AUSTIN - The City of Weird did not hold back!

We arrive in Austin, find a Super 8 to crash at and I don't think we have ever been SO happy to get off of the bikes as we are in that moment. Its hot, traffic was brutal, its been a nervewracking day/drive and we just want to chill and grab a beer or three while scoping out Austin. We chilled in the hotel room for a while to unwind - until this point, its been on edge nerves in action all day and we can finally relax! We head out and walk towards downtown Austin - not quite a mile walk. Over the freeway, down the hill, past the cop shop... wait!!! What?! They  have a SWAT style vehicle right there on the street? Just for us to take a picture with?!  Heck ya!  < we also found one in Sturgis and its a great pic >

We hit downtown thinking - LIVE MUSIC! Austin has to have live music everywhere, right? Nope. We couldn't find live music and food in the same venue to save our life. Its Sunday, but still. Its Texas! They do everything big, including music! We ate at a little hole in the wall - first time eating today - check! Then we wander around, stopping at a couple of bars on the way - nothing too exciting. Its nice out though, so patios for 'people' watching, in the seemingly deserted city, seemed like a good idea. We were about to give up and head back to the hotel for the night. But then! We followed our ears to the LIVE music coming from down the street. We walk into this Podunk hole in the wall, with a handful of people, CHIPPER bartenders, and music! Perfect! Lonestar beers $2? Even better! Gotta try Lonestar while in said state.

Ah, we can FINALLY truly relax and have a slice of Texas. After all, Shelly has never been to this state and we have yet to see cowboy hats and wranglers all on one human!  Kicked back with our beers, listening to tunes, talking and laughing about how WEIRD this trip has been so far. Shelly is a trooper - Wanna go to TX? Yes! She said without thinking - and this is what she has signed up for!  We sit at the bar, strike up a convo with a couple of guys next to us who were there from whatever country they were from. When all of a sudden. someone comes up behind Shelly and puts her is a full on HEADLOCk. WTH? She was so stunned she didn't know what to do. At that moment, or somewhere in there, I decided this shit was funny and we need this insanely tall 'woman's photo - with her REAL snake head cowgirl hat and all.

She just LOOKED nuts. But, a few Lonestars in, and well, its funny.  Had this huge manly looking woman with a snake on her hat done this same move about 3 hours ago, she'd be on the ground like this guy - only not because she was drunk.

After snake woman finally went to go bug other people, the guys next to us were laughing and saying that 'our friend' is crazy. Oh, wait a minute! She is no friend of ours and knowing this, she is even crazier! They were happy she didn't do that to them - the one guy said he would've fainted like a goat. Ha! Awhile later, said snake charmer returns and this time she has a friend - a short guy, wearing ragged clothes, croc 'shoes' and carrying a sketch pad. Turns out, the two were doing a little 'fundraiser' for their pockets with their little scheme. Well played, though, well played. The guy finishes whippin his pencil around the paper pad, tears a sheet out, and puts it on bar between Shelly and I and the two random guys next to us. I think all of us stared at the paper for a solid minute, as if scratching our heads, before laughing. So THIS is what those two were up to:

Whats even funnier is that we have NO idea who these guys are, we know they are dating and on a trip for one of their jobs. And now, we are all drawn into a portrait making it look like we are couples, with me and Shelly doting over their shoulders. So, at first there were '4' of us in the photo. A beer or two passes and said snake woman returns AGAIN. With her lil man. She grabs Shelly and I and tells the lil dude to draw HER into the picture. Lady - you didn't have a chance of me 'buying' that thing in the first place - A) you were creepy and irritating B) I don't like you nor care about you or your pockets C) WE DONT KNOW THESE GUYS or YOU and I sure the hell don't want a hand drawn reminder of who you are!!  So he draws her in the MIDDLE of us, and they leave the thing on the bar and walk to the next victims. Thanks for leaving it there for me to take a photo of - because NO ONE would believe this crap... Just as we are thinking holy crap, AUSTIN is WEIRD... more!

Shelly goes to the biff and when she returns theres a 'kid' all of 22 chattin me up. He asks where I am from (MN) and then gets this look of sheer excitement on his face, and just as Shelly returns, he looks at me and  says " Do you ice fish?!" Um, yes, I have done it. Without skipping a beat, he says 'OMG YOU HAVE TO MEET (I am ready to hear about some cousin in MN that also likes to ice fish) MY AUNT BARB!" Shes a retired cop who leads people on ice fishing trips in MN and WI!". Hmm. Ok. That's weird. The kid is SO EXCITED about it, I just went with it. I shouldn't have though. He went on and on about how awesome his aunt Barb is. And then. He proceeds to text her to get her ICE FISHING website info, her email, writes it on a napkin. Along with Aunt Barb's phone number and says that "WE would get along great, me and Aunt Barb, and that I should call her sometime." WOW. This is 'Austin weird'. But again, the poor kid was so genuinely excited I just didn't have the heart to crush his hopes of me and Aunt Barb. So I stuffed the napkin in my purse,.

           *Squirrel* So the bar sold tanks and tees with their logo on it - damn it if I didn't forget to get one before we left!*

After my distraction, suddenly the bar gets REALLY loud. I turn around towards the door and In comes a group of cops - how do we know this? Because their shirts said St Louis Cops in Kilts.   And yes, they are wearing kilts! And drunk! And theres about 8-10 of them. The band cranks up the tunes and suddenly, there's two cops in kilts on the floor doing the worm in a 'dance' off. Mind you, the floor space in this bar is that of a 10x40 rectangular, sloped area - add in bar stools, a band, and 8-10 cops in kilts and this is a serious party! So the two cops are literally doing the worm, on their bellies, on the bar floor, in kilts - right there in front of us! It was epic. After the 'worm' off was complete, the bar is closing and we are all funneled into the street. That's where we literally had to either step over or walk around this guy ~

After seeing that a couple of people were checkin on the guy, we kindly walked around him and there stood the kilts. Naturally, not one to shy away from this situation, I walk up to one of the tall PD fella's and ask what they are doin with kilts on - I cant recall the answer though, because I was fascinated at how tall and big this guy is and that he doesn't give a care in the world that he is wearing a kilt. I kind of want to ask THE question about guys in kilts, but I reign it in. After all, we just 'met' these guys. One of the chick PDs comes over and gives more of the background story - which, I also tuned out because there is a raging party suddenly happening on the streets, which 2 hours ago were literally deserted. Blah, blah, blah - turns out the real tall fella is from MN - St. Louis Park to be exact. That's hilarious and such a small world! I got his business card and put it in my pocket next to Aunt Barb. Shelly and I start to leave and head back to the hotel, just as THIS guy parked his pimp ride and (I am assuming because it makes a fun story)is there to pick up his friend above. I don't really know if the two correlate, but its funny if that were the case.

We stroll back to the hotel, uphill, past the cop shop and the fun cop ride, across the freeway and stumble into our room while thinking - Holy Shit. Austin is WEIRD. TEXAS is weird. What could tomorrow bring??