Thursday, August 30, 2012

Day 10: Austin, TX to Deming, NM

Day 10, Tuesday: Austin, TX to Deming, NM
KM start: 158,398 Km
Trip Meter: 1,941 km
Time Driven: 7:00am - 5:00pm (6 hours - change one hour time zone)

Sadly it was time to leave Austin and Paul's Mom. We needed to make good time to cover a lot of ground on the way to Phoenix the next day. We were planning to stay in Deming, New Mexico on our way. 

We were partway into our 13 disc audio book by Jan Karon and basically we listened to the book for the entire 11 hours. This is a great spark for conversation - often something in the story would trigger our minds and we'd pause on the book and chat about the issue or topic for a while.

Since we started in Texas we got to enjoy some great Texas scenery for about half the trip. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Day 9 - Final Austin Day

Monday was our final full day in Austin. We wanted to make the best of it, so obviously we headed to Taco Deli for breakfast. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Day 8 - Austin

Day 8, Sunday: Austin
No Driving but 5 hours of boating!

Sunday was a day I had dreamt about for ages. Paul said that the last time he'd been in Texas they'd spent a day floating down the river in tubes. I could not wait! And finally the day arrived! We got up bright and early at 7 so we could be on the road by 8 with sandwiches made and food and drink in our floating cooler. We joined up with Nancy's friends Pat and Pat (married couple - Patrick and Patricia). When we got to the river we could see that the vegetation was higher than normal so we rented canoes instead of floating, but it was still an ideal day. 

And because it was so ideal I have hardly any pictures to show for it, but the river looked just like the river in Tennessee that we canoed down so you can refer back to that post for visuals ;p But here are the few we have of us afterwards:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Day 7, Saturday: Austin

Day 7, Saturday: Austin
No Driving!

As I write this I'm on Friday, Day 17 - we woke up at the Grand Canyon and will be going to sleep at an RV Park in Bakersfield, CA. Good times.

Also this photo is from the day before - just for fun. It's how we roll. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Day 6 - Austin

Day 6, Friday: Austin
No Driving!

Friday we slept in until 9 (woo) and then headed out to experience Austin, starting with the  University of Texas (UT) and it's stores. We parked next to the Texas Hillel Jewish Center and then headed to the Coop to do some shopping. 

The Texas store was filled with Texas Burnt Orange

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Day 5: NOLA to Austin, TX

Day 5, Thursday: New Orleans, LA to Austin, TX
KM start: 157,529 Km
Trip Meter: 1,072 km
Time Driven: 7:30am - 4:30pm (9 hours)

Thursday morning we got up bright and early for breakfast so we could head out to Austin to capitalize on our time with Paul's Mom. We waited in this room below for the valet to bring up our car - love this room.

Then we began the drive from New Orleans, Louisiana (or NOLA as they call it) to Austin, TX. And oh my word, the highways are beautiful. Water was everywhere. Water between the lanes, water on both sides. Trees growing in water. It was one of the most beautiful highways I have ever seen - and it was so neat to see names right out of a John Grisham novel, or from one of Candace's stories - Biloxi, Hattiesburg, etc. Love it. 

On this trek we started a new audio book - "Light from Heaven" by Jan Karon - as I write this we're in Phoenix a week later and we're still on the same audio book! 13 discs! But we're enjoying it. 

Also on top of Morgan Roads, and Fort Morgan, we saw a sign for Morgan City! We have seen more Morgan signs than Mitchell signs by double!

Then we entered Texas.
Where everything is bigger and better.
And there are stars and stripes galore.

Also the overpasses in Houston were amazing.

I got excited when I saw this sign and thought of our friends Christopher, Evan and Rachel.

And 9 hours later we arrived in Austin.

We pulled up to Paul's Mom's house and she was there with her husband Cris to greet us. 
They even wrote a sign for us

They were very clearly excited to have us with them, as we were very excited to be there! And seeing the tiredness on our faces from 9 hours of driving they very kindly offered us a beer right off the bat - we were very thankful. From there we plotted the next 4 days of fun - there was much to see and do in Austin. To start they took us out to dinner at "San Miguel" - Margaritas and Appies - and wow, we were amazed and full. The food was excellent, the company was wonderful and the conversation flowed quickly. Plus the restaurant itself was beautiful.

After dinner we joined Nancy and Cris at one of the homes they are working on to do some marking for painters - it was cool to see them at work, and to see the house they were working on - I immediately wanted the house. Gorgeous. 

We stayed up late between dinner and visiting the house so when we got home we immediately went to sleep - we were exhausted but happy. And needing rest for the adventures to come!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Day 4: French Quarter and Jumbalaya

Day 4, Wednesday: New Orleans, LA
No Driving

Our Hotel, Country Inn & Suites By Carlson New Orleans French Quarter, was lovely. We paid a good price on Expedia and it had a small outdoor pool in a courtyard, beautiful (though small) rooms, a great lobby and an excellent complimentary breakfast - scrambled eggs, bacon, breakfast burritos and so much more! You can see how cute it is below.

We woke up and enjoyed a leisure breakfast and time to lay about in the room until our New Orleans friend, Amber, came to meet us at 10:30. We were so excited to see her - we met her over a year ago at our friend Candace's wedding - she stayed with us for a few days and we just loved her. She is so sweet. She drove in from her hometown an hour away to show us New Orleans and catch up with us. We started the river walk from our hotel deeper into the French Quarter and to Cafe du Monde for treats. It was lovely. We chatted the whole way.

I LOVE the JAX sign. 

A beautiful catholic church in the heart of New Orleans - looks like a fairy tale.
Though up close it's got homeless people and tarot card readers everywhere.

The famous Cafe du Monde - recommended by EVERYONE

Amber, me and Paul

Me and Amber - love this girl!

We had such great talks with Amber - what a treat to be able to pick up where we left off May 2011 and dig deep into wonderful conversation. We talked together, laughed together and prayed together. It was wonderful, wonderful time. We only wish she lived closer!

And we got to try Beignets - also highly recommended. Fried dough with icing sugar. Oh my word. And Iced Coffees. It was a perfect answer to a sweaty, hot day. 

All gone!

Then it started to rain.
Torrential rain, like only happens in the south. 
Look outside the windows below!

Then we wondered outside (complete with newly purchased ponchos).
The rain continued.

So we wandered into some local shops and found so many types of hot sauce.
Paul was in heaven.

We found many fun things to play with.

Then we wandered in the rain down to the French Market - there was so much to see everywhere.

And so much to buy!

Everywhere you looked there were more gorgeous things to take pictures of.
The architecture in the area was phenomenal.
Picturesque at every turn.

We headed back to the hotel to dry off, then take a dip in the pool, have a nap and get some rest from wandering the streets for a few hours. We wanted to be in top shape for a night out - dinner in the French Quarter and a stroll down Bourbon Street. The rest was appreciated as this is a walking town. 

We picked the Gumbo Shop for dinner. We both got mixed plates and got to try all the New Orleans best: Shrimp Creole, Jumbalya, Gumbo and Shrimp Etouffee. Wow. So good. The Shrimp Etouffee was my favorite - I would eat that again in a heart beat. 

Then we strolled up and down the French Quarter, ending up at Bourbon Street - which was at once fascinating and horrifying. 

Bourbon Street

We saw this store.
It was ridiculous.
So much pink.

We finally headed back to our hotel around 9 to rest and go to sleep early since we needed to be up at 6am to head to Austin, TX to see Paul's mom. But as we were trying to sleep we noticed crazy bright light outside our bedroom window - we peered out to see them filming a movie. When we called the front desk to enquire about it it turns out it's a Denzel Washington movie, called Two Guns or something like that. Because of the filming we kept getting interrupted by security knocking on doors asking different things like, to close the curtains without leaving a crack or to turn off lights, etc. It was interesting - and we found it fun, not annoying. And I managed to sleep through most of it, despite the security guy having to come in at one time to fiddle with the phones. 

All in all we enjoyed New Orleans - it's beautiful, even in the rain. We wouldn't walk down Bourbon Street again - far too much nudity at every level. But the entire day was fun and we enjoyed the entire experience - and best of all we got to see the lovely Miss Amber. All in all it was a perfect trip. 


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