Tag Archives: Zilker

Man sells home, buys RV to take 'work from home' on the road and to Zilker Park

Author: Nabil Remadna
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — More people are renting and buying RVs than ever before, and there are no signs this trend will slow down as travel starts to pick up.

“My goal is to go to every state and national park,” said Scotty Carlisle, who was spending his Thursday afternoon working from Zilker Park out of his van.

“You don’t know what you have until you’ve lost it,” said Carlisle.

Being cooped up for months gave him time to reflect and think about what he wanted to do with his life. So, he sold most of his possessions, including his home, and bought a customized van.

“It definitely gave me a new perspective on social interactions and enjoying the outdoors and travelling and things like that,” Carlisle said.

The “RV Life” has grown very popular throughout the pandemic. Some people choosing to rent an RV, but others purchasing them.

“It is so easy, it is affordable, it is very safe,” said Jennifer Young with Outdoorsy, a company that allows people to rent RVs.

According to KOA’s 2021 North America camping report, more than 48 million U.S. households camped at least once in 2020, while the number of households that own RVs grew by 2.6 million. Now 9.6 million households across the nation own RVs.

Young says Outdoorsy has grown significantly during the pandemic with more people wanting to get out and about.

“We see a lot of people wanting to spend more time outdoors and also interestingly the way the world and this country is looking at how you work and how you live is also changing,” said Young.

For Carlisle that means working wherever he thinks is the best spot, sometimes from a beach or even the mountains.

“I am a cybersecurity systems engineer, I work full-time remote and doing it from Zilker Park is pretty nice,” Carlisle said. “I was really wanting to travel and save money and a van is the best way to do both those things.”

Renting an RV is easier than ever, especially on sites like Outdoorsy, where customers can rent an RV or put their own RV online to be rented by someone else.

Zilker train gets a new name — but it's one Austinites have seen before

Author Kate Winkle
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A bright, tie-dyed train will wind its way through Zilker Park this fall — and it’s got a name full of Austin history.

A train called the Zilker Eagle will once again cross the expanse of the downtown Austin green space, the Austin Parks Foundation announced Friday.

The train is brand new, but the name hearkens back to the very first train through the park that started running back in 1961.

The last time a train ran through the part was in 2019. In May of that year, it had to shut down after heavy rains caused erosion near the river. The previous operators, Texas Special, were working with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department to repair it, but they couldn’t reach an agreement on a new contract.

The former operators removed the old tracks in August 2020. Since then, the Austin Parks Foundation has been working on a master plan for Zilker Park and is currently in charge of operating the train.

A City of Austin contest helped name the Zilker Zephyr back in 1997. Community input also led to the naming of this new train. APF received more than 750 submissions, which it narrowed down to seven. It received more than 7,000 votes on what the train should be named.

In addition to a tie-dye coat of paint in a nod to “old Austin charm,” and keeping Austin weird, Austin Parks Foundation Chief Mission Officer Ladye Anne Wofford says the new train is a replica of old passenger trains like the Texas Eagle that ran on the Missouri Pacific Railway through Austin in the 1940s and 1950s.

“Our hope is that this new train is going to bridge that gap between Austin’s history and Austin’s very bright future,” she said.

The new train is all-electric and will be ADA accessible, Wofford said. APF is also working on ADA improvements to the park itself as part of its master plan.

Wofford added once it begins running again, the goal is for the family-friendly attraction to be affordable. Proceeds from the train rides will go back to maintaining Zilker Park.