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  • Writer's pictureSusan Byers

Deep in the Heart of ... You Guessed It!

We just finished a whirlwind tour of Austin, Waco and Grapevine, Texas, just outside Dallas. Stops in Austin and Dallas were primarily to visit friends; Waco was a bit of a pilgrimage (HGTV fans will understand). Thought I'd share a bit ... and lots of pictures. This will be a two- or three-parter, as there's so much to share!

First off, I want to give a shout-out to the Austin Lone Star RV Resort. It was one of the most impressive RV parks we've visited. Only two years old, the wide roads are paved, the pads are paved, it has two tiny houses, accessible showers, mailboxes for full-time residents and the dog park was at least a half acre!

There were even longhorns out back (that big guy on the left has a span of 8 feet. We were told. We did not get close enough to measure ...).

Austin proudly counts itself as "weird." We didn't find it weird at all, but rather vibrant, with multiple personalities depending on the area you're in. Huge wall murals are a thing, as are food trucks--it's an art, foodie and, of course, music haven. Our tour guide, Jason Weems, is a singer/songwriter at night and helps run Detours, a tour company, during the day.

He took us on a wide-ranging drive around the city, pointing out landmarks and various neighborhoods and their vibes; recommending restaurants and night spots; and stopping for a sweet treat at a food truck. These were some seriously good cookies, and you have to love the names!

We stopped for a tour of the state capital building and its grounds. It's built of pink Texas granite, as are all of the other state office buildings. The granite was donated with the stipulation that the state would buy its stone from the giver in perpetuity. There's a lot of pink granite in downtown Austin. The capital is modeled on the U.S. Capitol ... only 7 feet taller. Because, of course, everything's bigger in Texas. The door hinges, which were made specifically for the capital building, are huge, weighing about 9 pounds apiece.

Underneath the grounds of the capital are acres of offices that are covered in skylights. There's even an underground rotunda! There's actually more office space underground than in the capital building.

We had friends to visit in Austin: Ed and Dina, a high school friend of mine and his wife; and Mary Beth and Edgar. I took a class on program management years ago from Mary Beth, who somehow made it interesting (she is a born teacher), and she and I hit it off. I hadn't met Edgar yet, but we'd been "introduced" on facebook. Unfortunately, Mary Beth got sick the night we were to get together--we had planned to eat out, then come to the camper for dessert so they could meet our cats (they're serious cat people). I had already made dessert ... so we decided to take half of it to them, and we got to have a lovely, long chat with Edgar. Next time, Mary Beth--we'll be back!

The next day, we headed to Waco to visit the Magnolia Silos and see some Fixer Upper houses. If you don't watch HGTV, if you aren't familiar with Chip and Joanna Gaines and their show Fixer Upper, you are welcome to skip my next blog. For Gaines fans ... it was wonderful!

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