This past weekend, we went on an RV trip to Austin, TX. While many of you don’t know this, I used to live in the Bay Area of California.
Austin reminds me somewhat of the Bay Area of California. I say somewhat because it’s still infected by Texas, after all the Governor of Texas lives there while in office. But Austin is a thriving metropolis, one based on high technology and medicine, Dell is located in Austin. There are numerous start-ups there as well. Austin is also the home of The University of Texas. While the University of Texas is well known in higher education, the state of Texas is not. The rest of Texas considers Austin “weird” because there’s a lot of non-conformal and independent thought there. In reality, Austin is about a hundred years ahead of the rest of Texas, a fact the rest of the state hates. Going back to San Antonio is like going to the dark side of the Moon. We’ve been to Austin before so we didn’t do much touring. Besides it was really hot this past weekend, so we decided to hang out at the trailer.
We stayed in a Sun RV Resorts RV Park, the Hacienda, located near Lake Travis. It’s a nice park but like most RV parks is becoming more of an RV residency. Transients – tourists like myself are now more the exception. It is becoming harder and harder to find RV parks for weekend trips. If you don’t believe this, ask any of the numerous RV clubs. A rally is next to impossible to book, mostly because RV parks don’t have the space. Clubs are now having to book rallies years in advance because the parks will cancel them unless they have a contract with the club. Corporations are taking over RV parks. One RV park near here is having problems with the owner fending off offers from the Jellystone Park chain. Jellystone caters to young families, the high growth segment of RV ownership. Young families are moving to the RV as a method of early home ownership. It keeps them from getting stuck living in one location and having to commit to a 30-year mortgage. It’s a bit daring but kids who have known nothing else are fine with it. If you don’t like living in one, you can sell your RV and move someplace else. Then there are the membership only RV parks. You pay a fee to join and you stay for a couple of weeks at a time. In my opinion, these membership clubs are more for full time RVers who have plenty of time to figure out where they’ll go next.
Our trip went well from the RV standpoint. The water pump appears to have worked, we saw no obvious leaks. I turned the water pump on for a short period and it hardly made a sound. The RV behaved well overall. The temperature was over 100 degrees, and the air conditioner ran almost the entire time. I am going to have to install a baffle over the air conditioner to reduce the noise. One of the small issues we have is with the water heater. We just had it cleaned two weeks ago so it should have worked. In electric mode, it barely heated the water to lukewarm so we used our LP. That does the trick, even though we should not have had to use our own gas. I’ll have to look into that.
Austin is an eclectic city, so it has an eclectic food scene. For us, we had dinner at a local restaurant, the Roaring Fork. If you’re ever there, try the green Chile Mac & Cheese. I had the center cut filet mignon, you don’t need a knife. Everything I’ve tried at Roaring Fork has been excellent, including the cocktails. There was a Roaring Fork in north San Antonio but it closed. It appeared to be doing quite well so we’ll never know.
Austin is one of those trips we can take over a weekend, so we’ll be back … but not too often. Actually making the trip in an RV is horrendous. The traffic borders on the horribleness of Washington D.C. For bittersportspills, D.C. traffic is the measuring stick for awful. Not only are the major highways in the D.C. area jammed, the side streets are as well. There are simply too many people and drivers in the D.C. area. Top that off with a mix of aggressive drivers from other parts of the nation (like Texas, the capital of aggressive drivers) and you’ll get a terrible driving experience. Austin, unlike D.C. has no real bypass highway like virtually every major metropolitan area in the U.S. Texans has some aversion to civic planning, something the political class here refers to as “freedom.” Yeah, freedom to be stuck in horrendous I-35 traffic daily, and perpetually under construction highways leading to nowhere. Those so-called “freedom” lovers should be sentenced to I-35 N at U.S. 290 forever.