The skies were clear in Austin yesterday when we picked Alex up from the airport at 10:00am. It was his birthday, and the little Wheats and I had big plans. We packed my camera, a picnic lunch and some toys and headed west on 290. A mile or two outside of Austin we encountered dark skies which gave way to thunderstorms and massive downpours. Alex had no idea where we were going, but I had a plan and drove through the sheets of rain with sheer determination. Nothing--not even a much-needed rainstorm--was going to stop our day of good old-fashioned family fun.
Torrential rain aside, it was a beautiful drive through hill country. I kept our outing a surprise from Alex until about an hour into the trip when little blue signs around the town of Fredericksburg began pointing the way to the wineries of Texas Wine Country (that's right, we have one of those here--it is Texas, after all, and we have everything). As we drove the winding dirt road to our first stop at Becker Vineyards, blue skies were fighting their way through the clouds. By the time we finished our lunch on the rain-soaked patio, the storm was making its way East across the Texas sky. The grounds were sopping, so the wee ones kicked off their shoes and puddle jumped after getting hopped up on lemonade, berries and baguette. I think the fumes from the wine seeped into their brains and released the sillies. Either that, or they were high on the fresh air of hill country.
We saw sheep (Catcher's first, he said, but I'm not sure that's accurate) and enjoyed scenery that we don't find every day here in the big city of Austin. We also discovered that Texas wine is just okay, for the most part. Now I know why we live 75 miles from the Texas Wine Trail yet we've never been. I love to support local, but my future wine tasting adventures will take place in that other wine country out there in California.