Sep 21, 2011

Texas Part Duex: 9/21/11: Austin and Farewell

Last day in Austin!  Skipped our regular breakfast so we could ensure a big lunch.  Instead of eggs and the works we had left over apple crisp paired with a few bites of Rudy’s cream corn.  I think my whole life revolves around food intake.  Especially in Texas.  (My waistline agrees.)   

Today we hit the road to University of Texas, home of the Longhorns.  Our mission:  to stand where  Charles Whitman (Texas Sniper) stood, to gaze upon the little spots below the tower and see what he saw.  On August 1, 1966 Whitman murdered his mother and wife before spending over an hour in the tower shooting at people below.  Thirteen people were murdered and 31 were wounded at the Tower alone.  By the end of the week the total death toll moved up to 16.  

Unfortunately, as with Waco, the University doesn’t appear to be very proud of their killer.  No signs, no memorials we could spot, and no roof access except for tours on the weekend.   Oh I tried, though.  (hmm, didn’t I try to get on the roof the other day at the hotel??? Another pattern emerges.)  
We parked at the Longhorn Stadium (not it’s official name) and walked through campus to the tower.  Campus is beautiful, despite the mass amount of construction taking place.  They must have acquired a large donor.  Once we got to the tower building we tromped inside like we owned the place.  We noted stairs which we passed’s a calorie conservation thing.  There are two elevators near the middle of the building which are kind of scary.  Leading to the elevators is a long hallway with a metal detector at the front (hmm, anyone learn from their past?).   
Photo from the bottom of the UT Tower, that's one large Tower..maybe that's why they call it a Tower???
Sign that immobilized Jen
At the rear of the long hallway, in between the elevators is a sign that reads:  Elevators for authorized personnel only.  At this point Jen (AKA Yellow Belly Chicken) and I parted ways because she didn’t want to get on the elevator since we weren’t “authorized.”  I’m a firm believer that as a tourist I’m entitled to at least a few “Oops, I’m sorry, am I not supposed to be here?” statements.   I jumped on the elevator with a man (whom I will call Tex so he doesn't get fired) who was going back to his desk on the 15th floor (damn, I just outed Tex!).  I chatted him up and asked if there were windows on the top where I could take photos.  Tex said, “It’s frowned upon.”  But, me, well, I just smiled politely and said I’d come all this way to take just a few photos.  Tex then invited me to get off the elevator at his floor and stood with me while I was taking some photos from the window, just in case someone came and wanted to know what I was doing.  Nice guy.  I said thanks then hit both the up and down elevator when Tex turned his back.  That way, I figured the direction I went was in fate’s hands.  When the elevator stopped I pushed the button for the highest floor I could go, which was 25 (two floors below the top).  
As the elevator went up I started thinking of excuses for why I was up there...the only one I thought would be convincing was “I’m looking for Tex” since, well, in my Oregon Ducks baseball cap and shirt, I clearly wasn’t a student (way to think ahead, I'm a criminal mastermind).  I peeked out the elevator door when they opened, saw the coast was clear, then jumped out and hustled it to the windows.  Snap, snap, snap, photos galore.  (I am such a rebel, feel free to live vicariously through me).  
View from the 25th floor of the tower, UT
I am amazed at how awesome of a shot the Texas Sniper would have had to be to kill anyone, let alone injure as many as he did.  (I supposed that's what a sniper does, eah?) I don’t know if I am supposed to be impressed with an act of such violation, but really, if you consider it, WOW (kudos to the American military and it's training)!!!  
Back on the ground floor I found Jen.  She’d apparently been playing tour guide to some freshmen, pointing them to the registrar’s office.   I’m sure that was much more rewarding than taking the elevator up!  (Take a risk, make a memory!)
Stubbs grubb...mmm mmm good (sorry Rudy,  I cheated!)
Next stop:  Stubbs BBQ for lunch.  Sure, we went there a few days before but we just bought stuff and had a drink.  This time, lunch was in order.  We both ordered two meats (brisket and ribs) and two sides.  My sides were mac and cheese and mashed sweet potatoes.  Jen had sweet potatoes and cheese spinach (which I’m sorry to say tasted like shrat to me).  The mashed sweet potatoes were awesome, with a hint of cinnamon and topped with walnuts.  Heavenly.  The brisket was good but the ribs rocked.  (I hate to admit it, but they were better than Rudy’s, don’t tell him.) Jen was having a hard time finishing her meal and I had to break out Rule #1 (leave no bbq behind) and she choked down the remaining bites like a good sport.  I thought she was going to hurl for the next few hours but as far as I know, things stayed down.
From Stubbs we headed for Rudy’s to get gas and some bbq for the road.  I ordered 4 pounds of brisket and one pound of smoked turkey, Jen ordered a pound of brisket.  Crazy as it sounds, I came prepared with a fold up ice chest/bag to bring food home.  I know, I have a problem.  Maybe there’s a group I can join for my Rudy’s BBQ addiction.  

At the airport, the excessive meat proved to be a bit much as I had to remove stuff from my bags to make weight.  Doh!  Still, it was worth the agony of dragging around my carry on full of extra stuff.  I wasn’t leaving without my Rudy’s.  

Texas Part Duex ends.  Another adventure will start soon, Ireland and Scotland in October.  Until then,  may laughter and fun be on your mind and may every opportunity to step outside your comfort zone bring you one space closer to the ...oh shrat, Jen’s looking over my shoulder and I can’t write while she does that.  RUDE.  So, my words of wisdom will have to wait.  (Consider this a temporary reprieve.)
As Jen would say, “Whatever.”  

Cheers all.  Thank you, Texas, for accepting me and tolerating my childish behaviors yet again!  See you soon law dog, see you soon!  


  1. Hey there! My name is Terah and I stumbled on your blog a while ago (at one point i gave you feedback on some riding pants.) I have an 09 BMW G650GS. I have an opportunity to get a R1200GS for a really good price. Since you had a 650, then a 1200, then back to a 650, what is your opinion of going to a 1200? Would you get one again? What's the pros and cons between one and the other as a main all around and touring bike (besides the obvious upgrades on the 1200)?

  2. Hey! Thanks for the feedback on the pants! Sorry for the delay in replying here. I have to admit while on my moto trip to Texas I missed the 1200 like a school girl misses her...wait, err, i missed it. It had better handling, more power, was more comfortable, had more cargo space, a better windscreen, no chain to oil (I HATE OILING THE CHAIN!) and basically rocked. However, since I was alone the whole time, I was glad for the weight of the 650 (light!) and felt more secure in knowing i could touch the ground and if I dumped it, I could pick it up by myself. Also, in town riding is more fun on the 650 since it is easy to maneuver and easy to park (and to zig and zag through traffic..which would be easier if it had more power). See the difficulty? I LOVE both bikes. In hindsight, if I had it to do all over again, I think I'd have kept the 1200 and bought a 650 as well. But that's not financially sound. I think I feel more comfortable on the 650 since it's not a beast, but I do indeed miss the 1200 and all it had to offer. I think maybe it's personal preference. What do you like about the idea of the 1200? I see chicks on them all the time...and each time I cringe at giving mine up. :(



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