A Travellerspoint blog

Austin, TX

Beware: hipsters.

sunny 86 °F
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I had a double-dose of luck while in Texas, and was able to stay with another friend in Austin. Why is everyone moving to Texas?! I haven't seen this guy in a long time (5 years?), so it was nice to chill-out with my 'brah' for a few days.

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University of Texas at Austin

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Blanton Museum of Art

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Throwing darts at the Black Sheep Lodge

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Texas State Capitol Building. Their door hinges alone were impressive.

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The weather proved to be more than suitable for a some pool action at Barton Springs. It's a 3 acre man-made pool that is fed by underwater springs. The temperature stays nice and cool year-round, around 68-70 degrees. Barton was refreshing but not overbearing for the average person. Some say it's a bit chilly and I don't blame them; I like being in frigid water. And no, I have yet to swim with any polar bear clubs... yet.

Barton Springs pool (thanks for joining Miss Darts!)

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I spent a good amount of time at Epoch Coffee and Caffé Medici to veg-out or update my pictures. I'm sure given to Austin's tech culture, coffee shops are accommodating to coffee-shop squatters, with a plentiful array of power outlets everywhere. Epoch Coffee even had some extension cords hanging from the ceiling.

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For my last night, Mike made a farewell dinner with his famous turkey burgers* from scratch.

  • not pictured, since I ate them too fast. Thanks Mike!

Till next time Austin.

Posted by muricadave 11:12 Archived in USA Tagged springs texas capitol austin darts barton Comments (0)

Houston, TX

I may need some new pants.

sunny 72 °F
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I had some AMAZING hosts to make my stay at Houston extra-special.

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The number one thing that stood out most during my stay in Houston were the restaurants. SO MANY RESTAURANTS. By the end of my stay, my friends were probably sick of me mentioning how many damn restaurants there were. It was nuts how many there were. So nuts, that I decided to do some investigation in the matter: it turns out that Houstonians eat out more than residents of any other city. Ridiculous.

I guess the good thing to learn was that the food was actually good. And not just 'good-good', but David approved good. I like to think my standards are set higher than your average koala. Some of the more memorable establishments included Torchy's Tacos, Niko Niko's Greek & American Diner, Fadi's Mediterranean Grill, Ruggles Green and Churrascos.

Jessie and Jemillie told the server it was my birthday at Churrascos Restaurant... so I could get a free show and flambéed tres leches cake. This is me pretending to be surprised.

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Museum of Fine Arts, Contemporary Arts Museum.

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The Light Inside. A blue tunnel connecting two museums... surreal.

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Jessie had a hankering for some bike riding around Rice University. I never was too fond of bikes until I bought a motorcycle, so I was doing my best to not run into people, sidewalks and parked cars.

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NASA Space Center

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Presidential Heads + The Beatles (this was located in a random location. almost an industrial business center)

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Beer Can House. Yes, this man covered his house with beer cans. When asked why he did it, his response was, "It was something to do." Good enough.

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I also had a chance to catch up on some movies! Jem and I went to see The Lunchbox, and we all stayed in for a Redbox night to watch In a World. Both were great, go see them!

Random pics: a gigantic armadillo, a painting and scary lady thinga-ma-bob.

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Posted by muricadave 20:18 Archived in USA Tagged beer restaurants house nasa houston texas can Comments (1)

New Orleans, LA (NOLA)

so.much.salt.


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The day I left Fort Walton Beach to head to New Orleans, there was a weather advisory of possible flooding due to heavy rain along my route. Well... 80% of the drive was free and clear, with the last 20% being the most ridiculous pour-down I've ever been through. I was SO glad I had 4WD. Go-go-gadget Honda CR-V!

Anywho, my favorite part of NOLA was the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art. By far, the most impressive sculpture garden I've strolled through. The sculptures were unique and fairly contemporary. The grounds, garden and mini-lake could have stood by themselves as a little oasis for some R&R.

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The beard is made out of monkey fur.

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As far as food goes... I was not a fan. I just found most of the food too salty. A exception was Willie Mae's Scotch House. The greasiest fried chicken ever... but they perfected their fried-crust.

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Everyone was friendly (a continuing trend I'm finding in the South), and Bourbon Street was exactly what you'd think it to be. A 24/7 drink fest. Literally, it has bars that are open 24/7.

My fondest memory is watching a grandma puking on the road, at around six o'clock in the afternoon. GO GRANDMA! I guess she couldn't handle those Hand Grenades.

And let's not forget the New Orleans Athletic Club. This gym blew the pants off of any I've been in.

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Posted by muricadave 19:08 Tagged new orleans bourbon nola Comments (0)

Fort Walton Beach, Florida

I got some color on my vampire skin.

73 °F
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Sunscreen, white sand and aqua water summed up my stay at Fort Walton Beach, Florida (near Pensacola/Destin/Santa Rosa). It was my second unplanned stop during my trip, coming from a recommendation from my hosts in Charleston, SC. There wasn't much to do in the city, so most of my time was spent laying out at the beach.

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I drove on scenic Hwy 98 my last full day and witnessed a gorgeous sunset. What a thoughtful parting gift from Mother Nature.

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On the way to New Orleans, I checked out the Air Force Armament Museum - My favorite plane had to be the SR-71 Blackbird. It looks like something out of a sci-fci movie.

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Oh... and they have Piggly Wiggly's here.

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Posted by muricadave 16:11 Archived in USA Tagged beach fort museum airplanes walton armament Comments (0)

Savannah, GA and Florida Caverns State Park (Marianna, FL)

sunny 71 °F
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Next up, Savannah. It was a bittersweet 2.5 days there; sweet because it's all dressed up with cute little parks in each section of the city, and bitter, because it was raining 90% of the time I was there. Lots of the 'charm' in Charleston was in Savannah as well.

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I arrived at my next host's place (who was amazing!) and decided to venture towards the river walk (where all of the touristy restaurants/bars are). I was greeted by the largest boat/tanker/whaling ship/etc.. I have ever laid my eyes on. It was mesmerizing watching this monster glide down the river, and I almost felt sorry for the water below carrying the big red beast.

For scale, check out the dark-spec in the opening below the "S"in WILHELMSEN. That's a person.

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For a good part of my first full day in Savannah, I was able to walk around the Savannah Squares and take some time in Forsyth Park.

LOVE ME THAT SPANISH MOSS!

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For lunch, I stopped by Zunzis and ordered 'The GodFather'. To add to the delicious sammy and David-approved portion, Zunzis gets a golden-star for their love of The Governator. You know, Ah-nold Schwarzenegger. My sandwich-wizard was in full Ah-nold speak with the guy in front of me in line. Thumbs up yo. I gave him a little bit of my impression as I thanked him for the meal.

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But yes, most of my stay in Savannah was wet. That's ok. I had a chance to catch-up on The Walking Dead (Netflix show).

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My next stop was Florida Caverns State Park. It was around 6:30 when I arrived at the park and the ranger asked me right away if I was on site 35. Yup! Love it. She even gave me my very-first, genuine, bonafide, "bless your heart".

After checking-in and setting up my tent, I needed a fire! I had a hell-of-a-time trying to find some wood for a campfire. Wouldn't you think most places would stock up on wood, given the location of the state park? Sheesh. Anywho, after visiting 5 stores with no luck, I settled on one of those firewood alternative logs. It did the job on my beans, so I was happy.

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Beans and beef jerky for dinner. Very manly.

Sleep that night wasn't bad at all. My mattress consisted of 4 towels, the thin tarp of the tent and mother-earth. I packed some cheap blankets that did a decent job of keeping me warm throughout the night. I popped my ear-plugs in and knocked out.

After brushing my teeth.

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Wake-up time was 6:00am... I was at the mercy of the sun, which I didn't mind much. That's one of the nice things about camping - it resets your circadian rhythm. The air was crisp and cool, and I sat on a bench sipping on hot coffee while the sun massaged my back with it's warmth. What a great morning :)

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My shower buddy

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I toured the caverns in the morning, and took a short hike around the visitor center. Most of the other extended hikes were flooded due to recent rain. Boo. And with rain, especially in this region, comes mosquitos ah-plenty. I already had a healthy nibbling in Savannah by my blood sucking friends, and I wasn't intent on sharing anymore of my life-force. So, I loaded up on DEET en route to the park.

Can you spot the butterfly below?

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Caverns

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Lunch was at The Oaks Restaurant in Marianna, FL. You can't beat $8 for hush puppies, creamed corn, fried chicken/catfish/pork chops, salad bar, and banana puddin'. Mac (my server) was southern-nice, and made sure to keep my water glass full.

Other than Florida State Caverns Park, and The Oaks Restaurant, there isn't much to Marianna. Now I'm sitting in Arby's, charging my phone and typing away on my laptop since there aren't any Starbucks/Paneras/coffee shops for traveling vagrants like me.

Next up, Fort Walton Beach, Florida (pretty close to Pensacola/Destin).

Random pictures below - coffee sock (my host in Savannah used this to make delicious morning joe), grungy me and Duck Dynasty towels. I guess they're a big deal in Marianna.

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Posted by muricadave 11:15 Archived in USA Tagged park fort camping florida savannah walton caverns Comments (0)

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