Monday, July 14, 2014

My Texas

And I am back, with the second recap of my weekend. I should probably clarify one thing - while this is my last weekend in Austin, I don't make my final move home until next Thursday, July 24th. I am, however, going home this weekend for a final pre-move drop off and preparation. I know myself well enough to know that it will take me quite some time to unpack all of my bags, especially when I started throwing things into bags and boxes, so I am going to work really hard this weekend to unpack what I have already brought home.

Enchanted Rock

Anyway, let's pick back up where we left off. So, after one incredible breakfast (arguably the best in Austin), Dylan and I headed back to my house, changed into athletic clothes, and made the hour and 45-minute drive to Llano so that we could hike the massive pink granite dome that offers incredible views of the Texas Hill Country - Enchanted Rock. Fun fact: it is the second largest formation of its kind in North America, and it is among the oldest exposed rock in North America. Cool, huh? I have wanted to visit Enchanted Rock since probably about my freshman year of college, so though I knew it was going to be so incredibly hot, this was really my very last chance to go. At least for a while, anyway. So, we made the plans to go on Saturday, made it out there very easily, paid the $7 entrance fee, parked our car, refilled our water bottles, and slathered on the sunscreen. The sun was out in full force, and there are few things worse than being sunburned.

We easily found the trail, and decided to start with The Summit Trail so that I could get the view from the very top of the rock. It wasn't a very long hike - about .6 miles - but it was a pretty steep one. And leave it to us to try and race one another up the steepest part of the mountain (I'll let you guess who won). We stopped a couple of times so that I could take some pictures before hanging out a bit at the top.

We had a little fun on the way down, taking unmarked trails and climbing over some rather large rocks. I took one series of rocks a little too quickly, almost losing my balance, but I managed to catch myself just in time. Once we made it back down to the bottom, we decided to take the loop trail, which winds around the base of Enchanted Rock. I'm not sure we covered the entire four mile loop, but we probably covered close to four miles due to taking a wrong turn and having to double back. That didn't bother me one bit because I love a good walk, and I especially didn't mind because I had some great company. One of my favorite things about Dylan (and I will probably pay for saying this when he recites it back to me) is how we can talk about something deep and serious one minute, and then the next minute we'll be joking around about something completely silly. Twelve consecutive hours with him led for quite a bit of conversation!

We finally made it back to the park headquarters, refilled our water bottles once again, purchased a Powerade to replace those electrolytes (I am such a salty sweater), and headed about 25 minutes South to Fredericksburg. I have been to Fredericksburg once before, but it was during Christmastime, and my roommate Jamie Lynn told us that we had to walk down Main Street, and I really wanted to buy some Fredericksburg Peaches from Fredericksburg. They were harder to come by than I thought, but we managed to find them!

We had a great time walking down Main Street, even making purchases for our dads, as they're both big history and Western buffs. I know my dad will read this (he was my first follower, after all), so I'll refrain from posting a picture until I give it to him as to keep from ruining the surprise. We also went into Rustlin' Rob's Texas Gourmet Foods, which was probably my personal favorite stop. This shop contains everything from salsa to sauces to honey butter to fudge, and so much more. Dylan and I had fun taste-testing everything, and being the salsa lover that I am, I purchased a jar of peach salsa. Fredericksburg Peaches in salsa form? Yes, please!

Cooper's BBQ

We started to get a lot little hungry at this point, so we made our way back to my car and headed 45 minutes North back to Llano for some Cooper's BBQ. To explain the title of my post, you should probably go listen to the song "My Texas," by Josh Abbott. I am now able to say I've "climbed up to Enchanted rock" and "eaten Cooper's down in Llano," among other Texas things. 

Now, I've never been to the famous Franklin's BBQ in Austin, but this was the best barbeque I have ever had. I'm not sure if the fact that my stomach was practically eating itself by the time we got there, or that it's really just that good, but my stomach was so happy after about 20 minutes of chowing down on some good meat. Between the two of us we got brisket, sausage, turkey, chicken, and pork ribs, with a large pickle on the side. There was a little bit left at the end of our meal, but definitely not much! Cooper's is unlike any other barbeque place I've ever been due to the fact that you simply line up outside and choose the meats you want off the smoker before taking it inside to weigh and pay. 


It can be intimidating if you have never been there before, or in awhile if you're Dylan, but we managed to order our food just fine. It was fairly crowded in the main dining area, but we were pointed to an additional dining area that we had all to ourselves for the majority of our meal. As I said earlier, the food was incredible, and the turkey and brisket were the unanimous favorites. We left with full and happy stomachs, and made the return trip to Austin, getting back around 8:30pm. We hung out for a little while longer until I could no longer stand the thin layer of dirt, sunscreen, and sweat on my skin, and I kicked him out so that I could take a shower and get ready for bed. I wish I could say that I called it an early night, but I sat around wasting time on Pinterest and my blog. I fell asleep in approximately eight minutes, though, and slept very soundly until about 8:30am, when I got up to get ready for a 9:45am Pure Barre class.

It was probably my favorite barre class I've taken thus far, though the thigh portion absolutely killed me. I really liked it because though it was still extremely challenging, I felt as though I could actually do all of the moves. In the class I took on Thursday, I felt a little lost through some of the movements, which is never a feeling you want to experience. That intimidation factor is what prevents people from coming back. So, I was glad to have had a good experience at this morning's class.

I hurried home from North Austin so that I could shower and get ready for an 11:15am church service with Dylan. This was my last Sunday at the Austin Stone Community Church, at least until I come back and visit, and I'm not kidding when I say this was easily the best sermon I've heard all summer, if not one of the best sermons I've ever heard. Derwin Grey, the founder and lead paster of Transformation Church in South Carolina, was a guest speaker at this morning's service, and though he didn't talk about anything I haven't heard before, it was his passion and the way he made the topic so relatable that really impacted me. I left feeling so thankful to call myself an adopted daughter of the King, forgiven and loved unconditionally, and it was the sweetest way to end a four-year run at such an incredible church. I plan on purchasing his book, Limitless Life, and reading that before volleyball and school prevents me from reading for pleasure.


And after church, I was absolutely starving, and because Dylan nor I ate not one vegetable yesterday, our only criteria for lunch was that it was somewhere relatively healthy. We settled on one of our favorites - Mandola's Italian Restaurant, and I knew immediately what I was going to order - the Mista Salad (sans cheese) with grilled chicken. 

I'm pretty sure I've ordered this salad every single time I've been to this restaurant, and I have yet to get tired of it. It is one of my very favorites, probably because the chicken is so tender and complements the salad so well. We both cleaned our plates, and even shared a Pignoli cookie for dessert. One of my last goals is to find a good Pignoli cookie recipe and make a batch of them before I leave. Dylan described it well when he said it's soft, even a little bit gooey, but has nuts on top which gives it a nice crunch. I couldn't agree more, and Dylan told me that he knew I liked it when I took more than one bite of it!

And that, my friends, is what I call one great weekend. I rounded out my Sunday by watching Germany win the World Cup, catching up with Katie and hearing some of her best stories from her trip, and baking a batch of Kit Kat-stuffed chocolate chip cookies for a friend in exchange for some school supplies. My heart was so full, and my body was so tired. A most perfect last weekend.

1 comment:

  1. i have been waiting for this for months, so happy to see f&f back in action!!! thankful 4 u ktom!
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