Tag Archives: Texas

Random thoughts/ month 21

2 Feb

We’ve been met with lots of changes this past month, between the new year and our return to this US. This month we:


+ rang in 2015 in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. We threw a party at our apartment (3rd gathering in 5 weeks. Can you tell I miss entertaining?!), cooked a giant lasagna and partied until it was 20-15 with Home on the Highway, Neli’s Big Adventure, Kelly, Anthony and some new friends. We watched a spectacular fireworks display in the Jardin, popped some bubbly on our roof then roamed town for a while. I still can’t believe we missed an entire calendar year of life in the US but am thrilled to report that we didn’t work a single day in 2014. Oh things will be different in 2015! New city, new jobs, new beginnings. Bring it!

DSC_0003 DSC_0005 DSC_0013

+ celebrated Three Kings Day. We watched the small parade as it rode by our apartment, complete with a band, horses, and a king in blackface, tossing cookies to spectators (of course I got one). The parade ended in the Jardin where eager children and their parents were questioned about their (good?) behavior that year, given gifts, beverages and a slice of the most massive cake.



Because of the holiday, our favorite taco stand wasn’t open but we were able to squeeze in one last round of churros!


+ left San Miguel on January 7. It was bittersweet, as we were very ready to leave the city (there are only so many coffee shops to bum in) but not Mexico. All great things do come to an end though.

DSC_0004 DSC_0005 DSC_0011 DSC_0012 DSC_0019 DSC_0022

+ spent our last days in Mexico searching for a doctor. I stepped on a cactus as we were leaving San Miguel. Yes, a cactus. How very Mexican of me. And I was wearing flip flops because what other footwear exists for a Floridian. Just one little stab near my heel was all I got. It didn’t hurt that much at first but slowly swelled. By the next morning, the pain was intense and I couldn’t walk. We ended up going to a pharmacy doctor for $2, got some meds and began round one of antibiotics. Now, 3 weeks later, my heel is STILL infected, I walk with a limp, I’ve had to wear flip flops despite the cold weather because any shoe puts too much pressure on the area, and I’m taking another round of antibiotics. Who would have thought that one tiny prick (ha) would cause so much agony!


+ had a nasty welcome back to the states. On the two occasions I flew home last year, I was greeted back in the states with a joyful “welcome home.” Stupidly, I thought we’d receive the same warm welcome coming back in Skyhorse. Leaving Mexico was easy and painless…once we actually found the exit. Please explain to me what’s the point of brand new buildings if they aren’t marked or manned by people telling you where to go? Once we got to the US side, they couldn’t decide whether we were a car or cargo. Border agents unnecessarily flexed their egos to the point that I was told to stand and wait in the cold rain with the dogs while Hani drove Skyhorse to be x-rayed. Mind you, I couldn’t walk because of my cactus foot so I’m literally hopping everywhere and NO ONE offered to help me. At least on the Mexican side they offered me a wheelchair! Our own countrymen just yelled at us and were dumbfounded about how we re-enter the US. Let’s just say the entire ordeal ended in Hani making not one but two formal complaints. Welcome home to us!


+ were immediately assaulted by real highways, advertisements, chain restaurants and country music. Blech! And as an ode to our long driving days leaving Mexico, we spent our first night back in the US parked at a Love’s, the American Pemex.


+ miss topes. NOT!! Every gas station accepts our credit card, we don’t have to search for branches in the road to indicate a problem up ahead, the highways are paved, properly signed, and don’t have craters in it. It’s the little things that we missed the most.

+ forgot how amazing radio in English, NPR, paper maps, and real fully stocked grocery stores are.

+ spent a relaxing night in San Antonio visiting friends we met while in Jaco, Costa Rica. Since we last saw Nadia and Brett, they relocated from Ft Lauderdale to San Antonio and offered us the warmth of their home for the night. We had a great time hanging around, drinking REAL BEER, playing tea party with their kids and eating a delicious meal. Thank you again Nadia and Brett!



+ toured Austin for a week and a half. It felt familiar–like home. Maybe it’s because we now have a few pieces of Key West in Austin. We crashed at our friend Rhonda’s place in an effort to escape the freezing weather and the dogs snuggled with her pup, Mari.


Since Rhonda is still relatively new to Austin, we all explored the city, jammed to live music, watched some two-steppin, and ate and drank like lil piggies. We also visited other Key West escapees Jedd and Christina for a few meals. It really was comforting to see some good friends after being away for so long.






+ went road tripping with Rhonda. One afternoon, after fixing her flat tire, we drove through hill country to Deep Eddy’s vodka distillery then to BBQ at the Salt Lick, where we made the unfortunate decision to get all-you-can-eat. Let’s just say day drinking and pounds of BBQ are not an ideal combination. The leftovers were heavenly though.



+ bought several pounds of jerky. It’s all gone now.

+ left BBQ and jerky land to enter po’ boy and oyster country: New Orleans. We stayed with my youngest cousin Rinat who recently moved here and also dined with the gang we met in Grand Isle when we first started the trip. Again, we ate our way through the city gorging on all the staples (beignets three times, fried oysters, po’boys, king cake), topping off our food extravaganza with dinner at our favorite, Jacques-Imo’s! Seriously, I need a giant salad right about now.






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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.

20130606-221625.jpg DSC_0238

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.

DSC_0300 DSC_0287 DSC_0303 DSC_0305

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?!

Random thoughts/ month 1

29 May

We left Key West one month ago but it really feels like a lifetime ago. Each day feels like 5 Saturdays. It’s awesome.


This month I:

+ am totally impressed with what amazing travelers the pups are. They are adjusting to life on the road, love exploring and are game driving around for as long as necessary. Olivia is off Dramamine and hasn’t puked once!

+ got sunburnt twice. I just can’t seem to recognize I’m frying until its too late.

+ can’t get over how many Capital One banks (didn’t even know they exist), DQs, and Dollar General/ Family Dollar are in rural America. To the point that we started a punch-buggy Dollar/Family Dollar game. My left arm is kinda sore. It’s rare to find a BOA, Starbucks or Target. Toto, we’re not in suburban Miami anymore.

+ forgot what a clutz I am. Apparently, Hani had no clue. Not sure who he’s been living with the past 6plus years. I ruined one shirt. I smacked the top of my head twice. I missed a step on the ladder and have a huge knot on my knee. And I’ve banged up my legs getting in and out of the truck more times then I can count.

+ will scream if I hear Bruno Mars again. I can’t reach the radio fast enough once I hear those opening piano notes. Sorry Betsy.

+ have been underestimating people. I guess growing up in Miami where everyone ignores each other, you learn to not confront strangers. But everyone we’ve meet north of south Florida has been incredibly welcoming and sincere. We’ve been constantly greeted with a smile and thumbs up everywhere we go. We’ve met some fabulous people so far and I know that will continue. Skyhorse brings out the best in people we meet.

+ drove Skyhorse! On my first time behind the wheel, I drove over 100 miles and over a state line all at a steady 45mph. #speeddeamon

+ resolve to check the weather before beginning a day of driving. No joke, EVER long day of driving has been in the rain.

+ traveled through 5 states and just entered the 6th. Bring on month 2!!


Deep in the heart of Texas

23 May


About a week ago, we arrived in our future home state! We started our adventure in the lone star state in Longview to visit some of Hani’s friends from Gerry Spence’s brainwashing trial lawyers college. We didn’t see much of the town but I can’t say I’m disappointed about that. We did, however, see the most massively scary collection of mounted animal carcasses in Jas’s firms offices. I should have taken a picture but I think part of me was afraid. They were staring at me, all the Bambis and ducks and wild boar, oh my! We had a great time with Jas and his coworkers and Chad and Lacy and ate some slamming Cajun food (and hijacked Jas’s apartment to do some much needed laundry–thanks again Jas!!)

After leaving Longview, we headed to Houston to see Mario, another Spence cult follower. We invaded his manicured neighborhood and parked Skyhorse on his street right in front of his house. Thankfully, his neighbors were more curious than upset that our beast was blocking the road. In Houston, we saw Mario shoot his first short film, went to a few museums, and met fellow travelers, the Ramseier family, a couple with 2 young boys and a dog traveling from Switzerland. It was an awesome and eye opening experience to run into people who have been traveling like us to places we will be heading. We had a great dinner with Mario that night. It was really wonderful to meet all of Hani’s camp friends. Even though that was the first time I had ever spoken to any of them, it felt like we were old friends, probably because they knew all mine and Hani’s innermost thoughts from hours of gut-spilling on the ranch.

We spent our last few days in Galveston. We heard mixed reviews about the beach town but decided to go always. And I’m very happy we did because a beach break was needed after the craziness of Houston.

The dogs LOVED it!! Shae, as usual, didn’t really do much and just wanted to sit in a lap. But Olivia ran around like the crazied beagle she is! Although the ocean was not her thing, she definitely found every dead fish both buried and not in the mile radius of where we parked (on the beach! So cool!!). And this was how the day ended.


We boondocked 2 nights and yesterday/ last night stayed at the state park on the island. Thank you Hani for forcing me to relax, sit still and take in what will probably be our last beach days for a while.

This morning we were San Antonio bound. The drive was long and hot but this made it worth it!

We drove through Shiner to sample some of our favorites from the Spoetzl Brewery, Shiner Ruby Red in particular! We had unfortunately missed the official tour but Skyhorse got the attention of Anne, who gave us a tour of the bottling area as they were close to closing time. Thanks again, Anne! We loved the tour and the delicious samples!

(By the way, I kid about the Spence college being a cult. I’m insanely jealous Hani got to go and wish I can go at some point. It’s a 3 week intense trial course on a ranch in the middle of nowhere Wyoming where you learn trial techniques through psychodrama.)