We were in Austin from February 16 to February 18, 2021. Read about our previous visits here: 2017, 2018, and 2019, and earlier on this trip in 2021.
Have you been following our winter weather saga? We dummies left sunny Arizona and headed into the icy wilds of New Mexico and Texas, during the insane winter storm in February 2021. We were so excited to get back to Austin that we added a day to our stay… and then we were so miserable to be in Austin that we ended up leaving a day early. If you want to read a more normal, potentially useful post about Austin, we have a bunch of older posts you can read. This one will not be very useful!
- Our first visit to Austin in 2017
- Our second visit in 2018
- Our third visit in 2019
- Our fourth visit in 2021, just a few weeks before the current visit
The roads around Austin were in terrible shape: covered in snow, not plowed or treated. They weren’t very slick, though, so we were able to get to Pecan Grove (where we always stay) safely. The park had no power but our site had running water… for a couple hours. More ice was coming in, no power restoration was in sight, and cell towers were down so we were getting little data.
Nothing was open, it wasn’t safe to drive, and it was barely safe to walk on the sidewalks. The Austinite Market, about a half-mile down Barton Springs Rd, was allowing a few people in at a time to buy stuff in the dark with cash, since it was all going bad with no refrigeration. We got some necessities: beer.
We used our generator–which J threw into the truck at the last minute, even though we wouldn’t need it, since we weren’t planning to boondock, and would have power everywhere, right?–every few hours to run the space heater and recharge the Airstream’s batteries, until we discovered that the Airstream’s converter was busted and so the generator couldn’t charge the batteries. The furnace blower requires battery power and our batteries were failing. Fun! But we were so, so lucky to have the generator and furnace. Some of our campground neighbors had no heat source and were hanging out around campfires to stay warm.
Part of downtown had power, as the downtown hospital’s power grid got priority, so on Day 2 we ventured across the river to see what was open. Gloria’s Latin Cuisine was open and very busy, and while we thought the food was meh, we were thrilled to have it. We spent the rest of Day 2 drinking beer and playing cards in the Airstream wearing winter coats and hats, pausing to fire up the generator in order to watch a press conference to try to figure out when we could escape.
On Day 3 it snowed! Come on! Still, we made preparations to get the heck out. J went out early in search of an open gas station and finally found one down South Lamar, and we got intel on the clearest route out of town from a neighbor also prepping to leave. J got the guy’s phone number and called him an hour later to find out about the road conditions, and we decided to go for it! At noon we rolled out of the campground and very carefully drove out of Austin. The roads were ok outside of town and got better as we went east, and we didn’t stop until we were out of Texas!
I’m stressed out all over again writing this! Maybe I need to go back to Austin soon to replace the bad memories with good ones…
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