I'm not sure I'll blog my trips again. It's a lot of work. Next time, I think I'll just load all my photos into a Facebook Album and then just pick my top 10 photos from the trip for my blog. I thought about skipping the last two states...but then, that would be kind of weird, so I'll plug along and continue sharing some bits from our 50 State Tour.
Just some history...we (I) decided in 2007 that we would see all 50 states with our kids by the time they graduate from high school. So far, we have seen 20. I have not started planning the next trip yet because Sweetie needs some distance from the family road trip before he gets excited about signing on to another one. Me? I start mentally planning the next trip on the drive home...ha!
So...Texas. We spent 4 days in Texas. One night in Austin, 2 nights in San Antonio (with a day trip to Corpus Christi), and 1 night in Dallas.
Upon entering Texas, there were so many pull-offs with picnic tables! I was like, "we have to pull over for a picnic!". We had a cooler full of food and lots of water.
You can see how excited my family was for this picnic. I like to save money, and I like to eat healthy. So, for me, this was a win/win! The family wasn't enjoying the "nature" that kept joining us for our picnic. Some bees invaded, and then a rather large spider came straight down from the canopy and freaked everybody out. We packed up and finished our picnic in the car.
Checking out the pool in Austin! That is Lady Bird Lake in the backround.
Watching the kids swim.
Dinner at Chuy's!
Ate a crazy amount of chips and salsa.
We adopted a term on this trip that we like to call, "Miller Family Style". This is where we would order 3 entrees (and 5 waters) and share it all family style (well, not the waters). I think we saved some serious cash by doing this. We typically ate all 3 entrees down to nothing. I didn't want to take leftovers with us, so I would rather order a smaller amount of food and just eat it all. I don't like wasting food and leaving platefuls behind. I like to walk out satisfied, not crazy stuffed. This seemed to work well for us. The kids would just roll their eyes as Sweetie and I would say, "It's Miller Family Style, Baby!".
After the amazing food at Chuy's, we rushed to the Congress Avenue Bat Bridge. When I say "rushed", and you've been to Austin, you know that there is no rushing. The traffic was crazy! Matt actually quick stopped on the bridge and let the kids and I out so that we didn't miss the bats! It was getting to dusk, and this was our only night in Austin, so we had to make it work.
We met this bat expert who walked around selling buttons and giving us tips as to where to stand. He was deaf and a real joy to be around. We practiced our "thank you's" in sign language.
Sure enough...at dusk...a million Mexican free tail bats came out of the Congress Avenue Bridge to head out for their evening feeding. Absolutely wild. (and stinky)
Matt actually parked and made it onto the bridge right as the bats were finishing up.
The next day...San Antonio! We stayed at the Marriot Riverwalk and were able to walk right out of the hotel and be on the Riverwalk. We were also walking distance from...
Some more swimming...or in my case, getting some sun and reading.
The next day is Thanksgiving! I don't think we've ever been gone for Thanksgiving. This was one of those things were we had to plan around Sweetie's work schedule, and this seemed the best week to go. Even after all that planning, he had to fly in to Omaha to meet up with us the first night.
We decided to head out to Corpus Christi for the day and spend it at the beach. When you're from Minnesota (or any where else that is a distance from the ocean), it is such a treat to hang out at the ocean. It just makes me happy. (even if we spent 5 hours in the car)
The good news...79 degrees and sunny.
The bad news (other than the fact that we could not get a family picture to turn out!), the town of Corpus Christi pretty much shuts down on Thanksgiving. You could not find anything to eat in that town! Well, that's not true...you could eat at Burger King (you would have to drug me to go there) or you could pay $30/person for a Thanksgiving buffet at a hotel. $150 for turkey and gravy...no thanks.
So...we pulled out my trusty cooler and dined on cheese sticks, crackers, apples, clementines, gogo squeez', raisins, and waters...nobody starved (though Sweetie thought he might).
This was the day that I was happy we lugged that tri-pod all over the country.
The kids love the ocean.
I mean, who wouldn't???
So much to do!
MJ found a dead monarch.
Daisy collected an obscene amount of shells.
Oh...this is me using my new handbag.
And, if you go to the beach with me...you are going to collect some trash! The kids collected this pile while Sweetie and I lay on the white sheet that we brought from the hotel. We did it scavenger hunt style...like, "go find something orange". I could hardly stand watching them have all the fun, so Sweetie and I got up and started collecting trash too...we more than doubled the pile (should have taken another picture). I can't believe the stuff people leave behind. Makes me sick.
This is how pretty our area looked when we were done with it.
After our day at the beach (about 2 1/2 hours from San Antonio), we headed back to San Antonio for some food and sleep.
The next day, no, we didn't go Black Friday shopping. Although, man, Black Friday shopping in Texas gives it a whole new meaning. Standing out in line at 3am when it's 70 degrees?!? Who wouldn't do that? We've done it when it's like -10 degrees. I would imagine their lines get longer than ours...but I don't know. I steered clear of shopping.
We drove north about 4 1/2 hours to Dallas. This was actually a pit stop on our way to Arkansas, so I didn't have any big plans for us there.
We pretty much hung out at the pool (I actually swam here!)...
...and ate pizza in our room. Oh, I should mention...we stayed at the Ritz Carlton Dallas. Whoa. Crazy gorgeous hotel! They are related to Marriot, so we stayed for free! I'm sure all the doormen and bellmen were thinking, "how'd these schmucks get in here?". It was quite fancy pants. A little too fancy for my taste. I like simple. If we need something out of our car, we just go out and get it, instead of waiting for the valet. Oh, and the tipping! I find it annoying and confusing. We're young, we can haul our own stuff around and park our own car. We like the independence of doing it ourselves. I always just think people are being nice and Sweetie's like, "did you tip them?". What??? He's like, "they were waiting for a tip". And I'm like, "But we were friends". I got really confused...did we really just have a nice conversation? Or, were they faking it for a tip. Gross. I didn't like that feeling. But, we managed. Hee hee!
OK...time to drive one of Daisy's friends home to Maple Grove. Hoping the snow comes tonight!!!!
"Mama said she didn't want anything except a cup of hot tea". A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith