This weekend my son and his family and I celebrated my daughter's birthday. She moved last year to work as attending veterinarian at Scott and White Hospital in Temple, Texas, but she lives in Round Rock. She comes to Houston often and I don't drive on the highway (That's how I became a romance writer, but that's another post). Anyway, I had not visited her and this was the perfect time.
In my day Round Rock was a blip in the highway between Austin and Waco,(See picture below of its historic district). But today Round Rock is a bustling suburb of Austin with restaurants, a minor league baseball team, a premium outlet mall, chain stores and sprawling housing developments. It's hard to tell where Austin ends and Round Rock begins.
Lori's house is lovely. It's bright and airy and has a nice backyard and a huge kitchen (unnecessary for her because she doesn't cook). We took Lori to dinner at an upscale restaurant. The waiter brought two little plates with two little crackers each and a cheese spread. Hmm, four crackers for five people--4/5 cracker for each. The crackers were delicious, we told him, and he said the restaurant made them themselves. We asked for more. Again we got four crackers. Was this a rule? Could the waiter not count? Well, all in all we had 1 and 3/5 apiece. Surprisingly, the desserts were huge. Maybe that's a Round Rock tradition.
The next morning Lori and I explored old downtown, all two blocks of it, then we all went to the Saltllick for barbecue. I'm not a big fan of barbecue but this was prety good.
We bid Lori goodbye and drove into Austin so daughter-in-law Monica and granddaughter Gabby could shop at Tyler's on the drag. The stores that I grew up with here are gone except for the University Co-op, which is as much a University of Texas institution as Longhorn football, but the drag itself is still the same--students and tourists and a few people who looked like they were homeless but were probably students sitting on the sidewalk taking a break.
Tyler's is on the same block as the Co-op and features lots of t-shirts and shoes. I bought 2 t-shirts I didn't need but will use for sleepwear. Both are burnt orange (In my day UT colors were white and plain ol' orange). One shirt says Keep Austin Weird and the other says Texas Football. How could I resist?
We drove home on Highway 290 and to cap off the trip we stopped at Buc'ees, which is new for me. I had never had the pleasure of visiting a Buc-eer's nor had I even seen one. I need to get out of town more often. Anyway, I said we had to stop, so we pullked into their crowded parking lot and stopped at the door to view an enormous Buc--ee, who seems to be a beaver. I think Buc-ee's only has stores in Texas so I have to wonder why they have a beaver on their logo. I never knew there were beavers in Texas.
The store if filled with Texas stuff-handicrafts and t-shirts and sportswear and lots of food, which we didn't buy since we'd had so much barbecue for lunch. It was definitely the high point of the trip and might be worth a return stop another time.
All in all, a fun weekend. Happy Labor Day, everyone.