Still On Vacation!


Yep, we’re still on vacation!  Last week we were exploring around Dallas and having a great time, but our vacation isn’t over yet!  When you’re financially independent and “mostly” retired, you could argue that everyday is a vacation, but I still like to make the distinction when we’re away from home it’s a “vacation”.

Partly because we’re a lot free’er with our spending than we would be at home.  On vacation, we eat out at restaurants, and are generally far less optimized in our spending.  (Don’t worry, I’ll account for all the vacation spending in one of my usual Dividend Income And Expense posts.)

After checking out what Dallas had to offer, we moved-on to the Austin area this week.  We’ve done touristy things in Austin before, but this time around we’re trying to decide if it might be a good place to raise a family (and lead a nice relaxing life).

austin skyline

The above picture was the view from Mount Bonnell.  It’s the highest point in Austin, and a free tourist attraction with good views of the surrounding area.

mount bonell

Austin is a beautiful town, with lots of great neighborhoods… but the city has grown so much in the past few years the traffic is getting kind of crazy.

A quieter suburb is more our family’s speed, so one of our first stops in the area was Georgetown (a suburb north of Austin).

georgetown downtown

Georgetown still has that nice small town feel, and the traffic isn’t terrible yet.  A nice quiet place that might be good for raising some kids.  The town’s Blue Hole Park (near downtown) was also really beautiful.

 george town blue hole park
We also checked out the suburbs of Cedar Park, Leander, Liberty Hill, Round Rock, Lakeway, and Pflugerville.  Each community has their pluses and minuses, but we’re big users of public libraries, so one stop we always make is the public library in every town we visit.  (This is the Leander public library)

leander public library

Our family is also a big user of public parks, so a town with good parks is really important.  We try to check-out the local parks as much as possible.  One of my personal favorites in the area was Brushy Creek Lake Park near Round Rock.

brushy creek  brushy creek park
During our week in Austin we also had time to meet-up with blogger-extraordinaire Jim from Route To Retire, and his family.  Jim, Faith, and Lisa are absolutely wonderful people and if you haven’t checked-out Jim’s blog yet, you really should!

Jim Faith and Lisa

Jim and his family are getting ready for their big move to Panama, but I’m glad we had a chance to meet-up, talk, and devour some delicious tacos together.  Thanks Jim!

torchy's tacos

Yum!  The above picture is a steak taco and shrimp taco from Torchy’s Tacos (it’s a local taco joint).  Tacos are one of the foods Austin does extremely well, so of course we’ve been eating plenty of tacos. 🙂  There are taco shops galore in Austin… if only I had time to try them all!

taqueria  taqueria onetaco
OneTaco was our favorite taqueria from this trip. (I can honestly admit I did eat more than one.)  Great tacos, good salsas, and plenty of variety to keep our taste buds happy!

This trip wasn’t all “business” of course, we still had plenty of time for doing goofy tourist stuff.  For example, we stopped in at the famous Allens Boots shop and checked out all the cowboy-wares.  Boots, hats, and large belt buckles galore!

allen's boots  lots of boots
While I’m not in the market for cowboy boots, it’s still fun to check out all the western stuff.  There are some seriously crazy boots this place sells.

crazy boots

Then, we did a little spelunking under the freeway at Inner Space Cavern

inner space cavern

Yes, this incredible cave is directly under the I-35 freeway.  If you’re quiet enough, you can actually hear the rumble of the cars overhead on the freeway.  Freeway construction workers found the cave back in 1966 when the freeway was first being built, and the cave system is pretty amazing.  It goes on for miles!

inner space cavern

And yes, there are a few bats in the cave.  Austin is famous for its bats, and Innerspace Cavern did have a few to look at up-close and personal-like.  You can see a dark spot in the flash-light beam below… that’s a bat!

innerspace cavern bat

All that walking around definitely helped me work-up an appetite, so *of course* we had to devour more delicious food.

We decided some Korean Fried Chicken would be good, along with a side of bacon-kimchi fries and shishito peppers.  We weren’t wrong!  It was absolutely delicious!

korean fried chicken

In a way, I think this plate of food perfectly sums up the town of Austin Texas.  Austin is a fusion of many different things — Texas, a college town, tech companies, music, delicious food, super hot weather….   There’s so many ingredients fused together it sounds kind of crazy… and in a way it really *is* crazy.

But it also works really well!

With that, I’m going to end this series of vacation posts.  Thanks for following along!  It’s been tons of fun to adventure around and explore one of America’s biggest states, and finally meet up with some of my favorite bloggers.  I hope it wasn’t too boring!

Don’t worry, I’ll be back to posting my usual stuff next week!  See you then! 😀

 

12 thoughts on “Still On Vacation!

  • August 10, 2019 at 1:48 AM
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    You almost have me sold on moving down to Austen….was casing out Vancouver area and Ontario for similar retirement options for kid’s schooling …though part time retirement in Europe sounds fun 3 months a year

    Reply
    • August 12, 2019 at 11:41 PM
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      Hey, yeah! Vancouver is pretty nice. Europe would also be fun for 3 months a year!

      Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 11:13 AM
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    Looks great! I’m eager to see the full comparison of Austin v. DFW (though I don’t know if I like DFW’s chances…). Enjoy the rest of your trip and safe travels home.

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    • August 12, 2019 at 11:43 PM
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      Thanks Paul! I’m not sure if I’ll ever do a direct comparison between the two cities, but we definitely enjoyed both! Thanks again for your hospitality!

      Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 1:25 PM
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    I’m excited to see what you guys decide to do, Mr. Tako! There’s definitely a lot of great choices in Texas.

    So glad we got to meet and hang out a little bit while our paths crossed. It’s great to put a face with the name finally – you guys are awesome! Thanks for the kind words in your post, too.

    Have a safe trip home! I’m sure you’re missing the kiddos and ready to get back to them.

    Reply
    • August 12, 2019 at 11:45 PM
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      Thanks Jim! It was great to finally meet you when we were in Austin!

      Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 11:03 AM
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    Cheezz, those are some Texan size tacos.
    Great pictures.

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    • August 12, 2019 at 11:46 PM
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      Thanks Joe! The tacos are definitely great in Austin!

      Reply
  • August 13, 2019 at 8:04 AM
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    My daughter is now living in Austin. I moved her down their a few months back and just couldn’t believe how that area has grown in the last 25 years. We lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth area in the late eighties. Austin’s traffic now is just crazy, I could never live there. But I think your right if you go a little further north and don’t have to commute it wouldn’t be a bad place to live, but beware of the potential continued growth of that whole area with all the new tech companies calling it home or have a hub there.

    Reply
  • August 15, 2019 at 5:29 AM
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    Love that you checked out different suburbs. I always like to see how people really live in the places I visit. You can get a more intimate sense of the place. And thanks for the yummy pictures of the food.

    Reply
  • September 9, 2019 at 7:44 AM
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    Wish you could have squeezed in south austin in your busy schedule. 🙂

    Reply

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