Yesterday evening, or morning depending on where you are in the world, we left you safe in the knowledge that Anthony was just about to take Birthday Princess Kat out for a celebratory dinner at Uchi, a very chic restaurant aptly located in a refurbished old Austonian home… the Japanese word “Uchi” means house. Tyson Cole, the sushi master and executive chef, is a true genius whose preference to use a magic wand rather than the traditional Yanagiba became clear when our waiter presented us with what could only be described as “the best sushi ever… EVER”. Luxuriating in this culinary paradise, we gorged ourselves stupid and, to make sure each and every flavour and texture was savoured, we washed it all down with a bottle of the finest Sake… and of course followed it up with a divine dessert!
Needless to say, we had a late start this morning! With plenty of things to do but still not ready to let go of yesterday’s monumental celebrations, we chilled out for most of the morning recovering from last night’s eating extravaganza. Eventually removing ourselves from the comfort of bed, we set about our rest-day traditions of doing Laundry and stocking up with biking essentials. Speaking of traditions… did you know that according to German tradition, if the sun comes out on Candlemas (that’s today) the hedgehog or badger will see its shadow and six more weeks of winter will follow. When German settlers came to Pennsylvania they continued this tradition, using groundhogs instead of hedgehogs to predict the weather. The first official Groundhog Day was celebrated on February 2, 1886 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The legendary first Groundhog Day trip to Gobbler's Knob was made the following year by a group of spirited groundhog hunters who dubbed themselves "The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club”… pause… paaaaussse… pause… holy mother of Mary, who thought of the name “GOBBLERS KNOB?” Maybe it was the same people who thought of naming a place in Colorado, “CRIPPLE CREEK” (yes, we’ve been watching a bit of the pre-winter Olympics activity on the TV).
So, after our wonderful break at the Driskill Hotel (the crown jewel of Austin, built in 1886), we are back on the road tomorrow to complete another 200-mile stint until our next rest day. Oh, and the small matter of climbing up to 2,500ft. And we’ll be waiting with baited to breath to see what this year’s Groundhog has to tell us.