Where in the hell am I?

Stories from the road, and home, by a contract archaeologist.

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Location: Texas, United States

I work out of town a lot as a contract archaeologist. Sometimes it's interesting. It can be quite funny, although probably only to other archys. Home is Austin, with my wife and our cute kitty and all of our crazy friends.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Beer, houses and sausage

That's been the theme of this weekend, and basically of the time since I've been back in Austin. The lovely wife and I have been househunting, which is a rather stressful affair. When not out looking at houses, we're getting together stuff for the bank or looking at new listings and trying to decide how much we can pay a month and not have to eat ramen and whatever was in the dented cans.
Obviously, beer helps ease the stress. Plus it's hot and a cold Lone Star on a hot summer day in Texas is pretty close to heaven. Throw in some Red Stripe (on sale at Central market) and that's my weekend.
Being in the office means not having good archaeology stories to write about. I did go out in the field as a TxDOT "employee" for the first time. We assessed 2 bridges due to be rehabbed or replaced. The first is in Williamson County. You might not know this, but most of Williamson County east of 35 is farmland. We went to check around a bridge between Thrall and Thorndale, on a small County Road. The bridge had been built in 1915, moved to it's current location in 1920, and "upgraded" in 1930. It is eligible to be on the National Register of Historic Properties, so the bridge itself is not being replaced, just some of the timber that is attaching it to the road itself. I wish I had taken pictures. The arch I was with snapped the shovel handle in half on the second shovel test. So I dug a third shovel test with the broken shovel and we decided there was nothing there that would be impacted by the bridge rehab.
Then we went to Elgin for lunch. I've driven through Elgin before, and I've had Elgin sausages before. But I'd never had them at the source. We ate at Southside Market which is one of the two competing Elgin Sausage places (the other being Meyers ). My sausage sandwich was really good, although I think I prefer grilling my own (and I think I like Meyers a little better) and I had a hand-dipped Blue Bell Butter Pecan cone for $1.50.
After lunch, we drove to Bastrop County, outside of Paige, to check out another bridge. I don't know how old this one was, but it was definitely needing replaced. It was essentially a bunch of planks across a creek with some concrete pillars holding them up. The mailman drove across while were there and expressed his gratitude at the new bridge, as you could see the creek through the gaping holes in the old one. Since we had a broken shovel, we didn't dig any holes, but we decided that some backhoe trenches would be needed to properly survey this crossing. It was a really beautiful setting, and I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't both a prehistoric and a historic (read: white settler/early farmstead) site there. There were some out of place maple trees there for sure.
Hmmmmm, working at TxDOT I've learned that it often takes more words to say that you found nothing that something, and I think I may have absorbed that lesson a bit too well.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

the moral oughter be "bring extry shovels."


7:03 PM  

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