Having accidentally slept until 11:30 yesterday morning, I awoke in a panic. "The day is half gone!" I thought to myself as I flew out of bed. I guess I needed the sleep, but I also didn't go to bed until 3 Friday night, which is also pretty unprecedented for me these days.
Nonetheless, I concluded almost immediately upon getting up and eating 5 scrambled eggs, that the best way to take advantage of the day, and the weather that finally seems to have broken and turned to what people in Central Texas call Fall, was to take a very long bike ride around the city. I rode for almost 3 straight hours, stopping only for about a 20 minute break on the pedestrian bridge downtown.
I left from my house (none of this will mean anything to anyone not familiar with Austin, sadly) and rode down through Pease Park, then west on 5th Street, where I went and inspected the construction of the Monarch Condos up close. I'm pretty fascinated with how they build those big tall buildings so they don't fall down and stuff. But boy, the city really needs to do something about Shoal Creek; it's really an eye-sore, and it's too bad. Then I went and did the same thing at the 360 Condos on Second street, near La Zona Rosa. I really, really wished I'd had a camera of some kind with me to make some sort of photo essay about the construction of fabricated neighborhoods.
As I was riding down by the new Ballet Austin building on Second Street, I looked in the windows and a very cute guy was sitting there, staring back out, and smiled at me. I smiled back and kept going. It was a sweet little moment.
Next was pedestrian bridge on the hike-and-bike trail, which, along with the Greenbelt, are 2 of the best things Austin has to offer, at least in my opinion. Then I rode around Zilker Park, dodging all the people with little kids on their own bikes with training wheels and flags, the hippies smoking pot and their ugly dogs, the soccer players, the guy teaching his girlfriend how to throw a football, the kids playing on the big hill in the middle of the park. Then I went and explored the new Town Lake Park on the south side of Riverside (which, inexplicably, I can find neither a web site for, or pictures of....), which is gorgeous and really nice. It has one of those cool little fountains that kids can play in, where it shoots the water up in different intervals from the ground, along with a large, round hill that has a fantastic view of downtown.
Then I rode back across the First Street Bridge, up Congress and the Drag, then back home. It was a beautiful day, and I had a lot of fun exploring Austin again, which I haven't really done on my bike in years. Back in the day, I used to do that, with my boyfriend and a friend, almost every Saturday afternoon. The three of us would set out in the mornings and be gone, on our bikes, half the day, riding all over town. Just like when we were little kids. It reminded me a lot of those days. Not in a sad way; in a good way. It was a really nice day. I felt really reconnected with Austin, and I'm actually glad I went by myself. I think I'm gonna start trying to do that every Saturday. But if anyone would like to join me, please feel free. And next time I want to go look at all the construction on the east side of downtown between 35 and the Congress bridge.
UPDATE: Apparently, there are lots of pictures of Town Lake Park (and quite nice ones) on Flickr. Courtesy of Mandy. Thanks!