex.
Stacy - nosepick
Michael applies sunscreen while his friend BRANDON watches.
Then we took it down the line to one of the more FAMOUS ditches in Austin called 'five hips'. If you count carefully you will find five hips. Omar Salazar in Mindfield. Al Partenan had a sick pivot to fakie photo...
world famous FIVE HIPS ditch
Ryan Holloway got a banger and then it was off to.....

LEGO LAND...the current DIY spot
This is where I left the fellas to film and get busy... I had a date with.............
Surfer ditch....
Surfer ditch was right up my alley.... Wide open, lots of entry points and curbs everywhere. And it was maintained meticulously by the locals.. No graffiti and not a piece of trash in sight!

A few days later I found my way back to one of my all time favorite ditches... Psycho Ditch. Marcus, Burnett, Sessions, Than, and I skated it on a TEXAS road trip back in the early 90's. It was a blast then and it's still a blast.... Funny how the most basic of tricks can be so overwhelmingly fun.
Psycho DITCH
When I first rolled up there was a group of older fellas blazing around the ditch. They bailed pretty quick, but offered an invite to ride a concrete mini ramp in Patterson Park...
Concrete mini ramp - Patterson Park
The fellas were all there when I arrived at Patterson Park. The fella in this pic doing the foot plant informed me that the metal coping on the ramp, once was attached to the infamous Hurricane Ramp at the Skatepark of Houston. That bit of trivia made my day!

That's the extent of the skateboarding that I got up to in Austin. BOTTOM LINE, I should have ridden more ditches....

Sunday, June 5, 2011

the eats - Austin

So after I got Mr. Natural's out of the way, I got down to eating slower at many different spots. My long lost San Diego pal, Dayn Reardon, was out of town on tour while I was there, BUT, he gave me a top three list.

blueberry corncakes at BOULDIN Creek cafe
Dayn suggested breakfast at Bouldin Creek Cafe where I got their version of blueberry pancakes with their tofu scramble. It all tasted delightful, but was a little let down in the portion size. Lovely wait staff as well.

The Vegan Yacht
Dayn talked up the FREETO BURRITO at the Vegan Yacht. Like Portland, Austin has a huge food cart scene. The YACHT is near the UT campus and from what I understand keeps sketchy hours, but just follow them on facebook to see when they are open. I was psyched to experience the whole spectacle. The burrito is the combo of a frito pie and a burrito. fritos, chili and vegan cheese!!
the freeto burrito
Casa de Luz - macrobiotic dietary habits!
Dayn suggested the breakfast buffet at CASA DE LUZ and I did hit that, but this photo is from a dinner I shared with Julie O. The sweet potato soup was out of this world. This is the spot I would frequent more often if I had more days in Austin. All organic. simple and delicious. serene setting!

wheatsville is the main natural food co op in AUSTIN
I spent alot of time on the computer and meeting peeps with the FREE BOX in their outdoor seating area. Their deli was expansive, but does serve meat... Oh how I miss the OB People's CO OP!!!

Saturday morning farmer's market
Lots of options at the Austin Farmer's Market. Bread, muffins, and tamales...good stuff.

Counter Culture - all vegan north part of town
Counter Culture was cool. Wish I would have been able to get up there sooner. Rapped out with the skateboarder working there. And there was a skate shop across the street that I hadn't heard of either...

That's all I managed to capture in photos! Overall I was truly impressed with the Austin vegan scene@! I spent a week there and it wasn't long enough to sample all that Austin has to offer.!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

the swimming holes - AUSTIN

BARTON SPRINGS has a diving board!
Barton Springs is centrally located in the city and is most FAMOUS. Free after 9pm  - all I need is less than an hour to jump off the diving board and clean up.  Lots of peeps swimming laps. I only went at night... I'm sure you get a broader range of people during the day

the long view at Barton Springs

Other people talked about DEEP EDDY, another natural cold spring. I'd heard it was mainly little kids and geriatrics, but decided to check it out one afternoon.
Deep Eddy - no diving allowed
Pee in the pool, most likely. I fell asleep in the shaded area.

Then outside of town were two more spots not to be missed.

Hamilton Pool - home of the Predator
Texas is in a drought and normally Hamilton pool has a good sized waterfall dumping into it, but when I was there it was only a trickle. It was still super cool to swim here. Turns out some of the exteriors on the latest Predator movie with Adrien Brody were filmed here.
the trickle of a waterfall at Hamilton
another view from Hamilton.
I got to Hamilton right when it opened. 1st to arrive, 1st to leave.... I wanted to have plenty of time at Krause Springs.
the pool at Krause is fed by the springs
The grounds at Krause were breathtaking. The swimming pool was gorgeous, but I went straight to the rope swing.
the rope swing at KRAUSE
I didn't perfect my backflop here. It helps to have a buddy along to egg you on. Rope swinging solo is rough.

the rocks along the edge are SLICK
BE FOREWARNED... the rocks approaching the water at KRAUSE are slick.. I ate it and slammed on my bottom. lesson learned. I contemplated sleeping over in the camping area, but bailed back to Austin that night.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

near death experience - AUSTIN

As some of you know my longtime pal, avs, is traveling the nation at the same time as I. We have yet to cross paths. We had hoped to see each other somewhere in the backwoods of New Mexico or perhaps in Austin, but since I left San Diego two weeks late, that never happened. His blogs from Austin got me psyched for the good food and good times to come. He specifically recommended Mr. Natural's who has several locations in Austin.

It had been a long drive from El Paso and although I had eaten in San Antonio, my stomach was a rumbling from skating the San Marcos and Lockhart skateparks. It was getting late and I was struggling to figure out a vegan spot that would still be open and was on the south end of town.  MR NATURAL's came up and that's where I headed.
BBQ and rolled taco's @ Mr. Natural's.
I couldn't decide what to get and was a little disappointed with the options on the menu. Nonetheless I got two platters and sat down to eat and work on the computer. I'd ordered tacos and they came out as fried rolled tacos. Within five minutes of inhaling my food, a chunk of the tortilla from a rolled taco had flown down the wrong pipe. I ran outside hoping to cough it up and made little progress as I proceeded to choke to death. I could get it a little way up so I could breath, but every time I tried to swallow, it would get stuck again. One of the clerks came to check on me and finally brought out the owner, MR NATURAL, himself. They got me water and a banana. Still I couldn't dislodge it and I got more panicked by the minute. I mentioned he should try the heimlich maneuver on me, and he gave it a go, but to no avail. He only managed to bruise my ribs in the process. Finally after hacking and coughing up all sorts of grossness, I ejected the culprit and MR. Natural, was so relieved as was I.  He kept checking on me and I had to finish my meal in a rush as the restaurant was now closing. Over the course of my adult life, this is the 3rd time my dinner has tried to kill me. You'd think I would have learned the LESSON. But sometimes it takes me a few rough experiences until I REALLY GET THE LESSON. Let's hope I've truly learned this one....

Even though I nearly died, I am psyched that Mr. Natural manhandled me so severely that he bruised my rib. Makes for a good story, right?