Monday, August 24, 2009

On the road again: Austin, day 1

As anyone who's read this blog for a while knows, there's nothing I like better than getting up early on a Monday to head to an airport. I'm always so happy to be out and about in the single digits after having crawled into bed only a few hours later. Despite all that, I arrived at RDU in relatively good humor and had a decent flight to DFW. What stopped the flight from being good is that the seat-belt light never went out, I was in a bulkhead seat so my briefcase and computer were overhead, and our flight attendant actually enforced the rule that we were to stay in our seats. So, I was able to read and chat with my row-mate, but precious work time slipped away while my notebook sat over my head, mocking me.

After a quick lunch at DFW, I settled in to work--and then had to board early. Very frustrating.

Upon arriving at baggage claim in Austin, I was treated to this sight.

Your eyes are not deceiving you: those are indeed giant guitars sitting on the baggage-claim islands. Fun, interesting, and lovely.

We also had the oddity of waiting right behind Don Johnson, he of Miami Vice (and other TV show and movie) fame. He did not seem to be a happy camper, but like the werewolf of London, his hair was perfect.

I spent the rest of the day and into the early evening moving to the hotel and then working like mad. Finally, though, it was dinner time, so off we went to a perennial favorite.

Yes, we ate at County Line By the Lake. Had that sign said "Mark" instead of Jim and included the appropriate comma before my name, I might well have been unable to stop grinning for whole minutes. As it was, I was tickled to be there. I also exhibited admirable self-control: I managed to enjoy the 'que without overdoing it to the point of fearing my stomach would explode.

The trick to eating a reasonable (okay, not reasonable, but not insane, either) amount of food there is to taste only a forkful or two of each side, which of course means you end up leaving about two pounds of slaw, beans and potato salad on your plate. I've tried asking for the platter without the sides or even just with small quantities of the sides, but that's just not going to happen at the County Line.

I've shown the outside sign multiple times, but I've never posted a picture of the interior, partly because doing so would mean showing other diners. I decided to risk it this once, so those of you who've never been here can get a sense of the rustic, rather basic decor.

Business trips such as this one leave me unable to discuss most of my day, so from now until Friday I'll focus on food and any oddities that occur. Trust me, though: writing continues. Always.

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