Wednesday, April 26, 2017

2017 CROSS-COUNTRY ROAD TRIP - FRIDAY, APRIL 16TH, 2017

Austin Area Garden Center
Texas


Sunday, April 16th, 2017

We left our hotel in Austin, Texas at 9.33 a.m. and the odometer reading is 50401.  We are heading in the direction of Lubbock, Texas, birth place of Buddy Holly. He was born on Sepember 7th, 1936, and would have been 80 years' old.  I believe there is a museum dedicated to him (but no, we didn't go to it as it turned out.)
A dinosaur!

Two more of the dinosaur.



And a little closer still.




This was the waterfall we shared in our video the other day.

An insect hotel.....


with instructions.


Growing flowers and vegetables in straw bales.












And instructions how to make one.


I always love coming across these butterfly chairs.


I took the selfie stick along with me but should have remembered the tripod.  My arms aren't long enough!


We learned that Swedish Immigrants settled in this area.


If you click on the sign below you should be able to read all about them.  


How they made these log homes fascinated me.










For the following Gregg took over as I drove for a couple of hours.  He likes me keeping up with our daily journal too and filled in for me. 

2:15 p.m. This is Gregg. Denise took over driving. Going through pretty hill country. Seeing lots of goats and a few sheep. Also seeing quite a few donkeys. Light rain showers. First rain of the trip. 

3:26 p.m. saw first wheat  fields (very large) about 5 miles from Winters, Texas. 

3:56 p.m. Driving through a humongous windmill farm of several hundred windmills in lines on the ridge line. We are on route 153 heading north west about 25 miles southwest of Sweetwater, Texas. Amongst these hundreds of windmills, there are several oil rigs. 

And I'm back.

5:57 a.m. It is me, Denise. We have just pulled into our hotel for the night.  I have enjoyed driving but I am glad our journey is over for the day. 

Popped out for a bite to eat as there was no restaurant in the hotel and we couldn't find a place to buy anything for an in-the-room picnic.  We did find a Long John Silvers open (drive-thru only).  We actually had a pretty decent fish and chips tonight.

 9:47 p.m. back in the hotel room and ready for a good night's sleep.

Monday, April 24, 2017

2017 CROSS-COUNTRY ROAD TRIP - RANDOM PHOTO - CALIFORNIA


This is another photo taken from the passenger side with my iPad.  We weren't moving along as fast this time.  Our drive took us along the Pacific Coast Highway.  There has been an unusual amount of rain in California and this is the result.  In all the years we lived in California, I have never seen it like this.

Added note: if you click on this link, it will show you a satellite image of the wildflowers in California.  If you scroll down you can also see a short video from a news show.



2017 CROSS-COUNTRY ROAD TRIP - FRIDAY, APRIL 15TH, 2017

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

Odometer: 50161

Time leaving the hotel: 9.12 a.m.

Heading to the Alamo in San Antonio but first, at


10.01 a.m. we have just finished breakfast at IHOP (International House of Pancakes).  It was next door to our hotel. We met a nice young waiter called Tyler from Oklahoma.  He has been working here for four years he said.  Nice stop over, made even nicer with Tyler's friendly attitude.  

10.24 a.m. we have driven 2005 miles since leaving home.


3.05 p.m. we are now leaving San Antonio.  We saw the Alamo but could not take photos inside.  The last time I was here over 30 years ago we could.  Now there is a gift shop with all kinds of books and postcards they want you to buy.  Marketing has arrived at the Alamo.  I make no complaints if the money is used to keep this sacred place going, and there was a lot of restorative work going on inside.


There were long lines to get in there.  You waited in one long line going down one aisle, and then waited in another long line after you turned the corner at the end, and then another line around the corner.  This was certainly a busy weekend.


  
Once you were almost at the door there was another hurdle of sorts, two staff members, one taking photos and the other keeping you back until it was your turn.  You had the choice of turning it down but we bought ours at the end of the tour.  The set of photos were waiting for us in the gift shop.  


Part of the Alamo was closed off so we did not get to see every room.  There is a list of names of those who gave their lives in the siege.  I remember there being people from my part of the world and elsewhere from our last visit.  Many were from several states in the US, but there were also people from England, Ireland, Scotland, one person from Wales, two from Germany and one from Denmark.

35 years ago we were driving across country with our son and my parents.  Gregg says he remembers seeing more back then, but I don't have much recollection.  He remembers another building.  I think I was too busy with our son maybe.  My parents were really taken with the history of the Alamo.  I remember Dad knowing a lot of facts from this era.  He was always very interested in history, and yes was a big Western fan. He and Gregg's Mother had that in common.  I remember many a Saturday morning watching old western movies with my dear old Dad as a child, and then years later with my dear Mum-in-Law.


Not sure what the larger building is but this was taken from the garden in the back.


I am getting tired walking around, and am not used to this heat so early in the year.  Yes I am whining a little here, smiling too.


Anyhow, there were a lot of large shade trees back there and it went down 10 degrees. There were pretty flowers and cacti blooming.  


Prickly pear I think?  And the pollinators were busy.


The Alamo is right in the middle of the city.  Just out of the grounds in front, there was a Turkish Festival going on, with stalls set up.  We could hear singing and dancing.  


We also looked at the Turkish crafts and Turkish food.  We tried a plate from a nice lady dressed in a long robe with a scarf draped around her head.  She looked elegant and had a very quiet and friendly demeanor, with a lovely smile.  When asked what we would like we chose a potato salad, lamb with rice and a roll with toasted sesame seeds baked into the top, which we shared.  It made a very tasty meal.  My photo didn't turn out well enough to do the meal justice.



Later we looked for the Riverwalk, with no success.  We had walked a long way to find it in that heat, and when we came to a path to get down there, it was blocked off by road construction.  We would have had to retrace our steps a very long way, and decided we had just enough energy to get back to the car, which was much closer than it would have been to find another way down.  We were dissappointed but third time's a charm, we will be back here again one day and the Riverwalk will be the first place we head for.  You really have to stay in one place more than a day to see everything, and even then you need more time don't you think?  Am I justifying?  Maybe!


There were horsedrawn carriages.  We would have taken one but again there were people standing in line for each horse.  



The horses were pretty animals, the carriages were very festive, some more decorated than others.



I am having an argument with my iPhone.  She told me I was being rude, that I had said "Maple work very polite and mine - insert a very rude word here - Michael!"  It is most definitely not what I said, total jibberish. It isn't the first time she has told me I am not very polite as she translates my words into something nonsensical. But I have noticed she is getting a bit better.  Am I training her or is she training me?  I had such a hard time one day that as a joke I started talking in a John Wayne American-ish accent as we were driving along and the more Gregg laughed, of course the more I performed.  "Betta watchwhatyar saying thar Pilgrim."  No disrespect to the memory of the great John Wayne but, she translated every word perfectly.  A little bit annoying but then it had been a long day. 

Remembering our travel code from our first trip across country, Gregg has now come up with the following.


You know you have been on the road a long time…

When you start thinking of Siri as a member of the family.

When the idea of changing Siri's voice seems cruel.

When your spouse finds Siri's jokes funnier than yours.


10.56 p.m. and we are in our hotel room for the night.  We stopped early and are in midtown Austin.  When we booked in we were trying to decide what we wanted to do for dinner as we overshot the road leading to Walmart earlier.  The hotel does have a restaurant but it didn't open until 5.00 p.m.  Gregg looked on Yelp and found a Tex-Mex place just around the corner, and it had excellent reviews.  I said we should try an authentic Tex-Mex meal before we left Texas and he was happy.  I am not a fan of spicy cooking and he enjoys this style of food more than I do but hey, we are in Texas.  The restaurant, as it turned out, was a great idea.  I ordered a beef enchilada.



Gregg ordered a plate of beef tacos.  


Both meals came with rice and refried beans.  The beans we said were the best we had had in a long while, the whole meal was delicious!  We had guacamole for an appetizer and they kept bringing the tortilla chips.  We also had a Margarita that was larger than others.  It was delicious and refreshing.  



Our waiter was fun and friendly.  As you come into the door there were several very large white candles laid out not in any particular order, on an oblong wooden platform, about four feet long and a foot wide.  


The candles had been lit many times and the wax had dripped heavily, surrounding all the candles and joining them into one fun looking piece of abstract art.  


Patterns always attract me so, intrigued as to what it would be like when they were lit, I waited.  As it got darker in the restaurant a young girl who had greeted us when we arrived, lit them. Those candles looked lovely.  I went over and took several photos and when I came back the waiter was smiling at me.  I told him I thought they were a very pretty addition to their decor.  He said that they put them there for their customers' enjoyment, and he was happy I liked them.  He then said, with a very straight face, "Of course, there are other works of art on the wall, and you will see them if you look closely."  There were mirrors all over the wall and at first I was puzzled as I stared into one of them.  All I could see was myself.  I got it, I laughed out loud and said to him, "Oh you're good!!!"  He laughed too and his smile got broader.  Such a fun night.

Gregg did the laundry when we got back.  He is so good doing that and I have his dear mother to thank for it.  Between washing dishes and doing laundry I get a lot of help.  When he and his brother were very young, these were two of their chores.  I truly believe it's a nostalgia thing now as he actually enjoys it.  I am a blessed lady in more ways than one.