The past week, old Valleyfair co-worker and longtime friend Mr. Mangold was in Austin on vacation and stayed with us. I had the Fourth of July off, and then took two additional vacation days Thursday and Friday. There was plenty to keep us busy right here in town, and then later on the Dallas-Fort Worth metro. Here’s the breakdown on our fun.

Wednesday – South Congress / Grill-out
On Independence Day, Baxter and I picked up Colin at the airport, picked up Lauren from work (yes she has to work major holidays) and we hit up South Congress for lunch at Doc’s. After that I took him to see Spec’s, the mecca of liquor stores, and then we grilled out at our friends the Bartholics’ apartment pool.

Hanging with the Bartholics on the 4th.

Thursday – BBQ and BBR
I figured there would be no better opportunity to stand in the long line for the world’s greatest BBQ than Thursday, so we were joined by co-worker Allison and her husband Marshall and stood in line for two hours, got our insanely delicious BBQ, and then went home and passed out cold instantly. At night, still full, we met up with the Chapmans and Viviritos at BBRovers for drinks.

The renowned Franklin BBQ

Friday – Barton Springs, Mount Bennell, & Sixth Street
Baxter, Colin, and I went to the famous Barton Springs in the morning for a cool swim. We stuck to the puppy side and I tried to get Baxter to go swimming in the natural springs, but he was very scared and only got in when forced. Afterwards we climbed the city’s highest point, Mt. Bennell, and then at night Ryan Bartholic joined us for barhopping on Sixth Street.

Saturday – Rangers vs Twins
Saturday morning we left Baxter with his babysitter and drove 190 miles north to Arlington for the Twins-Rangers game. Rangers Ballpark was fairly nice and the game was fun. Colin caught a home run ball during batting practice and handed it to a nearby kid, whose mom in turn bought him a beer as a reward. The Rangers won in 10 innings, 4-3.

Us at the Twins-Rangers game.

Sunday – Cowboy Stadium, JFK, Rangers vs Twins
First thing in the morning, we visited Cowboy Stadium which is right next door to Rangers Ballpark. The $17 entry fee into the building basically gave us free range to do anything we wanted, including roaming the field. I had a bit too much fun with that. Later, Lauren found a yarn store in Fort Worth, and then we ate a big Tex-Mex lunch at Chuy’s. In the afternoon we did the JFK Museum tour and stood right where Lee Harvey Oswald fired his shots in 1963. At night, it was the Rangers game again, but the highlight was the bomb-like lightning bolt that struck near the park… loudest noise I’ve ever heard. Ever. Scared the shit out of everyone in the stadium. And then I drove 190 miles back to Austin in the dark.

I figured I should pose at the 30-yard line since I’m about to turn 30.