Cross Country Road Trip: Part 2

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.

20130908-131909.jpgWe were grateful to stay at one of our friend's Tyler's apartment and so excited to finally be there! Oh hello Schwinn at Tyler's building.

20130908-132221.jpg 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

20130908-133725.jpg 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


20130908-134324.jpg 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!

20130909-131558.jpg The Black Heart

20130909-132747.jpg Cheers Austin!

20130909-132838.jpg 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.

20130909-133255.jpg And some art on the walls

20130909-133350.jpg Good morning Austin! Wooo! The heat was blasting early.

20130909-133601.jpg We went to brunch at a fantastic spot called the Magnolia Cafe. Greatly appreciated the sign


20130909-134145.jpg Magnolia Cafe also had awesome murals.

20130909-134350.jpg And near it!

20130909-134459.jpg Flamingos and all. Probably licked the plate of enchiladas... Best decision ever.

20130909-134525.jpg Our next activity on the itinerary was to check out the Barton Springs Pool Unfortunately, this was closed for cleaning on Thursday's.

20130909-135446.jpg 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.


20130909-141508.jpg 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.






20130909-142446.jpg We started to get loopy and dehydrated from the heat so we swung by Shady Grove restaurant for water and a snack.

20130909-143134.jpg And why not, pomegranate frozen sangria

20130909-143253.jpg Later, we decided to go a little out of the way to check out Lala's "The Christmas Bar" per Anthony Bourdain's recommendation.

20130909-143747.jpg Lala's was just that... A Christmas bar. Unfortunately, we were starving! No food service at Lala's but a heck of a lot of Christmas decor! Off to Stubb's instead.


20130909-144146.jpg The barbecue was lacking, though we paid for the experience and saw great gig posters of previous shows. :) Onto one of my favorite stops, the Jeremiah the innocent mural.

20130909-144448.jpg 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.

20130909-145837.jpg Called it an early night. The next morning we would be making a long stretch to New Mexico.

Cross Country Road Trip: Part 1

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. 20130814-140543.jpg (Where the sidewalk ends just below) This was taken off massive Lake Hartwell 20130814-140650.jpg Breakfast at the local general store, just next to the John Deere rider mower shop. 20130814-140731.jpg

20130814-140800.jpg 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

20130826-135248.jpg .... Where we got lost....for about an hour off track.

20130830-123830.jpg 20130814-151240.jpg 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.

20130814-151608.jpg ( I requested inspiration for my poem) 20130814-151726.jpg Popped around some local bars and Cafe du monde for my friend's late night beignet cravings.

(view from the Friendly Touch at night) 20130814-151951.jpg

(View from the Friendly Touch in the morning) 20130814-152117.jpg

20130814-152143.jpg First destination of the day Buffa's pronounced Boo-fahs...




We popped about and around local shops

20130830-122707.jpg Found this little guy...

20130830-122911.jpg And the most amazing scarf ever from Pop City


20130830-124248.jpg A sweet tooth break for my friends






20130830-124612.jpg Whatever sweet things they ate.... Apparently mind blowing!




20130830-125002.jpg We later drove around the 9th Ward where Katrina had hit. It was insane to see so many empty grass covered lots. And quite humbling to see what nature can do. But there was so much rebuilding.


20130830-125248.jpg 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.

20130830-130658.jpg 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!