How to get around: Denton to Austin TX

I’ve done enough traveling to know a few more things about how to get from 1 place to another. I also realized that some of these journeys may happen again so now I have a place to go where all the research is done. Every trip depends on how much time you have so go slow or fast, enjoy the ride!

One of the 1st pages I use is this one which breaks down the travel riding options such as air bus train even ferry if available. This page located a couple of amazing boat rides on some trips and its always fun to add a new travel method. A search reveals that its bus or train only. Sure flights are an option but not one for under 100$. Now is where you have to ask yourself how in a hurry are you? The 1 truth I learned on a long trip is that it is cheaper if you fit yourself around their schedule.

A big thing is to consider arrival or departure times. Buses run 24 hrs a day and if you want to save even more, you can catch a night bus and wake up at your destination. Always be sure to check the itineraries before you book because there is 1 bus company that likes to make passengers change buses at 2 am. You do not want to do this if you can find a more direct option.

So the train is first option to ATX, only 2 per day and it takes 2x as long as car or bus plus it costs more. Another random thing you learn about buses is that they have assigned stops at certain gas stations or other non marked stops. Just type in whatever city you are really in and they just may have a stop at a station. This is the case with Denton there is a stop at a station just off the highway. This stop connects you to the big Dallas hub where you can go pretty much anywhere in the US. This way is a bit more vs public transportation but it will be faster. Bonus is should this bus be late you can go right to their counter to get remedy.

Greyhound and Megabus are your options. Greyhound has a pick up station in Denton or you can Dart to Greyhound’s hub in downtown Dallas. This is the option I recommend. When you get to the station you need to look for one of the buses to Mexico, as that is the final stop and the name of the bus. Just underneath the final stop are the cities it stops at in-between. Take the express non-stop bus, several times per day and takes 3 hours. You get a electrical plug at every seat, mine worked. So nap read watch a movies or do what you want and you are soon dropped in Austin.

3 hours is not bad even in a car. I had no stops on my trip. I caught some shut eye. I haven’t taken Austins buses yet but I am sure I  will. Keep on reading for more info when that ride happens.

 

 

 

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SXSW Riot

2003 SXSW- The Oxbow Incident

I rode down to Austin from Denton with my five friends; they call themselves, when they are together with musical instruments, Shaolin Death Squad. They had an early afternoon show at SXSW. They needed help carrying instruments and other such activities. I was just the man for the job. After ending their afternoon show, the fellas packed it up and headed to a friend’s house. He agreed to put us all up (8 people in total), much to my surprise. We walked about a half mile to the closest bus stop. One cool thing about Austin is the buses run well into the night, especially during SXSW. We had no intention of being able to drive anywhere after the nights activities. It’s what you do at the showcases: drink and watch bands.

On the bus we encountered a man about town, though some may call him a bum, but for sure he was no stranger to malt liquor. He had an unopened bottle stashed away in his pocket. He asked us all sorts of questions in a very loud voice for all to hear: “Were we a band? What kind of music do you play? Did we know this one song that went like…?”  Oh yes he did attempt to sing us the song in his head, be it a real song or one he made up. I’m pretty sure he had a harmonica. In Austin, even the bums are musicians.

We were quick to lose our bus friend and walk on to 6th street. Few places compare to such nighttime diversions. Rock clubs, jazz clubs, dance clubs, comedy clubs, all can be found on a 5 block radius. Thousands of people descend upon the city so the streets were packed. We had dinner somewhere. I think this was the night I had a burger and watched a bad ass kung fu movie; it didn’t need words, you got the story on images. I think it was called, “Lone Bear and Cub.” We had been drinking pretty heavily by this point. We heard House Harkonnen had a showcase at this place off Red River. We loitered around the door while we tried to reach our contact. Soon after what seemed like an hour, they appeared to wave us through: we were on the list.

This place was very large, cavernous venue. You didn’t notice how big it was from the street. I would bet it was a full block deep. We walked through the club, passing bars and a stage. Soon, through a door in the back, it opened up into a larger, outdoor venue. There were bars all around with walkways leading down to the stage. I cracked open another beer; the place was packed. A Japanese band was finishing up their set and they were all impossibly thin, the drummer stood on his drum kit and pounded his over sized gong to create an amazing hum. They were Boris.

We didn’t hear their name. but they came out very unassumingly around 1AM. A thin guitar player dressed all in black, a very skinny bassist that looked like a jazz cat what with long, stringy hair, and the drummer looked like he was more inclined to play Jimmy Buffet tunes in his shorts, polo shirt and short cropped hair. Then the singer strode out. He stood over six feet tall, wearing all white, ears taped up like a street fighter. His hair stood up on end about five inches into the air and resembled a birds’ nest; he was the biggest, meanest, toughest, dude I have ever seen. He said and sang nothing, he just stood there, head nodding to the music…then he screamed a banshee wail that got everyone’s attention. He screamed, sang, rapped, and crooned depending on what emotion the song needed. I turned to my friend, Matt, who also turned to me, “WTF was this? Who are these guys? We need to get the others.” A few texts and the rest of the fellas came out to the see the spectacle unfold.

They continued playing very angular, dense staccato music; a pit broke out, not as violent as I have seen in the past, more like a blender on puree: bodies moving together in a tight circle, a few people crowd surfing. With each song, the singer unbuttoned his shirt and/or pants. After a couple songs, he was shirtless and completely menacing: large pentagram tattoos emblazoned on both collarbones, lightning bolts down the backs of both forearms. He stalked the stage back and forth, staring down everyone in the audience, throwing daggers with his eyes. I was stationed a good 30 feet or so from the stage and I was concerned. The air was electric, full of ozone or some sort of unexplainable energy. Everyone could feel the tension build with each song. All I heard between songs was, “Who are these guys?” Finally, I went up to the stage but I couldn’t tell which sign to read for that evening’s line up. While I was close to the stage, I stopped for a moment and watched the singer who was now wearing a just a black wife beater and had his pants unbuttoned. He looked my way and I felt a tingle up and down my back. I knew this was not a guy who you wanted to piss off. Like a wild animal, you are never to glare directly at their eyes as it’s a sign of aggression, so was this moment. I got out of there before his pants dropped.

It took about the length of one of their slower songs for him to wiggle his way out of his pants to reveal black, Speedo style underwear They start the next song, I see movement on the side of the stage, the pit intensifies. The singer continues, turning not to the crowd, but to the side of the stage as walks over. He stops, glares at someone and then walks back to the middle of the stage. He starts dancing like he is taking a shower, his large hands spreading sweat all over his body, stopping, obviously, on his crotch several times. To say he had a snake in his pants would have been accurate statement; he definitely looked like he was wearing a jockstrap and cup under them Speedos, but he turned around and we saw his crack.

Suddenly, the music stopped; everyone continued playing for a moment, but no sound came from the stage. The guitarist threw his instrument to the ground and stormed off the stage. The singer continued the song, screaming at full volume and yes, I could hear him all the way in the back! A couple brave roadies or club personnel appeared on stage, they motioned with their hands across their throats from left to right; kill it, no more electricity. Someone tried, for unknown reasons, to stop the drummer by pulling him off his kit. He could still reach his drums and his arms flailed hitting cymbals, drums, and people, whatever he could reach. The guitarist and bassist returned with drum sticks and started hitting cymbals as hard has they could. The singer was held back by at least 3-4 people and there is no amount of money, no job that would mean enough for me to volunteer for such a task.

There soon began a commotion to the left of the stage. It looked like some asshat was throwing bottles at another fan or the stage. For sure, a fight broke out. It wasn’t clear who was involved, fans or venue personnel, but it soon escalated. It looked like a scene from a movie: people were throwing whatever they could lay their hands on at the stage or at the staff. The stage hands pushed back; someone was tossed back into the crowd. After several tense minutes of people running in all directions into and out of fights, from behind us rushed more staff, they slammed the doors shut behind them and brandished flashlights, “Everyone leaves now! Out the back door, move!”

We lingered a moment longer watching what appeared to be a full on riot as people ran away from the stage to the back door. Others ran to help fallen or injured fans. It was like nothing I have ever seen before or since. We fast walked to the only way out. We walked across the street from this exit to watch people file out. What had happened? Why did they cut the power and end the show?

This has been my only encounter with the band Oxbow.

SXSW 2011

Thursday= Si n Jeremy Black picked me up around 1230, arrived to Austin round 430ish. Whilst waiting to cross the street, turned to find guy w fuzzy wolf man helmet/mask thing on. It was more than just a mask, full on furry mascot style helmet; I don’t know what you really call those. Drank at bar until 7ish, and then walked to Scoot Inn for hip-hop show. Talib Kwali was playing but at 1. This means 5 hrs of sitting through hype guys. Hip-hop shows are much more efficient than rock shows so they stay on schedule. Plus you can have twice as many bands since there isn’t any set up time. Didn’t make it to see Talib, drank too much too fast and couldn’t keep it together.

Friday= Arrived @ Red7 prior to noon start only to wait until 1230ish to actually get in. They were still setting up or something. We judged our progress via the bike we where next to. “We made it passed the back tire guys!” There was puke all over bike so that was something. Went originally to check out Flatliners and Gamblers but I discovered iwreastledabearonce was playing. I skipped the Gamblers to witness the WTF faces of the goth/emo/new rock fans. Also the singer is pretty hot but can scream/sing better than most other front men. They were awesome! Scored a t-shirt, v-neck style. Motionless in White were most intriguing band but only cos they were all maybe 20 w full tattoo sleeves. Singer had full neck work too. Lots of keyboards n band members all day. Every band had 6-7 members. Flatliners n Bane where pretty cool.

Headed to Stubb’s for real meal. Not so impressed w pork, it was busy sxsw so maybe they were struggling. I’m starting to think bbq joints are really more about the side options. And sauce.

Again headed to Scoot Inn for Fat Wreck Chords showcase w Flatliners and Screeching Weasel. I was not feeling well having had beer all day again. Just waited it out and watched from the back. A NYC hair band was best thing to mention. It was like 30 years never happened. Teased hair, ripped jeans, leather, scarves, looked like Poison.  We did run into Wiebe from Gamblers who said hi to everyone. I do like Gamblers, they do Denton proud but they belong to Austin now.

Flatliners got me going, they are Canadian and it had been long enough to start drinking again. Got up front for their set then it was Weasel time. Ben was in a pissy mood which I get, it may just be his thing. He railed against corp rock, festivals, venue, everyone. I’d say their show was equal parts rants n music. I hear where green day and nofx may have got their sound though. Eventually he had to actually do something besides talk so he threatened to beat up a guy if they copped to throwing beer/ice at him. He eventually learned it was a girl to which he said, ‘whatever, I don’t care anymore…’ and jumped into the crowd swinging. Not sure if he landed a punch but he did also shove a woman onstage. Go home bro.

Went to outside food court thing and saw Michael Cera. Si tried to get a pic but was turned away. Dude was eating after all. Met up w James Sarah n Audrey. James demanded Iron Maiden on the juke box, I watched Zombieland! Nice ride home from Hampy in back of his truck. I know why people have motorcycles; wind in your face is great.

Saturday- Got up and headed to Arandas for lunch. Got serenaded just like at Lupita’s here. Must be a thing where you know you are a good Mexican joint. Headed to check out Jeremy’s show at DIY venue. This was actually a junkyard of sorts. The first band was prob most inspiring ever: bassist vocalist in wheelchair, guitarist played w stub hand. There are no limits, you want to play music, you can do it. Guitarist was playing leads n everything! WOW

Headed over to Carousel Lounge for DFI showcase. Turns out we passed by Govalle on the way. Ah 3rd grade memories. This was a bit of an odd venue, very old school. All cash, beer only, but you can bring in liquor BUT you have to buy a set up aka mixer. Well I’m sure there’s a sign, handwritten no doubt, that has all these details which I missed. Anywho I brought in a mixer n liquor only to have the mixer taken from me. They prob should have kicked me out but clearly they don’t care as well as have little interaction w the police. Safe to say we weren’t the only ones outside drinking in this neighborhood.

Alas I didn’t read the sign: no mixers. They took my ginger ale which was laden w beam. I bought a couple beers to make up for it. I realized that they gotta make money too somehow. Also they put on the showcase so that’s pretty cool of them and cool things need to be reciprocated. Opposite Day rocked it pretty good as they always do. They had help on “Safety First,” from the singer of the Better Death. I tell you I missed this song initially but it’s an ear worm. I had it in my head for awhile that is for sure.

Shaolin rocked it but just before they got on stage, some ladies started doing each other’s hair. Now I’m a guy and I don’t usually hang around salons so having rarely seen this I was intrigued. Apparently I was buzzed to the point that perhaps I wasn’t merely glancing so much as staring we will say. Either way I was called out for being a judger. I tell you want I wasn’t judging anything, in fact no one really wants to know what I was thinking so I’ll just say I found their hairstyling very sexxy, yes two xx’s! It’s probably due to the fact that one of my favorite thing to do w the ladies is run my fingers through their long hair. Yeah long hair ladies always a good choice.

After the show we headed out to check out Dead Milkmen. It was a free show and who doesn’t like “punk rock girl,” I say. We arrived to a very long line…to a free event y’all! I suppose they did have to control the underage but it seemed silly to wait in line considering there was an easily scaled fence between fans and the band. Several people just hoped over. One guy hung on to a tree and of course it was right over this pipe and I tell you all I could think about was the fall and impalement. It didn’t happen, someone pulled him down and pointed it out but for a few moments, that branch didn’t look like it would hold him. The milkmen played awhile, lots of stage divers. The singer enjoyed ranting about random things but he did have positive things to say about SXSW and Odd Future.

We made it back down to around the SXSW area, sort of close to Scoot Inn, that side, making sure we stayed away from I-35. We hoofed it to some tiny downstairs bar that wasn’t officially open yet. It was another punk showcase so get ready to sweat. First up was a band I’d heard of and wanted to check out, Mind Spiders. It was one or two of the guys from Marked Men but was supposed to be better and they were really good. A 3 guitar punk band is quite a sight and so I hasten to even call them a punk band, they were just full on direct, powerful rock. I liked them and want to check them out again. Next up was another great punk band I’d seen before, Bad Sports. They are young and full of great songs and attitude! Definitely enjoy seeing them. After them was a collective w members of the two bands that just played w the singer from Riverboat Gamblers. They also had 3 guitars I believe. They are also loud and good but I think I liked Mind Spiders more. Who am I really kidding, I liked them all and they need to be seen live. That’s the thing about punk or these sorts of bands; they have a hard time translating things onto a record. Even if they record it live, you don’t get the full sweat, pushing each other to get a better view, ear ringing that is necessary to properly enjoy this style.

We ran into a guy from Peelander Z who handed us a flyer. They were playing a show down the street. They are super crazy and always a good show. We stopped for some ok pizza beforehand. I didn’t realize it at the time but there was a cover for the show. Si asked the door guy and he told us to go to the side and we’d see them. Little did he know they would just let us in. Maybe it was the band entrance or something but it was cool.

I headed up stairs which turned out to be a good/bad decision. They had food up top and I saw some guy sitting at a table by himself. I said hey and he said he was about to take down this 9 lb burrito. It was a 35 buck challenge if he failed! I for one don’t think it’s possible for a human to eat that much food but this dude looked like he could or had eaten that much. Out came this large plate w equally large burrito. He dug in w gusto at first then slowed. He had a lot of people taking photos and asking him questions. One girl kept leaning in to talk to him as the band playing was pretty loud. I’m not sure if she fell or was pushed but she ended up on his burrito, covered in sour cream n cheese on her arm and side. No way this dude wants to eat it now but he kept spooning it in. he stopped for a while and said he was going to take a break and come back.

This is where the story turns my friends. At first some girl spies the burrito and spoon and shimmies over. Hesitantly she picks up the spoon and tries to just plop it into a napkin or something. Eventually she just stopped trying and began shoveling bite after bite w the same spoon that was just used on a burrito that a girl fell into. After several spoonfuls forks appeared and people started tearing into this thing w reckless abandon. It got down to the end and some dude palmed some bites. I was so let down by people at this moment but you figure that is really what happens in nature: free food free for all!

One of the first things I noticed when I arrived upstairs was the amount of freely smoking of grass by a table. No one really said or did anything and they kept passing around a pipe. I angled for a view of the stage but the people were 2 deep and tall.  I turned around I noticed people at another table smoking too. I decided to just wait it out maybe they would offer. Si motioned for me as he had a beverage so as I retrieved it I saw something I hadn’t seen since Amsterdam: a dude pulled out a bag of grass, pulled buds from it and broke it up on a table for all to see. Wow this was Austin TX. I was about halfway through my bev when I saw the guitarist pulling himself up on the stairs, he has crowd walked and made it up to the 2nd story! Peelander z is an outrageous good time and I fully encourage everyone to check them out.