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Monday May 04 — Keeping Austin Weird

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .
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Ann riding a Jackalope with a drink in her hand.

Our only plans today were to explore Austin and test out some of the best BBQ Austin had to offer. We started by by heading downtown to get some photos of the Texas capitol building.

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A whole street blocked off at the capitol for motorcycle parking.

That plan didn’t quite work out. Apparently, the city was memorializing police officers who died while serving. The capitol grounds were full of officers and people and there were no open parking spaces to be found. One side street was packed with motorcycles. We decided to abandon that plan and head for another option: Museum of Weird.

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Austin has built a reputation from the city’s slogan, “Keep Austin Weird“. As ‘weird’ as that slogan is, it seems it was not an organic marketing effort, but rather formed and promoted by the Austin Independent Business Alliance. Whatever its beginnings, the city seems to have embraced that mentality, proudly. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Austin ought to be very flattered by Santa Cruz and Portland‘s ‘borrowing’ of the concept.

Of the weirder things in Austin is the Museum of Weird. A tribute to the time honored freak shows of yesteryear, the owner of the museum has assembled some odd items. I couldn’t say for sure if they are real or not, but the whole thing was pretty humorous. After paying our money, we walked through a couple short halls full of memorabilia, objects, and assorted freakish things. We were alone, as we usually seem to be whenever visiting museums. This part we expected.

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The fur bearing trout

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Of course there has to be a mummy.

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Zoltar tells Ann her fortune.

What we didn’t expect was to be joined by an employee of the museum, given a guided tour, and then taken to a small theatre where our guide provided us with an example of a side or freak show performance. The Man who didn’t feel Pain (the same man acting as our tour guide) showed us how he could endure a small animal spring trap closed on his hand. Then he put a good-sized nail into his nose. Finally, he put a very large sword down his mouth and juggle. It was impressive! You can view a video of part of the performance on Ann’s Facebook.

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A snapshot from the video.

Since is was only he and us, we talked about how he got involved in the side show business. He discovered early on in life that he had a pretty high pain threshold. He seemed like a nice man with a genuinely interesting story.

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Ann and I with a photogenic King Kong.

After getting our own Keep Austin Weird t-shirts, we left the museum. On our way back to the jeep we stumbled across a bar named Jackalope that had a large plastic ‘jackalope’ at the entrance. Ann badly wanted her photo on the jackalope, but in order to get your photo on it you had to be holding a drink. So, we ending up getting a drink and something to eat. As soon as we were served, Ann gingerly climbed aboard and posed for a photo.

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We returned to our table and finished off our drinks. Mine was noticeably strong. Even after eating a large hot dog, I was feeling a pretty good buzz. Ann was ready to explore downtown Austin by jeep, but I told her I thought I had to walk around a little bit before attempting to navigate the tight and complicated downtown streets. So, we began to explore the old town area by foot.

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This block along with the next few were full of taverns and bars.

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Ping pong next to a river? Let’s just say I counted 7 ping pong balls in the river. Not the smartest idea.

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Neat idea for locking up bicycles.

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A kind of river walk wandered through the old section of town.

Along the way I figured I’d get a piece of pizza to help suppress the alcohol. The piece of pizza turned out to be enormous. Long story short, between the pizza and the hotdog I ate earlier, I was sobering quickly, just in time to watch a man among some homeless people have a seizure. Yeah, Austin puts on quite a show!

With our stroll of old town complete and me sober, we drove back to the capitol and finally got a few shots of the area. The capitol building and grounds are very beautiful. It was a perfect day to stroll  and look at the different monuments.

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This photo didn’t quite capture the redness of the natural stone.

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An officer to our right was keeping an eye on us and on the small crowd at the steps. The group was explaining the dangers of selecting at the wrong moving company. Yes, the moving struggle is real.

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Alamo monument with David Crockett’s name and others carved into the pedestals.

By early afternoon I was ready to head back to the hotel. I needed a nap, which is one reason I don’t drink midday. So, that’s what we did. By the time I was finished with my nap, we still weren’t hungry, so we never did go get any BBQ. I blame the Jackalope!

On Tuesday we leave the capital for San Antonio, but we leave Austin looking forward to visiting some other time. It’s a great city that reminds me a lot of another favorite capital city of mine, Madison, Wisconsin.

 (Want to see more of the 2015 Texas Trip? View the posts from the beginning)

 

9 Comments on “Monday May 04 — Keeping Austin Weird

  1. SE Pennsylvania Steve

    I certainly agree with rule #3 for getting on that Jackalope.
    Dave, don’t let Ann get on that Jackalope anymore. If she fell off and got hurt she would have some explaining to do at the VA hospital, and we wouldn’t want that!

  2. mmdeilers Post author

    Steve,

    Oh, it wouldn’t be hard to explain a veteran fell while drinking alcohol. I think the VA has heard that story a few times … lol … Of course, the jackalope at least puts an interesting spin on it. 🙂

  3. Ann

    LoL Yes Steve, those good old alcohol related incidents are a trademark of military life.

  4. Mom

    Museum of the weird reminds me of Ye Olde Curiosity Shop on the Seattle waterfront (temporarily closed for a new seawall). After closely inspecting the furry fish, i am sure that is real. You can barely see the edge of the leather around its head. Also, they need to name their attractive mummy. Must have been a looker in his younger days.

  5. Lester Senn

    In keeping with the weird, I notice you have the wrong month in your article headline. You have it April 4th not May 4th. Noticed it since my birthday is April 4. Not saying what year. Have a good trip.

  6. Larry Swart

    I see it says rule #3 no male nudity…. So I assume females can ride nude??? lol only in Texas

  7. mmdeilers Post author

    Larry, Ann only had one drink. One or two more and I think we would have found out the answer … lol.

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