Houston – McGonigel’s Mucky Duck…

Houston was the first major city in Texas that I stopped in at the beginning of this trip…and it was the last city I was stopping in, before sadly beginning to make my way home to CT.  I spent three nights in Houston on this leg of my trip…and I had a few plans.

First stop…the Open Mic at McGonigel’s Mucky Duck Restaurant and Bar…a very cool, intimate live music venue that features up-and-coming and established musicians six nights a week.  The Mucky Duck also opens the stage and professional sound system to anyone who would like to perform a few songs on Monday nights.  I’ve performed here twice before and had a blast each time.

Tonight, I was meeting my friend, Joni’s, husband’s cousin, Cheryl, and Cheryl’s husband, Dave, at the Mucky Duck.  As it turned out, Cheryl and Dave also invited their friend, Chris (Christine), as well.  So, the musical performance pressure was on (not).

Joni had suggested that I try to get together with Cheryl and Dave, thinking that we’d probably hit it off, and Joni was right.  Cheryl and Dave and Chris and I were instantly chatting and cracking each other up, like old friends from the start.  Cheryl and Dave have twin sons who both just started college this fall…in New York City, and in England.  I believe Dave was born in England, but grew up in Australia.  So, we had plenty to talk about.

I happened to arrive at the Mucky Duck only a few  minutes before Cheryl, Dave and Chris, and had met Letitia, one of the performers who had signed up to play (we noticed each other’s guitar cases).  I briefly explained my road-trip to Letitia and asked if she’d mind if I took a few photos of her while she was performing.  She was happy to let me.  Letitia was on her way to Austin to begin a music career.

So, here are a few photos I took of Letitia during her set.  I sent these and others to her, just last night, actually, and she loved them:

At some point before my set, I asked Cheryl and Dave, which of them was the better photographer, and Dave elected Cheryl.  I already had my camera’s exposure and single auto-focus point set up from photographing Letitia, so I gave Cheryl a crash course in shooting with this set-up, so she could take a few photos of me during my set.  Shameless…I know.

Here are a few of our practice-photos, taken at our table.  Mind you…these are close close-ups…haha!  Unfortunately, in the process, we did not get a photo of Cheryl.  But, we did get Dave, Chris and yours truly:

During my musical set, I noticed Cheryl moving around the room…trying out different angles and perspectives as she shot photos of me.  It looked like she was having a great time.  I keep telling y’all that the lens is very addictive.  Cheryl got some great images.  Who thinks I look ready to go on tour?  Anybody???

Typically, Wayne, the open mic host, who is also the sound-tech, allows each performer to sing three songs.  But, as it turned out, it was a light night (maybe, again, something to do with the Astros being in the World Series?), with not enough performers to fill the evening, and I was the last performer on the list.  So, after my last song, Wayne invited me to sing a fourth…which I was more than happy to oblige.

By the way, I had met Wayne on both of my prior visits to the Mucky Duck.  Wayne is a really good guitarist, and helps accompany some of the performers, if they ask him.  On this night, Wayne also did a really great solo guitar instrumental version of “Over The Rainbow”.  That was a treat.

So, despite the episode with my car that took up much of the day, I was thrilled that it didn’t interfere with such a great night with live music and new Houston friends.

South Padre Island to Houston – There Ought To Be A Law…

First, allow me to say that I love Texas.  And that everything I’m about to tell you, comes from this place of deep appreciation and love of Texas and Texans.  That said…

I think there ought to be a Texas state statute that says, “If you are not from Texas…but your car gets attacked by one of our very aggressive, peeled off, tractor-trailer tire-retreads…that are so prevalent on our highways as to be ubiquitous…then, Texas will officially recognize you as a Texan.”  That’s fair, isn’t it?

From South Padre Island, my next destination was Pearland, a suburb of southeast Houston…roughly a 380-mile drive.   Fairly early in my drive, I was stopped by Texas (maybe it’s Federal?) border-security at a highway checkpoint (I was not pulled over.  Everyone had to stop).  When it was my turn in line, the only question I was asked by the no-nonsense trooper was, “Are you a U.S. citizen?”  This gives you an idea of how close to the Mexican border I had been on South Padre.  I was really piling up some miles on this trip.

A couple of hours later, still not even halfway to Houston, I was behind an SUV at highway speeds out in dead-flat farm country, when a couple/few very large, heavy strips of peeled-off tractor-trailer tire-retreads came shooting out from under the rear tires of the SUV, slamming into the front grille of my Camry, then sounding like they were violently pummeling the entire length of the underside of my car as I helplessly drove over them.

In that split-second I had before the initial impact, I remember making the conscious decision that, at highway speeds, it would be safer to face the retreads head-on, regardless of the potential damage to my car, than to attempt to suddenly swerve out of the way, risking rolling my car over.  So, that’s what I did.  In that instant, I simply braced myself and let the Camry absorb the full impact of the retreads.

As soon as the retreads cleared my car, I could tell something wasn’t right, so I turned off my music (which wasn’t loud to begin with), and could hear a constant scraping sound coming from somewhere underneath my car.  I saw an isolated gas station/convenience store just up ahead, so I pulled in.

By this point, I realized that I was actually pretty shaken, and wasn’t quite sure what to do.  I remember getting out of my car to see if I could see what was going on.  The first thing I saw was that the lower portion of my front grille was shattered…not a good start (Note: the specks are mostly the hundreds of bugs that met their end just on this trip.  I had washed and waxed my car shortly before I left CT.  But, the black streaks?  Those are from the retreads whipping against my bumper and grille).

Then, I lifted the hood and saw an open-hand-sized dent, or depression in what I initially thought was my radiator…really not good (Notice the long, tapered impression at the bottom of the photo).

And then, trying to look under the front of my car, I could see sections of the molded-plastic skid-plate that protects the radiator, oil pan and front-underside of the engine, were dragging on the pavement, essentially in tatters…really, really not good.

Fortunately, I have roadside assistance insurance, so that was reassuring.  I had no idea where I was, other than out in the middle of farm country, with virtually nothing around.  I went into the gas station’s convenience store and asked the woman at the counter where I was, and for the exact address, explaining what had just happened to my car.  She was very nice.

With that information, I called my insurance company and began getting my bearings, meanwhile keeping my car running, in part to stay cool, but also to determine if the car was leaking any fluids.

After about a half-hour of idling my car, I checked underneath.  To my huge relief, there was nothing leaking and the temperature gauge was reading normal…step one.  Then, I asked the insurance customer service rep on the phone, if she could look up the address of the nearest Toyota dealership to my next hotel, which was in Pearland, three-plus hours from where I had stopped.  I explained to the rep that it appeared that my car was not leaking, and the engine seemed to be running normally, so there was a good chance I could drive the rest of the way to Houston, versus getting towed to any nearby local shop.

She was very nice, not only locating the dealership, only a few miles from my next hotel, but calling the dealership to let them know what had happened and that I was on my way.  So, the situation was beginning to look not as grim.

And as it turned out, this entire time, there happened to be an HVAC repairman, with his van, at the gas station, working on the gas station’s A/C.  I thought that maybe, if he had a couple of spare zip-ties, I might be able to lash the dragging parts of my skid plate up and off the pavement.  But instead, this good-Samaritan kindly and generously got out of his van and went straight to work, zip-tying my skid plate together, himself, graciously declining my offer to help, and any gratuity for helping me out.  He was a really good guy.

I was honestly amazed and humbled at how, piece by piece, my initial feelings of helplessness at potentially becoming stranded, were getting allayed.

And so, off I went, with my bruised Camry, back on the highway toward Houston, watching and listening for any mechanical problems that might surface, but the old girl seemed to be running fine.

By this point, I had lost quite a bit of time, and knew I would lose even more at the Toyota dealer.  This was only a concern, because my Massachusetts friend, Joni, had days-before put me in touch with her husband’s cousin, Cheryl, and Cheryl’s husband, Dave, in Houston, and the three of us were planning on meeting at McGonigel’s Mucky Duck bar/restaurant that night, where I was hoping to perform a few songs at the Mucky Duck’s open mic.  So, the clock was ticking.

As it turned out, the dealership was extremely helpful, but did not have a loaner-car available, due to storm Harvey demands, and the affiliated car-rental office had already closed.  But, since my car was driving fine, we arranged for me to return, first thing the next morning, to get my car properly checked out.  This allowed me to keep my Mucky Duck plans with Cheryl and Dave.

So, somehow, despite my highway calamity, I was able to continue on with the next chapter of this trip, barely missing a beat.  I was feeling incredibly fortunate and relieved.

South Padre Island – Beach Day…

About three hours south of Corpus Christi you’ll find the beach community of South Padre Island, which is located at the southern end of Padre Island, the longest barrier-island in Texas.  According to Wikipedia, Padre Island also happens to be the longest barrier island in the world.  From the town of South Padre Island, you are only a stone’s throw from Mexico.

I had one afternoon and night on South Padre and my modest goals were to walk on the beach, dip my feet in the surf, and enjoy some fish tacos while sipping margaritas at a beach bar.  I won’t hold you in suspense.  Mission accomplished on all counts.

As far as I could tell, there is only one route to get to South Padre, which you can only enter from its southern end, and that route is surprisingly remote.  You really have to want to get to South Padre to get to South Padre.  But, it’s well worth the drive.

South Padre has a reputation as a major Spring Break destination.  Fortunately, I was there in the off-season, and possibly the nicest time of the year.  The weather and water were easily warm enough for swimming, and there were only a handful of people on the beaches.

My hotel was ocean-front…or Gulf-front.  My room wasn’t quite ready when I arrived, so I broke out the flip-flops from the trunk of my car and headed for the beach.  My hotel was near the end of the developed stretch.  So, this snapshot is looking south from the beach at my hotel.

Facing north, you could see much less development, so that’s the direction I walked, even though I basically had the beach to myself regardless of the direction I headed.

And of course I bumped into a few people who were more than happy to snap my picture, just so I could have tangible proof that I’m not making any of this up.

My room was ready by the time I finished my walk, so I unpacked, got settled in, and immediately headed out for dinner.  Laguna Bob’s is a beach bar/restaurant I had on my list.  It’s on the waterfront of Laguna Madre, the narrow body of water separating Padre Island from the mainland, so I headed there.

I sat at the bar of the outdoor deck, where there were also tables.  There were quite a few people at the tables, and only a few at the bar, but everybody was having a good time, joking around with each other and cajoling the barmaid as they ordered more rounds.   So, these were mostly regulars.

It wasn’t long after I started in on my fish tacos and first margarita before a woman a few seats down from me at the bar, who had been focused on the football game on the TV near her, started up a conversation with me.  She asked me about the French fry combo that came with my tacos…no joke.

A second woman sat down with the first, and before I knew it, I was having a great conversation with a retired librarian from the Dallas area, and her aunt, who lived about two hours west of South Padre, in McAllen (if I have that right).  As always, it seems I only need to mention this road-trip, and I make new friends.

Both of these women were great to chat with and volunteered a raft of information, both about Texas and about resources for finding all kinds of hidden gems of Texas.  In turn, I am going to share with you the two main sources among a list that they wrote on a scrap of paper for me:  the Texas Country Reporter, and the Texas Bucket List.

And you thought this post was going to be nothing, but self-indulgent fluff!  I knew I had a point in there, somewhere.  I just wasn’t sure how I was going to get to it.

So, everyone is having a great time out on the deck and they are keeping the two barmaids very busy…lots of cocktails and beer.  And it wasn’t long before another lively woman from one of the tables came over to the three of us…total strangers…and invited us over to her table of friends to chat, laugh and watch the sunset over the water.

Are we seeing another pattern?  This is just how so many nights went on this trip.

So, here’s a quick snapshot of the sun setting over Laguna Madre, from the deck of Laguna Bob’s…a fitting conclusion to my one night on South Padre.

San Antonio – Day In Old Mexico…

If you plan to visit San Antonio and have never been, or even if you have visited, but have not been to the following, these are a few things you should definitely make a point of seeing.  I did not go to these on this visit, but did on two prior visits in the last few years.  I told my family and some of my friends about these at the time, so this is more for anyone I haven’t told, or does not know me, but is following this blog.

You should definitely go to The Riverwalk and The Alamo, for starters.  These are arguably San Antonio’s best-known tourist attractions, but are still both very cool.  They are also only a couple of short walking blocks from each other, so that if you park near The Alamo, it’s an easy walk to The Riverwalk.

The other is the Day In Old Mexico, or any of the other handful of Charreada (traditional Mexican rodeo) events hosted by the San Antonio Charros Association throughout the year.  These are really hidden gems of San Antonio, and of Texas, itself, that I only found out about by accident on my first Texas road-trip in 2014.

During my Lost Maples hike on this current trip, I bumped into and hiked some of the ridge with a very nice group of about a half-dozen UT-Austin students, all from Texas, and at least a couple of whom were from San Antonio.  None of them had ever heard of these events.  And had there been a charreada event that coincided with this current visit to San Antonio, I would have been there in a heartbeat.  They are very special.

All of these events are held at the very cool, very rustic, San Antonio Charro Ranch (6126 Padre Drive, San Antonio), located on the outskirts of the south side of San Antonio.

In particular, the Day In Old Mexico events are held only twice a year, and are scheduled on two consecutive Sundays, typically in April (check the SA Charros Association’s Events Calendar for details) as part of the annual San Antonio Fiesta celebrations.

The outdoor arena at the Charro Ranch is designed for traditional Charreada events…consisting of a lane, where competitors enter or begin some competitions, that is about 40 feet wide, by 200 feet long, and opens up to a circular arena that is 130 feet in diameter.  The arena is enclosed by simple, covered grandstands.  The birds-eye view looks like a giant keyhole.

If you have a real camera, versus simply your cell-phone, you are permitted to hang out, view and photograph the demonstrations up-close-and-personal at dirt-level, in the curved open-corridor at ring-side…which, when I went, is exactly where I spent an entire afternoon, immersed in photo-op heaven.

The men’s, or charros’, events, are an alternating mix of great action and subtly-intricate riding and roping skills that differ dramatically from the purely high-octane events in American-style rodeos.  There are no SUV-sized bulls, for starters.

Absolutely nothing against American-style rodeos.  I have been to one, in Texas, loved it, and hope to see many more.  But, traditional Mexican Rodeo…at least the Day In Old Mexico…is a much quieter, more-subtle, affair.  It has the casual feel of a very large family reunion, versus pure-spectacle.  For one, the announcer introduces and explains each event, in the warm, familiar, friendly manner that a favorite uncle might introduce a potato-sack race at a reunion.  As a complete outsider, a Connecticut Yankee, I felt like I was being invited in, to be a part of this very large family.

Then, there are the young women’s events…the Escaramuza Charra.  Escaramuza are 8-member riding-teams of what appear to be high-school-aged girls, wearing formal sombreros and elaborate, colorful, traditional lacy dresses over layers of petticoats.  Escaramuza teams compete, in part, by executing a series of difficult, close-quarter, inter-lacing and intricately-synchronized horseback-riding patterns at moderately-high speeds…all while sitting elegantly side-saddle.

There is also one dramatic solo Escaramuza event, where a lone female rider on horseback, gallops headlong into the arena from the lane, bringing the horse to a sudden stop…churning up dirt and dust, essentially slamming on the horse’s brakes…while sitting side-saddle, and wearing one of these layered, lacy dresses.  I have no idea how these young women do this and avoid either getting hurled over the horse’s head, or flipping the horse backward onto themselves…all while remaining poised and in total control the entire time.  These girls are extremely brave and skilled.

So, if you ever plan a trip that includes San Antonio, I suggest trying to include one of the two April “Day in Old Mexico” events, or any of the other Charreada events, in your schedule.  They are not very well publicized, so I am letting you in on real insider info.  Mum’s the word…lol.

San Antonio – Tower of the Americas…

During my three days in San Antonio, I mostly relaxed and puttered around town.  I utilized short, in-town destinations and GPS to take me to and through various neighborhoods with no real plan.  I really just wanted to see a bit of the city, and GPS took me there in ways that a tour guide could not.

There is a nice, but touristy, Mexican restaurant and souvenir shop area called Market Square, where I shopped for a few small gifts for my family.  And a young Mexican woman at Havana’s front desk suggested I stop at the Pearl Brewery, a former brewery-turned-trendy-boutique-and-eatery area, so I went there, as well.  She also suggested that while at Pearl, I try an ice cream at Lick Ice Cream, so I did that.

I went to a Cavender’s Boot City, a big Texas retail chain for everyman/woman western wear, to find one of two new pairs (like I needed another) of roper-style western boots for country-western dancing.  We just have nothing remotely like a Cavender’s in the Northeast, or on the East Coast.

I went to another small western boot shop that I found online, as well, really just to give myself another excuse to drive around San Antonio.  I went to Rosario’s, a trendy Mexican restaurant, suggested by the same young woman at Havana’s front desk.

Each time any of these little excursions took me a ways from the downtown area, I would notice a very tall, modern tower, similar to the Seattle Space Needle, out in the distance.  I never knew which direction I was driving, or which direction this tower was in, but it always stood out.

Eventually, I gave up and googled “tallest buildings San Antonio”, or something.  The result was “Tower of the Americas”.  Has anyone ever heard of this?  I never had…which means nothing.

Further reading revealed that it is in fact a well-known tourist attraction and has a rotating restaurant and observation deck at the top.  So, my next destination became…  You guessed it.

I decided to treat myself to lunch at the tower’s observation-level restaurant, which was really nice.  My server provided a few basic tower-facts:  725 feet tall.  Second tallest tower in the U.S. next to a tower in Las Vegas.  Able to see out some thirty-seven miles on a clear day.   You’ll have to fact-check me here, too.  Just going from memory.

So, during the day, I had no plan.  I really just wanted to drive around and see what I could see.  There was no way to top what I had just experienced during four days in the Hill Country.  I was recuperating and enjoying just relaxing.

My only real goal in San Antonio was to go out each of the three nights to a different modern, very large, country-western dance hall, in the hope of finding some good country-western dancing: Midnight Rodeo and Wild West…both with large, racetrack-style dance floors, and Cowboys…the largest, by far, of the three.  So, large, in fact, that it contained an indoor, live rodeo, bull-riding arena (I was actually given a personal tour of the venue, when I told a barmaid about my road-trip).

Unfortunately, I was finding out that in San Antonio, a lot of folks don’t even start to head out to dance, even on weekdays, until 10 or 11pm.  This minor setback was further compounded by the amazing good fortune for all Texans that the Houston Astros were playing in the World Series.  This meant that many Texans who would otherwise be out dancing, were at home or in sports bars watching each game intensely.

I don’t follow sports, but I can certainly appreciate what a desperately-needed morale boost this provided, especially for any Texan who was affected by storm Harvey.  It was just bad timing for my dance plans.  But, no worries.  I simply rolled with whatever situation I encountered.  In this case, I became an Astros fan for the remainder of my stay in Texas.

San Antonio – From Habana…to Havana…

By pure coincidence, on the same day that I bumped into the amazing Cuban restaurant, Habana, in Austin, I was heading to my next hotel, which I had booked months ago, and which was located an hour and fifteen minutes away in San Antonio…the Cuban-themed, Hotel Havana, in downtown.  What is going on here???  Ay, yay, yay!

For most of this adventure, I had booked Hampton Inns and Holiday Inn Express hotels.  The exceptions were, The Italian Place B&B and the Double U Barr guest ranch in the Hill Country.  During the summer, I had also been looking for an affordable boutique hotel in San Antonio, where I planned to spend three nights.

I stumbled onto the Hotel Havana, which looked cool and was not expensive (for the “Studio Room”, that I was interested in), so that’s what I settled on.  Unfortunately, it was only available for my first two nights in San Antonio, so I was back in a Hampton Inn for my third night.

There are much better photos of the exterior and the rooms on the hotel’s website, but here are a few quick snapshots that I took.

The Hotel Havana turned out to be, again, the kind of place where when you stepped through the door, you were transported to another time…and in this case…another country.  According to the history section on the hotel’s website, the building was opened in 1914 under the current name, by a local grocer, to serve as temporary residences for visiting clients.

I fell in love with the hotel’s vibe, coziness and eccentricities.  For example, my room was small.  My bathroom was even smaller.  They were in the sloped eves of the roof, so there were angles.  But, it all somehow worked together to create a very cozy feel.  I loved it and felt very much at home.

Here’s a cellphone panoramic shot of my room.  It’s not sharp, but it will give you some idea.  There’s a better example on the hotel website.

There was Latin…maybe Cuban…music…wafting softly through the hallways at all times…but, it never seemed to enter my room.  Old, worn Oriental rugs decorated the dark-stained wooden floors.  Comfortable and comforting, wide wooden staircases with mid-floor landings and heavy, dark-stained wooden railings in the middle of each floor, carried you casually from floor to floor…or you could take the elevator.

The common room on the main floor had a single, long, narrow, wooden table surrounded by  wooden chairs, that made a comfortable retreat for me to set up my laptop and work on catching up on Hill Country blog entries…since my room had no desk…or space for one.

In fact, everything about the Hotel Havana coaxed you to take your time…to move about just a little bit slower.

Really, about the only reminder that you were in downtown San Antonio, and not out in the Cuban countryside somewhere, was the very modern and artistically lit up high-rise that you noticed when you stepped out the side door to the hotel’s parking lot at night.

Next to…and I think, attached to…the Havana, is the Ocho restaurant.

I enjoyed a very casual breakfast there, one of the two mornings.  And Ocho happens to sit directly on a quiet stretch of the Riverwalk, which makes for a great location.

Honestly?  At the time, I was not going to try to write about the Havana, because I thought it would sound trivial or uninteresting to talk about.  And maybe it is.  I really don’t know.  It’s just kind of difficult to convey the sort of simple coziness of it…especially juxtaposed with downtown San Antonio.  But, I guess I thought I’d give it a shot.

I know this much, though.  If I’m ever in San Antonio again…I know where I’ll be staying.

Austin, TX – Habana Restaurant…

I apologize for backtracking slightly in the process of catching up on these posts.  Some places or activities…either planned, suggested by locals I happened to meet on the road, or purely by accident…in hindsight, became things I thought some folks might be interested in knowing about.  Habana Restaurant on South Congress Avenue (aka SoCo) in Austin was one of these.

I stumbled onto Habana Restaurant by accident, as GPS was taking me to an ATM in Austin, just before I was about to head to San Antonio for three days.  I literally just caught a glimpse of Habana’s unlit neon sign on a rustic building tucked down a little embankment, peeking out from behind some tree branches on the opposite side of SoCo as I was driving by.  I was a little hungry.  And that’s all it took.

I found my ATM…googled “Habana restaurant Austin”…was informed that it is primarily a Cuban restaurant, turned my car around and headed straight for this unassuming little hideaway.

I am always attracted to buildings that transport you somewhere else as soon as you walk in.  Habana is this kind of place.

I arrived a little after the Wednesday lunch rush, to find I nearly had the restaurant to myself.  A friendly woman, wearing what I assumed was a server’s uniform, greeted me and escorted me to a table.  In my now-familiar habit, I jokingly explained that I was a tourist, on this road-trip…had never had Cuban cuisine before and could really use some help ordering lunch.

She said I should start with a Mojito, so I went with that.  I have had a Mojito maybe once, and I only remember it tasting like it came from a mix.  But, this was the real deal, including bitters, a little granulated sugar at the bottom and fresh mint leaves.  I could have sipped these all day, if I wasn’t going anywhere.

After describing a couple of options to me, she suggested the Masitas de Puerco (chunks of pork, marinated in Cuban seasonings and lightly fried), which came with a rice and bean dish.  She also mentioned the Chulitas Fritas (fried pork chops), but still recommended the Masitas.  So, I went with the Masitas.

When a different young woman came over with my lunch, this second woman quietly said, “You’re very lucky.  You just got waited on by one of the owners.”  There was also more to my lunch than I had ordered.  It included a pork chop and a second side dish of boiled, seasoned Yucca with onions.  The Yucca is similar to a potato dish.  The owner had added these without my knowledge.

The first woman, who then introduced herself as Yasbel Flores, owns Habana with her husband, Ron.  Yasbel continued to check in on me, and we ended up chatting for quite a while.  She was so down-to-earth and I felt honored that she would spend time just chatting.

Here’s a quick cellphone snapshot of Yasbel.  I love her smile:

I told Yasbel more about where I’m from, this road-trip, the blog (yes, I gave her my greeting card).  She told me about her high school aged daughter(s)…which related to my blog…more about sightseeing and vacationing in Texas, what Cuba is like (Yasbel is Cuban), and suggested that I take a trip to Cuba, especially because of my love of photography.  Cuba was already pretty much on my list, and now I really hope to go…and before too long.

Needless to say, lunch itself, was amazing.  So, if you ever find yourself in Austin, I would definitely treat yourself to Habana…and definitely go when you have time to linger over some Mojitos.

Is anyone beginning to see a pattern emerging?  I was gradually evolving into an accidental foodie over the course of this road-trip.  And the “worst” is yet to come…or at least more of the same.

Actually, I blame my friend, Joni, who suggested that I post some images of interesting meals I encounter on the road.

Home, Sweet Home…

Hi y’all!

Just wanted you to know that I arrived safely home at around noon.

So…to sum up…three weeks…17 hotels…6,500+ miles of asphalt and concrete…2 oil changes…and having more fun and meeting more great people than I could have hoped for.  This was a blast.

If you haven’t already, I hope that maybe you’ll start planning your own little adventure.

I did a lot of little things after Corpus Christi, so this week I’ll start catching up on anything that might be interesting for anyone still checking in.

Thank you all for your encouragement on the road!





So Long, Nashville…

Hi y’all!

Just a quick note.  I found out last night that Daylight Savings Time was ending overnight, which got me up an hour earlier than I expected this a.m.

So, I’m taking the opportunity to get on the road early.

It’s a little depressing to be leaving Nashville, and even more so to be looking at the end of this little adventure, but all things considered, I’m in good spirits.

Tonight, I’ll end up in Harrisonburg, VA, and Monday, I’ll be home in CT.

I’ll let you know when I arrive safely at home.

As always, thank you for following me.  Y’all are good company. 😎







Greetings from Oxford, Mississippi…

Hi “y’all”!

I’m just checking-in quickly.  It’s now Friday, Nov-3, I think.  My apologies for not having posted in a while.  I have been too busy, either driving to my next destination (the driving, itself, is part of my fun), or doing a bunch of little fun things in and around my destinations.

I just wanted you to know that I am fine, and am continuing to have a great time.

I stayed in Oxford, MS, last night…a very cool town and home of Old Miss…Univ. of Mississippi (just up the street from my hotel).

I’ll be stopping in Memphis today, on my way to two nights in Nashville, which will basically mark the end of my fun.  So, I am continuing to savor it all.

I estimated that my Corpus Christi post, alone, took me somewhere between 5 and 6 hours to compose and assemble with all of the photos…and that’s excluding the actual photo-shoot.  I won’t have that kind of time until I get home, to post any more.  So, I hope you will forgive me for not posting.  I should be able to catch up on anything post-worthy, once I’m back home in CT.

I will be back in CT later in the day on Monday, Nov-6.  I’ll let you know when I’m on my way home (it takes two days from Nashville), and when I arrive safely home.

Thank you all, again, for your interest in following this little adventure.  As always…it means the world to me.