Top Ten Highlights from SXSW

Our first experience with SXSW is in the books. For two weeks we walked, we listened, we laughed, we drank, we ate, and we learned…so much! While attending this massive festival/conference/event is not on a lot of retiree’s bucket list, we are so glad we did it! It’s hard to describe all that we’ve experienced here in Austin, but we’ll give it a try with our top ten highlights. 

Pecan Grove RV Park

We camped at the Pecan Grove RV Park, which is the only full-hook up park near downtown Austin. It’s not new and shiny, but what it lacked in polish, it made-up for in location.

From the park, which is located just south of Lady Bird Lake, we could walk to the Austin Convention Center in about 30 minutes. We were also just a five minute walk to a SXSW shuttle location for those times we didn’t feel like walking to the festivities. From Pecan Grove we could also walk to great restaurants and music venues. Perfect location!!


SXSW is one of Austin’s biggest events and the festival definitely takes over the town. Yet, even without SXSW, it’s a super fun city. We biked on the trails around Lady Bird Lake and Steve did his daily run on the trails as well. We enjoyed watching the rowers on the lake and people playing in the parks. It seemed there was always “something” going on…

In downtown, on Rainey Street, and on South Congress there are fun bars, restaurants, and shops. And the BBQ!! We ate some form of it almost every day!

Austin has so much to offer and even though we were here for over two weeks, we still didn’t tackle everything on the list!

Music, including Nashville Songwriters Live

While there are so many parts of SXSW, it started as music festival. It was reported that over 1400 artists attended this year from all over the world. You could listen to all forms of music including rock, bluegrass, rap, latin, country, and any other genre you can imagine at venues all across the city. Our favorites were located at the Saxon Pub, which was within walking distance of the Pecan Grove RV Park. 

One night we attended an incredible event featuring three of Nashville’s Grammy award winning songwriters. Bruce Robison has written hit songs for George Strait, Liz Rose collaborated with Taylor Swift, and Lee Thomas Miller has penned hits for Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, Chris Stapleton and others. Each sang their most famous songs, and we all sung along. It was incredible to be in the presence of such greatness.

Bruce Robison, Liz Rose, and Lee Thomas Miller

Thought-provoking Sessions

Our primary goal for attending SXSW was to learn something new. Each day we attended several sessions at the convention center or at nearby hotels. We explored trends in aging, technology, and culture. Can you tell which session Steve went to and which ones I went to?

Creative Industries Expo

Every good conference has an expo and SXSW’s blow most out of the water. Since the Creative Industries Expo focuses on innovation, we saw lots of new products, prototypes, and concepts that will change our future. Represented in the expo were countries promoting their economic opportunities, startups seeking funding, and organizations representing their cause. Lots of giveaways, lots of fun!


SXSW attracts celebrities of all kinds. I attended several sessions that featured celebrities including Chelsea Handler, Jen Psaki and Mark Cuban. While we didn’t search out other celebrity sightings, we saw news that Eva Longoria, Tilda Swinton, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Keanu Reaves, and William Shatner, among others, made appearances during the festival. Movie premiers bring many of the famous folks to town. 

Full Irish Breakfast

Every day during SXSW, brands host special events to promote their products or services. We attended a number of these with the Full Irish Breakfast being our favorite. Held on St. Patrick’s Day, the Culture Ministry of Ireland sponsored this soire which featured Irish bands, Irish drinks, and Irish food.

The room was at capacity most of the afternoon, but we arrived early and grabbed a seat at the bar and next to the food. This was a perfect set up for an afternoon of debauchery. We met people from all over the world while drinking Irish coffee, Guinness, and other Irish specialties. The whole thing was free!

Cool Tech

Startups, brands, and countries all use SXSW to introduce new products and ideas. Many attend hoping to find investors and collaborators. Some of the technology that caused us to say, “wow!” included flying cars, holographic signs, and lots of virtual reality. Steve got to play with a big-rig truck, and I did a virtual knee replacement surgery using VR. 

Brand Activations

Another way that brands show up at SXSW is at events called “activations.” Basically these temporary event spaces promote the brand while entertaining SXSW attendees. For example, we visited Roku City, which immersed us in settings from Roku shows and ended with drinks and dinner.

Avocados from Mexico took over a local bar and offered guests tacos, live music, Sprinkles cupcakes, and avocado margaritas.

We attended activations from Dolby, Shell, Doritos, eMLS, White Claw, and others. Most offered at least a few free drinks along with fun stuff and information about the brand. 

Rodeo Austin and Concerts

Not part of SXSW but running at the same time as the festival, Rodeo Austin is one of the big stops on the ProRodeo tour. More than just rodeo, it includes a livestock show, carnival, and of course concerts!

We attended two performances while we were in Austin. One night we saw the rodeo, followed by a concert by Shane Smith and the Saints.

The other time we watched the cowboys followed by a show by Ryan Bingham of Yellowstone fame. Both were great opportunities to get out of the downtown area and enjoy an Austin tradition.

Would we do it again? Heck yeah! And doing SXSW with the RV was the perfect way to do it!

Fresh Condo, New Friends: Another Month in Mexico

We’ve just finished our second month in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico at the Playa Bonita RV park while waiting for our condo to be renovated. What a month it’s been!

February was punctuated by visits from dear friends. First we had a great weekend with Michelle and Owen May. The four of us have spent a lot of time together in Puerto Peñasco over the years, so we searched for new experiences this time, in honor of Owen’s birthday. We hit at least four new restaurants, Jessy’s, Grapes & Barley, La Negrita, and Ole Mole.

We played pickleball and visited Fernando at the Tequila Factory. Sunsets on the beach too!

One Saturday we met up two of Steve’s former colleagues. Cheryl and Janie are so much fun! They even invited me to join them at Sip and Paint the next evening.

We had a great visit with “The Toms,” our long-time friends and now Prescott neighbors. While we missed dear Nancy terribly, we honored her by visiting some of her favorite haunts and toasting her memory more than a few times.

Dave and Peggy Armstrong, our fun neighbors from Prescott, made a quick trip down. So far they’ve visited us three times while we’ve been RVing: Montana, Alaska, and Mexico. Despite a cool and windy weekend we had a great time showing them our favorite places. They hadn’t been to Rocky Point for 40 years so there was a lot to show off and, they even got to meet our long-time friend Betty at Regina’s Mexican Cocina.

In between visitors, we enjoyed time with new friends we met at the RV park, including one more session of Sip and Paint. Even Bob got in on some action that night!

One of the downsides of RV travel is making friends only to move on down the road. We’ll miss Ian, Bev & McDuff; Ken, Caren & Lulu; and Karen, Mike & Bo; and so many others we hung out with. Dinners out, sunset happy hours, and a lot of time standing around swapping stories!

I’ll especially miss my “boyfriend” McDuff, the most fun poodle I’ve ever gotten to play with! Sorry, Bev, for destroying so many of McDuff’s toys!

From these photos, you’d think all we did was eat while we were in Puerto Peñasco. Well, that might have been true, but in the midst of all the fun, we spent time most days at the condo, following the renovation process.

While construction was to be done before we left, it wasn’t meant to be. When we departed the tile work and painting was mostly done and final details still needed to be taken care of. We are confident (fingers crossed) that it will be done and ready for renters by next weekend! Here are a few shots from the day we left.

We had to hit the road. We’re currently headed east to Austin for 10 days of music, comedy, and learning at SXSW. If you aren’t familiar with one of the largest tech/music and more festivals on Earth, you can learn more here. We promise to post updates when we get there.

And the fun continues…

Winter Camping in Mexico

We’ve been offline for a few months, mostly staying stationery at home in Prescott to celebrate the holidays and enjoy the luxuries of “home.”  But you can only stay put for so long before the itch returns to hit the road.  Plus, the weather in Prescott has turned cold and icy, so it was time to head south! 

We are spending the next few months at the Playa Bonita RV Park, on the beach in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico. We’ve owned our condo here for 20 years, and it was time for some renovations. We’re staying in the fifth wheel while the condo is under construction and it’s been a fun new way to experience our little Mexican town. 

Playa Bonita is one of about four RV parks here in Peñasco, and it’s been here forever. Many of our fellow campers are here for months, Americans and Canadians escaping the winters up north. It’s a super fun environment, and we’re really enjoying the group bike rides, weekly “shot” bingo, and happy hour at the beach at sunset. The water man delivers a bottle to our door for $1, propane man will refill our tanks without moving, and we had our rig washed and waxed for a fraction of the cost in the US. Even the dogs are enjoying the Mexican lifestyle, with $15 haircuts at the local dog spa. 

One day Steve discovered a leak somewhere in the bowels of the trailer. He worked hard to find out where the leak originated and then we were able to hire a guy to come fix it. Problem solved!

One weekend we fully participated in Roger Clyne’s January Jam, a three day music event that features one of our favorite bands. Good food, good drink, and great music right outside our door made for a fun few days. 

Most days we head about a mile down the beach to the condo to check on the progress and to workout in the gym. It’s been good to be here to supervise the construction as it seems there is always something to decide or adjust. We’ve had to pick out countertops at the local shop, which allowed us to watch the craftsman at work. 

Overall the remodel is coming along very well, appears to be on schedule, and is looking pretty good!  Our crew has been very professional and appreciative of the daily goodies and Friday afternoon beers. Here are some pictures of the work being done and you can be sure we’ll post “after” pictures!

Of course there’s been lots of time for the beach, soaking in the sun, and enjoying the slow lifestyle that is Puerto Peñasco! We are grateful that Mitch made the trip down to visit for a few days and brought us some needed supplies from Costco.  More visitors are expected in the next month and we’re looking forward to seeing our friends!

We probably won’t have much more to report for awhile as there’s not much variation day to day – sun, fun, relax, repeat.  But rest assured, we are enjoying every minute!