Riding Segways in Austin

A different Thanksgiving story. No turkeys or large family gatherings but riding seqways in Austin, Texas. This is from “Notes To My Kids: Little Stories About My Grown Up Kids”.

To Roger and Jane:

One of the favorite things we ever did was ride the Segways in Austin the Thanksgiving I was working there on the Carlton-Bates project. I do not remember how I came up with the idea to do that, but I wanted to do something other than just walk inside of the capitol’s dome downtown or go have nachos at the Oasis on Lake Travis with you. So we rode the Segways, and it was a fun time indeed.

Over the years, I had seen the Segway “vehicle” on TV, but I had never seen or rode one. I remember talking to the place in Austin that gave the Segway tours of downtown and asking questions about them. I asked if they were easy to ride, how hard it was to balance them, and if teenagers like you would enjoy the ride. Since the answers I got were acceptable, I made our reservations for the tour.

That Thanksgiving was a bit hectic if you remember. I came home to Fort Worth, and it was my turn to have everyone over, so I was busy getting the smoker ready for the turkey and the ham. We had everyone over and you two spent the night. We got up the day after Thanksgiving and drove to Austin and left our stuff at the extended stay place I stayed at. The next stop was downtown and the Segways.

We parked on the street, and we walked into the shop and gazed at the odd-looking devices, which looked like an old fashioned pogo stick with two large wheels on the bottom. We checked in and got trained on how to run them. Then we departed for our short tour of downtown Austin that cool and cloudy day.

We started down the street in a line; there were around eight of us in total and a guide. We quickly got used to driving them and how they steered. It really became a very easy and natural thing to do, like riding a bike or driving a car. None of us wrecked or hit something, which was good.

Over the next couple of hours, we road down by the Colorado River and the streets of the southern part of downtown and went by the State capitol building. We snaked up and down the little hills and wound our way back to the starting point where we reluctantly parked our two-wheeled steeds.

After our ride, we ate lunch at the Texas Chili Parlor, which unfortunately was not so good, and toured the inside of the capitol. Of course, we went to a store by UT to look at T-shirts and saw the football stadium too. It was a fun day in more than one way, one grey and cold but filled with the warmth generated by the fire of being together and having a good time.

And so it was that day and weekend. On Sunday, I drove you to Austin’s Bergstrom airport to fly back to Love Field, home, and your waiting schoolwork. On Monday, I went back to work there in Austin.

That was one of the most fun weekends I had with you two after you were grown. Riding the Segways was a segue in life because I started to realize more and more that you both were no longer little kids. In that way, driving the Segways that day was like driving down a new road in the way I saw you two: a new highway of our lives that we were driving down, still together, even today.


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