Home > Travel > Backpack America > Backpacking Austin – Chapter 10

The rowing club cruises across Lady Bird Lake barking orders from a megaphone.

“Stroke! Stroke!”

It feels like a routine. Next will be the guys doing construction and the increase in auto traffic.

Like I’ve been here before.

As if all of this is just a reenactment.

I go back to sleep for another forty-five minutes and am packed to watch the sunrise.

“That was the last night below freezing,” I think to myself, “it’ll just get easier after this.”

The difference lingers.

But the more I’m awake and focused on what needs to be done the less I hear the other side.

Or the inner voice.

I hop the first bus that passes me with only minutes to spare on my bus pass. Thinking I knew where it was going, only I was wrong. I ride it to the end. Texas University and I end up in the Student Activity Center, Texas Wranglers Fireside Lounge, and do some work on my laptop for a couple of hours. There is free filtered water, clean bathrooms, an unattended salsa bar and maybe with time I’d figure out how to get on the wifi. Are there showers here somewhere? Lockers that maybe I could use to stash my pack during the day instead of carrying it around? Cable TV in a student lounge? Why haven’t I explored the University library?

Why had I neglected this resource?

I walk out into the sun and finish reading my book below Washington’s statue on the South Mall by the water fountain. That’s one less pound I’ll have to carry, though I still managed to pick up two other free books along the way and added them to my pack.

Down to the public library to do some research, because nothing is more important than learning something new.

Only I’m distracted by the messages from social media. Friends of friends have offered a place to stay.

I ignore it, looking out the window for a long time, wondering if sleeping indoors is the thing to do.

There’s no feeling one way or the other.

Just having a place to stash my stuff would be a bonus though, and if these people were willing to shelter a stranger, even for a night or two, they were probably worth meeting.

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Backpacking Austin - Chapter 9

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