Friday, January 25, 2013

Travel/Photo Blog: Austin (Kansas at Texas)

TRAVEL/PHOTO BLOG: Austin (Kansas at Texas)
By Andy Lopusnak,
January 17-19, 2013
It’s déjà vu all over again. On this same weekend a year ago, I was in Austin doing the Kansas-Texas game and I’m back for round two. Last year, I took lots of great shots of the Lone Star capital and the city. One of my favorite places to shoot is along Lady Bird Lake, which flows more like a lazy river through downtown. Its slow current is awesome for near mirror-like reflections of the skyline.
My first two days in Austin, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky (much like last year). However, on game day the sky was outstanding and I nabbed a lot of great shots with the beautiful sky and great reflections. I didn’t get the chance, but wanted to visit the Museum of the Weird. Maybe next time.
Vince Hannemann began building his temple to trash in 1988 and he believes that it has more the 60 tons of junk. This is actually located in Vince’s backyard in a residential neighborhood.
It’s nearly invisible from the road and you could easily just drive by without noticing. When I arrived, Vince welcomed me into his scrap shrine. He even offered me a beer. Well worth a stop if you’re in Austin. Hopefully Vince’s home if you stop by or else you can’t see it.
Austin is a foodie paradise. It has more food trucks per capita than any city in the world and has some awesome BBQ and burgers. I had one of my best burgers and absolutely the best fries ever at the Counter Café. This place is only up from 7am-4pm. I had lunch my first day in Austin there and had a cheese burger with fries. Simple, but OMG tasty. Cooked perfectly medium rare.

For dinner my second night, three other CBS crew members and I drove 20 miles outside of Austin to The Salt Lick. It’s in the middle of nowhere, but the BBQ is delicious and all you can eat for $20. On Sunday morning at the airport, there’s a smaller Salt Lick and the biscuits & gravy with the brisket mixed in is awesome.

On the UT campus is the presidential library and museum for Lyndon Johnson, the 36th US President. It’s free, though they just started taking donations. Included inside the three stories of exhibits are a 1/8th scale replica of what the Oval Office looked like under LBJ, a joke-cracking animatronic LBJ, a presidential limo and artifacts from the time of the LBJ administration.
After the game, I drove about half an hour outside of Austin to snap some shots of the J. Lorraine Ghost Town in Manor. It’s a revision of an Old West neutral territory for outlaws and lawmen. The owner, George who I met, built it in the 1980s and it’s now essentially a bar & grill with a pretty good burger. It has free movies on a big screen on the weekends. I grabbed a burger and stayed for some night shots of the empty town.
The story goes that George bought the land to do some farming and unearthed some old wood planks and other artifacts just a few feet underground. A small stack of stuff became a larger one and he stopped everything to find out what all of it was from.
After some research, he found out that in the late 19th century there was a small town of less than 500 named J. Lorraine. There are some different stories of how J. Lorraine met its end. One says that it was destroyed by a hurricane and another claims that an angry mob of nearby citizens burnt it to the ground. Anyway, George decided to rebuild the old town with all the wood he found.
The fourth ranked Jayhawks, winners of 14 straight entering the game, trailed for most of the game and erased an 11-point second-half points to beat the slumping Longhorns 64-59. Kansas freshman phenom Ben McLemore led the Jayhawks with 16 points, including 11 in the second half. This marked the third straight season that I’ve done a Kansas-Texas matchup and the road team has won all three (the first in Lawrence and the last two in Austin).

Using the GoPro Hero 2, I shot from where CBS had a low camera in one of the corners. It’s the same corner only lower that I shot my first Frank Erwin Center time lapse on the same weekend a year ago for this game (click here to view that one). It’s the not greatest of angles for a wide shot as you can’t see a lot of the game action, but here it is.

This will be my first trip to cover a Duke home game when the Blue Devils host Maryland. I'll also be adding my 38th state capital (North Carolina).

Here’s my top shots from this weekend in Austin.

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  1. Awesome pictures! I'm taking a break from looking at family resorts in Texas to actually looking for stuff to do while we are there and I definitely want to check out that ghost town!

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