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Even #46 stays at our hotel...
Nighty night, the Real Jerry

Nighty Night, Austin…

Austin in April is gorgeous- its Southern charm welcomes us with greenbelts of trees and wildflowers, while hotels tower over Lake Ladybird.

Like most metropolitan US cities, Austin has a bustling downtown with great restaurants, bars and some expensive hotels. All the downtown hotels are very central- near each other and off 6th Street. Of course, there are other towns nearby, all having fairly-priced hotels, but we wanted to make the most of our short trip and enjoy the downtown amenities.

In August (9 months prior), we reserved hotel rooms for two mid-April weekends, knowing one would have to be canceled once the racing calendar was confirmed. Unfortunately, booking through hotels.com, we were required to pay upfront for both of our reservations, even if they came with free cancellation. We managed to secure a lovely brand-name downtown hotel room for $200 per night ($800 total for Thursday through Monday). Early in 2019 we decided we wanted to arrive a day earlier and booked the Wednesday night for an additional $400. Basically, once MotoGP released their calendar, all the downtown Austin hotel rooms increased their prices to over double per night.

Nearby, there were a handful of hotels that cost half of the price. However, the many reviews I read stated that the hotels were comfortable and clean but in run-down neighborhoods. We walked through some of the surrounding areas and even coming from the Bay Area, we were surprised by the aggressive nature of the local homeless population. I’ll admit, I was glad there was a group of us, instead of just the two of us. These less expensive hotels were also about a six-block walk to the fun downtown area.

We crammed five of us into our little room, including the last-minute addition of The Real Jerry.

The hotels all boast the regular amenities; restaurants, bars and spas, but there are a few things that make these downtown hotels better than other big cities. Our hotel had a rooftop pool, which allowed us to view the gorgeous skyline at night. But our favorite part- the racers and their teams were all staying at these downtown hotels with us. Forget buying a pit pass! It’s much more fun to watch the teams load gear into their SUVs in the morning, to see Iannone sit by himself at the bar on a Saturday night before race day, or best yet, chase Rossi down for a handshake (while his team has him locked out of his vehicle). I even saw Rins looking all sleepy-eyed Monday morning, after his victorious carousing from the night before.

There is camping available at the track, and we met a group that said they were having a great time there. Parties in the evening, along with entertainment. They had rented an RV and were pleased that they weren’t tent camping, given the mud from Saturday’s rainstorm.

I will do this trip again. I’ll book it in August to secure reasonable rates, and I’ll stay downtown to enjoy the best people-watching I’ve ever experienced… MotoGP-people watching.

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