|The Broken Spoke - a True Texas Dance Hall|
|Flat Morgan was missing cowboy boots that day.|
When people think of Texas, they think cowboys and country music. Here's Flat Morgan at The Broken Spoke, the self-proclaimed "Last of the True Texas Dance Halls" that plays the best honky-tonk music in the Lone Star State.
|Stevie Ray Vaughan statue with Austin downtown skyline|
Austin considers itself the Live Music Capital of the World. Blues rock guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan (SRV) got his start in Austin in the late 1970s and tragically died in a helicopter crash in 1990. Austin erected this popular statue to commemorate this legendary musician. Whenever it starts to storm in Malaysia, I can't help but think of the song Texas Flood by SRV and the band Double Trouble. Looking at this photo, I'm also struck by how much the downtown Austin skyline has changed in the last decade.
|Congress Avenue Bridge - home to the world's largest urban bat colony|
Next, we headed to the Congress Avenue Bridge. From March to November, 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats call this bridge their home. This is the largest urban bat colony in the world. Every night at dusk, waves of bats fly out to start hunting insects. Watching the bat emergence is on of Austin's most popular summertime tourist attractions.
|Texas State Capitol|
|Texas Governor's Mansion|
The Texas Governor's Mansion is conveniently located close to the State Capitol. Unfortunately, it was extensively damaged by an arson fire in 2008. Here it is with Flat Morgan in its former glory. The restoration will supposedly finish up this summer, and the mansion will reopen to public tours.
|University of Texas Tower|
Austin is also home to the University of Texas, and its UT Tower is the main landmark. I hear there's quite a view from the top. Whenever UT wins a game, you can see the tower lit up in orange. An NCAA national championship illuminates the entire tower in orange with the window lights turned on to make the number 1. (We didn't mention the 1966 sniper attack to Flat Morgan. She is just a kid, after all.)
|Old Whole Foods headquarters|
Two well-known companies got their start in Austin — Whole Foods Market and Dell Computers. Whole Foods is now in a bigger, fancier building across the street from this one. You can spend hours and hundreds of dollars there. It has yummy food stations scattered throughout the store. Take a look around before you start noshing.
|Texas Hill Country with Downtown way in the back|
Most people think of Texas as flat and dry. But Austin is part of the Texas Hill Country. It's in the middle of a drought right now, but when this picture was taken, it was still kind of lush. Here's Flat Morgan at the Capital of Texas Highway lookout with downtown Austin in the background.
|Prickly Pear Cactus|
We ended our tour of Austin with a stereotypical shot of Flat Morgan with the official state plant, the Prickly Pear Cactus. After a good night's rest, we mailed her back to Malibu with these pictures as a memento of her visit. A few days after she returned home, her brother inventively realized he could restore her back to her natural 3D form with the help of a bicycle pump. Morgan is flat no more and about to start university on a softball scholarship. A decade has passed since this trip, but it's one we still fondly remember.
Pssst... if you have a kid in early elementary school, you may enjoy reading the book Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown which was the inspiration for this school project.