TEXAS – 2013

We are in Texas for Feb 2013. We said good-bye to rainy Vancouver Island, checked our suitcases in at the airline counter and hopped on a one way flight from Vancouver to Houston. Should be simple, right?

Here’s a summary of our day..

4AM alarm, drag our suitcases – 49lbs – NOT 50 ’cause that’s extra $$.  After all our carefull planning and packing it turns out they charge you $25 (per suitcase) anyway, so we pay, and we go.

Fly to Houston, bump bump thru the air.  Arrive in Houston, watch luggage carousel go round and round and round, no luggage for either of us,

PANIC,

go to customer service counter,

PANIC some more

until we discover that our luggage travelled without us on a previous flight.  Retrieve luggage, take shuttle bus to car rental place, we refuse to rent a car because they wanted to add $30 a day on us, take shuttle bus back to airport, find a taxi, pay $60 to go to the Hotel, the Hotel can’t find our reservation,

PANIC,

find bar, drink 2 quick beer after discovering we are at the wrong Hotel.  Take $6 Taxi ride to the right hotel, find more beer, drink more beer, ahhhh it’s been a long day, let’s go out and eat some Texas BBQ.

billy carter beer quote

We hung out at The Village where all the university students frequent, had a couple of beer and then headed out to a BBQ place called: Goode Company BBQ on Kirby street in Houston.  You could hardly see the tables and people there for all the smoke billowing out of the place.  It smelled so delicious and the BBQ we had was just what you would expect when you think of Texas BBQ.  I’ld recommend it to anyone.

Jan 28 – 2013

We played tourist for the day, figured out the Metro Rail system, saw lions, apes and bears at  the Houston Zoo, watched tarpon, sharks, and red fish at the Aquarium downtown.  Our feet are beat, tomorrow we are heading to Galveston for a couple of days!  Bye bye Houston!!

Zoo D7K_2132FThis is Milo the Giraffe, he lives at the Houston Zoo!!

Jan 29 – 2013

Made it to Galveston and the Harbour House at Pier 21.  It’s beautiful here, right on the gulf, almost makes me want to ditch my “Water Chicken” status and go on a cruise somewhere.  We laughed when we checked in ’cause the guy who worked behind the desk was from ..

wait for it..

Courtenay!!

Yes, he was.

It is a small world sometimes.  (Unless your lost in Houston and then it’s not so small..)

We wandered around Galveston for a day or so.  Strolled along the Strand, got an impromptu tour (from Capt. Dave) of the Historic Galvez Hotel built in 1910.

galvez hotel

Ate some great food at Willie G’s, Pier 21, walked along the beach, it was so windy we were leaning a little sideways – or was it the scotch and the beer we had??.  Tomorrow we are picking up our Rental Car and heading to Corpus Christi.  We can finally find drawers and hangars for our clothes.  My carefully arranged suit case is now a disaster after living out of it for a few days.

 

 After a late pick up by Enterprise, we managed to get our “Full Sized Car”, well, that’s what they called it.  We hooked up “Garmindy”, keyed in our address (sort of) and headed over to Corpus Christi.  We took a left turn at Alberquerkie and were lost for a few minutes until we got ourselves pointed in the right direction and off we went.

The drive took us over a toll road – Texas State Highway Beltway 8.  We were told to stock up on quarters as there were a few toll booths that we had to pass thru.  First stop $1.25 — shit, how many quarters do we have left?

We thought it would be cheaper than that.

  Next toll booth $1.25 – that pretty much cleaned us out, we’re looking under the seats now for our next check-in booth.  Before we leave we ask the lady at the booth how many more toll booths there are until we are off the Beltway..

She got real confused

 

Huh?

“How many more Toll Booths before we get to Hwy such and such?”

Huh?

“How many more Toll Booth before we get to Hwy such and such?”

“Well Maam”, she said, “I don’t know, cause I never travel the Beltway!”

Now I’m the confused one..

  “How does she get to work everyday?”

On our way to Corpus Christi we stopped for a late lunch at a Mexican place beside the freeway, we saw this next door from where we were:

 CChristi D7K_2389FF

 I think if I was M and opening a new Texas Cook’n restaurant, that I might have chosen a different neighbour to share my sign with.

After a few hours of driving thru very flat terrain of fields, brown grass, live stock and other assorted critters we arrived at our place in Corpus Christi.

Feb 1 – 2013

We take a drive around Padre Island near CChristi to check out the scenery.  You can drive on the beaches here – You need a parking pass if you’re going to stop anywhere, but you can drive for free – I wonder if Enterprise knows that or if there’s some kind of disclaimer in their contract about that practice? .. mnnn.. should we ask or just go for it?

 

 We’ve been here for a few days now.  We’ve gone to a couple of State Parks, checked out the beaches, sampled mexican food, sea food, italian food, (If you ever get here you have to try out the food at the Island Italian Restaurant), stocked up our fridge and cupboards too, gone to the shopping mall, driven back and forth on the South Padre Island road network (called the SPID), driven around Port Aransas, Aransas, Rockport, Corpus Christi, visited the The Lexington Aircraft Carrier (it’s amazing).  We haven’t tried fishing yet, that’s on our list still.  There’s a whooping crane tour that we want to go on.. lots of stuff to see yet.

People are very polite here in Texas!

Yes Ma’am, Yes Sir, No Ma’am, No Sir – we definitely know we are in Texas – Then we go to the grocery store and amongst are food items is:

 WINE!!

 

 We were told that you can’t buy a bottle of wine, anywhere in Texas, on a Sunday before noon.  We tried not to act surprised seeing as how you can’t buy any alcohol in any grocery store in Canada on any day eh!! 🙂

Here’s a few of my favorite pics that I’ve taken since we’ve got here.  I’ll put them up on my Flickr site and put a link in here in the next little while.

 CC D7K_2600F

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

A Grackle!

A Grackle!

Closeup of a Brown Pelican.

White Pelicans doing some personal grooming on the dock at Rockport Beach.

White Pelicans doing some personal grooming on the dock at Rockport Beach.

A Redhead Duck!

A Redhead Duck!

 FEB 22 – 2013

Hello folks!  Well here it is, our last week of the Vacation.  We took a few days away and drove up and over to San Antonio, Texas.  What a cool place!  It’s very touristy, so our wallets are hurting a bit, but  I would recommend it to anyone who has the time to visit there.

They have a section downtown called “The RiverWalk”.  It is one level below the street and it is a cement walkway that follows the course of the river.  You can walk on either side of the river (there are archways and bridges do get you across) and there are lots of restaurants / bars to sit outside or you can certainly sit inside if it’s windy, cloudy or rainy out.  Most of the restaurants seem to stay open until 10PM – it’s not Vegas – but it’s still fun, lots of people watching, fun and laughter everywhere.

We took a hop on / hop off Double Decker Bus Tour of the city.  It costs $21 for the full day – we asked what it would cost for 2 days? Turns out it’s only $1 more for the 2nd day.  That’s a great deal.  We’ve gone on these same tours of different cities when we travel: Lisbon, San Diego, Key West – we have a system now – we Hop ON, complete a full circuit so we can get a feel for where it’s taking us and you can get an overall view of the size of the city and an area that you may be interested in.  The second day you Hop ON and then get OFF and all the places you scouted out the day before.

One of the first places we hopped off was “The Mercado” or Market on Market Street.  We did find a nice Mexican place for breakfast, but the market itself is very touristy – ornamental gunk that you can buy anywhere in any city.. bla blah blah.  Of course, being so close to Mexico there were lots of Mexican pottery / blankets etc to purchase.  I bought a nice starfish made out of Zeragote wood (from Mexico) and then I promptly dropped it and broke a tiny piece of it’s arm/leg off – drats!! It reminded me of our trip to Playa del Carmen when I knocked over a dolphin statue in the store, broke it in 2 pieces and then had to BUY IT, because I BROKE it.

That wasn’t the part that hurt though.

The part that HURT, was not being able to haggle with the salesman and bring the price down a bit.. If I was buying it WHOLE I would have been able to do that, BUT because I broke it – full price Senorita!!

 

 MY starfish is nice than this one, but you get the idea.

We stayed at The St. Anthony – A Wyndham Hotel which is on Francis and Navarro Street.  It was AWESOME – reminded us of The Empress in Victoria.  High ceilings, gold chandeliers and picture frames, statues, old wooden doors that were 16foot high.  The rooms have been updated, but it’s still an old hotel.  The rooms were large (but a hotel room is a hotel room), but we loved the way it felt.  The staff were friendly and the rooms were clean.  It cost us $100 a night and $16 for parking.  That’s a pretty good price, if you’re ever in San Antonio, check it out.  The location is convenient, we only had to walk 3 blocks to the maiin section of the RiverWalk where the restaurants were and we were maybe a 10min walk to The Alamo Historial Site.

Inside The Alamo!

Inside The Alamo!

The Alamo

The Alamo

 After 3 nights in San Ant we packed up the car and drove up to Austin, Texas.  We didn’t have a hotel ’cause we couldn’t decide where we wanted to stay.  Did we want to stay on 6TH Steet?  It’s party central, an area similiar to Bourbon Street, lined with small honky tonk type bars and restaurants.  We heard that lots of University kids hang out down there.  Maybe we want to stay in The Wharehouse District?  It’s adjacent to 6th Street and a bit more updated, trendier? More for the older crowd?  We found 6th Street, parked and started our walk about.

Holy CRAP!  We can’t AFFORD this!!  The Omni Hotel $500, The Sheraton $400, The Marriott $300 – How can we afford this?  We’re going to spend all our BEER $$ on a place to sleep. Holy CRAP!

We found the Tourist Information centre on 6th Street and went in there for some advice.  We settled on a La Quinta on 11th Street (an easy walk downhill to 6th) – Not so easy when you’re stumbling home at midnight (but that’s another story).  What did it cost you ask? Remember, it’s La Quinta – a deal – the cheapest we could find $210! yessirreee, a deal!  We drive over there, park, go in, and I managed to get them down to $198 by showing them my AAA Card – not to be confused with AA which is where I’m headed when I get home and have to make it thru a day of work without ALCOHOL 🙂

speaking of Alcohol, if you make it to 6th street in Austin, you’ll find lots of places to check out.  We started checking out all the wierd names: The Dizzy Rooster, The Chuggin’ Monkey, The Blind Pig Pub, and The Thirsty Nickel, The Jackalope..

I can’t remember any other names after drinking at all of these ones ..

haha..

just kidding…

sort of..

I mean, it is a vacation after all!!

After a few hours of sampling the bars, some interesting food – beer pizza, more mexican taco’s and assorted salsa and tortilla chips.  We headed back UP the HILL to our room.  Who would have thought that 5 short blocks could be such work.  But, we made it and lived to tell about it, as you can see.

We only stayed in Austin for the 2 days and then headed back along the Freeways to Corpus Christi!

 We are now down to our last week here.  We’ve pretty well driven the length and breadth of Corpus Christi, we’ve explored a pretty good loop of Texas.  Not sure what the next week will bring, but we will just have to wait and see!

Here’s a link to my set of Texas 2013 pictures on Flickr.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kathys-kreation/sets/72157632771261177/

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