Steve here. I’ve never overly adhered to calendars. I use events to keep track, like landmarks in time, and improvise in between. I was lucky enough to get down to Austin and San Antonio, TX, this last weekend, and as far as I’m concerned, that marks the start of the sunny season. Winter’s not my jam.
This little trip was cooked up with my good friend, Weston, after he’d been dreaming and scheming Thunder away games. Between us, we’ve seen our fair share of Kevin Durant and company in the ‘Peake, from court-side to Loud City, but never on the road.
We cut it down to the New Orleans Pelicans, the Denver Nuggets, and the Spurs. But the Pellies and Nugs are having down years, and we have friends in Austin. And the Spurs are every movie monster chasing the Golden State Warriors this season. No matter how far or how fast protagonist Steph Curry (and his release), San Antonio creeps unrelentingly into the rearview mirror. Ultimately, it was an easy choice for the dynastic silver and black at the business end of the Texas Triangle to become our Odyssey’s beloved Penelope.
We set sail in Weston’s silver Mustang, riding against intermittent rain towards our friend’s futon. And then with an hour to Austin, our friend (Erin) went completely radio silent. Our status was downgraded from FUTON, PROBABLE to DNP ERIN MIA. Hey, no harm no foul - we ran through the rolodex of distant family members, ex-girlfriends, and Whole Foods parking lots for a backup plan.
Erin came through at the buzzer and we rolled in after 2AM. He keeps a dartboard where most people keep a TV, so Weston and I threw darts almost all the time that we spent in the living room. Sorry about the holes in your wall.
The street we stayed on was a hip blend of modern architecture and building-codes-be-damned cobbling, dotted with hammocks and short, fat palm trees. It’s the kind of place where everyone composts.
Austin is a city spliced with the environment, with leagues of trails and vistas spiraling away from organic food trucks and secondhand startup tech companies. We spent molasses mornings at Zilker Park and afternoons at Barton Springs.
We also saw Graffiti Castle. A note: if you're a serious writer, it might come off as a tourist trap, but on the plus side, it's free space. The overall aesthetic is nice, but most of the individual pieces are pretty weak. It would be an easy place to stand out, and a strong piece seems to stay up a little bit longer, although people are constantly painting over each other either way.
The bars bounced up and down at night. Globs of people were stacking the city for SXSW, trendy foot-soldiers of festival armies. But we were on a mission. Channeling the spirit of Davey Crockett, clear-eyes-full-heart-can’t-lose we shrugged off the hordes of last night’s paper bracelets and headed down I35 for the AT&T Center.
The Military City AKA Alamo City, AKA the home of Coach Pop and The Big Fundamental AKA Poppo and Old Man Riverwalk - we were greeted by the fiesta colors of Market Square, streamers hanging between buildings over knockoff toys and Tex-Mex. We waited in line at Mi Tierra Bakery & Cafe listening to a high school Beatles cover band, which was a lot better than it sounds.
The game itself was disappointing, the 12th time the Thunder lose a game after leading in the 4th quarter. There was that moment of hope to end the Spurs’ 40-game home win-streak, but they’re ultimately a historically well-oiled machine made of defense and continuity. You realize how strong Kawhii Leonard is in-person. He's the kind of guy if you punch him, you'll hurt your hand. Steven the Last Samurai Adams is a bit like that as well, so I'm confident he'll bounce back. Russ will bounce back. That’s what they do. Go see Russ in-person if you get a chance. Guardzilla is a blur. He's the Tasmanian Devil. Weston and I, we bounced back with some In-N-Out, double-doubles, animal style.