Tag Archives: road trip

My Father-in-Law and a Real Dallas Morning News-paper

I am still going through all the different shots from last weekend but pulled this shot out of my Father-in-Law that I just love. I hadn’t seen a news paper in so long that I had to pull out my camera. I love the mix of old and new this shot portrays. To see more shots from the weekend you can go to the Flickr gallery or you can see Deborah’s blog post as well. I will be adding more to my Flickr gallery as I can get them sorted out, but today the photo of the day is my Father-in-Law David reading the newspaper.

Leave the Boat in Orange Beach to Sit in Traffic on I-65

traffic-wreck

Well, we had to leave the boat and come back home. It was such a great weekend we didn’t want to leave but all good thing must come to an end I guess. It was nice to get back to the house though and take a nice shower and enjoy the rest of the afternoon.  We left the boat around 9am and took our normal routine (which includes a stop for donuts) back up to North, LA. Along the way, unfortunately, we were stopped by a horrible accident on I-65 that was said to be a fatality. When we finally got up to the wreck, we could see only one car left, a black Chevy Suburban from Alabama, which obviously rolled at least once.

We thought we saw a careflight type helicopter, but we were only about 45 miles south of Montgomery so it would have gone north of us on takeoff. One of those things that makes you wonder why some of these drivers are so careless when this can be the outcome for more than just themselves. At least I had my camera but I wish the best of the family of that car, it was in horrible condition, unrecognizable.

While traffic in California may be bad, we rarely get stopped, but in this case we sat on I-65 for more than an hour with MANY other people. As a photographer, did I mention that I love head shots (and my wife), so, isn’t that a great shot of Deborah.

Update to This Blog

After I got back home I decided that “My Life in LA” needed to be complete. I imported, added, and re-posted all the blog entries from when we moved to LA, which was early 2006, up to this point. My apologies to those rss subscribers would are now spammed with all my previous blog posts. I am sorry, just want this to be an accurate historical record of our life in Alabama, which, at this point, began in January 2006. I did spend much of this weekend working on previous blog entries and updates to my other blogs for organizational purposes, hopefully that work is now done. Tomorrow and this week will be busy.

Nature in View

Once we got back home today we did find a female Red-Breasted Grosbeak at our feeder, along with two males. This was the first time we had seen any females and Deborah and I were both surprised to see them still here at our feeder.

From Alabama to California and Back, 4,901 Miles

Two weeks ago we left on our round trip journey and we are happy to be back home again. We left for California on March 16th with inventory in the car and motorcycles in tow. The trip to California would take us through Memphis, Little Rock, Oklahoma City, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, and finally Rosmond, CA (near Mojave and Edwards AFB). We decided to have a little change of scenery on the way home by going the southern route. This took us through San Bernardino, Phoenix, Tucson, El Paso, Austin, Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, and Pensacola. Throughout the entire trip we recognized many, many places we had been repeatedly in the bus when we were vending at the national shows. One of the things that was very different this time though was that we were staying in hotels and eating at local restaurants. Not quite as inexpensive, or predictable. I will explain this one later.

We started out from the house in Alabama very early in the morning. Our mission for the day was to make it as close to Oklahoma City as we could before stopping for the night. Scott surprised me before we even left the house with his new haircut. I was so surprised and thrilled. It took a little getting used to, but I really love it.

Scott’s New Do

Arkansas was beautiful, as always.

Lake Dardanelle

The first night on the road I gave Scott his second harmonica. This one is in the key of G. He loved it and played it throughout the trip. Below are some other sights along I-40 between Fort Smith, Arkansas and Albuquerque, New Mexico where we stayed the second night.

Harmonica Driving

Leaning just a little

Cross Monument

Cows

Train

Sunset in Albuquerque, NM

Sunset in Albuquerque, NM

Leaving Albuquerque the next morning we headed out for our first planned (fun) destination of the trip, Las Vegas, NV. We arrived at the hotel, and after freshening up we headed over to our favorite place for ribs. This little casino is a couple of blocks off the strip and is loaded with locals. Inside the casino is a micro brewery that serves only two menu entrees. There are no menus as the entrees are posted on the hostess stand as you enter. There are a total of 12 booths/tables in the entire restaurant and we made the mistake of arriving right at dinner time. The wait was ultimately 2 hours for a booth, but the ribs were fantastic as ever as well as the (free) micro-brew beer. The total for dinner for the two of us came to a whopping $10. NO, I will not give the name of this place out. It is one of our secret spots.

The next day we headed out for a bike ride and eventually ended up at the the Bellagio casino to watch the fountains for a while before heading to dinner. The fountains are really incredible to watch and the choreography is fantastic. We love to stroll this part of the strip, watch the tourists and soak in the flavor of the city.

Bellagio

Bellagio

Bellagio

Us

Bellagio Fountains

Bellagio Fountains

Me

The beauty of the fountains on the outside of the Bellagio is rivaled only by the beauty of the seasonal flower displays on the inside. Every three or four months they change the decorations throughout the casino. There is a very large vestibule just off from the main check in lobby that is completely decorated in flowers always with a central theme. We have usually been here in the fall or winter so we have seen the Christmas display several times. This time we were treated to the spring display complete with gigantic butterflies, storks and frogs. There were fountains of water pouring from an enormous watering can (actually the water was flowing into the can) and a fountain archway. The crown jewel of the display was the glass butterfly house at the back of the room that you could walk through and view all types of colorful butterflies.

Bellagio Flowers

Bellagio Flowers

Bellagio Flowers

Bellagio Flowers

Bellagio Flowers

Bellagio Flowers

Bellagio Flowers

Me

Me

Bellagio Flowers

Bellagio Flowers

Bellagio Flowers

Bellagio Flowers

Bellagio Flowers

Bellagio Flowers

Bellagio Flowers

We spent a few hours playing video poker and eating Panda Express Orange Chicken, two of our favorite things to do. When we left the machines for the night the jackpot had reached a pretty high number so we decided to play the same bank the next day if the jackpot had not been hit. As our luck would have it the jackpot was still in tact the next day so we played for a few more hours until a man on the other side of the machines hit the jackpot. All was not lost though, since we had played enough to earn a free buffet lunch in comps. Cool. One last photo before heading to the Mojave desert.

Goodbye for now….

As we traveled to our farthest destination on this trip we talked about the business we were selling and where we wanted to go from here. We decided to start seriously looking for a larger sailboat (one that we could keep on the coast somewhere) and to sell the bikes and our current sailboat. We really love our bikes and I will never forget learning to ride my Rebel, then upgrading to the Shadow. We have decided it is time to move on to the next thing life brings our way. What a coincidence to see this traveling through the desert. Is is a sign? HA HA

A sailboat here???

We made it to Moab and spent two full days training the buyer of our business on the ins and outs of eBay and online sales. It was a whirlwind course and I wish I had recorded it all because we could really do some serious seminars on this stuff. It is amazing how much you know that you don’t know you know. Anyway, after two exhausting days we headed back toward home. We were not at all interested in seeing I-40 in reverse so we headed down the southern route down to I-10. We knew we could dip down through Houston and the coast throughout Louisiana and Mississippi.

We trekked through El Paso and decided to take a detour through Austin instead of going down to San Antonio and back up again. Our goal was to reach the famous Threadgill’s restaurant where Janis Joplin got her start in Austin by lunch, hit Brenham between lunch and dinner for a dip of the famous Blue Bell ice cream and end up close to Houston for the night. The day went perfectly. The bluebonnets were in bloom all over the place. We enjoyed a fantastic lunch and a huge scoop of Blue Bell before ending up in Beaumont for the night.

At this point I must tell you that you should be very happy that we do not have such a thing as smell-vision. Let me explain. When we arrived in Beaumont it was time to stop for the night and we started hunting a room for a reasonable price. We found several hotels and all were full. The last one we checked was the Motel 6 and they had a few rooms left. There is probably a good reason for this. We checked in and Scott noticed the unusual smell oozing out of the lobby. He didn’t mention the odor until we entered our room and I remarked “This place stinks!”. Seriously, I have never and hope to never stay in a hotel room that smells that bad again. We had to leave by about 4:30am because we couldn’t sleep anyway. A word of warning, if you are ever in Beaumont, Texas and you are tired, drive past the Motel 6 and sleep in your car at the rest area. You will be better rested, save money, and a lot less stinky. Below is the photo of the room. Can you see the smell??????

Threadgills, Austin, Texas

Threadgills, Austin, Texas

Threadgills, Austin, Texas

Bluebonnets

Ice Cream Shop, Brenham, TX

Blue Bell Ice Cream, YUMMMM

Breath Deep Before Entering!!!

With our new plan for the future developing we were anxious to start looking at the different boat options out there and frankly we were very desperate to see the ocean, or at least the gulf. Our first glimpse of salt/brackish water came at the Trinity River Waterbird Rookery. It is a little place near the border of Texas and Louisiana, just an exit off I-10 that is oblivious to the human traffic surrounding it. We saw alligators and wild birds every where. It was a refreshing pit-stop.

We took I-10 down through New Orleans to see the remains of the damage from hurricane Katrina. We were amazed to see that there were still complete subdivisions falling apart. One of the interesting things we noticed was that in the subdivisions that were rebuilding there were travel trailers or motor homes parked in just about every driveway. The amount of damage that is still visible two years later is just incredible.

Our final destination was Pensacola to look at a few boats before heading home. We were exhausted and happy to be home, but after just a few days we are already looking forward to the next adventure.

Trinity River Waterbird Rookery

Trinity River Waterbird Rookery

Trinity River Waterbird Rookery

Alligator

Marina in Fairhope, Alabama

Time To Leave on a Road Trip // California or Bust

I have had others tell me through the years that things seem to happen so fast in our world. Scott and I are not only very busy in general, we tend to make ourselves available and move quite quickly when opportunity presents itself. We embrace change.

We have been working on trying to consolidate and sell our remaining Swarovski bead inventory and that portion of the business that pertains to it. After two attempts with two different prospective buyers fell through we were just beginning the process of dissecting the business and selling it in pieces when we were contacted by a third party and they offered to purchase the entire thing. We replied to the offer with the package price as well as the additional offer to deliver the merchandise in person and train the buyer, provided our expenses were paid. They accepted and cut us a check.

Whoopee!! Now, California is not one of my favorite places in the world, but Las Vegas is. So, we leave on Sunday, March 16 for Las Vegas, Nevada en route to the Mojave desert where we will drop off the beads and supplies, do some training, and pick up the remaining $$.$$. We are taking the bikes so we can ride in Vegas, up and down the Pacific Coast Highway, and any other place we end up. Our route home has not been determined yet so stay tuned.