Scotty’s Magical Bike Rides pt. 6

Friday May 14th. Stop # 6. 4000 Jefferson St. ATX 78731

     Since Jefferson is on the west side, Google routed me almost all the way there using the hike and bike trail. Today was definitely the most usage I’ve ever made of Austin’s hiking bike trails during my entire career here (since 1980, yo) in tha ATX. Been a while since my last serious ride so I had to fill up the tires at the gas station at Kinney and Barton Springs on my way out of the neighborhood. It was really hard to find the actual entrance to the trail. Google said it was between Ski Shores and Juliet’s off Barton Springs, but you gotta go way back to find it. It was fascinating spending so much time on the trail, all the way from Barton Springs all the way up to almost 38th St. So many bridges to go under, each with some form of homeless encampment…one of them, it was almost like I was riding through this guy’s living room…he had the stereo on, I could see his sink and dishes…We have space for everyone. No one should have to be unhoused. Can you say social safety net? I knew you could.

     I’m pretty out of shape right now, not having ridden in a while…had to walk the bike up the steep trail in Pease Park…then suddenly…well, this is great! The trail is closed at 26th and Lamar in the middle of the park and now I don’t know where to go! Finally had to portage the bike across the stream there at a shallow water rock strewn crossing.

     Jefferson Street. OMG. Seems like a lifetime away, and I guess it kinda is. I was pretty deep at this point into my second really serious relationship. This one was with Betti Powell, such a sweet girl and remarkable bisexual speedfreeak woman…oh dear, my sweet Betti. After our household on 30th St. had kinda broken up, for reasons I forget, I decided it would be a good idea to move in with my very good buddy Leigh Newsom and his friend Ray Kordsiemon at this house they were gonna rent at 4000 Jefferson. Weirdest thing about the neighborhood is that right across Jefferson from us, there HAD been a whole street full of houses right on Shoal Creek, but they had all been washed away by the floods back in the early 80s. A few ghostly foundational remnants could still be seen back when we lived here – I couldn’t spot any today. There was, however, a lovely picnic table where I was able to rest and read for a while, and a chimney swift nesting structure.

     I note that they still have the same original crank-style dormer windows the house had when we were there in the 80s. I wonder if the bedroom where Leigh slept still floods every time it rains? Some things never change! It was NOT painted light purple when we were there, it was whitish, a bit stucco-y:

nice van!

     I spent so much time at Betti’s during this period that I was tempted to list her house at 43rd and Ave. G as one of my residences, but I was never on the lease or anything soooo…….

     Got fired for showing up at my job during this period at Sound Warehouse at 49th and Burnet wearing her clothes too often, as I’d spend the night at her house and go straight to work, having failed to bring a change of clothes….

     Working there will be forever imprinted on my mind as we all watched the Challenger disaster on, like, 50 different TVs back in the hardware department of Sound Warehouse live as it happened on 1/28/1986…

     The ride home was trouble free. Directly off the trail I got an interesting view of the so called Jenga Tower (otherwise known as The Independent condos):

Scotty’s Magical Bike Rides pt. 5

Stop 5. 407 W. 30th St. ATX 78705. Mon. Feb. 22.

This was really a great place to live in 1985-1986. The Beach (now the Crown and Anchor pub) club was in full swing, and not only did my band at the time the Elegant Doormats get to play shows there, but there was a steady stream of amazing music being booked there constantly. I wish I had kept some kinda list, but of the shows I remember seeing…Scratch Acid. Hickoids, Texas Instruments, Butthole Surfers, Criminal Crew (who made fun of us because we had keyboards), Zeitgeist, Glass Eye, Daniel Johnston…ad infinitum. You could literally crawl to my house from there. My roomies Tom Goodwin and Steve Chiles were pretty cool, both contributed to Doormat recordings, and we even did some live stuff in semi-trenchcoat disgiiuse as The Men In Coats. One of the more remarkable things going on there was that we were Shock-Headed Peter’s practice space. Tom played synth and vox in this short lived band that included David Sims on bass, Bill Anderson on guitar, Cindy Brodt on vocals….and who was it on drums? I forget. Rich Malley? I was in awe of Scratch Acid, so having Sims playing in my living room…whoa. I was both afraid of and had a crush on Cindy at the same time, and Bill played in Poison 13, kinda the lords of the scene around then. I think they have a track on a compilation…oh yeah, they changed their name to Shockhead and their track is on the “Bands On The Block” comp.

Incongruously, I was working at a rattan furniture outlet delivering the goods during this time. Having failed to find a job in journalism in Austin and not wanting to leave…whatcha gonna do? I wrote for Cretin Bull, I wrote a bit for the Chron and the Texan, co-founded a literary magazine called Fatalist Monthly….tried to keep my hand in it, ya know… It was a pretty shitty job, and I was pretty bad at it, so my coworker/van driver Joe Wilwerding referred to me as “Worthless”, which is such a great nickmane that Wendy and I have started using it for Malcom Reed on “Star Trek: Enterprise” ‘cuz he can’t seem to do anything right. Regardless, I was Joe’s weed connection, so he was forced to keep me on. We took many long detours to various destinations, always using Loop 360 because there were never any cops on it and we could smog out to our hearts’ content. Our boss Donnie always wondered what took us so long.

The house looks surprisingly similar to when we lived there, though you can tell it’s been gutted and remodelled, and it now has a separate door to what was my room…damn, that woulda come in handy.

This was the most eventful bike ride yet. Of course I had to stop at the Crown and Anchor for a beer on the way back, and then riding through UT campus down what used to be Speedway I hear someone calling my name! Holy cow, it’s Reed Caylor, who I’ve known since…oh wow, the house on Jeffersom right after this one, 86-87!! He had been swimming at the UT swim center and was on his way home to his domicile ooff of 35th. It was nice to chat…how many years has it been since I ran into someone randomly, both of us on bikes? God knows. Then, right after I crossed the river, I stopped at the bathrooms on Auditoriun Shores to pee, and I made the supreme mistake of attempting to adjust the bike seat’s height cuz it was riding too low. Holy fuck, the whole thing basically fell apart in my hands, and the bike seat was now so low that trying to ride it was comical. I was so low on the bike it was like I was a circus clown, my knees practically brushing my chin. Needless to say I had to walk the bike a considerable part of the way home. Luckily Mellow Johnny’s was able to put a new post on the seat for a very low price while I waited, but of course it took lazy me weeks to get this simple task accomplished, putting the kibosh on the bike riding for a while.

Scotty’s Magical Bike Rides part 4

After I graduated from UT Austin, the last place I wanted to go was back to Houston. As Carlton Crutcher has put it, Austin was “Shangri-La On the Colorado”, and I had no desire to leave. I had gone back to HTX briefly in the summer of my freshman and junior years, but finally I decided to stay in ATX. So for the glorious summer of 1984, I inhabited this wonderful two story apartment next to the post office at 43rd and Speedway. I think it was called Act 5 or something when I lived there – it has a different name now.

I loved the apartment. Living room and kitchen downstairs, bedrroom and bathroom upstairs. I had amorous dalliances with several amazing women that summer, and enjoyed myself very thoroughly. I hated to leave, but somebody else had already reserved the place for the fall, so I accepted an offer from my friends Tom Goodwin and Steve Chiles to move in with them at their house on 30th St. behind the Beach club in the fall of 85.

Cheated a little on this one as I had a package to mail, so it was a purposeful ride. Lovely weather for a January in Austin, especially considering what was to come in February, but that’s another story. These apartments were painted red when I lived there and were not as nice-looking as they are now. I was in one of the two apartments pictured behine me. Not sure which one. I was only there for three months, so it’s hard to remember. It was a good ride and the bike performed well.

Are You Ready For Scotty’s Magical Bike Ride, Part Threeeee? No, of course you aren’t.

Stop Three. 302 W. 38th St. #117, ATX 78705. Monday 1/4/2021.

Used to be called the Le Marquee Apartments when I lived here. They’re called something else now, es non importante. Still as unsecured as when I left, so was able to walk right up to my old front door, which is a first. There’s all the mailboxes behind me – was always a bit of a pain to have the mail traffic, squeaking and noises right outside the breakfast nook/kitchen area, but not too bad.

LE MONKEY!!!

Managed to stay there two years, another first. Junior year at UT with roomie Bob Bechtol, senior year with roomie John Svatek, god rest his crazy Czech soul. Liked it pretty well, close to the Speedway buses, calm but OK with my stereo – etc. Many formative events of my life occurred here. I could go on for hours. But I won’t.

However, in this entry, I’d like to stress how pretty much everybody in the world except you, dear reader, is kinda a douche. Once again, the bike did pretty well on this trip but no fewer than 3 different cars decided they had to fuck with me on this ride. One CARAMEL FILLED JACKMOUTH in a PICKUP TRUCK DECIDED he needed to YELL “SIDEWALKS”! at me, even though…yeah, you know it, go ahead and say it…bikes aren’t supposed to ride on the sidewalk. Some other fucker on Oltorf decided they HAD to honk at me three times, and then somewhere downtown somebody decided that in the great scheme of things, they really needed to call me “STUPID!”. Now, granted, I may not be the best biker rider in the world, but is all this really necessary? I realize I was doing a LOT of harm by bicycling, like, a whole real lot of harm. A lot.

Scotty’s Magical Bike Rides, Part Two

Stop two. 2104 S. Pleasant Valley #104. Thursday Nov. 19th 2020. Used to be called the Carriage House Apts. when I lived here from September 1981 to June 1982, but now it’s part of the vast complex known as the Metropolis Apts. The complex is now security gated (it wasn’t when I lived there) so I couldn’t get in, but the building in the photo behind me is where we wwere. I can’t even remember exactly how I met James Canchola, my roommate at this spot, but he was a cool dude, a pretty good guitar player, and the man who introduced me to proper Mexican food (or at least proper Tex-Mex) by taking me to have lunch at Jorge’s Uptown Enchilada Bar several times. I had never tasted carne guisada or had a chalupa or a margarita before! Upstate New York boy and alla that. He was a bit of a stoner though (pot kettle black) and he was supposed to have the apartment ready for us in August, but failed, so when I got there in mid-August, we ended up staying for 2 or 3 weeks at his cousin(?) Roger’s house out by Oak Hill/Sunset Valley, which may as well have been the moon, as neither of us had a car and that was super remote from Austin proper back in those days. That spot should actually count as one of my Austin domiciles, but I asked James where it was exactly and I don’t think he remembers either. I’m pretty sure we got to go downtown at least once, and I think that was when I saw Steppenwolf. Born to be wild, baby!

Other things I remember from staying way out in the Riverside area student ghetto: riding the UT shuttle all the time; regularly going to Whip In #2 for cold Ringnes beer and whippets; and the fact that James played only two records from my collection – he played “Best-Dressed Chicken in Town” by Dr. Alimantado CONSTANTLY, and also played my Virgin Front Line reggae sampler pretty regularly. I have both of those records pretty well memorized to this day.

Hardest bike trip yet, that blistering Oltorf hill by 888…damn! I’m riding Wendy’s bike for this, a lovely Marin mountain-type bike, and so far it has been performing admirably. I can’t say the same for my aging physique. At least I’m finally learning how to work the gears on it properly.

Scotty’s Magical Bike Rides, part one

So I decided, in a desperate attempt to:

a) get some exercise

b) have another creative project to work on during the pandemic and

c) wax nostalgic about the ridiculously long time I have lived in Austin

– – – ride my bike from my current abode in South Austin to all of the 17 different places I have lived in the ATX. I’ll post a few of them every now and then as I get inspired. I really don’t ever take selfies, but I decided to do one after I reached each destination.

Stop One. Jester East dormitory. Monday 10/19/2020. Now that I think about it, almost exactly a year after we (my education) were out recording at Sonic Ranch. I have a lot of very vivid memories of Jester East, definitely the poor red-headed stepchild of Jester West. HAS ITS OWN ZIP CODE! Etc. Our room looked right out over the athlete’s cafeteria, which smelled like it had much better food than ours, and there were many rumors of the fantastic all you can eat steak and shrimp dinners they had in there…

Of course they wouldn’t let me in there anywhere near rm. 316, the abode of myself and Jim Sweeney for the 1980-81 school year. Unsurprisingly. So I had to settle for this pic right outside the entrance to East. So many memories there. Ask me about the bedbugs and the closet pot farm.

Bike did pretty well. Out of shape me had to walk up a few hills on the way back.