July 30, 2013

July in Photos

27/52 :: Summer Lunch Truck
28/52: Alamo!
29/32: Feeding Fish @ Texas Freshwater Fishery
30/52 :: Summer = Reading

July Adventures:
- More summer lunch volunteering for me with Junior League/Seven Loaves
- Two back-to-back history classes for Matt at Grayson College - that's 4 straight hours of lecturing every morning
- Two quick Texas road trips, New Braunfels/San Antonio for my cousin Adam's fun wedding and Lake Athens with the Sielings+Motts
- Celebrating my grandfather's 80th birthday with a delicious meal, and a group of 20, at Lawry's Prime Rib - yum! Happy Birthday Papa!
- Plus HBO Go!, gym time, and relaxing before summer ends, though I only have one weekday without something planning between now and my first day back

[2013 Photos]

July on the Road: Weddings + Water

In the spirit of still driving everywhere, we headed south and enjoyed two fun Texas weekend trips last month. We started July with a long weekend in the hill country for my cousin Adam's wedding - welcome to the family Becca!

They had the prettiest wedding in New Braunfels (which we also helped setup & take down). On the way we took the scenic route down 281 with a daytripper stop for BBQ at the Burnet Feed Store and a tour of LBJ's Ranch, followed by dinner at Mi Tierra's in San Antonio and drinks at the Menger Hotel and Pat O'Brien's with my parents. We also fit in a great lunch at Clear Springs and pool time at the Marriott River Village in New Braunfels, which is actually a cool hotel. It was a fun and busy weekend - and of course, the best part was spending time with lots of family.

The very next weekend we enjoyed another fun trip - a lake house weekend in Athens with our friends Kirk+Megan and Shannon+Andy. We lucked out with beautiful weather and a nice little boat slip/swimming area. Kayaks, floating, grilling out, and a trip to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center completed the weekend. Athens is a cute little town and the lake is small, private, and pretty. We're already planning a repeat trip next summer with an upgrade to Cedar Creek Lake nearby.

That's it for summer travels!

July 23, 2013

24 States!

Summer is always a time for road trips and reflection. While driving back from Kentucky, Matt and I added up our travels from the past 12 months and were surprised to realize we went to 24 states (plus DC) from July 2012-June 2013. This was our busiest travel year yet!
We are lucky ducks to have the time and means (and sense of humor) to road trip it so often. We went to 22 states together, Matt went to Missouri alone and I went to New York with my sister (also the only trip by plane). I'm not sure exactly how many miles we drove traveling, but it's at least 17,000 - crazy!!!

Summer 2012-Summer 2013 Travels
June/July - Glacier Hiking Vacation
June - Denver WeekendKentucky Research Trip
July - New Braunfels Family Trip, Lake Athens Friends Trip

Besides being lots of miles, what makes 24 states surprising is that we weren't even trying to make this a big travel year. After going to Big Bend (US/Mexico border park) in December 2011 I thought it would be fun to go to Glacier (US/Canada border park) for our summer break trip next. All the other trips just kind of happened after invites, research opportunities, and a spring break sync fell into place. Guess you never know what fun the future holds?

Up for the next 12 months: Guadalupe Peak for my Dad's 60th birthday, several trips to the Houston-area for baby Abbott events, and a big drive to Alaska next summer if the calendar works out.

We took our first big road trip together on our honeymoon [Santa Fe/Taos 2005] and have had lots of practice doing nothing in the car since. These are our best trip tips to pass the time...
  • Switch drivers frequently - we usually trade driving every time we stop and it really does make the day go faster and easier.
  • Listen to podcasts - How Did This Get Made? is the best ever, plus Freakonomics, ebrakes from The Ticket (Matt's contribution), Snap Judgement, and This American Life (free if you subscribe to weekly downloads). I use the Podcast app on my phone to subscribe and download them all in advance so we can listen when we're out of cell service areas.
  • Check out audiobooks free via Overdrive, humor is the only genre we usually both like, I also check out books for myself to listen to with headphones.
  • Listen to Pandora - we like singer-songwriter stuff (Bon Iver, My Morning Jacket, Fleet Foxes) and sing along to Disney hits when we get tired.
  • Read maps and Trip Advisor reviews as you go, get lost on Wikipedia, play sudoku and solitaire, take a bunch of pictures of yourself in the car, eat your snacks incredibly slow, etc.
  • Use a Rest Area app to plan your breaks - if it wasn't already available free this would have been my big invention.
  • We also take our water bottles and refill them at rest areas along the way, hit up all the state welcome centers for free coffee, and take plenty of snacks/sandwich stuff in the car so we can picnic on the road.
Happy Travels!