John and I don't get to take a break from running the shop very often, so when one of us goes out of town, the other doubles the workload and bares the burden of being a single owner. BIG thanks to John for letting me get away this weekend, it was definitely due time for me to explore. I started an Instagram account, and posted a lot of these pictures there, give me a follow if you want (trudust).
I had never been to Austin, and I had never taken the Amtrak train. It sounded like an excellent vacation, so KV and I hopped on the train and headed away for the weekend. Riding the rail is an underappreciated mode of transportation...
The train isn't crowded, you can carry and manage your own luggage, and there is plenty of leg room to stretch. Spacious reclining chairs with leg rests and tray tables allow the passenger a number of ways to get comfortable. If you aren't comfortable in your seat, there is a really spacious Observation car with diner and fully stocked beverage and snack bar.
The train is a great way to travel, the one downside is that it does take a little longer to travel. In my opinion, it's good to be forced to slow down. There isn't nearly as much of a rush as hopping from flight to flight at a busy airport. Round trip for one person is about $100, not bad at all.
We got to Austin and to the Austin Motel right on South Congress. South Congress had a ton of great businesses and restaurants. Some of the notable businesses we visited were Stag, Homeslice Pizza, Parts and Labour (Sharkbite Posters), Jo's Coffee, and The Magnolia Cafe. Not that there weren't more, but these were the places I enjoyed the most. We also picked up a "Go Local Austin" card and that saved us a couple bucks here and there. It paid itself off, but not much more than that for the time we were there.
Lastly and most importantly to me, Austin does an excellent job of embracing mural painting, graffiti, and large hand-painted signage. I loved driving down the street and seeing beaufiully painted letters on the side of brick buildings. Whether it was traditional typography and iconography or graffiti murals, the buildings were brightly colored flexing the creativity and talents of it's native artists.
Also, there was a lot of sticker graffiti and hand tags. I know that many people hate this type of artwork, however, the city does a good job of cleaning what needs to be cleaned and tolerating the graffiti on dumpsters, trashcans, and backs of street signs. This actually encourages the 'vandals' to keep the graffiti to these designated spots and off of the murals, business fronts, and more costly and destructive areas. There is a place and time for everything, the matter is learning to manage and embrace it properly in a productive way. Banning murals and signage isn't the way to go.
Here are some pictures of cool legal paintings, and a few of the trashcans and whatnot.
This was a huge wall along the side of a dirty grundgy grey and boring recycling plant. Excellently executed by the city and the artists involved.
Frank Hot Dogs had a huge wall that was regularly repainted by artists. A good blend of beaufiul typography, and mural painting. (I didn't snap a pic of the artist featured.) They also had a wicked tricycle like T&L. Brother from another mother...
You know we left a little okie love...
Thanks for being a great host Austin! I enjoyed it! Now back in my real home, Oklahoma!