The Ultimate Road Trip: THE SILVER SNAIL : A solo woman's full-time RV adventure
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Austin, TX

I crossed the border into Texas at Texarkana and stopped at the visitor's center to decide on a place to stay for the night. Most campgrounds were full, since it was Easter weekend, but I found a nice Corps of Engineers campground with sites available. Driving through this region was very scenic and my Easter morning was blessed with sunny skies and a beautiful country drive as I headed down to Austin.

I pulled into McKinney Falls State Park, a mere 15 minutes from downtown Austin, and settled into my new digs. My Verizon modem worked, and now that I was in Austin I started to consider setting a plan for the west coast. I sent my friend Shamus in Los Angeles an email asking him for his address and told him I just docked in Austin. Within minutes I get an email back saying HE just landed in Austin too, just for this one night, and did I want to get together? Ha! What're the chances? I met him and his friend Brian on East 6th street over beers and laughter. How cool is that?

The capital of Texas, and where Willie Nelson calls home, Austin's got a really great vibe. I wondered why people were flocking here, and now I see why. It's youthful, fresh, funky and creative. There are t-shirts that say "Keep Austin Weird". People of all ages ride bikes around town, and kick back at the many outdoor eating, drinking and music establishments. You can go out and hear live music every night of the week and have all kinds of choices. Organic, local and artisinal are common words in markets and bakeries - real bakeries with delicious fresh-baked bread and other treats. Independent little shops seem to thrive all over town. It's known for it's music scene - there is certainly no lack of venues - and it's just plain old vibrant. I didn't get a sense of attitude, either. Everywhere I went people were very easy-going and generous with friendly conversation. If only there was an ocean here, i might join the flock.

After spending a couple days exploring Austin, I felt like McKinney Falls State Park was too far removed from the energy of Austin. I also didn't feel the sense of community there that I've had elsewhere and decided to cut my stay to just 5 days. I had discovered Pecan Grove RV park on Barton Springs road and tried to get in there, but they were full. Austin is the place to be and it seems like Pecan Grove, right in the center of it, would be the place to stay, so I'll have to plan in advance and maybe stay there for a month or so next time.


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All images and words © Sharon Pieniak
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