Whole lotta signs!Read More
Wow. I feel like I was lost for the last few months! The holidays this season, swept me up I felt like I couldn't catch up. 2014, a brand new start, and with a new year most people put forth their one big *New Year's Resolution!* ... I don't particularly like that word resolution... I do however believe in goals and boy I have a lot this year. I hope to: experiment more with my process and work...really push what I am working on. update blog posts more often. research, research, research. have set correspondence for promoting my work. attend more drawing sessions.. if not create some. have my children's book completed! manage time better, somewhere in 2013 I stopped using my planner...not cool. My planner was ALWAYS attached to me. go on more adventures, even if by myself. try out some new activities, I'd really like to test myself physically more..climb more mountains, rocks, kayak. enjoy more music outings.
Oh yes. The final stretch and about 4 hours we would reach San Diego at around 10 o'clock at night. But not without the horrifying experience of reaching 3000 feet and a dangerously low tank of gas respectably on empty. Tensions were high....very high! And not without the standard border patrol stop. We finally! found a gas station somewhere on that impossibly brisk mountain top. Back down the mountain and through the lights of twinkling houses plopped throughout the hills. Hello there San Diego! And hello Kellie's new temporary apartment right by ocean beach! We were welcomed or perhaps we interrupted her friends staining trim. By this point we wanted to throw all of our bags down and just drop. To. The. Floor. But of course we didn't, the tired levels flipped to adrenaline and we might as well pop to the new neighboring hot spots as my time is very limited. I can't remember the exact name of the Irish bar we stopped in but I do remember running into my old neighbor and friend randomly! East coast to west it's still a small lil world. View from Kellie's temporary yard.
We awoke by cawking sounds of parrots..probably about a billion parrots...and jets from the naval base. It was a hazy morning so hazy you couldn't even see the jets zooming loudly in the sky. Now for ourselves to search for our own fuel in town. Finding parking was about as easy as finding parking in Carytown for a busy Saturday brunch time. We chose the most hopping place. So driving up and down a few blocks for a space allowed us to check out the views.
And fantastic color palettes everywhere!
And building signage!
I appreciated the multiple painted electrical boxes. Love.
Finally a parking space! And a humble 30 minute wait at the Mission Restaurant.
Well worth it too! Most amazing chicken apple sausage I've ever had!
Still a bit dreary looking after brunch... After brunch, why not head on over to.... IKEA! Ha! I love ikea, even if there is a location very close to Richmond,
But wait. The sun rays burst the the clouds suddenly... As we approach...... IKEA! Ha! I love ikea, even if there is a close location to Richmond, I will never pass up the chance to an ikea, especially to help make a temporary home more cozy.
A quick stop at the apartment to drop off the goods. I noticed a nice little shout out to Richmond's own Gwar on the grill in front!
Sunny sunny San Diego, off to the beach.
The beach location was beautiful! But to get there... We needed to troll down a noted dangerously steep cliff!
I'll bounce around James River rocks all day, barefoot even, because I am used to those rocks, these rocks were pretty scary! It was so rewarding when this is where you'd be posting up!
It was a dog friendly beach. These pups were amazing and nuts!
I love the Pacific Ocean. Love it. Wooo was that water cold! A couple hours of the beach and the unfortunate neglect of sunscreen we still had much to do, our goal was to see the seals in La Jolla. We missed them, or they didn't show.
I can't imagine living on those hills, the houses were ridiculous and expensive looking.
And we were starving. We did some more touristy things in search of dinner in Old Town, where they make their own tortillas in the window. So much in one day, we were insanely exhausted and we both needed to wake up around 4 in the morning to get to the airport for my send off. (Before sunrise in San Diego)
It was such a sad good bye. We were so tired after such a long trip. After all the tears before we left. The road took so much out of us. [I am still bummed I don't have my partner in crime, roll dog, best gal friend here in Richmond with me :( ] I was ready to be back home and terrified of not only my first flight in about 10 years, my first flight ever by myself.
Thank goodness for five minutes of free in flight video. Thank you shark week.
Bye bye California, hello in flight snacks.
And funky weird circles which I later learned were irrigation systems... Not crop circles.
And in flight doodling.
The worst was the couple hour layover in La Guardia Airport in New Jersey... So close yet so far away!!
It was an express flight to Richmond, in the teensiest plane I've ever been in, luckily I was in a singular row by the window.
Home. Finally home, where my dad drove down from D.C. to pick me up.
Best trip ever. Back to business as usual.
After calling it an early night to start early mornings we said our goodbyes to Austin, with a coffee shop stop at Austin Java, a honey nut latte and a seven layer bar to go... The driving again commenced.
We were advised to keep a close eye on gas while driving through Texas and the remaining states as gas stations run scarce. Our first stop of the day we finally found our road trip totem: Peace Monkey. The perfect addition for any drive, really.
My friend and I left New Orleans quite early in the morning, but not before a quick coffee, croissant, donut and the cheapest, largest baguette ever purchase for another long day of driving to Austin, Texas!!!! Another destination I have never visited! Most of the day was driving through the bayou on 10, playing the game "let's see if we can spot an alligator or an armadillo!" For the record, we saw none! Driving, driving, more driving, trading off driving, traffic, radiolab, shows on the iphone, driving, pandora. A quick pit stop at a cute little BBQ spot...Though I passed on BBQ (the baguette filled me up) I more so was dying of thirst, the Texas heat hits you like a brick. We arrived in Austin in the evening around 6 o'clock.
My first thoughts on Austin were how clean it is! So clean! I also loved seeing so many solar panels! I really wish Richmond would have more natural energy efforts. So after catching up with Tyler, we were very anxious to try some of Austin's finest food. A key staple in Austin is food trucks...everywhere!! But these food trucks are not like Richmond's food trucks that you know.... move around...which baffled Tyler's mind. Austin's food trucks are stationary. there were thrice as many if not more food trucks then Richmond. The recommended dinner choice was...Tacos! Why not?! At Torchy's
This place was incredibly dangerous=best tacos ever. I got the Baja shrimp, chicken fajita, and the Brush Fire=Jamaican jerk chicken, grilled jalapeños, mango, sour cream & cilantro. w/DIABLO SAUCE on a flour tortilla. My new favorite. It had the cutest gravel patio
I caught my first glimpse of many, the Grackle bird vulturing on the outdoor bus station. We drove around the downtown area and found a night spot that looked straight out of Richmond!
And then we ventured a little closer to the college area and found another fantastic gem, Shangri La. Another spot that seemed right out of Richmond.
We went to brunch at a fantastic spot called the Magnolia Cafe. Greatly appreciated the sign
Our next activity on the itinerary was to check out the Barton Springs Pool Unfortunately, this was closed for cleaning on Thursday's.
But! To the left, the "free" side was open. Thank goodness. I'm fairly certain the temperature was about 106 degrees. The temperature of the spring was about 70 degrees. It took my breath away! That was one of the coolest free things to do in Austin. A little grackle bird friend.
Afterwards, we trolled around Congress avenue to check out some of the shops and fell so hard in love with the store Parts & Labour I would love to sell my jewelry there. I almost died walking around there attached screen print section.
Later, we decided to go a little out of the way to check out Lala's "The Christmas Bar" per Anthony Bourdain's recommendation.
Painted by Daniel Johnston. It was such a long day. We were pooped. On the way back to our friend's apartment, we saw massive amounts of people along the Congress bridge, watching... swarms of birds?? We circled around once more, we were so confused, because clearly this was a thing. We later found out that the flock of birds were actually bats! The great free-tailed Mexican bat migration of the Congress avenue bridge occurs every year so the bats can birth. An aha! moment, that is why there are so many bat references! Below a beautiful bird mural on the side of a residence.
Wooo! July ended with a bang! And its literally been so crazy this August I haven't had the chance to share! I had the honor and privilege to accompany one of my best friends on a bittersweet road trip to move her across the country. End point = San Diego within a seven day time period! The 8th day for me was spent flying all day back to good old RVA. The trip started out fruitful and exciting and nervous with the first stop towards the end of South Carolina, in an extremely rural town of Fair Play. And I mean rural! no stop light rural... Predominately inhabited by a Mennonite community and also where my friend's parents live. We crushed considerable time, got a chance to start reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (an amazing story circulating around my friends, an absolute must read!) We arrived around Sevenish on Sunday evening. (Where the sidewalk ends just below) This was taken off massive Lake Hartwell Breakfast at the local general store, just next to the John Deere rider mower shop.
It was crickets all night long! Or rather every single insect in the universe could be heard and thats it ...but eerily quiet if that makes sense. The calm and relaxation was great especially after a full days drive because the next stop... New Orleans!
We left South Carolina on Monday mid morning... With a Lunch pitstop in Atlanta, Georgia
We arrived in New Orleans late night at our friend Janet's building to stay, formerly The Friendly Touch bar and soon to be The Friendly Touch Fabric Store. Though this was in renovation state it was a quite cool spot to crash. What perfect timing it was to show up to experience night life shenanigans. We walked around the French Quarter, had a man write poems for us who was from Northern Virginia and! lived in Richmond! Super fun.
( I requested inspiration for my poem) Popped around some local bars and Cafe du monde for my friend's late night beignet cravings.
First destination of the day Buffa's pronounced Boo-fahs...
We popped about and around local shops
And the most amazing scarf ever from Pop City
I had tried to snap some photos of the newly built modular homes equipped with solar panels and awesome architecture shapes but I did not get the chance :( We had hoped to venture to a few cemeteries but time constraints didn't allow such (save for next time!) after walking around in the Louisiana humidity, a nap was extremely vital. A few hours later we stopped by Coop's Place for some local New Orleans eats. I had ordered the Chicken Tchoupitoulas which I still.... Cannot pronounce. Amazing! Amazing amazing amazing! Super pleased that my friends had extreme food envy, so of course I shared, I hate wasting food I am unable to finish.
After dinner we had to do one of the most touristy things while we were in New Orleans: the haunted ghost tour. It left out of Flabagan's Irish Pub such a great spot! It reminded me so much of Richmond... And Andy out bartender told us stories of how Nicolas Cage would come in there all the time. Our tour guide Tessy was seriously fantastic and I'd like to note our friend Janet was such a sport for coming with us on such a tourist event. The haunted tour was creepy. Really creepy. I enjoyed hearing some historical information, though I absolutely tried to fact check a considerable amount. One of the more chilling houses, where interestingly Nicolas Cage had once lived, the LaLaurie House originally owned by Delpine LaLaurie was by far the most disturbing stories of the entire route. I have linked information above if you are curious. Perfect end for our last night in New Orleans. In the morning we would hop back in the car towards our next location: Austin, Texas!