Monday, June 29, 2009

I'm glad we turned left at Albuquerque!



We woke up this morning in El Paso, which is not only right next to Mexico, but right next to NEW Mexico, as well. We don't know what any of you have heard about New Mexico, but we can assure you - it's awesome. We first stopped at a little local burger joint called "Ruby Tuesday," then made our way over to the White Sands National Monument (click for more info).

It looks like tropical paradise, but there was no beach in sight...

A sand lizard

Some sort of desert yucca

- - - - -
<-- Adam Emily------>

Needless to say, White Sands was incredible. It was dead silent, the sand felt like the finest beach sand, and it seemed like there was no one around for miles. We took the scenic loop through the park, and pulled off many times to take pictures and play in the sand (Adam bought a sand-sled! It's more difficult than I thought it would be, but I swear I got better).

The winds started kicking up late in the afternoon, and the sand-blasting we received told us it was time to leave. We made our way up towards Albuquerque, drove through a cool rainshower, and stopped to see a volcanic rock-field.

We didn't realize it was volcanic rock until we heard a 7 year-old girl singing "I'm standing on laaa-vaaa, I'm standing on laaa-vaaa!"

I have no clue what this is, but I think it blooms into a Truffula Tree

The drive through New Mexico has been breathtaking. The endless views, the colorful rocks and mountains, and the bizarre plants have all made for a very beautiful drive. Then there was the sunset...

That's a nice car...

The biggest rainbow either of us has ever seen

Oh snaparoonie.

We arrived in Albuquerque, checked into our hotel, and proceeded to continue our local restaurant tour with a visit to Albuquerque's own "Applebee's". They served Fat Tire beer, which is only available west of the Mississippi River...it's somethin' special.

Seriously, though... New Mexico? It's fantastic.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Austin to El Paso


I can't believe we drove across Texas. Everything is definitely bigger in Texas, especially the highway. My favorite thing that happened was when we got back onto Route 10 (the highway which crosses Texas), my GPS (Alice) said "In 450 miles, turn left."

We're resting up in El Paso now - enjoy some pictures from our scenic drive!

Our photographer-in-residence

A windmill right outside of Fredricksburg, TX

Scenic detour outside Fredricksburg

Apparently, Texas is a breeding ground for windmills

Sunset

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Keep Austin Weird!

Only in Texas! (Outside of Austin, of course...)

This morning began with some breakfast tacos from Juan In A Million (R) filled with all sorts of deliciousness (egg, potato, jalepenos, machacado).


Juan in a Million is located in what can only be described as the "moonbounce and pinata" district of Austin (see below). It was kind of like a cross between Mexico and a carnival, which made for an entertaining drive.


After waiting a solid thirty minutes (to prevent cramping), we made our way to Barton Springs Pool, a 3-acre poolstravaganza. Leave it to Texas to take a swimming pool to the extreme.


It is fed by a natural spring, which keeps the water at a consistent 68 degrees. 68 degrees is far colder than it sounds, especially when it's 111 degrees outside. We were fortunate enough to visit Austin during a record-breaking heatwave.


One thing to note about Austin - there are a lot of homeless people. Some of them look like hippie holdovers who never quite made it out of the 60's, but they are all over the city. They're nicknamed "drag rats" since they hang out along the strip of shops and restaurants on Guadalupe Street (a.k.a "The Drag") which runs along the western edge of the University of Texas campus.

The slogan of the city is "Keep Austin Weird," promoting the large amount of local small businesses and restaurants and maintaining the anti-corporate mentality of the city. It's definitely a funky city with a very unique feel.

One of the most unique things about Austin is the Congress Avenue Bridge bat colony.



When the city built the Congress Avenue Bridge, they didn't realize they were building the perfect habitat for a colony of 1.5 million Mexican bats. They sleep in the crevices under the bridge, and each night at dusk, they fly out to eat bugs, and do other nocturnal bat-things (mating, fighting crime, biting necks, etc.). You can't imagine what 1.5 million bats actually looks like until you see it.


Nothing builds up an appetites like bat-watching, so we took the advice of one of Emily's friends, (an Austin native) and headed to Chuy's (pronounced "Chew-eez"... we think...) for some authentic Tex-Mex and margaritas. Their creamy jalepeno dressing alone was worth the trip. It was a fitting end to our visit to Austin, and a small taste of what we'll be seeing in El Paso.

We're now lying in our bed in the Pearl Street Co-op, being treated to our second straight late-night of super-loud dance party in the courtyard (right outside of our window). We almost got to sleep last night, but the DJ started spinning some old school soul and funk and we couldn't help but sing along.

Adios!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Texas?!


We've had a solid week of excellent Southern hospitality (thanks again to Jeff, Rhonda, Mark and Rosalie!) but now we are on our own until Cali-forn-i-a! We said goodbye to Louisiana this morning, and entered the Lone Star State. We got into Austin this evening, took a little drive around downtown, and ate at Katz's Deli (go figure). Tomorrow we will be doing some Austin-y things. Get excited.
Downtown Austin

RIP Michael Jackson.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New Orleans!!

After driving through Alabama (hot) and Mississippi (hot) we finally arrived in Mandeville, Louisiana (also hot). We stayed with Adam's cousins Mark, Rosalie and Garity (and their wonderful dogs - see below!) We were greeted with an amazing dinner of crawfish and New Orleans-style barbeque shrimp...the size of Emily's head. Dessert was a visit to one of New Orleans' many drive-through daiquiri stands. Open container laws are very different here than in DC.

Tuesday morning we woke up to more crawfish, as well as classic New Orleans po'boy sandwiches (soft shell crab, oyster, and shrimp). Again...amazing. After lunch, Garity took us into the city (across the biggest bridge over water in the world) to see what New Orleans has to offer. We enjoyed more daiquiris, a walk through the French Quarter, burgers at Port of Call, Hurricanes at Pat O'Brian's, street performers, and late-night beignets at Cafe Du Monde (Robin, they were great!

Today (6/24) we were lucky to enjoy some delicious omelettes for breakfast (thanks, Chef Mark!) and a nice drive through Mandeville to see Lake Pontchartrain and the Tchefuncte River with Garity. We are now waiting on some authentic New Orleans fried chicken (Popeye's, which originated here) and good times before heading out to Austin, TX tomorrow!

Enjoy the pictures :)!Emily and Garity

A voodoo shop in the French Quarter

Some statuettes of New Orleans musicians

Can't go to New Orleans without a funny hat picture!

Cajun seasonin' - Slap Ya' Mama and Punch Ya' Daddy

Hand Grenades at Tropical Isle

Rosalie, Mark, Adam, Garity and Jocelyn

Suga Dumplin'

Mark and Rosalie's beautiful backyard

Cafe Du Monde beignets

See you in Austin!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Atlanta rundown

Hello from the ATL!

It's been a while since we've had internet access, but we wanted to check in and let everyone know how we've been! We've been enjoying our time in Atlanta with Adam's Aunt Rhonda and Uncle Jeff! Friday we had a delicious Shabbat dinner (courtesy of Barbara and Izzy) and saw all the family we could fit into one dining room (including Adam's new cousin Rafe)!
Saturday, Eli and Kim took us to see the Midsummer Music Festival (Rusted Root and Guster)

Tonight the whole family got together for a great Father's Day meal! Tomorrow we head to New Orleans for stop two!


Adam, Emily, Danny (standing), Reid, Rafe, Aunt Rhonda, Saree, Uncle Jeff, Kim and Eli
Happy Father's Day!

We're here!

We made it safely to Atlanta Friday morning! More updates soon!