On The Road with GRUBBS INFINITI: Austin, Tx

Did you know that Austin, Texas is almost as large as New York City?  Or that it’s home to about 1.5 million bats, the largest urban bat colony in North America?  Or that it was originally named “Waterloo”?  I learned most of these things on a recent road trip to our State’s capital in an QX60 on a sunny weekend in Spring. 

The goal: soak up some history, eat some good BBQ, breakfast tacos and Gourdoughs “Blueballs” and see how the INFINITI QX60 felt on a road where the speed limit is 85 mph.

So here’s our itinerary and some input on what we think makes for a great Austin weekend.

Leaving Grubbs INFINITI in Grapevine and hopping on I35, we headed for the Czech Stop in West, Texas.  Bluebonnets carpet the sides of the road and it’s one of my favorite things about living in the Lone Star State.  It’s a tradition for my family to pick a good spot, plop down (being careful not to sit on any fire ants) and snap some pictures for friends and family.  It makes a perfect tableau as we enjoy the ride.  To be fair, packing a crew into a QX60 is easy since it offers three rows of seating and every detail is there for comfort and safety. 

Arriving at the Czech Stop, we all head inside to the Little Czech Bakery and their famous Kolaches. Where do I start?  Do you go savory or sweet?  My personal favorites include the raspberry cream cheese and the blueberry, but you can’t ignore the very berry or the lemon curd.  And, if you’re hungry, you should grab a sausage with cheese kolache and a few jalapeño poppers.  Just do yourself a favor and get a dozen or so, load them into your INFINITI and get back on I35 and Austin.

We make a quick stop at the Dr Pepper Museum in Waco and check out the collection of impressive Dr Pepper memorabilia and then we’re back on the road, munching the kolaches and enjoying the entertainment package in the QX60.  There’s two 8-inch screens for rear-seat passengers to enjoy movies and games and my kids absolutely love it.  And, when my wife and I just can’t listen to Frozen one more time, there’s wireless headphones that allow everybody to enjoy what they want. 

DFW to Austin is about a 3.5 hour drive and very soon, we can see the Capital building rising from downtown.  Everyone decides that we’re ready for some food and I recommend Fukumoto Sushi.  If you happen to visit during Happy Hour, I suggest you order from their menu top to bottom: you won’t be disappointed.  The tempura green beans were especially good and some of the tofu dishes would make it very easy to go vegetarian.  It’s a casual, fun atmosphere and a place where the locals go to relax and get a good deal on some tasty dishes.  It’s a good call for the road trip.

Fortified with sushi, we head for the Capital Building and there’s a great self-guided tour that shows you the “areas of significance” including the Senate Chamber, the Rotunda and the Governor’s Public Reception room.  It’s a interesting look into Texas government and although we kept looking for the governor, he never made an appearance.  I personally like to include a little history when I visit a city and the Capital building does a great job giving you lots of interesting information including the details I included at the beginning of this blog.  So mission accomplished, we left and made our way to check out some of the local graffiti that is so famous in Austin.

It’s no secret that Austin is a little “weird”.  In fact, one of their more famous slogans is, “Keep Austin Weird” and I think that it’s more about supporting things that are usual and interesting than actual weirdness.  The graffiti scene is part of the unusual and we had done a little research online to make sure to include some of the best examples of street art.  In many cities, graffiti is discouraged, but in Austin, it’s celebrated.  There seems to be an understood that there are areas that are approved and areas that are off-limits and the artists respect that understanding.  So as we zip around in the QX60, the murals unfold and include both the beautiful and the bizarre.  Bold, vivid colors merge into black and white reliefs and the talent is undeniable.  You could easily see some of the work in a museum, but instead they’re on the sides of buildings being slowly worn away by time and the elements.  It’s a worthwhile tour and I hope you enjoy some of the examples we captured.

Finally, we make some stops for something sweet and Gelateria Gemelli off 6th Street is fantastic.  The flavors are pretty traditional and the peanut butter and salted caramel and  are worth the calories.  The line was out the door, but it moved quickly and the servers were friendly and patient when we wanted to try about 5 or 6 flavors.  We then zipped over to Gourdough’s and just stared at the menu for a while.  Donut Burgers?  Hmmmm.  The “Blueballs” are famous so we grabbed an order of the blueberry stuffed donuts with blue icing and decided they were delicious.  Climbing back into the INFINITI, we let the sugar rush subside and vowed to return to Austin to try more restaurants and catch a glimpse of the famous bats.  The locals let us know they’re weren’t flying when we visited, so it gave us a good excuse to come back in the near future. 

As always, experiencing the LoneStar state in an INFINITI is a good way to really see what makes it so special.  When you make little stops along the way, you get to meet new people, try new food and get a real feel for what makes it “tick”.  To be fair, the QX60 is a true luxury ride and everyone had plenty of room to spread out, relax and enjoy the sunny blue skies and gentle roll of the hills as we made our way through the Texas hill country.  It’s a good trip and easily done in a weekend.  Be sure to pick up some kolaches.  If you want to bring some over to Grubbs INFINITI, well, we wouldn’t say no.

See you on the road.

George Grubbs III