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  • Day63

    Day 62 - The Bats Have Fled.........

    June 23, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 27 °C

    Struggled to get out of bed for a 9.30 breakfast & it was hardly worth it, particularly as some simpleton opposite was putting me off my food. After breakfast I tried to catch up with my blog, before we had to vacate our room.

    We headed east back to Stonewall, passing numerous wineries, including Fat Ass Ranch & Winery, Six Shooter Cellars & Armadillo’s Leap Winery. The Stonewall Peach JAMboree was just starting up again for a full day of events.

    We continued on to Johnson City, famous for being the home town of Lyndon B. Johnson. It was a bit arty, but not enough going for it to justify us stopping. Eastbound we continued through the wonderfully named Dripping Springs, which disappointingly turned out to be a town solely selling farm equipment. One sign boldly claimed ‘Patriot Erectors of Dripping Springs’. The mind boggles!!

    Our SatNav took us on a diversion via Bee Cave so that we could approach Austin, Texas via the relatively famous Pennybacker Bridge. From there we went drove to Umlauf Sculpture Garden, we parked up & saw it had a $5 entry fee, so we gave it a miss. To be fair we had seen a lot of the sculptures on the way in & Jackie is not a fan.

    Instead we drove to Zilker Park, which was heaving with cars & people all visiting Barton Natural Springs Pool. This is why we hate weekends.

    Without stopping, we continued to HOPE Outdoor Gallery, described as an Austin Graffiti Mecca. I don’t know why, but it had a fence & barbed wire around it, however the Graffiti could be clearly seen. It was ok, nothing amazing, but there seemed a steady stream of people arriving to see it.

    Next was The Bullock Texas State History Museum & State Capitol that we viewed from the outside only. By now it was mid-afternoon & we were looking for a suitable Downtown hotel. They were either ridiculously expensive or not very nice looking & probably not clean enough!

    As a result we drove several miles south & picked up a nice Ramada hotel for a lot less. Again we spent the last couple of hours of the afternoon by the pool.

    Close to 7.00pm we took an Uber+ back into town, which dropped us off on South Congressional Avenue Bridge, also known as Bat Bridge. People were already waiting on the the bridge & along the riverbank, so we bagged ourselves what we considered to be a perfect spot & waited for dusk.

    We, with everyone else, were here to witness the natural phenomena of nearly a million & a half Mexican free tailed bats leaving their roost in the crevices under the bridge sometime shortly before dusk. They are the largest colony of urban bats in the world. Their departure each night lasts about 20 minutes & they eat 30,000lb of insects nightly, which is important for the ecology of Austin.

    Over the next hour, the crowds massed 4 deep on the bridge & the river banks were chocker-block. On the Colorado River below, the official Bat Bridge Tour Boats were out & cruising up & down, there were flotillas of kayaks & even a couple of swan pedaloes. We all waited & waited, some people were forced to leave as they had dinner reservations, then the rumour mill started. We heard that last night the bats came out at 8.30pm, then 8.40pm & then that they didn’t come out at all.

    At 9.15pm, it wasn’t looking good. It was nearly dark, the Bat Bridge Tour Boats were departing, so after a further 5 minutes we called it a day. We had waited on the bridge for a total of 2 hours 10 minutes for nothing, the unpredictability of nature is a wonderful thing!!

    We found a rough Aussie bar for a beer & more importantly a wee. Then headed out in search of pizza. I directed us to Rainey Street where it looked like there were a few bars & food joints. What we hadn’t anticipated was the sheer volume of youngsters heading to the same street. Despite this we found an outside bar immediately that had a pizza van in it’s grounds. So we had a slice of pizza & a beer.

    Jackie didn’t feel comfortable in all the crowds (she is not a city girl, we are discovering!) & expressed a desire to go back to the hotel. I was keen to see where all the crowds were going, so we compromised. We would walk the length of Rainey Street which was heaving with bars & clubs heaving with youngsters, then I would order an Uber. Unfortunately the other end of Rainey Street was a bit less salubrious, it was unlit, with blocks of flats & people hanging round in the shadows. This didn’t help Jackie’s nerves!

    Luckily we got to a crossroads, a suitable pick up point & ordered an Uber which arrived within a minute to take us back to the hotel & bed.

    Song of the Day - Bat Shit Crazy by The Amorettes.

    Bonus Song of the Day :-

    Graffiti by The Cadillac Three
    Under The Bridge by All Saints
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