LIVIN’ ON STILTS
On Wednesday, the storm had pretty much passed, although it was still pretty cold out. We did a little walk around the park. The falls were beautiful. Not huge, but very pretty and covered in limestone. I could see this being a fantastic summer spot, but it was a bit cold for us, around 34 degrees as we walked around.
On Thursday, we drove in to downtown Austin. Before leaving, we tried to dump our tanks. Unfortunatley, our valve was totally frozen and we ended up driving through Austin with poosicle. We parked near 6th street and walked around. Definitely different scene in the afternoon than what you’d find in the evening, but so many places had live music, even around lunch time. Like any big metropolitan area, we came across an abundance of homeless people. The difference was that everyone that talked to us was super pleasant. We even ended up giving one man some clothes.
After exploring 6th street, we headed to the next campground called Ema Long Metropolitan Park. Our poosicle defrosted and we were able to dump. The campground is on the opposite side of Austin from McKinney SP, and closer to Round Rock, the home of my super large and much coveted donut. Friday morning, we worked out and then headed to Round Rock Donuts. OMYGOSH….So good. I was worried after going to Voodoo Donuts and being completely disappointed. The Texas sized donut was not only huge, fresh, and perfectly delicious, but it was only $6.99! That is the same price as one of the small Voodoo donuts. I was so happy. I ate half of it and part of a very good apple fritter. After stuffing myself with glazed perfectly fried dough, we headed to Houston.
My very good friends, Natalie and Brandon live in Spring, Texas, just outside of Houston. We parked in their driveway and they took us out to a Tex-Mex place called Pappas. Apparently, Papas is a chain that has different food themed locations, like Pappas Seafood, Pappas Tex-Mex, and a lot more. Our first Tex-Mex experience was great! I tried quail for the first time. That little boney bird was delicious. We went to a couple more places after dinner and met some of Brandon and Natalie’s local friends. Just an all around good time, and so nice to catch up with my long time friends. For the first time since leaving the Encino house, we actually slept in a friend’s house! We usually opt for the camper as we’re comfortable in there and don’t want to impose. I couldn’t pass up their ultra comfy king size bed.
Saturday, Brandon and Natalie took us into downtown Houston. On our way into town, we got to try the Texas delight that is Whataburger. For me, Whataburger was better than In-N-Out, but I’m not a huge advocate for the California chain. I’m also not a huge burger person, but it really hit the spot. After our burgerfest, we saw the Water Wall and the Willams Tower. Its so nice having locals to show us around. There is so much we miss out on in big cities because we don’t know the cool spots, or its just too difficult with the camper to get around.
On Sunday, we went to the Moon! Or, actually, we went to the NASA Space Center. It was so much fun taking a tour through the campus and even seeing Mission Control. We walked through the Independence shuttle and the Boeing 747 shuttle carrier. We touched moon rocks and materials found on Mars. Matt and I did a jet fighter simulation that was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. So many barrel rolls and nine kills. The Space Center was such a great and fun experience, I highly recommend it if you’re ever in the area. I’ll post most of the pictures at the end of this.
After walking on the Moon, our hosts took us to a BBQ joint they frequent. We got 1/2 baby back ribs, 1/2 brisket, coleslaw and new potatoes. I basically drank an entire bottle of spicy bbq sauce and loved every second of those ribs. So far, Texas has been my favorite eating state on the road.
I did learn a few things about Texas through our friends. In Texas, high school football is HUGE. So huge, in fact, that their stadiums are Rosebowl sized and sold out every Friday night. On Sundays, pretty much all stores and shops are closed until around noon once church gets out. You’re actually not allowed to buy booze before noon on a Sunday. My favorite is “Nobody loves Texas more than Texas,” and Texas really loves football and church. Almost every woman I saw was blonde, and I’ve noticed Texans in general are just really good looking. Breakfast tacos are a thing here, and apparently amazing, although we haven’t tried one yet. I learned that red ring you see on brisket indicates how long the meat has been in the smoker. More red equals more smoke and more flavor. I’ve never seen more flags in my life, making Texas the most patriotic state so far. I also learned that around 85% of the people around are packing. Made me feel safe(ish) but I did eye the little old ladies a little differently. What you got in that purse, Martha?
We had a fantastic weekend full of food, laughs, and touristy stuff. Sadly, we leave our friends today to head toward the Gulf of Mexico. Sad to leave our friends but happy to move on to the next adventure.
Ariel + Matt
Very cold storm basically shut down South Texas. Stayed 3 nights at McKinney SP. Hung out in Austin and explored 6th street. Spent the weekend with long time friends, Brandon and Natalie, in Houston. Went to NASA and became an astronaut. Consumed the biggest donut ever, had TexMex, chowed down on some BBQ, and finally satisfied my Whataburger curiosity.
No toilet seat covers. So, at what point do people whom are used to covering the bowl with tiny strips of paper decide, ah what the hell? I’ll sanitize my BUM later!