Friday, August 15, 2008

Austin: Is it Time to Leave Yet?

So, you're still in Austin, at The International? Remember you can check out anytime you like...

Wait, that's for the Mojave, what am I thinking?

While you're here, enjoy some music, lose a few bucks in the slots. (I swear those didn't used to be there.)

The International is a relaxed, friendly bar, where anyone can find a spot.

Upwards-facing horseshoes for good luck are popular in Austin these days, as are those ever-proliferating signed dollar bills on bar walls. I think this fad started in Middlegate, and now that fad is starting to overtake The International, which I personally find to be a shame (reprehensible?) in such a nice, old bar. If you look very closely at the gun hanging from the ceiling, you'll see that "International Hotel" is carved into the stock. And what's that below the BudLight sign?

Ah, it's a pool table. Time to shoot some pool - reminds me of the good-old days, shooting pool at The International: C. and I would stop in after dinner, after our 10 to 12 hour field days driving all over the entire Millett 2° sheet. That summer, 1977, we worked 12 days on, 2 days off, drive on company time (thankfully!).

On your way out of the bar, check out the *awful* bar picture on the wall over the window. I think that painting has been there for a long time. Reminds me of an old story.

The story goes like this. I was shooting pool during a drilling party, wherein the drillers take you to town and buy all the beers. Sometimes a drilling party happens as a celebration that the drilling is over, other times it's just a random thing. If you happen to get involved in a drilling party, remember that when the drillers buy another round, it doesn't mean that you have to keep up with their rate of drinking. Simply put the coldest (freshest, newest) beer in front of the other half to quarter-finished beers, which you have already placed in a line on the bar counter. Always drink from the coldest one, unless you are drinking something like Guinness, or unless you like warm beer. The drillers will bitch and moan about this for a short time: stick to your guns and they'll settle down, and they'll continue to buy all the rounds.

Anyway, for this particular drilling party, Austin was a good 1-hour drive away from where we were actually staying, which was in Kingston Canyon - I actually have no idea where the drillers were staying, probably in some trailer out in the middle of the valley or pulled into the now defunct (gone, burned down) Frontier Station. The night was getting on - it was getting later and later. I was shooting pool at The International with two other geo-types, RL and DMC, and our expediter, BobS. My field assistant, a young woman, had disappeared - which is an entirely separate story.

The bartender and bartendress, his girlfriend, were taking care of the bar. He was a round-faced guy, possibly in his mid-thirties, a few years older than my late twenties age. The bartendress had been getting a little wild, and got up on the bar as though she was going to start a strip dance.

The bartender, who was the owner, immediately walked over to the front entrance and closed and locked the door. We were locked in! He then jumped up on the bar with his girlfriend, took off his shirt and jeans, and started dancing on the bar in his shorts. It was a strange sight. Really strange. We stared for a couple minutes, then went back to our pool game. He was dancing on the very same bar you see above. (Yikes! Although no one said yikes back in those days.) End of story (E.O.S.) - except for the long, dark drive back to Kingston Canyon.

Possibly by now, you are feeling lost in Austin. Well, don't worry - you can leave. It's not the Mojave. You don't even have to return, but you probably will.

You'll return because, after all, there are only so many places to stop on Highway 50 - for motels, for food, for beer and pool. After losing one too many pool games, or after getting your fill of beer at the bar, wander on up to the Toiyabe Cafe for dinner: burgers, shakes, steaks, and other good food. It's not Alice's Restaurant - which was in Silver Peak, by the way - so you can't get everything you want, but you can get many things, including bottomless iced tea, espresso, and thick espresso-chocolate milk shakes.

An especially good thing about the Toiyabe Cafe is that they are open for breakfast by 6:00 am, in case you want to get an early start in the morning.

UPDATE 3Feb2012: I no longer recommend stopping at the Toiyabe Cafe: diners change. Eat at The International instead. I can't, however, predict how things will be next week, next month, or next year.

Notice that the sign on the wall pointing to the beach is pointing west. That either means the beach is on the Pacific Ocean, or is an old shoreline in Lake Lahontan (or it's a beach at Lake Tahoe?). It certainly doesn't mean the nearby Reese River!


Unknown said...

Well, what happened to the field assistant?!

Silver Fox said...

Ah, and that's a story not likely to be told soon, even though it happened over two decades ago!

Maybe someday... :)