Sunday, August 12, 2012

Days 12-15 Los Angeles, CA

Well we finally made it to California! After just over a week in Texas we finally got the Subaru back on the road. Instead of stopping in Santa Fe and the Grand Canyon as we had originally planned we drove pretty much straight there, luckily with so many drivers, it was really an issue. While making our way through Arizona however we noticed that the car was starting to be affected by the heat, in order to keep the engine cool we had to blast the heat in 116 degree weather with the windows open as well. It worked, but I can't say that I was overjoyed at the time!

The same night we arrived also happened to be the same day as the art walk where the galleries stay open late, theres music and food trucks as well. We had a lot of fun just walking around and getting our first look at the LA culture!

The next day we started out early and Olivia took us on a tour of USC, Liam was really excited as he is thinking of applying to the film school there!

Today Olivia and I checked out the West Hollywood area and some of the local thrift stores on Melrose, Olivia even found a rad hat while we were there! Below is a picture of the Rainbow Crosswalk in West Hollywood. So pretty!

Afterwards we went to Milk which has amazing Blue Velvet cake! But as we had been walking around all day in the heat I was equally excited for the glass of milk!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Day 7 Austin, TX to San Antonio, TX

Before leaving for San Antonio Melissa gave us a walking tour of downtown Austin. We were all pretty hot and took cover in the AC whenever we could!

 Below is a picture of what they call car2go, they are basically the same things as the Barclay bikes, but they are cars. I thought this was the coolest thing and can't wait for them to spread to more cities!

We ended our trip with a stop at the local Snow Cone cart near Melissa's house. It was very refreshing after walking around in the heat! They had so many different flavors, Olivia was even able to order Cactus Juice which was pretty good!

Upon arriving in San Antonio at our Uncle John's house we were greeted by I don't know how many dogs, three? four?....... thats not even counting all the amazing cats they had! Their garden was a kids heaven, so much to do and look at! It contained a treehouse, sandbox, fire pit, guest house, pond with goldfish, multiple tire swings, a swing set and bars and ropes to swing on! Below are pictures of their guest house (which John built himself!), the garden and pictures of us with various pets!

You can see the large table in the background where we had our AMAZING family dinner that they cooked for us!

Liam with Coco the dog.

The walls of the house were covered in paintings, most of which were painted by John's mother-in-law. There was just so much in the house to look at, I barely had time to soak it all in! 

Olivia with her new favorite cat! She barely moved the whole evening from that spot, until Leo (one of the children) picked her up.

A picture of John and Liam playing one of their many games of chess that day!

Day 6 Austin

On Friday we headed down to Austin to visit with Olivia's Aunt and Uncle Melissa and Brandon. Both are heavily involved in the music scene and gave a us a great tour of the city! Our first stop was this amazing mexican place that had the best tacos and guacamole I'd ever had. The prices were amazing too, I think my whole lunch came to $7. Later that evening Melissa, Brandon, Jordan, Olivia and I went out to a few bars to listen to some of the local music. Below are some pics of where we went, but it was pretty dark and hard to take as many photos as I wanted to!

Day 5 Dallas

Days four and five were spent in Dallas trying to work things out with the insurance company, we finally got word that the car will be ready by end of the day Tuesday! We spent most of Thursday lounging by the pool or watching the Olympics (something that we have been very thankful for on these very hot days). Below is a picture of Grandma Kathy's pool aka her backyard oasis!

Thursday night we explored the music scene in Deep Ellum and happened upon a bar, called the Anvil Pub that served Strongbow so that was pretty cool! Afterwards we went to In-n-Out Burger, a West Coast must that we got a little early!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day 3 Mt Pleasant

We left Memphis around nine in the evening after deciding to drive through the night so we would have more time with Grandma Kathy in Dallas. Unfortunately when we were only two hours outside of Dallas our wheel rolled off to join a family of rattlesnakes, leaving us in the dust. Literally....
Despite that Ariana saw a shooting star, we all saw an amazing setting moon and gorgeous sunrise and had a great laugh when all four of us + our tow guy Kenny had to squeeze into a three seater truck. Olivia and I were sitting half on Jordan and Liam's laps half on the dashboard. It was an interesting twenty miles to say the least. We caught a couple of hours sleep while waiting in the parking lot for the auto shop to open. Olivia even got a shot of the three of us sleeping!

Everyone at the auto shop was so nice and let us use their fridge and kitchenette throughout the day for eating ...........

and sleeping............

As the sun set on our 15th hour at the auto shop they told us that there was too much damage to drive to Dallas let alone to LA. The owner of the shop was kind enough to drive us to a local Burger King while we waited for Grandma Kathy and Alex to come get us. It looks like it will be Friday at the earliest before we are able to head out, but everything happens for a reason and we are just SO thankful that the accident wasn't worse and that everybody is okay. This only gives us more time to explore Dallas and spend time with the oh-so-fabulous Grandma Kathy!

Family Dinner at the local Mt Pleasant Burger King...... waiting .........again.

Day 2 Nashville, TN to Memphis, TN

Hello Everyone! Sorry it's been a few days, this is the first time we've had internet in days. On Monday we were able to visit Third Man Records, Jack White's record label and record shop. I have been wanting to visit Third Man Records since it opened a few years ago so I was pretty excited to go there and buy the various novelty items!

I love Jack White's branding style

Following a tip from one of Olivia's friends we went to Better Burger, which is in 12 South, a different part of Nashville that was much more "coffee shop" than the rest of the city. We definitely experienced some Southern hospitality, while at Better Burger one of the waiters came up to us knowing that we were from out of town and wrote down some suggestions of things to do.

Midday we made our way to Memphis, a quick three hour drive from Nashville. Our first stop in the city was the Lorraine Motel where MLK was shot. It also serves as the Civil Rights Museum, sadly we arrived just as it was closing, but luckily we were able to walk around the outside of the hotel.

After visiting the Lorraine Motel we headed to Beale Street, the main strip of Memphis which is closed off to cars. Along the streets they had their own walk of fame musical notes with the names of famous musicians that had originated in Memphis. Below I'm posing with Isaac Hayes' musical note!

We ended up at the BB King Blues Club where we had live music playing, a band that played only music that had originated in Memphis. I was surprised at just how many artists I know and love originated in the city. We also tried deep fried pickles which were surprisingly delicious!

We ended the day at the Mississippi River where we learned about Mud Island from historical plaques placed around the park.