People and places

7 Jun

I started this trip excited about all the new places we would visit. I neglected to realize that what makes these places so amazing are the people in them. Skyhorse brings out the “cool” in people. When they aren’t staring at us mouth to the floor, they are giving us peace signs and “right ons.” Everyone wants to know what that thing is and what we are doing and as a result, are very hospitable.

We arrived in San Antonio pretty tired and after driving through the downtown area, we really just wanted to park for the night. Finding nothing, we drove past the city center into a newer artist-type neighborhood. We parked at first big lot we saw with the intention of just walking the dogs and sitting for a bit. Turns out the parking lot belonged to Say Si, an after school arts program for middle and high schoolers. The kids had already gone for the day but some of the staff came outside when they saw us. They were so welcoming! They allowed us to stay in their lot, gave us tips on the city and inspired us to set up and use our GoPro camera.

The next day after some exploring, we went back to Say Si. The kids, who were in class, came outside and were so eager to tour Skyhorse and hear about our travels. It was cool to show them art in a form they weren’t used to and encourage them to continue their goals. They were all shocked that at 30something, you can quit your job because you’ve saved up enough money to travel. The kids reminded us that simply sharing our experiences (and showing off Skyhorse) can inspire.

While in San Antonio, we visited the Alamo (minus the basement. boo.), walked downtown, took a night boat tour of the Riverwalk, and saw the missions.

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As we were enjoying one of the last missions,the sky gave out and the monsoon began. Of course, we planned to travel that day but didn’t make it very far. We originally planned on being in Austin that night. Instead, the rain forced us to a small community, Gruene which is a part of New Braunfels, halfway between San Antonio and Austin. We ate and walked around in the rain and the friendly locals kept telling us to check out Gruene Hall for live music.

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Even though the town is small, it boasts this local dance hall that gave many country music stars their start. We stayed the night and got our first taste of honky tonk by way of Max Stalling. And yes, I got Hani to dance, as we were tripped and stepped on by all the professional dancers on the floor.

We spent the next few days in Austin, stuffing ourselves at food trucks, walking South Congress and finally checking out Zilker Park. Our last night there, we went to east Austin where we had been on our last trip to the city. As we parked Skyhorse, we heard yelling from above. People across the street were up on the roof of a house calling down to us. There were enamored with Skyhorse. So we walked across the street, right through the house and up on the roof to join them. Turns out we had invaded a birthday party and the party-goers were more than excited to have us stay. It was so nice to spend time with people living in a city we want to move to and get their perspectives of Austin. And had we not parked Skyhorse there, we would have missed out on this opportunity to climb the roof of a house and meet theses people!

From Austin, we headed west across Texas to Johnson City, home of LBJ. We visited his boyhood home with a hilariously awful tour guide as our leader (seriously, do they memorize a script and that’s all?!). Without much of a plan of exactly where to stop next, we would ask someone for a recommendation and that would lead us to our next stop. And of course, once people saw Skyhorse and heard we were traveling, everyone was eager to give their suggestions on where to go next. The ladies at Pedernales Cellars in Stonewall were so excited to have us for a tasting, and even snapped pictures of Skyhorse of their website.

We crossed into New Mexico towards the south. The towns there are REALLY small. Like two traffic lights small. It was getting late so we pulled off the main road in Hope to park for the night. We were in the middle of nowhere surrounded by nothing but dry farmland as far as the eye could see. It was a gorgeous sunset and a nice breezy night.

The next morning as we were getting ready to leave, Mr. Crockett, the owner of the land we parked on (oops) said we could stay longer if we wanted to, and invited us to help ourselves to water to fill up our tanks and to camp inside the bounds of his property. It was such a nice gesture, how could we refuse? We drove around what seemed like a hundred acres getting completely disoriented before parking on a hill overlooking miles and miles of dessert nothingness.

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We used that time to do a little maintenance on Skyhorse and add our Instagram/twitter handle on the sides (@spotskyhorse if you are interested).

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Every place we went in New Mexico–from Socorro (more on that from Hani) to Santa Fe to Taos–we encountered the most genuine people wanting to guide us and advise us wherever we went. We even got a few “spottings” on our Instagram and Facebook feed.

The stage for Taos was set on our drive to the city. Not only was it completely beautiful, there were great spots to park for the night. One night we stayed at a deserted rest area overlooking the Rio Grande.

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The next night we stayed at the Rio Grande Gorge rest stop. Sounds lame but the view was breathtaking, with trails on one side and the bridge and gorge on the other.

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Taos reminded us of a small, dry, mountainous Key West. The people are artsy, really laid back and friendly, as were the Native Americans at Taos Pueblo. We toured the Earthships but were disappointed to learn that you don’t get to actually see a real Earthship, you only see the making of it. An Earthship is an house made of recycled materials–automobile tires packed with mud, cans, and glass bottles. They are build in the ground and with solar panels so you never have to pay to heat or cool the home. They also have gardens inside that help circulate the air and all water gets reused a few times.

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It’s a pretty neat concept and no two Earthships look the same. After going through the paid “tour,” we did our own tour, driving through the neighborhood of Earthships. We saw one couple ogling over Skyhorse as we were ogling over their house. So naturally, we asked to tour their Earthship and then gave them a tour of Skyhorse in return. Where does that happen?!

3 Responses to “People and places”

  1. Trish June 7, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    Amazing. Thanks for allowing us to be part of your trip.

  2. supra14Mimi June 7, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    What an amazing trip. I really admire all your goals. You are so fortunate to be able to do this at 30 (something) that you wrote about in your blog. I wish I was young enough to actually follow your adventures when the book comes out by YOU and Hani after all is said and done and you are safely home in Texas. All this roughing it is something your mother never could have handled–as you well know. Be SAFE and have Fun!

  3. Traci June 7, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

    I’m glad everyone is being so nice. I love the Earthship houses- great idea!

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