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Day one of our travels from San Antonio to San Diego were a bit on the mellow side. Why San Antonio? Well, apparently it’s a lovely city with a thriving downtown, The Alamo, a riverfront, etc. Not that we’ve seen any of that in a decade since his brother lives in the exurbs. The brother’s family isn’t a big fan of greater San Antonio so we mostly see the suburb he lives in. It’s okay. We stopped to visit them after all.

What? This is my shoe.

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Thus, my highlight of San Antonio was the vegan restaurant we found between the airport and the brother’s exurb. I wanted one of everything. And I’m so glad I had leftovers to eat in the garage like a hobo the next morning when I realized my take out was the only vegan food in the house.

It also made a good place to ship our supplies. Yes, supplies. Since we planned to camp twice in our travels and to cook out along the way, we sent a cook stove, tent, air mattress (we’re old), blankets, metal utensils, flashlights, plates, etc. ahead of us in plastic bins. Parcel post from Florida to Texas ran about $60 for two bins.

We rented a car — about which I can say I cannot recommend Hertz for any reason. Holy pajamas was that a trial trying to get a “non-smoking” car that didn’t smell like smoke, was the size we’d rented, and didn’t have some sort of steering issue. Nevermind how much they wanted to charge. More than a fifth of the cost of a two week trip went into renting the car.

After spending the night with the relatives, we headed off for the open road and Austin.

Now, in my normal life, I am a very spur-of-the-moment, don’t know what’s what, time is a mystery kind of gal. Vacation? I had a schedule. Not that we stuck to it, mind you, but I had an actual, printed schedule. I also tend to WAY underestimate how long it takes to explore a place and how long it takes to drive to a place. Part of this is because I have to pee every hour and because every time I stop to pee, he decides to light up and smoke. For anyone wondering, it takes me less time to pee than it does for him to smoke. Way less.

Between San Antonio and we stopped and checked out McKinney Falls State Park. At the time, “falls” may have been a bit presumptuous as the amount of water falling over the rocks wasn’t quite enough to shower in. I also somehow managed to get lost in poison ivy. Luckily, I’m not allergic to poison ivy.

I'm lost already.

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In Austin, I had three things on my list of things to do: 1) Go to BookPeople (the giant, wonderful bookstore) and sniff all the books like a pilgrim visiting Mecca. Seriously, book worshipers, this is the place to go. I did well to get out only spending about $70. 2) Go to Whole Foods. Pretty much across from BookPeople is a Whole Foods that is big enough to get lost in. For a veg-head planning to drive across the sparsely-populated southwest with a tent, this was a required stop. They sell beans in boxes — like the cans, but you can get into them even if the TSA won’t let you have a can opener. They have vegan cheese. They have vegan cream cheese for your high protein flaxseed bagels. They have all the hipster goodness to eat from a tent on a mountain while reading your BookPeople purchases. 3) Stay at San Jose Hotel. Here we had a reservation and, until we hit San Diego, it was the most expensive place we stayed on the trip. So worth it. Like some sort of Asian-warehouse-TexMex fusion decor, but right in the thick of everything. Down the street from the bats under the Congress bridge, across from someplace selling spicy tofu noodle stuff… A perfect start to the trip. And, again, a perfect place to read BookPeople purchases.

Downtown Austin

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Waiting for the Congress Ave Bridge bats. #austin #bats

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Very cool hotel.

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#backtracking Hotel San Jose in Austin, TX

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#backtracking Hotel San Jose. Highly recommend this place. #latergram

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