As if I haven’t tooted Austin’s horn enough already, here comes more. This city is an urban outdoorsman’s dream. Baxter and I have already encountered a deer face-to-face. Then very early Saturday morning we thought we were scaring up a stray cat when a raccoon instead showed its face and scurried up the side of the building and onto the roof. Later, I met a deep, deep South neighbor lady who told me “the bobcat out here’s done fixin’ to kill him some food!” Bobcat? Didn’t know about that one. In an unrelated story, Baxter would later pee on this lady’s head from the balcony above.
Saturday, Lauren and I took beagle out for another hike. Austin is just jam-packed with long wilderness trails, and I tracked down another gem in the south part of town called the Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail which spans 360 acres of forest and rock formations. After an hour of hiking, we ran into some caves. Baxter and I peeked our heads in a ways and then turned back.
Some research later indicated that these caves go on for five miles, and all of it must be traveled by inching along on one’s stomach. Within the first few minutes one must pass through the tightest squeeze of all called the “birth canal.” A slender individual can slither 1 centimeter at a time before extreme paranoia and claustrophobia set in. Most of it must be done with one’s arms extended beyond the head rather than at the sides. At only a few points does the entire cave tunnel get taller than 18″, and at no point can you stand up. The most skilled cave-dwellers can make it to the end in eight hours. Inside, there are some man-made clay art galleries. A man passing by told us halfway through someone spray-painted “I KILLED SUZIE HERE” on the ceiling. Bottom line: I will not be exploring Airman’s Cave. Of course, we took a picture of me outside the cave and posted on Facebook that I had made it out safely after 14 hours. Lies, of course. If this were real I’d be plastered in soot and dust, and likely being carried out on an emergency stretcher.
This weekend, the local Texas Rangers went down in defeat in the World Series, meaning that I’ve still never resided in the state of a pro sports champion. Not to say I’m a Mangold-like diehard Rangers fan, because for years I have rooted heartily against them as they seem to dominate the Twins year after year, but I really wanted to get caught up in the spirit of the local team. As more of an outsider looking in with a slight rooting interest, it was easily the best World Series I’ve seen since 2001.
It seems the years ending in 1 are always great. Twins-Braves in ’91 of course is the greatest World Series of all-time, with six of the games being decided by a single run. The Yankees going down in seven to Arizona in ’01 was ridiculous, with Byung Hun Kim’s antics. And of course the Cardinals’ all-time improbable win in ’11. I found myself rooting against St. Louis for several reasons. 1) Nick Punto and Kyle Lohse play for them. 2) They just won it a few years ago. 3) They wouldn’t have even made the playoffs this year aside from Atlanta’s epic collapse. 4) The Rangers are super likable with many great personalities, no matter where I’m currently living.
It will be a very interesting off-season. The Twins have a ton of work to do and I am sure Bill Smith will find a way to screw things up worse than they already are, but I guess that’s part of the fun. I thought the Delmon Young trade was genius at the time, after all.
Home for the Holy Days
Our plane tickets have been purchased and it is official–we will be back in Minneapolis December 23 for Christmas. Our stay in the Twin Cities should last through about Wednesday before we travel out to Carpenter for a few days. We’ll drive back to MN and fly back to Austin on January 1. Aside from a dentist appointment on the 27th, my schedule is pretty wide open and I hope to get together with many friends while back in the area. Hit me up and we’ll schedule something!
And lastly, here’s a shot of Lauren and some of our Vikings gang at the Warehouse Saloon, Austin’s official Vikings fan club after Sunday’s 24-21 victory over Carolina.
By the way, one of the top five things I miss about Minnesota is watching the Vikings with Nick Sandbulte.