Day 29, Post 27: Drifter Jack's Hostel in Austin, TX, is worth looking up if you have the opportunity. I got here an hour ago and I'm quite enjoying the ambiance. So far, I've met an articulate guy from Boston who is trying to find an apartment in Austin and is currently going from hostel to hostel because he snores so loudly, and a Rhodesian who just came to the US from Australia where he was working before he decided to travel by car around the US for a year. ...One meets a lot of itinerant people when one is itinerant. Go figure.
Austin seems to deserve its reputation as a warm, welcoming and very groovy place. After about a 40 mile ride in from Johnson City, I went to REI for a new tire and front panniers as planned, and learned that my chain rings (the 3 rings that make up the crank where the pedals are) are so worn that replacing my chain and/or cassette would be a bad idea without replacing all of them. This is a problem because chain rings are not the kind of thing most bike shops have in stock. So here's the plan - I'll call ahead to a bike shop in New Orleans and see if they will order the parts for me so they can install them when I get to New Orleans and have a few days. And in the meantime I'll hope that my bike continues to perform well. Most likely, it will, especially because soon I'll be in flatter country. But that's a digression. The point is that the mechanic at REI was incredibly helpful, and so were the mechanics at the bigger shop he sent me to in the hopes they would have the right size chain rings in stock. They didn't but I loved the shop nonetheless (Bike Sports World, in case you're wondering).
I then solved the problem of where to sleep for the night. It's become very windy, so I didn't have any ambition to check out the local RV Park, and after realizing any number of generic motels were available, I wanted to find something more in the spirit of Austin. So I settled on Drifter Jack's. As long as I can stowe my stuff securely and get a decent nights sleep (I figure 75% odds I will), why not? By now you can tell I like to travel on the cheap, and I take some satisfaction in finding "good deals" (I can hear the contextual irony in that comment), so I'm rather pleased by the $23 price tag. But if I am kept up all night by snoring and party goers, I won't be so pleased tomorrow...
I'll be up early to start the process of biking out of Austin. According to Wikipedia, Austin is the fastest growing city in the United States and the second most populated capital city after Phoenix, Arizona. I find it's traffic second to Phoenix in its unpleasantness for bicycle travel, so I imagine the ride out of town will be stressful. But I'm eager to see what lies beyond.
Check out my road cycling activity on Garmin Connect.
Pic 1, An early morning shot on the way in to Austin from Johnson City.
Pic 2, The common room at Drifter Jack's.
Pic 3, The exterior of Drifter Jack's.
More to come,