Life, almost by definition is made up of tough choices. Most of these are because we are forced to pick the lesser of two evils...the least bad choice, if you will. But, every once in a while, life/Karma/fate throws us a bone...a situation where there is not a bad choice.
Such was the situation a few weeks ago when I was trying to decide between attending the "Thunder in the Hill Country" rally in Bandera or the Lone Star Roundup in Austin. The Bandera rally was a blast last year when Red and I attended (http://www.backroadsbuddha.com/2010/04/thunder-in-hill-country.html); the roads are incredible, the entertainment was great. On the other hand, the Roundup has been on "My List" for a long time, years even. People come from all over North America to attend this event that mixes roots rock music and classic cars with a generous helping of Austin style (Sounds like an ad guy wrote that huh?).
My Baby Girl attends college in Austin and said she would like to attend the Round Up if that was what we decided to do. Well that made the decision easier and so off to Austin we headed.
We made it to Austin in time to eat dinner and have a few margaritas at Matt's Famous El Rancho. Matt's serves great margaritas made with real, fresh squeezed lime juice (no premixed bar slush) and good tequila. The food is at least as good as the margaritas and the Old fashioned Tacos are just about worth the drive to Austin by themselves. If you make it for lunch they have a foot-long enchilada special. Do it!
It was at Matt's as well as the drive back to the hotel that we started to get an idea as to how big an event the Round Up actually is. Between the parking lot of Matt's and the drive home we saw at least a dozen incredible old rides and Hot Rods. There were at least another half dozen parked in front of the hotel which was chosen for proximity to the school and the infamous Sixth Street, not the Round Up...
I planned on spending about four hours at the car show including time for some lunch and then end it off with Jimmy Vaughn's concert at 4:30. That should be plenty of time right?
I probably could have spent half the allocated time looking at the cars and bikes in the parking lot including this beautiful old Mustang fastback.
I spent some of the best years of my childhood in the back seat of a Mustang similar to this one heading to or from races all over Texas, including the inaugural Nascar race at Texas World Speedway outside of College Station.
Just outside the entrance to the event was the bike parking filled with a heapin' helpin' of garage customs, both choppers and bobbers.
|Bobbed Big Twin "Chop, Bob and Roll"|
|Chopped Iron Head|
Once we made it into the show itself I came to realize that four hours would, definitely not, be enough. There were literally acres of the fine classic restorations, traditional hot rods, rat rods, bikes, swag, bands and food.
This slammed rat was one of my favorites. I didn't think it was possible something this low was street worthy but before I left I saw (and heard) the owner fire it up and head out into Austin.
I mean who can argue the cool factor of a car with an view of the road and a drive shaft tunnel that can serve as an arm rest!
|Wonderful Wife made me promise this picture wouldn't make the Internet. Don't tell|
Or how about a Highway Patrol truck with a beer keg gas tank and a Lone Star bottle opener radiator topper?
Alcohol was a recurring theme with many of the cars which leads me to think these car guys may not be such wusses after all.
Although way outnumbered, there were some pretty cool bikes inside the show as well.
|Classic Indian Four|
The Round up is also about music. This year's headliner was Jimmy Vaughan (Stevie Ray's older brother). I never got to see SRV live but when it come to Blues guitar Jimmy has to be right up there among the greats as well.
What an incredible end and incredible event...well, almost.
After the show we headed for some dinner and then decided to try and catch some live music down on South Congress. What we found was a traffic jam about a mile long. It seems it is a traditional for the entrants in the Rounup to cruise up and down SoCo. Seeing these cars at the show was pretty awesome but to see them cruising down the road (and engaging in some mild hooliganism) is even better.
Next year we'll know and we'll have our lawn chairs, a cooler of beer and enjoy the show in style.
If you have a bucket list and you like great roots or blues music, bikes, cars and having a great time add the Lone Star Roundup to that list.
Hang in there.