posters galore

Posters Galore

Traveling back and forth for the four weekends of Kerrville left little time for leading tours in June, but I did manage to conduct a couple private strolls through the venerable Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin. These are an outgrowth of the Congress Avenue walking tours I perform for the ACVB. Soon enough, June came to its chronological conclusion, just in time for the next turn of the calendar.

July happened to be Texpert Tours‘ most successful month to date. Beginning slowly with a first Saturday drive for an Indian family, things really heated up on Monday the 14th when I conveyed a Welsh woman to San Antonio. A great advantage to meeting people from other lands is that I get to hear about their homes and histories. All I had known about Wales was Tom Jones, coal mining, and few vowels. In many ways, the Welsh were the original British before Romans and Normans arrived. I also learned about that area’s topography.

Tuesday was a grand morning to lead a hike up the Barton Creek Greenbelt. This I did for PRA destination management, whose clients were award-winning insurance sales people. The group was large enough for me to bring along Mike Powers, land manager of Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, as associate guide. Together, Mike and I covered the last 70 million years of Hill Country geology and its recent human habitation. We found precious little water in the deeper holes, but the white rocks’ smooth surface recalled days of rushing current. After presenting the always-stunning Barton Springs Pool, we crossed the road to Zilker Botanical Gardens so the gang could stop and smell the roses. Lunch was in a nearby Mexican-food restaurant.

On Wednesday, I returned to Zilker to meet the CAST Party. Otherwise known as the Cousins’ Annual Seasonal Trip, this was an multigenerational family seeing Central Texas from a 15-passenger van. At first I tried being the driver, but the kids in the back couldn’t hear my commentary. Instead, the patriarch, Mr. Waring, drove while I voiced my remarks from a rear seat. This worked out quite well, and for about four hours the merry crew reveled in city stories, facts, and legends. In addition to seeing the Capitol’s insides, we stopped in the Texas State History Museum, where they got full of Bullock. After enjoying the LBJ Library, the group couldn’t wait to motor back to our point of beginning and jump into Barton Springs.

Thurs morning after my downtown walk, I collected a Hawaiian architect and his local sister from the Visitor Center on 6th Street. Their custom excursion included the French Legation (by all accounts the city’s oldest residence), but not LBJ. I dropped them off at the funky Austin Motel.

Then came Friday and a trip for a husband-and-wife ministerial team who were lodging at the Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel. Each a self-described beatnik or hippie, they wished to experience this town’s more bizarre side and the roots of our live music. Henry Gonzales filled them in at the South Austin Museum of Popular Culture, and they truly dug Planet K next door. Read their glowing review at the top of my testimonials page.

The hits just kept on coming: more walking tours got interspersed with a couple from Torrence, CA, a pair from Houston, and a mother and daughter from the Northeast. Huzzah for the Capital City!