A Texas-Louisiana-Arkansas Hipcamp Road Trip: A Torres-Tuska Texas Camping and Austin Exploring Reunion
Before we could meet up with Cevonne, JT and the family we had to eat.
We drove to Fredericksburg. A little tourist town in the middle of nowhere.
We chose the Old German Bakery and Restaurant in the famously-German city. It was good.
The sign out front said free sweet tea with purchase.
And that's what we got alongside plentiful portions of German food.
We could've explored Fredricksburg all day, but we had a camp to get to in Dripping Springs.
This was the library. So cool.
This camp was set next to a pond on a ten acre backyard in Texas Hill Country.
The heat we were expecting finally showed up. It took me an hour to set up our beds. I had to wait until the sun went behind the clouds to go back to setting up; then go back in the shade when the sun came out.
After talking to our host, Scott said the pond wouldn't be full. We assumed there would be some water, but it was completely empty.
We were looking forward to dipping our toes in. Unfortunately it hadn't rained in months and water had emptied into the aquifer.
Meadow still thought it was fun.
Meadow and I kept ourselves entertained exploring the land.
This is the first Hipcamp we have been to where the host was basically like, "Here's where you stay, bye."
We drank plenty of water in order to survive the heat until the Torreses arrived.
It was too hot to really do anything. I'm glad I brought along the spray bottle to give us some temporary relief.
Cevonne and fam were still no where to be seen. So, we went to get some shaved ice.
Meadow chose grape. Blech.
We thought we were going to get bbq, but that food truck was closed for the day. Instead we had the best chicken wings ever.
After gathering wood we were kind of bummed that the Torres clan still hadn't shown up yet.
I guess after 2 years of not seeing them we forgot how pokey they are.
At least it was finally cool enough to play bat and ball.
I tried to chop wood for the fire.
Then at last they arrived!
They do exist.
This was only their second time ever camping. I always asked if they would go with us when they lived in Minnesota, but it just wasn't their thing. I can't believe Scott convinced them to come in this 98 degree heat.
No more jokes about hanging out tomorrow while Skyping. We were reunited at last.
Despite not really remembering them, and for being shy around our family, Meadow was best buds with Madeline and Liam instantly. Liam even ran out of the truck to give Scott a hug when they arrived.
Who has fires when it's 90 degrees out? We do.
And probably most Texans.
The kids played late into the night while the parents caught up under the Texas stars.
By having the host be non-existent we felt we were the only ones out here, not actually in someone's backyard.
Day 5 - Saturday
It was already getting hot when we woke up, but the kids didn't care.
Morning could only mean some exploring.
I'm glad Meadow felt comfortable around them. She was having so much fun playing.
They were soon best friends. The dry pond was their playground.
The adults stuck to the last bit of shade.
After breakfast with friends on the shady rock we were ready to explore Austin.
The shade was disappearing so we had to head out.
Goodbye, Hill Country Heaven.
We followed JT back to their home in Leander where we cooled off in the AC and toured their Texas abode.
They've done some nice improvements to their home already.
Cevonne was shooting a video for sunscreen and needed us to be models.
We're good sports.
We would've stayed inside all day if it was up to the girls.
But Brooke and I wanted to see oh-so-cool, but oh-so-hot Austin.
We all fit into their SUV to ride family-style.
We had come up with the idea of eating a taco every hour for the rest of the day. Our first stop was at Tu Receta Taqueria in the parking lot of a convenience store.
Our first stop was a success.
These were so good and the tortillas were handmade.
The kids opted for sour patch kids.
At our second locale the Torreses were too excited to just get one taco. So we all got a whole bunch at Las Trancas Taco Truck.
This was their favorite place for tacos.
I'm glad Meadow is into chicken tacos.
It was over 100 this day. Even in the covered eating area I was sweating so much.
I felt OK. Heh.
Our next stop on our whirlwind tour of Austin was the famed Barton Springs.
A storm was coming and the air cooled down significantly.
We hadn't brought our swimsuits, but we dipped our toes into the spring.
This was the place to be if you were in your 20s and 30s.
It was packed with people having a good time. The water is a refreshing 68 degrees year round.
We would've chilled here for hours, but it started to rain.
Plus the Torreses had to take us to Lake Travis' Oasis Texas Brewing Company.
With the rain, the temperature had dropped to the 70's. I actually felt cold.
The view alone was worth the drive despite the chill in the air.
Me and my bud Liam.
Hey it's us together in a photo.
We noshed on queso, chicken strips and good beer.
Our taco an hour tour ended when we ordered a bunch of tacos at the last taco truck. We tried.
Along the ride we had spotted a frozen custard stand and planned on stopping there on the way back.
We can't not go to a frozen custard joint.
We had to get it even if it was a chain.
It was started by someone who worked at Leon's in Milwaukee.
More or less...
Meadow got to have a sleepover with Liam and Madeline in Liam's room while we took over Madeline's room. Meadow insisted on still using her sleeping bag.
Day 6 - Sunday
We were spoiled with breakfast by Cevonne and Jose. I'm jealous of their stovetop with a built in griddle.
Breakfast and a roof over our heads. Thanks dudes.
And a shower and break from the heat.
We had to go scout a camp just south east of Austin in the Del Valle.
It was in the upper 90s, sunny and there was little shade at Novo, but we had to push through.
This would be our hottest camp yet. I was dying.
The camp is really more geared towards RVs and would be fine to pitch a tent in the fall.
We found some shade in the driveway.
In the dead of summer in Texas it was probably better to just keep cool through the afternoon.
Our camp host Ben suggested we spend the hot early evenining at the nearby 812 Outdoor Market.
We needed to get away for awhile.
Shade, music, tacos and not another white person in site. This place was perfect.
It took a while to choose which taqueria to eat it at. The cool booths here sold us.
Our waiter was also super helpful.
Meadow and I ordered tacos. You get to put on your own onions and cilantro which was perfect for Meadow who usually wants "just chicken". When she saw you could put your own on she was more willing to eat it.
Afterwards we walked around the market.
Sadly it was near closing and most of the vendors had closed up. I was hoping to get Meadow a new dress.
This vendor that stayed open late had everything you'd ever need during a Texas summer.
We tracked down the popsicle cart for Meadow. At times I didn't feel like we were in the US anymore.
The popsicle made her tongue green.
The crowd started to thin out, so we went back to Novo.
After Meadow played on the playground, that is.
Brooke and Meadow spent most of the night in the tent while I explored the land.
It was still too hot to do anything.
Our host has plans to turn this land into a tiny home community.
Again, we were basically left on our own.
I think I would have liked the place more if it was cooler, but there was also really nothing to do.
I did meander around on my own.
Eventually I talked them into hanging outside after the sun had set.
It had cooled off just enough to come out.
Note to potential Hipcamp hosts. Think about shade when you're listing your land. Tents don't have a/c.
Day 7 - Monday
I woke up and it was already super hot. I asked if Scott needed to take anymore photos and he said no. So we packed up and left as soon as possible.
We were ready to get some breakfast tacos back in Austin. We settled on El Primo.
These were nearly perfect except for the lack of avocados. The cook told us that the avocados were bad at the market.
I went with a burrito this time. Meadow refused to eat anything.
Since Meadow had shunned breakfast tacos we stopped at Gourdoughs for doughnuts.
The little boy in this photo was wearing a Twins shirt.
We had no clue that the doughnuts were this massive.
They were basically doughnut sundaes.
We didn't know what else to do, so we went swimming back at Barton Springs.
Thankfully the springs were way less crowded and actually full of families and kids on a Monday morning.
Cevonne was going to meet us, which means we had to wait.
Our sudden water baby was having so much fun.
The frigid spring almost makes Austin hospitable during the summer.
Then Cevonne and the kids showed up.
Only, we were ready to head out.
"Do we have to go?"
We debated on what to do next and then decided to head back to their place. Our next location had cancelled on us. Oh darn, I guess we will have to spend another night at the Torres' place.
We kind of bummed around much of the day; hanging for a while at a Whole Foods.
By dinnertime we were taco'd out and ready for something different. We met up with Jose at Brooklyn Heights Pizzera.
This is me realizing that I'd ate way too much food this day, but it was totally worth it.
Afterwards we had another chill night and watched movies while the kids had another sleepover.
Day 8 - Tuesday
Sadly, we had to part early the next morning to get to Louisiana. Hopefully we can come back again soon.
Goodbye, old friends.
See you soon, Louisiana.