Yesterday I was SUPPOSED to have been rolling over the finish line in the MS150 for the 8th time. And my husband was, too.
Neither of us did.
This weekend I got to enjoy a few silver linings, though.
You see, I just had knee surgery in March for a torn meniscus, so riding 180 miles 6 weeks later wasn’t really my best plan. Then, about a week after surgery, it was discovered I had a blood clot so I was put on blood thinners and was told that the MS 150 was in no way a part of my plan. The risk of an accident made it out of the question.
So I planned to join a friend of mine in Austin with my two kids for some Austin fun and let my kids take part in a bit of the MS150 excitement by watching their dad roll across the finish line today.
Then the Houston- Austin area had some serious storms over the past few days, causing the first day of the ride to be cancelled. And Gary decided that perhaps he would view this as a gift and go ahead and sit day two out as well and get a few things done around the house with this magically opened window of time.
I decided to give him that gift and expand it by clearing out the house for the weekend while chasing a few silver linings with 2 of our kids. The third was already going to be away at a church confirmation retreat, so why not grab the other two and still take in Austin?
My daughter requested a visit to Amy’s Ice Cream. My son asked for another trip to the Capitol and my friend Ami and her friend Jennifer had already planned a Duck Tour for Saturday. We were bound to have a good time!
Here are a few of the highlights:
Even though we arrived way too early for check in, we parked at the Omni, where we were staying, and asked the bell desk to hold our luggage.
Will at the front desk greeted us, checked us in, and took very good care of us, asking the kids if they preferred a high or low floor. No rooms were ready, but he said he would do the best he could for us and also hopefully find us a double room. (We had reserved a King when it was only going to be my husband and me on the trip.) A few hours later he called to say he could accommodate the higher level requests, but that double room could not be found. So instead he upgraded us to a King suite at no extra charge. WOW! We all loved the extra room.. and the great view of the Capitol.
We wandered a few blocks from our hotel to the Texas Capitol building. My kids opted to skip the tour and instead just explore. Because I had been on the tour a few times in the past, I pointed out a few things and then asked them questions about the House and Senate and what happens in the Capitol. (The Supreme Court room was closed.) We had a great time talking about legislation and how bills become laws (or not) and they wondered who got to walk on those stairs at the very tip top of the rotunda. Then I impressed them by telling them about the time I was in an internship program in high school and had my picture taken with my US Representative at the very tippy top of the US Capitol rotunda. (Go MOM!) We also checked out the tiny Texas Agriculture museum in the Capitol where I was bummed that there was no mention of Texas wine grapes. oh well.
After the Capitol, we walked over to 6th Street and Easy Tiger, my favorite bakery and beer garden. The kids and I enjoyed cold drinks, warm pretzels and a hot game of dominoes– which we found on the bookshelf alongside Connect Four. All the Ping Pong tables outside were in use, but this was still perfect.
Before we left we picked up a few massive cookies to snack on during the walk and share with our friends.
Austin Duck Tour
We met up with our friends, and then met their friends who quickly became our friends for a ride on the streets and in the water with Austin Duck Adevntures. (Yes, the vehicle does go right into the water!!)
We loved the Austin fun facts, tour and, of course cruising in the lake.
Later we added a few more adults to the mix and met up for dinner at Due Forni. They had an excellent wine list with nearly every wine offered by the glass or bottle (and a waiter who knew his wine) and massive pizza ovens where they baked pizza crusts to perfection. Really. The restaurant was fantastic at accommodating the kids and the menu spanned pizzas, delicious, inventive salads, pastas and other Italian entrees. Ans they showed black and white movies (silently) on the wall behind the pizza ovens which mesmerized by 11 year old son.
(Sorry, no pics of this one– we were too busy eating!!)
Brunch at Omni
Sunday morning we were delighted (and stuffed!) by the Omni’s brunch.
Yes, it had typical hotel brunch fare, but it also had the best apple turnovers I think I have ever tasted, pastry cups with egg, cheese and peppers inside of then, a great selection of fruits including berries, a fajita station with fresh corn and flour tortillas, chicken, beef, vegetables, pork, fresh guacamole… and did I mention all of the gluten-free options, as well? This was definitely one of the best brunches I have experienced.
Omni Rooftop Pool
After brunch, the kids splashed in the pool on the roof of the hotel, and we took in the gorgeous views all around us.
MS 150 Finish Line
Next we were off to the MS 150 Finish Line to cheer on our friends who were riding.
I was excited to show my kids a bit of the MS 150 excitement, since they are typically home in Houston when my husband and I ride. I thought showing them the finish might help them to see a bit about what we do when we go away and ride all weekend each spring. Our friend, Ami, whose husband influenced my husband to ride and then me to ride, as well, always packs the best post-ride snacks. We rolled her cooler to the finish line and waited for her husband and our other friends to finish. Then we waited some more. And I thought about how much anticipation and waiting she goes through with her son each year. Just waiting for us to roll over the finish line, cheer us on and snap a shot of us feeling victorious. There was a lot of waiting. And watching.
“Is that him down there?!?”
“Nope. Wrong jersey.”
Steven has raised $12,000 just this year for the MS Society as a result of the ride. This was his tenth ride. So he has a special jersey. :)
Wait….Is that him??
And then, all of a sudden, Steven and Jon roll by. Phones snap pictures. Kids give high fives to the riders. Smiles are exchanged.
They had finished! :)
It felt weird, being on the other side of the finish line, NOT cycling through it. And when we toasted the guys who cycled and snapped their pictures, it was weird to not be in the pictures toasting with them, often the only girl. It felt weird to sit this one out.
(Today I pedaled on my stationery bike at home for the first time since surgery. I’m contemplating a fall ride, provided I’m off blood thinners in time.)
Amy’s Ice Creams
After we finished celebrating, I gathered the kids for one last Austin hurrah: Amy’s Ice Creams. My daughter had made the request when she first realized she might be going to Austin, so I couldn’t deny her. And I love ice cream, too. And my name is Amy, soooo…
We walked back to the hotel and drove to the South Congress location which a super cool, funky spot… but it had a line out the door! I kept driving a bit further south and we ended up at another location just about a mile away with no wait at all. SCORE!
The ice cream was, of course, delicious!
We took our friend back to the hotel where his parents were and started our drive back home.
And yes, of course, we stopped at Sonic both on the way to and from Aistin– no road trip would be complete without some type of delicious fountain drink from there!
As much as I felt I missed out on riding this year, I think we found many silver linings. I had a blast with my kids and our friends, and my husband got a little time alone at home to recharge. I hope to hear more about my older son’s confirmation retreat tonight over dinner. Of course he was too wiped out to share much last night.
Wanna see more of our #silverlinings #Austin pictures? Check out my stream on Instagram.