Austin is the state capital of Texas, and we had to take a visit to the Capitol building. It was an interesting experience. Not only was the legislature in session (they only meet for a total of six months every two years), but it was “Planned Parenthood day,” so we had to deal with a bunch of pink-clad abortion activists.

The Senate debate was very interesting. It essentially boiled down to a question of whether or not Texans own the trees on their own property! Had us wondering if we were in California.

We had lunch in the Capitol cafe.  The food was not good, but the conversation was great.  We talked with legislators and lobbyists and got the scoop on the goings-on.


Cruising Around Town

We took a bike tour of the city and got to see a number of interesting sites, including the University of Texas campus and Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium (home of the Longhorn football team).

Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium

University of Texas Campus

Colorado River in Austin, Texas

The Bats of Austin

At dusk, we ventured over to the Congress Bridge to watch the huge colony of bats take flight. Austin is home to one of the largest migratory bat populations in the country – around 1.5 million. The Austin bats are Brazilian free-tailed bats.  They’re medium-sized bats with broad, black, forward pointing ears, and wrinkled lips, long and narrow wings, and typically attain reddish to dark brown or gray fur color.

Their tails extend more than one third beyond the size of their body. The bats help keep Austin’s insect population at bay and in check.

LBJ Presidential Library & Museum

Austin is also home to the LBJ Museum. Full of revisionist history, the museum was still very interesting. Perhaps most galling was the museum assertion that LBJ decided to not seek another term so he could “dedicate his life to the cause of civil rights.”

Creepy animatronic of LBJ cracking jokes.

The limo pictured here was a replica Johnson ordered prior to leaving office.  Had he ordered it after his term he would not have been able to have the Presidential seal or flags.  But Johnson had to show off back home, so he made sure to order it with all the trimmings.  The only difference between this vehicle and the official Presidential Limo is this one is not bullet-proof.

Replica of LBJ’s oval office. It’s 90% the size of the real one.

Lady Bird’s office just as she used it.

The best part of the museum was listening to the recorded phone calls between LBJ and others — Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and many more.  That was true history.  The campaign memorabilia was great too.

I have this one in my political collection, as well as a number of the buttons on display.