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Friday, June 28, 2019

Austin, Texas


Austin, Texas


"Be Fearless In The Pursuit Of What Sets Your Soul On Fire." - Jennifer Lee

What sets your soul on fire? What makes you want to run further, faster? What leaves you speechless and makes you forget to breathe? I have many, science and the stars have always captivated me. I love to read and when I put my mind to it, exercise always keeps my spirits up. However, traveling has opened my eyes to all of the above and so much more.

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Friday, June 21, 2019

On the road again! We drove to Austin and arrived within 3 hours or so. We checked into our Airbnb and rested for a little bit. It was a cozy, one bedroom apartment for 2 nights, that came out to $209. It's probably the same price as a hotel but it's much more space. Fully furnished kitchen and living room, as well as a pool and grill. This was the first time we got the key by just walking in and getting it out of the kitchen drawer. Of the 7 or 8 times we rented through Airbnb, we always get the key out of a lock box, so that was a little strange. But, fear not, everything was fine. Haha, I guess it just happens sometimes. The apartment was very clean and organized and stocked with anything we might need. The host made sure once we got there, that we had everything we needed to enjoy our stay. However, it smelled like weed. Which was another first for us. That typically does not happen. But what can you do? Sprayed fa-breeze and got on with our vacation!

First stop Friday night: Salt Lick!


 

When Jorge told me he new of a good Barbecue place I did not expect what we got. It was so good! I think the best I've ever had! The ribs were smoked perfectly and fallin' off the bone, of course. They were my favorite, then the sausage -- I usually don't prefer sausage so that says a lot -- and then the brisket. But make no mistake, it was all delicious. The plates came with coleslaw, beans, potato salad and bread. Thank goodness the portions were enough to fill up but still have room for dessert. We got the peach cobbler with ice cream and oh man, what a great way to finish dinner. We ate it all, and it was.. perfect. The service was impeccable. We were seated immediately and in no time our server was taking our order. About 5 minutes later he returned with our food and apologized for the "wait". For a split second I thought he had the wrong table but then I got the joke. All in all it was a great experience and we'll be going back for sure.

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The next day we found, Snooze, a popular breakfast restaurant.

       

I would love to say that eating here was all rainbows and butterfly's, but that wouldn't be true... The place was packed! We went around 10:00 a.m. so I suppose any good breakfast place would be busy. The parking out front was full so we parked down the street and around the corner... The wait was 35 almost 40 minutes and there wasn't much of a waiting area, maybe 4 chairs inside and a couple benches outside. Other than that a lot of people were standing outside. We took first available so we were seated on the back patio. Surprisingly, it felt much better back there because they had big fans. I don't want to knock the whole place. It was probably just our server, but to be blunt, he was not very attentive. Even after we told him we had never been there, he almost talked down to us, as if he didn't have the patience to explain the menu item to a new customer. Then we waited for what seemed like a lifetime for the food to come out. --Which was a world away from being seated right away at Salt Lick, ordering and receiving our food all in under 15-20 minutes! And the parking lot for that place was HUGE! -- Our food finally hits the table and suddenly made all that worth it. It was delicious.


I got the egg white scramble with ham, bacon, and sausage, hash browns and toast. It was super yummy and low calorie. But then I added a pancake... How could I not? They were oh, so fluffy. Jorge got something similar with the whole egg, cheese and avocado. when it came time to pay, the waiter handed us a tablet that looked like a check presenter. Maybe it's the fact that I haven't seen one of those yet, but I just thought that was a cool way to pay. It seemed to be faster and neater than some other self-pay machines I've used.

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McKinney Falls

                                     
The park was actually really big. It had a lot of hiking trails and picnic areas. The entrance fee was $6 each for the whole day. We drove to the first swimming hole we found and stayed there for a couple of hours. It was very pretty and different. The water was the same color as any lake water. Many people were jumping off the big rock at the top. Jorge and I tried to find a more secluded spot but no such luck. We sat on the rocks near the shore and watched the minnows swim around us. They nibbled on us and made me jump a few times but it made us laugh. I tried my hand at skipping rocks and couldn't get more than 2 before they sank to the bottom. I think Jorge got close to 5 or 6 one time.

                           
                      
                   
                        



                         Lake Travis Zip Line Adventures!


First of all, shout out that handsome devil for suggesting we do this! I would have never thought to look up zip lining in Austin. 

The tour cost $125 per person. This includes 5 lines on the tour, access to the beach, hammock areas and games like Frisbee golf and cornhole. We wanted to get there early to hangout and just relax on the beach. We even made sure that we both had towels to lay out on. Our tour didn't start until 7:30 p.m. and we got there around 3:00 p.m. ~~Mini rant starting in 3... 2... 1...Well the beach the company was referring to was the size of a typical suburban backyard. Maybe 2 put together. The point is it was small. I can get over small though. My problem was that it didn't connect to the lake. There was a patch of grass, full of stickers, between the sand and the water. Once you were down by the water there were only large rocks with a ton of algae on them. So I don't think it should be called a beach. A picnic area at most. 




Oh, and there was one floating table out there but it was occupied the entire time we were waiting... Just beyond these large rocks is that patch of grass with stickers.

 





 
P.S. I Love That Smile

Okay, rant over. All in all,  it doesn't matter how big it is or what they call it. What mattered is that Jorge and I were spending time together, relaxing and enjoying each others company. The fact that we can leave on vacation, spend so much time together and still not want to ring each other out, still surprises me. Maybe I'm still surprised by it because our relationship is young but I cherish that we can travel together.
Anywayyyy, the tour was a blast! First you take a boat ride to the other side of the lake. Then,from the dock, its a short hike to a gazebo where you receive your gear.


After you get your gear there is another hike up to the actual zip line. Before we could zip, we got a 10 minute safety training lecture. In other words, 10 minutes of my nerves going crazy. It really wasn't that bad because the harness does hold you upright. To the left is a photo of the view at the end of the first zip and the platform you have to land on.

 I really liked how the guides made stopping to rest fun. They made it seem like it wasn't a stop to rest but just another part of the tour. The first 2 lines are short and considered training lines. The third and  fourth are long single lines and the fifth is the longest where you can go down in pairs. (Jorge won.) 
  























So, our tour ended around 10:00 p.m. We went back to the registration office to pay our tab, give the guides a tip and purchase photos. After all of that it was almost 10:30 p.m. We didn't get back to the airbnb until after 11:00. But, being the young and exuberant couple that we are, we decided sleep could wait and it was time to visit 6th Street.


6th Street

It was my first time going to 6th Street and it was totally overwhelming. Nothing like how I expected. -I am very modest. I'm not the party type and if I do I'm more comfortable at someones house with a few genuine and close friends. Or occasionally a small bar.- We turned a corner and you could see the flood of people walking up and down this street. At first I was in awe and just astonished by the number of people alone. I was prepared to see a bunch of skimpy half naked people but thank goodness that wasn't the case... Most people looked very respectable and just out there having a good time. Occasionally someone would come up and ask you for money or try to sell you something. I'm honestly not even sure. I tried not to engage in any of those conversations. Jorge knew of really good taco truck so we stopped and ate first. I wish I had snapped a picture, they were yummy! Jorge knows where I'm comfortable and suggested small bars. We spent some time in one where they had live rock and alternative music. Then, we went to the next one with a big dance floor. It was hilarious to watch guys go try to get the highest score on the punching bag. Mostly the one who kicked it a bunch of times. There was also two girls that were the life of the party. I mean, this girl had more energy than a toddler. She and her friend were everyywheerre. Kudos to them for being themselves and having a good time.

  


I was okay after my third crown and coke but then we took a shot of tequila. We left soon after and I still felt okay. I quickly got the Uber because subconsciously I suppose I knew I wasn't going to be able to do it in a few minutes. And what'd'ya know. In the time it took the Uber to get us home I was  in my own little world. I had a really good time though. I didn't feel to out of place. Now that I've been there and seen it all, next time we'll go crush the dance floor like those girls.

The next day...

We slept in pretty late and had to check out by noon. We looked all over for a mom and pop shop for breakfast and finally came across Joe's Bakery and Coffee Shop, known for their tortillas. (Keep in mind, we had breakfast the day before, then about 4 beers each for lunch and dinner at 11:30. He had 2 tacos and I had one. Then pile on all the alcohol after that...) I wasn't hungry but my body was arguing otherwise.

At Joe's, there was a very down to earth, small town feel and I had expected it to be pretty good. I stuck with what I knew, eggs and bacon, because I was starting to feel really nauseous. I never in my life, have looked at a plate of eggs and bacon and wanted to throw up so bad. I really feel terrible about saying the place wasn't any good but my hangover aside, the eggs were really bland and dry, the bacon was hard as a rock and the tortillas were the only thing good about that meal. The food took awhile to come out too so I drank a lot of water. And try as I might, I couldn't keep the food or water down. For the first time in all of my drinking career I had to let it out. I felt so much better after but the car ride home was still no fun. I felt really bad for covering my face most of the time and leaving him basically alone but I didn't want to make us stop for any reason.

Well it was a weekend of firsts for me.
1. I have been to Austin but I had never driven.
2. I had never been zip lining.
3. I had never been to 6th street.
4. I had never thrown up from drinking.
And more, like all the new places we ate and the swimming hole but those are.. specific to Austin. I suppose could count them but you get the point.

Lastly, the city itself was beautiful and surprisingly green! It was refreshing to see so much forest surrounding the area. There are no others words to describe it. It was just so green. There were many hills too. I never realized how flat Houston compared to it's neighboring cities.

Congratulations for making it this far in the blog! I really appreciate you taking the time to read about my adventures! Comments and suggestions are encouraged! There's always room to grow.

Love always,

Bekah💖

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

First Trip of Summer 19'


May 19, 2019

Hot Springs, Arkansas

View from Hot Springs Mountain Tower
                                                             Our first trip of the summer!
On the road again!

From Houston, it took about 6 hours and 30 minutes to drive there. Then tack on 30 minutes to an hour to stop and eat. It wasn't bad though. A lot of green and open fields. We made a game of counting churches and fields of animals that we saw. It didn't help that I took the back way into the neighborhood. I added a good 15 minutes.. Oops! I blame my GPS though.
Condo Balcony overlooking lake Desoto

Hot Springs Village is a quiet and very peaceful neighborhood. Waking up to this view in the morning is so calming. We took the inflatable kayak but it was just a bit too cold for our taste to get in...
The first night there we decided not to waste any time and check out the downtown life. 

We walked all the way down bathhouse row before choosing Diablos Tacos and Mezcal. I have to say, for a "quick bite" restaurant, it was pretty good. It was a little less Americanized than our Tex-Mex here in Houston which was nice. But that's coming from me, the born and raised in Houston girl. Jorge thinks they are the same. Anyway, after that we visited the soap and ice cream shop and finished the day with some                                                                  grocery shopping.




I snapped a quick picture of this German restaurant we came across. I just thought the outdoor patio was super cute and fun. We didn't get a chance to try it but next time!






  
  
                                                                         Monday Morning! 

 Garvan Woodlands Gardens was a little gem about 15-20 minutes outside of Hot Springs. We walked all over this botanical garden and luckily got the chance to see inside the Anthony Chapel. As we walked out photographers walked in. We didn't think much of it until guests started arriving. Holy smokes! A couple was about to get married! We were way under dressed to sneak in. ;P We found the grooms quarters and the reception hall. Before getting there I thought perhaps I would fall in love and want to get married there. But this wasn't the case. As beautiful as it was, I'd prefer my wedding some place else. We found a really interesting outdoor theater and again... the greenery was just beautiful! 


        

If I remember correctly, we spent an hour and a half here. It may have been an extra hour if we had gone in the actual entrance. We discovered it as we were driving away... Oops. :D


Mountain Tower

Next stop, Mountain Tower! As soon as you walk in you're greeted into the gift shop. They had a ton of neat little souvenirs and post cards. You know, things you don't need but all the sudden you want really bad? Yeah. Lots of that. You buy your ticket and they give you a coin to get you through the turnstile. Take the elevator up and enjoy the views! 


The tower doesn't look that high in the pictures but 75 feet above the highest point on the mountain puts you at the perfect height to see the surrounding area. It was shocking honestly. I think the tower is a little under rated. It was truly a great experience.  

  
  

Thank you for going on this adventure with me:)





Lastly, the best pizza I have ever had!

Grateful Head Pizza Oven and Beer Garden
Mushroom, Jalapeno, pepperoni and sausage. This pizza was so good. We even got one to take home for dinner! It was also the first time we tried the (Houston) local craft beer, Karbach Love Street. It's pretty good if you're a fan of beer. This beer garden is one of two. The only other one is located is Hochatown, Oklahoma. 




There was a free parking garage just down the street from here behind all of the shops. The pretty lights on the building drew me in. You don't expect to travel 6 or 7 hours to find that one of the most fun places you visit is a pizza joint. But honestly, it was. Don't get me wrong, we cooked and had breakfast at the condo. The gardens were beautiful and peaceful. The shops are nice and the section of the promenade we saw was cute. The mountain tower was a total surprise. But really I think the most FUN I had was sitting outside with my love eating pizza, drinking a beer, laughing and cutting up. 


Towards the end of our meal I received a phone call from my brother. My step-dad had gotten in a accident at work and was on his way to the hospital. He spent 11 days in the STICU and 3 days in a regular room. Needless to say, we came home early on Tuesday... Drove up Sunday, had an eventful Monday and drove back Tuesday! Who would have thought you could do so much in one day! We also went to the casino that night but I felt like a zombie due to the news I had gotten. A zombie that lost $100. Looking back and all things considered, it was still a good time! We can mark Arkansas off the list. 

Oh! My step dad is doing much better now. :) 

Next stop, Austin!!


Thank you for stopping by!

Love Always,

Bekah💖