City: Austin, TX
Distance travelled: 319 miles
Total distance: 10,112 miles
Theatre: Long Centre for Performing Arts
I had a feeling that Austin would turn out like it did. Everything I had heard about the town being a fun place to hang out and the fact that a bunch of us knew people in town set things up for success. We were not disappointed. Our hotel was located a little way out of town on the banks of Lady Bird Lake. The weather was good enough to run outside for a change and there were loads of places nearby to eat and drink
Vince Hanneman began building the Cathedral in 1988 and has continued to add to it over the years. It is constructed of anything he can lay his hands on from car tyres to old bottles and TVs. I was lucky enough to visit on a morning when there were no other visitors so I got the place to myself for an hour before anyone else showed up. This gave me time to look around and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and to talk with Vince. You can read more about it on the separate blog I have posted here.
I also got to visit a couple of interesting local music related manufacturers in Austin. The first one I went to was Calton Cases. I had recently had a Calton Case custom made for my guitar but they had forgotten to engrave the plate on the case with my name so they said I could swing by and get it attached. It just so happened that on the previous flight we had been on, I had checked my guitar and the case had got damaged so they very kindly patched up the damaged section for me!
Chris Porter we very welcoming. He showed me round the facility and I got to see the cases right from the moulding process all the way through to the finished product. They are 100% hand made and great care is taken over everyone. It was so interesting to see how they make up templates for the different size guitars and use those to precisely make the inside of the case so it fits tight and it certainly made me proud to have bought a case from a company where people care so much about what they are making. I was glad to be able to get the guys some tickets for the show as well!
The other interesting musical stop during my Austin visit was the Collings guitar factory. My good friend, Phil, in London has a Collings guitar so I have often played one over the years and they are among the finest guitars you can buy. Check out the post about that experience.
We left our hotel to head to the airport and our flight to Fort Myers at 4am. It was not pleasant. Most of us had not actually been to bed for more than a couple of hours if at all. Thanks Austin!