So a quick note on Amarillo...
The drive south through Colorado into Oklahoma and ending at Amarillo was interesting. There comes a point about when you are entering Texas when you start to see cotton growing on the side of the road. Pretty soon you realize that there is cotton surrounding you for miles. I was luck to be there right around the beginning of the harvest so there was no doubting what type of farm you were seeing. Rows of cotton balls as far as the eye could see. This lasts for hours and you suddenly have an appreciation for where your $4 for 3 white undershirt deal comes from, or while you are at it, where most of your clothes come from for that matter. So that was North Texas.
Amarillo to Austin was a little more cotton and then cattle country all the way to the outskirts of Austin.
NOTE: I'm getting towards the end of my trip and the pressure to have quick answers to "What are you going to do next" and "Where are you going to move" are all starting to weigh on me. My trip has turned into getting back in a reasonable amount of time while covering the ground that i wanted to cover and maybe just maybe enjoying it as I go along. Back to the story...
I had arranged to stay in Austin with CJ, a really cool girl I met through couchsurfing in Flagstaff. She stayed with the Danimal while I was at his place. She works full time and I basically drove around for two days and saw the town and talked with folks. Everyone kept emphasising "coolest place in Texas". After a while I started to envision it as an island of "OK'ness" in a sea of "Not really coolness" (Texas). The problem to me with that analysis is that I like travelling and exploring my surroundings and I don't anticipate that my current trip will end that urge (probably just strengthen it actually). Therefore it would be nice to move to a place where I feel more comfortable in the outskirts and had more of a diversity of things around it to go and explore.
The city had two nice dog parks that Max got to enjoy. CJ's development also had a fence in dog walking area. We thought that was pretty cool!
We went hiking in a really nice canyon. CJ's roommate and I, Katrina, lost track of CJ in the woods and it resulted in us having to look for her in the woods by flashlight. Not fun! We had CJ's house keys and cell phone in Katrina's bag so that really didn't help. Come to find out she jogged out of the park to a friends house and got a lift home. It left me thinking that this was all revenge for hitting it off pretty well with Katrina. So I go from love starved lonely traveller to messy love triangle in about a day. How frustrating is that! That in mind, I ran before it got ugly and crashed at Victor's house.
Victor is the long distance, long term boyfriend of my friend Jon's (formerly of Brooklyn) sister. Got that? Boyfriend-in-law of a friend of mine. Here I had my 2nd experience with an air mattress (1st was in Denver with Robin). I had to reinflate it five times in a night, but it has a built in electric pump so it wasn't that bad.
We went out that night and took a tour of downtown Austin and all the bars and clubs that are down there. There is also an over the top amount of food trucks that are catering (and many owned by) the hipster crowd. One, we located using twitter, specialized in Korean bulgogi taco's. Yes, Korean-Mexican fusion cuisine, from a truck. It was good. The bar scene was over the top and very young. In a two hour walk we probably passed 100 establishments that served liquor.
The next day we went to a breakfast taco place that was really cool. Then I hit the road to Houston.