April 10, 2010


....but Austin has taken the #1 position. I have only been here for a week, but the idea of living that this city has is great. The people are so cool and laid back; everyone has a hello to throw our way and good vibes to put out. This city is full of bikers, dogs, pretty ladies, and cool dudes. The bar and restaurant scene down here is huge. People believe in the whole "Mom and Pop" idea: totally against corporate America for the most part.

On Monday we ran around to get some stuff done. I had to go to Ozone Bike Dept. to pick up the external hard drive that Bob and Lori had picked up for me. I also needed to get the plates that connected my new Keen Commuter sandals to my SPD pedals. We stopped by Home Slice to get some pizza. I am a pizza junkie, and I miss the convenience of getting a slice at George's before hitting the streets of NYC. We sat down at a table and ordered a large pie. They claim to be a NY-style pizzeria, and they came close. But the pizza needed to be just a bit bigger to get that one-of-a-kind slice size. Granted, you could fold it in half like a taco, but it just wasn't the same. Afterward we went out to the mall to go to the Apple store to have some questions answered about my aging PowerBook G4. On our arrival I learned that I needed to make an appointment to see a Genius. So we headed back to the house to chill out.

Brian and Chris had emailed me on Friday before I arrived and let us know we were welcome to stay with them. They have a spare bedroom and bathroom for us. When we arrived on Sunday, Brian told me of his friend Bill who was moving out of Austin to go to the New York / Connecticut area in a month's time. Now, Bill had had his replacement move into his place a month early while he rode out the last month at his place. Well, it seems the replacement had some issues with Bill, and even tried to fight him a couple of times. Bill isn't that kind of guy. He is really laid back and chill. Anyway, he didn't want to spend his last month in this great city in an environment like that, so he asked Brian and Chris if he could stay with them. They, being nice people, said sure, but told him he would have to take the couch until we left. He was fine with that, and happy just to get out of the situation he was in. So on Monday, Bill was coming in with some of his things. I felt bad because we had the room and Bill had given them money for his share of a month's rent, and here we were staying for free. I had planned on staying for only a week, but the more I thought of everything that I needed to get ready for the desert, I realized that I would probably be here for a couple of weeks. I felt bad. I decided that if another offer came around to stay somewhere, then I would take it to be fair to Bill, Brian, and Chris.

So on Monday night, the four of us hit the town. We went downtown to The Jackalope for all-night Happy Hour. Then we went over to Lovejoy's in hopes of getting in on free pool table night, but the chalkboard was filled with names of hustlers and sharks, so we just drank. We had a blast, and met loads of people.
There are a couple of them I want to share with ya:

First we met this couple on the streets going from one bar to the next, selling drawings. Their character is Stitchlip. Its a cat drawn in a very interesting cartoon style. They have T-shirts, hats, stickers, posters, and even dog shirts! Check out their work and story at http://www.zazzle.com/stitchlip

Another dude I sat and talked with was Shannon with 3rd Millennium Chess. It's pretty cool—he has taken a chessboard and made it into a cylinder so you have to play from both sides. It is going to change the game of chess for the better. I wish I knew how to play, because it would have been interesting to sit with him and get down. You can check it out and order yours today at www.3mchess.com

On Tuesday we all woke up a little slow. We got some breakfast burritos and sat around relaxing. Coop gets rested a lot faster than I do. When we stop I don't want to do much of anything that is going to involve my legs. I don't even like walking around. But he was a little keyed up, so I took him over to the field and had him chase some tennis balls. Within ten minutes his tongue was hanging to the ground in a heavy pant. How is this dog going to make it in the desert? How does any dog or animal make it in the desert? It gets hot down here—last summer they had over a hundred days that were over a 100ºF! By my calculations it will take us about two more months to get to southern California. That's two months of no air conditioning. Granted there is shade, but sometimes Coop can't cool down all the way unless we are inside with some AC or if it's night out. I really need to figure this all out. So Tuesday was pretty unproductive other than uploading all the pics that I had from Mobile to Austin.

On Wednesday it was calling for rain which was good for us. The clouds gave us a shade from the sun. I needed to go and check out some stuff around town and just see what this city is made of. We made our way down Congress St. heading towards downtown area over the lake. We hit the ped bridge and spotted a group of cyclist on the bridge. I stopped to see what was going down and talk to these guys about what I was doing. I met Brian from Spokiz Eye Wear. These things are great. 'The 1Uhnighed is the first ever, truly hinge-less sunglass in the WORLD! That is right you are seeing the sunglass REVOLUTION in action. This model is the first ever introduced by TEAM Spokiz and is great for us big headed people. You know us with wide heads that get the pressure headaches and annoying rubbing behind the ears from NORMAL sunglass. Thanks to SpokiZ you are now free to move without worry or headaches or slipping sunglasses ever again!!!' These things are so light and have no pressure points you forget your wearing them. They are great with everything. No more slipping off and dropping to the ground or water. Check out the website and order yours today. Tell them that Sean and Cooper sent ya!!
After that we rolled over the bridge and cruised around downtown, man there are some gnarly hills here. I stopped by REI and exchanged my tent and pants. I wanted to upgrade on the tent and pick up some more stuff but was unable to do so because I'm broke!! I went outside and met Dave and Yoni, Dave owns a pedicab company here in Austin and Yoni works with him. We chatted about people to get into contact with and Yoni is interested in doing a article and photo shoot on us. After that I went over to Mellow Johnny's. This is Lance Armstrongs bike shop. It has a nice Cafe, workout room, fitting room, showers, lots of gear and bikes. Its a great shop if you have a shitload of money, but for me it wasn't my kinda shop. As I pedaled away from the high end shop I turned the corner and smelled some good food. It was a taco shop and I had a couple bucks so I decided to get a taco. As I pulled up Brian Spokiz came out and said he wanted to buy me lunch. I went in and ordered and sat down with most of the guys I had met earlier on the bridge. I sat across from Brooks Goldsmith he is a web designer here in Austin. www.brooksgoldsmith.com He also has a rental property that he rents out for the non stop festivals that take place in this super active town. He asked me where I was staying and I told him of the situation I was in. He asked if I wanted to stay at the house. It is a fully furnished 3 br house with a fenced in backyard and a garage. I said that I couldn't afford it and he told me we could stay free of charge. "Holy crap that is great" I had been worried about the living situation at Brian and Chris's house with Bill sleeping on the couch and paying his share of rent. I called Brian and ran it by him, I was worried I would offend them. He understood and was cool with it. After lunch Brooks and I cruised by the house to check it out and to get the keys. What a nice place. I left the trike there and Chris came and picked me and Coop up on her way home from work. When we got home I packed up our stuff and I washed the sheets that Cooper had slobbered all over. That night Brian, Chris and I went to the Alamo Ritz movie theater to see Master Pancake Theater showing Bloodsport. Its the same principal as Mystery Science Theater. But they show movies that you know, its live, and there is lots of swearing. My kinda place. I shot beer out my nose a couple times and my face hurt from laughing so much. Afterwards we went to Jackalopes to met up with some friends of theirs.
The next day Brian and I loaded up all of our gear and headed over to the new crib. I got settled in and and unpacked. That night there was a huge group social ride around Austin. I decided to take the pup and trike to it and show these people how we do things. We met up with the 200+ riders around sunset and got to it. I wasn't prepared for the hills. I didn't eat enough that day so my legs got gassed right away we fell behind and I was having a hell of a time keeping Coop calm. Coop and I spend 99% of our time on the road by ourselves. So when we ride with other cyclist he freaks out. He wants to be the pack leader so when he is on the ground he is pulling so hard to get going that he wears himself out right away, but will keep going. He would run himself into the ground if I let him. I put him up in the back and all he does is shift from side to side in the back whimpering and whining to get out and back on the road. Image riding a bike with a 70 child behind you and they are throwing their body weight from side to side. Every movement he makes I feel. We pulled up the the half way spot and rested for less than 5 min before they got back on the road. I decided that that was enough. I was exhausted and Cooper was freaking out. I went home and passed out.
The next day Brooks hooked me up with one of his bikes and we went for a ride. We ran into Randell and he had heard about us being in town. He also commented on the fact that we didn't finish the ride the night before. I guess people where taking shit on me about not understanding my gears. Screw you. I understand my gears and think that the fact that I have pedaled 3,5oo miles is enough to say I have some experience. Anyone that thinks what I am doing is easy or thinks that I am doing something wrong, please come and show me how to do it, and then you will see what I do everyday. ASSHOLES!! OK sorry just needed to get that out there. We cruised around for the day checking out this and that. That night Brian and I went over to the SOAP house. SOAP stands for South Austin People. They make homemade organic soaps and lotions. They have the same philosophy as Dr. Bronners. Keep it natural, keep it organic and keep it clean. They hooked me up with some samples, and a plate of BBQ brisket. After that I headed over to G&S lounge to meet up with Brian and Chris for some beers. I had also gotten into contact with an old high school friend that has lived in Austin for 8 yrs now. Rachel and I swam, went to school, and church together. I hadn't really talked to her since graduation and was excited on seeing her again. She was already there when we arrived and I gave her a big hug and we all went outside to drink and talk. Rachel and I fell right back into. We used to hang out all the time back in the day and we were really close the last couple of years of HS. I missed her bluntness and no nonsense ways. We hung out there for a couple and then we all headed over to Bender. We continued our conversations about Cedar Falls. It was cool hanging out with people from my hometown. This is the first time I have stayed somewhere that has transplants from CF. It was good for Chris too, she doesn't have a lot of girlfriends down here in Austin so Rachel and her hit it off. After we shut down the bar, Rachel came back to the house to meet Cooper and to talk a little more. I crashed out happy to have the hometown hommies in my corner.

Saturday was a big day. I loaded up Coop and Brooks and I headed downtown to check out this and that. We started off over on South Congress at the Austin Glass Art shop. The weekend had brought in the Hot Rods and Rat Rods. They where parked and cruising up and down Congress. Brian had set up his T-shirts and Spokiz glasses at the little bizarre that was happening next to the glass shop. We hung out there for a min and then got moving across the lake. We went to the farmers market downtown and hung out with the SOAP guys and gals. Right next to that there was a huge Crawfish boil going on but it was $15 to get in and Coop wasn't allowed. Brooks broke out on his own and Coop and I headed up to 45th st to check out the 1st annual Dog Day Afternoon going on in Triangle park. This city is dog friendly big time, and they love active dogs. So Coop was a crowd pleaser there. After watching the wiener dog races we headed back home to eat and rest up. Later that night I took the trike out without Coop I was planning on riding around taking pics of all the hot rods. I met up with Brian over by the Glass shop and we made our way out. People had been tailgating all along the Congress strip watching and driving these classic muscle cars. So when we worked our way into traffic it was pretty hairy, cars where burning out and revving their engines. We decided to get out of that exhaust filled madhouse and head east. Brian took me on some brutal hills. We split up on the way home and I decided to kill myself by finding the hilliest way home and pushed my self to haul up these hills. Main Street has sent me a new Mega Range gear that is going to help me but I haven't gotten a chance to put it on yet. I just turned up the radio and turned off my mind and just kept moving my feet by the time I rolled into the garage I had done 36 miles that day and was soaked with sweat. I took and shower and passed out.

On Sunday I had scored a job taking Fan Photos at the Harlem Globetrotters game. I haven't seen the Globetrotters in like 20 yrs and they are better than ever. They put on one hell of a show. I shot over 1000 pics and got to watch a lot of the game.

I have decided to stay in Austin. I was planning on pushing on next wk and getting to Seattle for the winter. I was going to go there and work for my old boss that has the pet cremation biz in NYC and Seattle. Hibernate, get fat, and save some money. But this town has way more to offer and I would rather deal with the TX heat than a Seattle winter. So when I got home on Sun I looked online for a place to stay and a job to get. Rachel came over to take me out to dinner and while we were hanging out she offered me a room at her place. She has lived by herself for 5 yrs or so and said she wouldn't mind having a roommate for 5 months or so. This will save me a load of money and it will be nice staying with someone I know. We just have to make sure her cat Roma and Cooper are going to get along. So for the next wk or so I will be staying at Brooks place and taking Cooper over there to get to know them. I hope this all works out and I'm sure if I stay positive it will be positive.

I'm not done with this adventure. I am just taking a much needed break to rest and reorganize, this city has a lot of people that support us and want to be apart of this idea of mine so by the time I roll out in the fall we will be bigger and stronger. So stay in touch I will be still posting our goings on.

Till next time
Love and licks from Austin
Sean and Cooper


Sean said...

I Don't blame you a bit you are way off the schedule and timing is everything. I have been through those deserts and it is no picnic in vehicles hate to ponder it your style. Besides your ride is meant to be a city transporter in places that are flat.
Houston TX in the 80's was a cool place to live I would think that Austin had a lot of that old charm HTX had. I went back to my old neighborhood and it smells like burritos and chili's now where it use to have the warm smell of colitas in the late 80's.
You are working very hard just to get around the country getting a local job would be a break where you could tweak your ride a bit maybe add an ICE motor to assist with the mountians you are not getting younger. Most that ride cross country do it on 2 wheels with a fraction of the weight. Too bad Coop isn't a Chiuawawa.

Stacy said...

Harlem Globetrotters, eh? :O) We saw them here in CF in March. One of them took Jaren, my 2 1/2 year old in his arms and onto the court. They were a lot of fun! Sounds like you are having the time of your life! What an AMAZING adventure! :O)