Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Back to reality....for now anyway.

Well folks, by now you are all aware that we are stationary in Hollywood, Florida.  We are having fun settling in here (with our new great view), and already preparing to plan many upcoming adventures.  We'll be sure to keep you all posted along the way for any looming outrageous trips...be it touring the southern national parks of Florida, road tripping with some felines across a few states, or even sailing around the world.  Hollywood to Hollywood may have come to an end, but I guarantee that it is just the beginning of some more shenanigans we have in the works.

We are still working on getting decent internet here.  The remaining pics will be up soon though.

Thanks so much for joining us on this amazing adventure!  Be sure to subscribe by email and we'll let you know where and when we move this party.  xxx

Monday, July 2, 2012

One last hurrah in Vero Beach.

Even though we probably could have made it all the way to the final destination yesterday, we decided to have one last adventure in Vero Beach.  We got a great last minute deal on an oceanfront room at Gloria Estefan's resort, Costa 'd Este.  We really enjoyed the sleepy little beach town and the warm waters of the Atlantic.

Now were are very close to heading back to reality...with less than a two hour drive remaining.  Almost there.  xxx

Sunday, July 1, 2012

We lost the mountain man.

We made it from Apalachicola to Jacksonville yesterday. That leg completed our journey on route 10. We managed to take 4,169 miles to travel the 2,460 mile highway.   Overall yesterday's trek went pretty smoothly. There was some residual damage from Debby along the way though; with some areas still slightly under water. Ollie handled it well.

When we finally hit Jacksonville Matt decided it was time to ditch the mountain man look. We made a stop at a local barber shop where he had an old-time straight razor shave and hair cut. He is hardly recognizable now!

Today we are deciding whether to try and make the haul to our final destination, or really milk the last 329 miles with a stopover in Vero Beach.  xxx

Friday, June 29, 2012

We built this city on oy-ster shells.

Yesterday was a bit of a whirlwind as we raced from Baton Rouge to Orange Beach in time for our sailing trip.  We literally pulled up to the pier as the sailboat was readying to leave.  We did manage to make it though, and it was magnificent.  The views from the boat were breathtaking.

After the trip we booked it to Pensacola for the evening (bringing our day's travel in the car to a sturdy 6 hrs + 2 hrs on boat)....officially marking our entry into the trip's final state- Florida!

Our time is Pensacola was short lived.  We spent today making our way to Apalachicola.  Apalachicola is an interesting little town on the river, where oysters are a-plenty.  Although the town was hit hard by Debby only a few days ago, it  is already going strong again.  We are enjoying a great view of the river, some tasty oysters (where can you beat $6.99 for a full dozen of super fresh oysters on the half shell?), and the entertainment and hospitality of the locals.

We can't believe how the trip is quickly winding down.  Tomorrow morning we're on to Jacksonville.  xxx

Thursday, June 28, 2012

We love this LA!

We have had an amazing time in Louisiana over the past few days.  There is just so much to see and do here.

On Tuesday we ventured into New Orleans again.  We started with lunch at the Crescent City Brewhouse.   The food was yummy.  There was nothing too exciting on tap, but all standards made a decent showing.  After Crescent City we visited Mardi Gras World.  It was such an unbelievable place!  We had the best time learning about Mardi Gras.  The tour allowed us to explore tons of floats that were used in the past parades by a few of the different krewes.  We also had the opportunity to see the artists working to create these giant masterpieces.  We are definitely itching for a another New Orleans visit in February now.

On Wednesday we drove to Abita Springs for a visit to the Abita Brewery.  The brewery tour was a very interesting set-up.  The tour was free, and there was an open bar with all the main Abita brews in tap.  The real fun part was that we were able to serve ourselves from the taps.  We enjoyed a number of their beers, like Turbogdog, Purple Haze, and the Save our Shore.  We were a little bummed that the Strawberry Harvest Lager was not on tap.  We were sure to taste it later at the brewpub around the corner from Abita- it was really delicious.

Today we are on to Alabama and Florida.  xxx

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

It's Cajun time!

On Sunday we made our way to Baton Rouge via the Creole Nature Trail.  The drive was beautiful, although the only real wildlife that we spotted was a turtle.
Yesterday we started some exploration of New Orleans with a walking tour of the Garden District.  The tour was amazing, the tour guide was extremely knowledgeable about New Orleans' history.  I especially enjoyed the time in the Lafayette Cemetery.  The whole tour was absolutely fascinating though.
After the tour we headed to the French Quarter.  We did some of the token activities in the French Quarter, visiting Cafe Du Monde for beignets, strolling through the French Market, window shopping at some of the eccentric shops, and relaxing with some drinks.

In the evening we headed back to Baton Rouge to The Chimes for some tasty local beers from NOLA Brewery and delicious Cajun cuisine.

We are off for more New Orleans adventures.  xxx

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The last hurrah in Houston.

Well we managed to drag ourselves to the Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company open house yesterday.  We were really happy with our choice too.  Buffalo Bayou is Houston's newest microbrewery and they are doing some really interesting things.  They are brewing new twists on old favorites, like a Hibiscus Hefe and a Chai Porter.  Both were very complex.  I especially loved the aroma of the porter.  We were even lucky enough to spend some time with the very laid-back brewer.  He was kind enough to give us a barrel taste of a sour mash cherry beer in the works- that one was my favorite!

We spent the rest of the time with friends and enjoyed a last little bit of Houston.  We are now ready to move on....here we come Baton Rouge-look out Debby.  xxx

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Oh...the beer.

We started off last night innocently enough with a visit to Karbach Brewing.  However, little did we know that this brewery tour would be the gateway to an evening of lots of beer....

 The $12 entrance fee to this brewery "tour" was actually two hours of hanging out in their warehouse and drinking four large pints of beer as "samples."  Plus you left with two pieces of glassware each; overall a seriously economical deal. The beers were good and hoppy too.  I really enjoyed their Barn Burner Saison.  While we were enjoying the beer we decided to join some fine folks at an outside picnic table.  To our fortunate surprise they were members of CCSD Houston- Connoisseur's Club of Smoking and Drinking, and Friday regulars at Karbach.  They were generous enough to invite us back to their clubhouse after the brewery event for some fun, games, and of course more beer.  The CCSD members and friends were extremely welcoming.  We had a great time, and were even lucky enough to taste some of their interesting home brews.  

We are not sure we are ready for another brewery tour in an hour.... xxx

Photos are up!

Hi Everyone,

Just a quick note to trigger an alert for those that are subscribed to blog, our photos page has been updated and now has all the pictures we've taken up to Houston. Sorry it took so long to get them online but we had to figure out a workflow first so that the process would be easier going forward. Now that we have that nailed down we will be updating the photos page each time we make a new post.

Friday, June 22, 2012

At home in Houston.

Well we have been taking it easy in Houston and catching-up on some work and fly-free sleep.  We have managed to hit the town at night though and explore some local dives.

On Wednesday night we hit the happy hour at Reef.  They are noted for the best sliders in the US, which only cost $1 during happy hour.  They were yummy, but I'm not sure about that 'best' claim.  After Reef we walked to the Houston Flying Saucer.  There we enjoyed some Texas brews.  I had the 512 Pecan Porter and Matt enjoyed the Rahr & Sons Ugly Pug (black lager).  Both brews were pretty tasty.

On Thursday night we stayed even more local to the Fourth Ward, Midtown, and started with a visit to Natachee's- for some interesting punch concoctions and supper.  After we were souped-up on punch we made our way to The Continental Club.  The atmosphere there was really fun, as we hung-out in the backyard and listened to Beetle rock-out some obscure Beatles' songs.  For no cover, and $3 beers, it was an awesome three hours!

With the weekend approaching we are likely to be able to hit a few microbrewery tours in the area before we make our way to Baton Rouge. Stay tuned.  xxx

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The BBQ mecca and beyond..

When were were first planning to migrate from Austin to Houston, we had no idea of the deliciousness that lay in between.  In both Alpine and San Antonio we heard the whispers about the BBQ mecca of Lockhart, Texas.  So you can imagine our delight when our planned route took us straight through there. As soon as we rolled into Lockhart we knew that we'd love the place- as the air was ripe with the smells of smokey meat.  We managed to try two places, Smitty's and Black's; both were amazing.  The atmosphere at Smitty's was otherworldly.  But the ribs at Black's were to die for.  Matt declared "If there is any truth to the story of Eve's creation, then the creator would have been wise to use this rib."

We wanted to hit more BBQ places, but had to book it to Shiner in time for the tour at the Spoetzl Brewery.  The tour there was a big change from the microbrewery tours that we've been visiting thus far.  It was enjoyable though, and we were able to "taste" four beers a piece- all for free.  
After Shiner we made our way to Houston just in time for dinner with friends and some R&R.  We have already visited Houston in the past, so we plan to take it easy here.  xxx

Monday, June 18, 2012

Brews, bats, and bbq...oh my!

When we arrived in Austin on Saturday night we figured out that we were lucky enough to be within walking distance of a BBQ place recommended to us, Sam's Barbecue.  This place was a real trip- the food was great.  They were also providing free margaritas and hosting a live "band" on the porch (the porch was an enclosed part of what appeared to be the owner's dilapidated home, with office chairs for about 10 people).   Check out the pic below; words do not do this place justice.  

On Sunday we started some real Austin exploration.  We did not hit any breweries per say; but we did visit The Flying Saucer for lunch, which was hosting Texas pint night with local brews for only $3.  I had the Independence Brewery Convict Hill, a tasty and robust oatmeal stout. Matt was not too thrilled with the Austin Beerworks Pearl Snap Pils he chose.  Following lunch we visited the Zilker Botanical Garden, a smaller botanical garden surrounded by city traffic. Later we hit Uncle Billy's Brew & Que.  We enjoyed sampling this brewpub's beers and smoked meats.  We really liked their Agave Wheat and Hop Zombie IPA.  There was also a good local musician playing named Philip Q Morrow.  Overall, we had a great time there.  

We closed out the evening by riding a tandem bike, that was generously provided by the owners of the place we are crashing, to see the Congress Avenue Bridge Bats.  Although the tandem bike ride through some interesting Austin neighborhoods was a bit daunting, the bat views were very rewarding.   

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ollie is a champ!

When we left Big Bend on Friday morning we were slightly puzzled as to where to stop between the park and San Antonio.  Texas is MASSIVE - and there is a lot of nothingness in some stretches.  Once we started driving we decided to really make a go of it, and put Ollie to the test.  We are happy to report that he passed!  He managed 408 miles in one shot- woohoo!  Therefore we landed in San Antonio on Friday night- tired and very sweaty, yes folks there is still no respite from the oppressive heat. We were needless to say a little beat, so we did our San Antonio exploration on Saturday.

So yesterday we managed to hit all the places on the San Antonio agenda.  The weather was a balmy 98 degrees with at least 50% humidity- it finally felt like summer ;) We damply explored the The Alamo, the River Walk, and the San Antonio Botanical Garden.
 We even squeezed in some yummy BBQ at the Big Bib.  Matt couldn't resist ordering that giant cup of red Kool-Aid.
Our last stop in San Antonio was Ranger Creek Brewing and Distilling.  We were very lucky to be there for the one tour that they offer per week.  Their beers and bourbon were all delicious.  We really enjoyed their Mesquite Smoked Porter.
After Ranger Creek we started the quick jaunt to Austin....  xxx

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Surviving Big Bend: Part 2

Even after the long and scary night at Cottonwood we decided to stick it out for a second night in the gorgeous Big Bend.  We were able to convince the park rangers to let us leave Stan at the visitor center before heading into the Basin.   The Basin was much more crowded than Cottonwood.  It was also full of rangers because the night before brought an aggressive mountain lion to the campsites.

After scoping a spot we made our way to The Window trail.  We were amazingly surprised by the unique and grandiose views at the end of the trail.  It may have been one of the most rewarding trails that we've ever tackled.

That night the violent thunderstorms were back again.  Luckily there were other targets in the campground so we felt a little safer.  We managed to make it through the night free from lightning strikes, a floating air mattress, and a mountain lion attack!  More Texas to come... xxx

Surviving Big Bend: Part 1

From Alpine on Wednesday morning we headed straight for Big Bend National Park.  We decided to camp at the lower campground for our first night to avoid the treacherous roads initially.  We found a spot at the Cottonwood Campground- which was easy since we were the ONLY people there.  After dropping Stan at our campsite we headed for a few trails.  It was hot, but we still enjoyed the Santa Elena trail, with the view of the Rio Grande, and the Mules Ears' trail.

After hiking we tiredly returned to the still vacant campground.  It was fun to have the whole place to ourselves.  We were able to use the solar shower au naturale!  The solidarity was great until the intense thunderstorms rolled-in around midnight.  We spent hours hoping to avoid a lightning strike- even moving Ollie across the field from Stan, as to divert the lightning to Stan rather than us in Ollie!  Luckily we made it through the night safe and dry.  xxx

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Time in the Alpine.

Well we spent most of the day relaxing at the Holland and catching-up on some work.  We did manage to walk around Alpine a bit more, visit the Museum of the Big Bend, and do the self-guided historic walking tour.  There are a lot of cool old buildings in this town with lots of neat old junk inside that I desperately wanted to pack into the already bloated Stan.  
In the evening we did the next best thing to finding a local brewery- we hit the local dive bar, Railroad Blues.  We had an excellent time drinking some localish beers and swapping stories with the locals.  We even managed to meet the guy that is opening a brewery here is Alpine in the next few months, the soon to be Big Bend Brewing....we were so close!!

Now we are off to explore Big Bend National Park.  Fingers crossed that we can make it up some of those hills!  xxx

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Living the high life in Texas!

We actually managed to wake-up early yesterday morning.  So we decided to go for a hike in the Guadalupe Mountains.  We only did the short 4.2 mile Devil's Hall trail, but it was magnificent.  The rock formations were very majestic.
After Guadalupe we headed towards Alpine, Texas for a few days of accommodations that don't involve a partially deflated air mattress in the back of Ollie with swarms of flies circling.  However, on route we spotted an interesting sight, Prada Marfa.  We figured this was a joke, but had to stop for a pic anyhow.  I mean, how often do you see a "Prada" in the middle of cattle fields.  
When we finally arrived in Alpine we were pleasantly  surprised with the charm of the town.  We stayed in the  historic  Holland Hotel,  The fab ladies at the front desk gave us the balcony suite for only $95 a night- a real steal!  xxx