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  • Writer's picturevanlafaxine

week 4: east texas

days 23-26: dallas

bill: it has been snowing and freezing rain for 3 days straight and they don't have snow plows or salt trucks here, so they have shut down all of the highways. we are stuck in dallas. thankfully we have a place to stay at tom and ana's; we essentially spent monday to friday drinking beer and playing mario kart.

Amy: And walks!!! We did laps of the suburbs with micro spikes on our hiking boots - the sidewalks and roads were SHEER ice. Cool find: a traditional taqueria selling $2 tacos. We also did a harrowing walk (because this city has no walking infrastructure) to Planet Fitness. It was nice to hunker down in a spot where we knew folks to weather the storm.

we did some work on the van, we insulated the fuel line running from the fuel pump to the carburetor in hopes that that will fix our potential vapour lock problem. the issue as far as i am hypothesizing is that carburetors were meant to run on 100% gas, whereas now fuel is 10% ethanol which lowers the boiling point, enough so that it turns to vapour sitting in the line when the engine is warm, therefore either keeping liquid fuel out of the carb or pushing the fuel that is in there out into the engine and flooding it. we will see if that worked. next step would be to add a return line to the gas tank so the vapour can escape, but one of those already exists so maybe that is not the problem...

lance was bummed there wasn't a video last week about tom and i getting drunk in dallas so here it is:

day 27: dallas to austin

Amy: The sun is shining! The city is thawing! We both felt very ready to leave Dallas and get moving. On the drive we hit the renowned Czech Stop for some Kolaches (delicious pastries filled with fruit and cream cheese and sausage rolls). We arrived in Austin around dinner time, ready to hit the town (reality: we spent about an hour and a half searching for a decent parking spot. That's been the hardest part of van life so far). With the van safely tucked away in a city lot, we followed the sound of music to a vibrant side street chock full of bars and food trucks. Yes!! We immediately got food truck empanadas and arepas for dinner, then walked 6th Ave - the main downtown strip in Austin.

czech stop

rainey st. food truck park

parked right near rainey street, a street lined with very cool patio bars with live music and a food truck in every patio. our experience in nashville made us less inclined to go to the wasted tourist area (west 6th st), and instead look for the local spots. first stop - "dirty bill's", an absolutely perfect dive bar - no draft beer, christmas lights and neon, barely functional washroom, all locals. next we went to "casino el camino", another local favourite dive. we met some cool americans who instantly knew we were canadian, they told us all about their time in montreal and all about where to go in austin.

day 28: austin

Time to explore Austin! Since it's a Saturday, I wanted to check out the local farmer's market. We bought some farm fresh eggs and tamales, which we devoured while listening to a busker in the park. Just south of downtown is the Colorado River with endless boardwalks and trails connecting to Lady Bird Lake. The wildlife was abundant! Turtles, cormorants, ducks and egrets around every corner. Having worked up an appetite, we popped by a seafood taco truck parked right behind a Shell gas station (it had 4.9 stars on Google - the highest rated food spot in our area!!). It was SENSATIONAL! We ate a ceviche tostada and battered fish tacos - fresh, filling and some of the best food we've eaten to date.

beautiful day, sunny and 16c. we walked down to the famers market in the morning, then explored the downtown. in contrast to dallas (as far as we saw), austin has amazing urban planning. the river cuts down the middle of the city and there are miles and miles of walking trails surrounding the river, runners everywhere, people actually moving around the city not by car, and boardwalks along the river. we walked about 20km all told. in the evening we took the advice of our new texan friends and went to east 6th street for the evening, which was a lot cooler than west 6th, a lot of dives with cool patios, breweries, restaurants, food trucks etc. this is a neighbourhood made for 20 somethings with a bit of spending money.

We finished the night with an excellent food truck quesadilla. One hundred per cent of our meals so far have been from food trucks.

day 29: austin

austin is insanely cool. i would live here for sure. everything about this city is cool - the people, the culture, the restaurants, the bars, the urban planning, all top tier taste. it is a lot like if downtown toronto, hintonburg, and the montreal plateau were amalgamated into one city where every single person's annual vintage t-shirt budget was 4 figures. all the college aged kids drink at dive bars instead of clubs, every bar has an amazing food truck parked in the back patio where you can get excellent food for super cheap, it is always summer and there are amazing patios everywhere. this is the first place in america we have seen a recycling bin. it's walkable, bikeable, liveable, there is urban nature, it's clean, modern and beautiful. there are murals and street art and neon signs everywhere, stickers on everything, live music at every bar. i have seen more pedal steels here than i did in nashville (zero). this city embraces art, culture, music, and overall weirdness in a way that other cities just do not. the world's largest urban bat colony lives under the main bridge in the middle of the city and instead of pulling some nimby ottawa bullshit and moving them, the city celebrates them; people come out every night in the summer to watch the bats leave their roosts and the bats have become a mascot for the city.

TLDR: We like Austin. Today we explored more of Texas's capital city - including the State Capitol building. Apparently the Statue of Liberty can fit comfortably inside at the tallest point of the dome. We had heard good things about South Congress, "SoCo", the neighbourhood across the bat bridge. This was a much more trendy neighbourhood with high-end stores, expensive brunch spots and yoga studios. It morphed into a more eclectic few blocks harbouring local artisan markets, funky restaurants and vintage shops - it reminded me a lot of Westboro and Hintonburg in Ottawa. For lunch, we grabbed some New York pizza slices and then walked back to a park near our van to connect with family and friends in the 20 degree sun!

here is this week's video (with a little bit of san antonio sneak peek since next week's video will be all big bend):

3 comentários

Norrine Fawcett
Norrine Fawcett
15 de fev. de 2023

Bill/Amy... thanks so much for letting us come along with you on this journey. LOVE IT!!!!


Andrea Rauser
Andrea Rauser
13 de fev. de 2023

Amazing, thanks again for bringing us along xo


11 de fev. de 2023

Just love seeing what you 2 are up to!!




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