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January 31, 2011

Deep in the heart of Texas Part 1

This month, my sisters and I took a trip to get together and remember our mom who died a year ago January 12th. We wanted to go somewhere new and different and mostly not cold! We thought about Florida, but the tickets were alittle higher than we could afford, so my sisters came up with San Antonio, TX. We thought it would be warm and the downtown area was full of touristy things to see and do. Here is where our adventure begins.
First of all, we wanted to travel during the date of moms death, but what we didn't think about is that the day we flew out of Sky Harbor, was the day after the Tositos Bowl. Even though our flight was for 9:45 a.m., there were still people in line around me reeking of alcohol! Some were talking about how they didn't get to bed until 2:30 that morning. Lots of interesting people! I will say that the people at Southwest Airlines did a bang up job of getting everyone where they were supposed to be regardless of the large crowd! They were prepared!
I got to the airport before Cathy and Ginger and was whisked through the baggage check in and up to the security area. I haven't flown since, well, I went to visit my friend Carie in Virginia, and that has been at least 10 or 11 years ago..maybe more, do you remember, Carie? Anyways, there was no taking off your shoes, no you can't bring your water bottle that you just purchased across and no patting down poor old ladies in their wheelchairs! As I stood in that line listening to the instructions from the intercom, I was going through them in my head. Take out your laptops if you have them, no video recorders...ect...everything in the bins, got it. Why did this scare me so much? I know that Joanna is reading this and just laughing at me since she is a seasoned world traveler and now with child! Thankfully I made it through, no problems. I paid attention to the rules..;)
I headed right for the nearest Starbucks after the security, thanks to hearing about my sister in law Marisue having to dump hers at the security only to find another Starbucks after the security! Got my fix and waited for my sisters to arrive. We got on a very packed plane, mostly full of Auburn fans, and headed to San Antonio.
Got to Texas. It is very VERY cold in Texas. Even thought the sun is out, and that was the only day it was out the whole four days, it was pretty chilly even for  me a mountain girl! This might sound kind of crazy but here is where our quest for true Texas accents got going. So far, the guy at the rental car lot was from Alabama, not really the accent we were looking for. The lady who showed us the car had no accent either, interesting..So we got into our cute little Dodge Caliber and headed to the hotel.

So we drove to our cute little hotel, which was right across from the Alamo, really cool! The Alamo to me was some huge thing, but it was much smaller than I thought it was going to be! Anyways, we checked into the hotel and then did some searching for a place to grab a bite.

We drove around the downtown area, which is nice and then, not so nice, but there was a really nice park in the middle of it. The Riverwalk had lots of restaurants to eat at, and so we drove around looking for somewhere new to try. We ended up at the Riverwalk Center Mall, parked and looked at the restaurants there. The River in the Riverwalk is usually really beautiful, but as our luck would have it, they drain it once a year to clean the bottom and they had just drained it the week before we got there. The had started to refill it, but it still needed some more water to look like the pictures we saw on the website. We had some wings and then grabbed another coffee..yes...I am on vacation, those calories do not count! We didn't want to just head back to the hotel, so we headed back on the freeway to the Alamo Quarry shopping center near the airport.

The County Courthouse

So the Alamo Quarry shopping center was awesome. The had a Charming Charlies, and if anyone who loves bling as much as I do, you NEED to find one near you NOW! Cathy had taken me there at the San Tan Mall and I was in love. All of the tables of bling, purses, shoe and hair accessories is all by color! It is amazing! We shopped around at Old Navy, CC, and a shoe store and decided to head back to the hotel to figure out what to do that night. It was pretty cold, but I came prepared with a scarf and coat, thinking, I won't need this, but I will take it just in case..

Alamo Quarry

We got back to the hotel to decide what we were going to do that evening. Lots of things were closed since it was not really tourist season. They have a Sea World and a Six Flags, but hey were both closed until Spring. It seemed we would be doing a lot of shopping! We had asked a local at the wing place where a good local place to eat was, and she told us about this cool mexican restaurant called Mi Tierra downtown. Oh, I forgot to add, she didn't really have that Texan accent we were looking for! :( So when we got hungry, we headed to the place she recommended. It was awesome. It always pays to ask the locals where to eat! It had a mexican bakery, streamers on every part of the ceiling and yes, they never close!This place was like a mexican Bucca di Beppos! We had such good food and good entertainment. They have mariachis that came and sang us an awesome song!

So when we got back to the hotel, I got on facebook and asked for some ideas on where to eat and things to do in San Antonio. Crystal told me about a place that has the "best taco" in town. Food Network had even named it that! So we slept and got up early, thanks to my super peppy sister Cathy, and headed there for breakfast on our way to Corpus Christi to see the Texas coast. Props to Crystal! Those tacos were pretty amazing. I was so afraid that I would have a lot of Tex-Mex and so far we didn't! True mexican food..that made me so happy! So having our fill of delicious tacos, we took the 3 hour drive to the coast. Wow. Texas has really no mountains. It made me miss them so much! Lots and lots of flat, brown land. So Ginger and I passed the time by telling redneck and Chuck Norris jokes thanks to Chacha, while Cathy read and slept in the back.
Made it to Corpus Christi, wow. Not the prettiest town. Finally made it to the coast. The cold, COLD COLD coast! Not like the California coasts that I am used to. It was super overcast that day, and it was just blah.

After stopping to take some picture of the coast. We continued on to Rockport, which we were told was a nicer coastal town. We were hungry again, of course,so we headed that way to find some seafood. Let me just tell you, it was so dead everywhere we went! We definitely visited Texas at the wrong time of year! We drove through smaller towns to get to Rockport and came across alot of little islands that had huge beautiful homes on them. Mostly for summer I am sure. It reminded me of the Florida Keys. We didn't see much in the way of eating, so we stopped at a gas station for a better map and asked where we could get some good seafood. The lady just told us of this little cafe/bar around the corner, which we didn't really want to try, so we saw a billboard for a seafood place and called the number to see if they were opened. A lady answered and said "Hello", I was thrown off and told her I had the wrong number and she said no, but that they were closed until Spring. Big surprise. So we headed back to this little town Fulton and ate at a little place called Hammerheads. It was ok. The waitress did have a little of an accent which we were happy to hear! She is from a small town called Flatonia. She told us about this tour of churches that they do there and that her Grannie has a restaurant there. So, we ate our lunch and then took the long way North to Flatonia to sight see. Yet again, another flat, brown road, but the little towns were really cute. Lots and lots of cattle....EVERYWHERE!We stopped at one of the famous churches outside of Flatonia. It was really beautiful. Too bad it was so late and we couldn't get in to see it.

We laughed at the name of this restaurant!

Belt Sander Racing? Sorry I missed that!

January 10, 2011

Family Photo time

We had Elizabeth take our family pictures while we were visiting family in Westmorland. Some of them were alittle light because the setting on my camera got changed. But, I have every confidence in my sister in law who is a whiz with photoshop! Enjoy....