Fort Worth adventures… and on to Austin

2/19/22

Today my Fort Worth Warmshowers host Bill took me around to see a few more sights in the area, before dropping me off at the train station to make my way to Austin. One highlight: we visited a museum with the world’s second-oldest light bulb, which has been continuously burning—albeit dimly—for 113 years! The weather was lovely and mild, in the low 60s.

The train ride to Austin was OK, but I admit I was a bit unnerved when I first arrived at the station and was “greeted” by a gliding security/surveillance robot that patrolled the station. It called to my mind the Daleks from Dr. Who (“EX-TER-MI-NATE!”) and creeped me out whenever it rolled past me, seeming to linger just long enough each time to get a “look” at me.

When I boarded the train, it was the first time no Amtrak staff (um, nor robots) had approached me ahead of time to give me a hard time about the size and shape of the trailer, or tell me that I would need to check it as baggage. So I thought I was home free… until I wheeled the bike and trailer down the extremely long platform to board, and discovered that there actually was not enough room in the luggage area on my car. (I later discovered that there would have been in the next car down, so I still maintain that my carry-on system is virtually always workable.) So, I did end up having to check both the bike and the trailer. The good news was that it was a breeze to do so. The “modified baggage car” is actually a part of the coach car, so my belongings were actually in the same car I was in, and very easy to retrieve afterward.

Unfortunately, toward the very end of the four-hour trip, we ended up being delayed by a Union Pacific train (as you may know, the freight railroads own the tracks, so their trains always get priority in the case of any conflicts) and the delay lasted an entire hour. So it was dark by the time I disembarked in Austin.

Then there was a snafu: I biked to my new Warmshowers location—an unoccupied condo in the cool east part of town—along wonderful separated bike paths, in temperatures mild enough to eschew my sweater. But when I arrived, the key code didn’t work for the door. I texted the host, but he was having a birthday retreat this weekend, so he didn’t get the text for at least an hour.

I chose not to freak out, but instead headed over to a nearby Whole Foods (despite their current Amazon affiliation, Whole Foods was founded, way back when, in Austin, so there are many of them here in town) where I used the restroom and grabbed a quick dinner from the deli. As I ate it outside, I texted another Austin Warmshowers host who had agreed to have me at their house a few days from now. They were very gracious and welcoming, and said I could head over early. (Whew!)

Unfortunately, the main street on the easy route to their house was blocked off, so I ended up huffing it up a few hills, but finally arrived at this lovely house on the west side of town. I had a great conversation with my hosts, and look forward to spending the next few days here.

I also want to share a few more photos here from my visit to the Fort Worth Botanic Garden the other day. I took so many photos in the Japanese Garden within its confines that I didn’t want to overwhelm the blog with an excessive photo dump that day. Today is a good day to include those non-Japanese Garden scenes from the botanic garden. Two highlights: more Patrick Dougherty stick art (I had seen it before in Montreal and a Portland suburb) and an unexpected reference to Biosphere2!

I enjoyed my time in DFW, and now I’m looking forward to Austin!

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