Friday, July 10, 2015

alt-J

I've wanted to share this video for awhile, since most of it takes place in Austin or the surrounding areas. Also, the fireworks seemed like a fun post Fourth of July shout out. I hope you enjoy and have a great weekend!


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Western Texas

We drove out to New Mexico through Midland, TX, so we decided we would follow I-10 on the way back to get another view. This allowed us to explore a few cities in Texas we originally didn't plan time to see. The only down side was we didn't have lodging set up, so we chose to use Hotels Tonight. It worked out really well for a larger city like El Paso, but less so in the smaller towns. The first night back in Texas we stayed in El Paso. We both found it kind of wild that you can see Juarez from the interstate in El Paso. I've still never been to Mexico, so anytime I get a glimpse of it I find it exciting. We checked into our hotel and grabbed dinner at L&J Cafe. The place was a cute little bar style restaurant off of the city cemetery. I really enjoyed their neon sign, and we had excellent service. After dinner we went to see Inside Out at a nearby movie theatre. We both love movies, and it's something we really enjoy doing whenever we visit a new city. As it is typically locals only you get a bit of an insiders look at the city.
















The next morning we followed I-10 out of town and headed for Balmorhea for a swim in the natural spring at Balmorhea State Park. After cooling down in the spring we headed South to Alpine. Ryno found a converted motel for us to stay in our last night on the road. It's called The Maverick Inn: A Roadhouse for Wanderers. It was really charming with real keys for your room key and Western styling throughout the property. That night we drove out to Marfa for dinner and up to the McDonald Observatory for their Fourth of July Star Party. They do the Star Parties on most weekend nights, and it's an amazing visual tour of the night sky. Their facility is set up high and is one of the darkest remaining skies in the US. They also have telescopes set up around the property, so we were able to view the rings of Saturn and a couple of star nebula as well as the Milky Way without a telescope. It was by far our favorite part of the trip, and I would highly recommend checking it out if you ever find yourself somewhere near El Paso. The next morning we were up early and on the road back to Austin. We had a great time exploring, and I'm looking forward to planning our next road trip!














Tuesday, July 7, 2015

New Mexico

I mentioned yesterday that Ryno and I just returned from the longest road trip we've taken together since moving to Austin. The plan was to meet up in Ruidoso, NM with some friends for the July 4th weekend. It turned out our friends were unable to travel, so Ryno and I ventured out on our own. We had to make a new plan and find a few places to stay on the fly, however, it gave us the chance to try out some cities we wouldn't have made it to if we followed the original schedule. We spent half the trip in New Mexico and the other half in Western Texas.  I'm going to share New Mexico sites today and Texas tomorrow.

We arrived in Carlsbad, NM Thursday around noon and immediately started searching for lunch. We went to a cute Mexican restaurant called Mi Casita. The food was good and the staff was very friendly! After lunch we headed over to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. We almost missed our King's Palace scheduled tour, because I kept pulling over to take photos of the beautiful landscape. Someone should really warn you how beautiful the park landscape is even before you get to the caves! Fortunately, our tour guide let us join the group, and we were quickly immersed in the cave scenery. The elevator takes you 750 feet below the surface in a matter of minutes. The King's Palace tour was excellent, and after we finished our guided tour we walked through the natural entrance to the Big Room. It was beautiful to see the cave as we descended back to 750 feet below the surface.


After the cave we went to stay in a bed and breakfast called The Crofting Inn in Cloudcroft, NM. The innkeepers were so friendly and helpful! We wandered around Cloudcroft the next morning before driving through the Lincoln National Forest and up to Ruidoso. 



 From Ruidoso we drove to White Sands National Monument outside of Las Cruces. We played in the white, gypsum sand dunes for a few hours. It was an unbelievable sight with pure white sand stretching for hundreds of miles and surrounded by mountain landscapes. We bought a plastic sled and took turns sledding down the sand dunes.



New Mexico was full of beautiful sites and wonderful mountain views. We had a great time exploring the small towns. One of my favorites was Mesilla, NM just outside of Las Cruces. We were only able to stop for a half hour on our way back to Texas, but I'd love to go back and explore more of the cute town. More on our trip tomorrow!






Monday, July 6, 2015

going west

I hope everyone had a fun-filled Fourth of July. Ryno and I just got back to Austin from a 2,000 mile road trip to New Mexico and Southwest Texas. We had a great time exploring out West, and we were both able to add New Mexico to our "visited states" list. Pretty exciting! I'm looking forward to sharing where we went and what we enjoyed the most this week, but for now I'll just share a snapshot from our trip.

ps- If you want to see a sneak peak of the sites we visited you can follow the Steller button on the right side of the page — it's the circle with the "S" in it.