Now taking reservations ONLINE!

For those that haven’t heard you can now reserve your spot at our state’s parks using the online reservation system. This is great for those parks that are difficult to get to and then you do get all the way there and see the dreaded “park full” sign. Not any more. You can now reserve a day pass to popular parks like Enchanted Rock and not worry about there being space when you get there. Plan ahead though as parks are filling up faster than ever.

Reservations!!

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Texas Monthly Top 50 BBQ Joints in the World*

Along with visiting all the parks and historic sites my friends and I are hitting the top BBQ restaurants along the way. The best guide is the Texas Monthly BBQ Top 50 List.

Here’s a Google map of the top 50 along with some honorable mentions.

Map by @chriscreel

Follow my not nearly as detailed attempt to visit all 50 of the BBQ joints to make the 2013 TMBBQ list.

Pedernales Falls State Park Bird Blind

After the storms on Monday, I headed out the Perd to see if the rains had any impact on the water level. While out there I remembered that there’s plenty about this park that I haven’t experienced yet. One of those things is the bird blind at the park.

My expectations were really low because I thought “low budget and state park must mean bench and tree = bird blind.” Boy was I wrong.

If you haven’t had the pleasure, put it at the top of your list for your next visit to the park.

From the park store, head towards the main falls. Keep an eye out on the left side of the road for the parking area for the blind. It is well-marked and should be easily found.

To get the most out of your visit and to be respectful of others at the blind:

  1. Turn your radio off before you turn into the parking area.
  2. No talking unless you are able to whisper (not all people are able to in my experience)
  3. When you park, try to park at the far end of the lot away from the entrance to the blind.
  4. Close the door to your car as quietly as possible
  5. Don’t set your alarm. Lock your doors, but no honking of the horn to set the alarm.
  6. Enter the blind quietly (don’t let the gate slam)

There are two large bird blinds once you enter. The first one on the right, pictured below, has a few hummingbird feeders.

I saw several different species in just a short time in this blind.

There is another blind in this area that has a special visitor right now.

I was lucky to get there around feeding time. The volunteer, Mr. Strickland, said that the baby fox, pictured below, shows up every day around 5pm and stays about an hour.

According to Mr. Strickland, there is a mother and a couple of other young foxes. However he had not seen them in a few days and the worry is that something might have happened to them. Hopefully this little guy is not on his own so young.

The park is in the middle of a large project at the blind/surrounding area. They are building a large star gazing area. Mr. Strickland said that there would be a telescope and accompanying facility. I look forward to visiting this facility when it opens.

Pedernales Falls (again)

I made it out to Pedernales on Monday after the heavy rains. Got some great pictures with the old camera I dug out of the closet. Easy to say that this park is my favorite so far. Every time I visit I see something I haven’t seen before.

picture of rocks at state park

limestone cave at state park

old tree at state park

TPWD Colorado Bend Video

I found this great video of Colorado Bend State Park from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department YouTube channel and wanted to add it to the blog for that park. Enjoy!

 

Black Spur Emporium and Coffee Shop

As is tradition on our trips we found yet another hole in the wall coffee shop. This gem was on our way to LBJ State Park.

Black Spur was a combo of funky decorations and good service. Just don’t mention the “S word” while there. (starbucks)

Black Spur is found on Main St in Johnson City about a block West of the city park. I’ve had the iced tea there 3 times now. It’s been good each time. My friends have had the espresso and coffee and can vouch for that as well.

Austin is Underrated

I recently read an article that claimed Austin is overrated. That same article also said “Go to Houston instead.” I won’t do the internet community a disservice by linking to that hack. You’ll just have to take my word on it. I’m just not that good of a writer.

The Barton Springs Greenbelt is a great example of how Austin is underrated. That’s right. I said it. Underrated. How can that be? Good writers say Austin is a great town for food, sports, live music, politics, festivals, drafthouses, and races among other things.

cap 10k
borrowed from http://www.flickr.com/photos/danyanjared/

They usually still say it’s a city and most people outside of Austin probably think of it as a city. It’s really so much more.

McKinney Falls State Park, Bull Creek Park, Zilker Park, Northwest Hills, well the list goes on and on of great places to hike and enjoy the outdoors. And they’re all within the city limits. It’s amazing when you think about it and even greater to experience it.

Think about Austin right now. Session is going strong and it’s crazy around the capitol.

austin capitol with crowd outside

Multiple giants of industry are opening new offices or expanding (VISA, Google, GM, Samsung, Apple, etc). Movies are being filmed all over the place. There’s an F1 track in case you haven’t heard. I’ll admit that the track is not actually in Austin, but everyone in town felt the effect of the race going on that week. Every week there is a major event of some kind. It’s just crazy around here. Yet a few blocks from the capital you can escape and find yourself out in the middle of nowhere it seems. You go from the pictures above to this:

greenbelt

This picture was taken less than two miles from the Texas State Capitol. Overrated? No way. I can only begin to paint the picture for you. You have to experience this city to understand why many Austinites feel the way they do. I’ve been here almost 9 years now and I’ve only just begun on my Austin adventure.