Texas Style

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Last night Brittany took me to “The Broken Spoke” in Austin where it was confirmed that I am in fact not a cowgirl. Hard to believe after growing up in Seattle, I know. I will readily admit that the rhythm of my two step needs improvement and though I wanted to dance, when I actually got out on floor with a stranger who clearly knew how to lead, all sense of rhythm was gone. I had to further resist the influences of Texas culture when I walked into Allen’s Boots on South Congress St. I did in fact find a pair that I liked and that looked good… for only $450. Hmm… no.

I’ve decided that I like Austin and if I had to for some reason live in Texas, I think I could survive. That doesn’t mean I want to though, just for the record. I’m just saying it’s tolerable, which is far better than Kayli and I anticipated. We both decided that should there be anything in Texas that we witness that causes us to change our northwestern stereotypes of Texas, we would be willing to acknowledge it and admit ignorance. However, besides Austin (which I already understood to be the liberal hub of the state) nothing has really changed my opinion. As we drove through the scenery (or lack of) West Texas on Tuesday something about the oil derricks pulsating in the earth along the side of the road kept me from being too open minded about this lovely state!

In preparation for Brittany’s birthday celebration and Halloween (both tomorrow) we endured the crowds at two goodwill stores today. Tomorrow Brittany will be fashioning her Ninja-Geisha outfit and I have somehow acquired a strange combination of thrifty items that will morph me into a fairy ice queen (?). So that’s the latest from here, I am surviving in Texas! We’re off to be social with people I don’t know, should be great. Coming next is a list of uniquenesses about each state we’ve traveled to so far. TTFN.

On the Road Again

We’ve found a cute wine bar/coffee shop/deli in Austin, Texas that has Wifi and we have camped out to catch up on all our computer needs. We are currently sitting on South Congress Street (SOCO) in Austin, which as far as I can tell is Seattle’s Capitol Hill with humidity. Our server has more or less told us his life story, including his aspirations of having a salon, comestics line, fashion line and about the novel based on his life that is in the process of being written. A unique area to say the least, people watching is fantastic. Our tour guide/my best friend Brittany is at school at the moment and will rejoin us this evening for more good times around the city.

Of course our internet time has been far less than normal, so I’m sorry I haven’t had very regular or detailed postings of the trip so far. But to work backwards and tell a little about our trip we’ll start with our arrival in Texas which was of course memorable because it’s Texas! Last night Brittany took us to Rudy’s BBQ which we never would have picked out on our own because it is part of a Shell gas station. Brittany walked us through the very detailed process of ordering meat by the pound and once we were done we walked away from the counter with a crate full of different kinds of meat and the makings for a few bbq sandwiches. It was excellent. She then finished our Rudy’s experience by taking us to the handwashing station where you put your hands in this machine and for 12 seconds with tickling shooting water, it sanitizes them. We received our “I have clean hands” stickers when we were done! We topped off the night by going to Amy’s ice cream (a local favorite among UT students) and getting a driving tour of the UT campus.

Prior to arriving in Texas, we stopped in both Santa Fe and Tatum, New Mexico. We were surprised to wake up to SNOW in Santa Fe. We are learning that season do in fact exist in the southwest and the jackets we packed are useful! We bundled up and wandered around Santa Fe on Monday morning finding the plaza, the churches that show the Catholic history of the town (one parish has been there for 400 years!), as well as the Native American jewelry vendors who were out selling their beautiful creations along the plaza. Kayli and I have been pretty good at not spending much money, but we got excited at the vendors and got some great souvenirs!

After emptying our wallets in Santa Fe we went to Tatum, New Mexico, a place I probably would have driven through at around 60 mph/hr if I didn’t know my wonderful friend Sally who lives there! She was recovering from being sick, but was still a wonderful hostess and we caught up on all the happenings of the last year.

All the things we did in Arizona would take quite a while to cover and we’re about to head out and see the great city of Austin! So more later, hopefully!

Internet Pitstop

I’m currently standing in Zion Lodge in Zion National Park. This is the first internet we’ve had in a few days and our only reason for coming to the lodge tonight was to charge our cell phone and camera batteries. So I just wanted to say that a more thorough update will be coming this weekend with our stop in Prescott, Arizona at my cousin Catherine’s house.

So far though the trip is off to a fantastic start. I already have about 300 pictures (I’m slightly obsessed with my new camera), Kayli and I haven’t killed each other yet, and we’ve done some great hiking in the Utah national parks so far. In the more detailed upcoming post you can look forward to some quotes from our trip so far, pictures, a list of “you know you’re in utah when…” jokes and generally great stories from the adventures of two 22 year old girls who got in the car to race around the country. Stops so far have been: Portland, OR; Bend, OR; Ogden, UT; Moab, UT; Bryce Canyon, UT; and Zion National Park tonight. Off to the Grand Canyon tomorrow! We endured below freezing temperatures at Bryce last night but are happy to be back in just sweatshirt weather tonight in Zion. Time to head back to the campground, more to come!

Life of a Graduate

I had great ambitions of reviving my blog with some profound thoughts and a brief recap of the last year and a half that I have remained absent from my online postings. However, it’s the night before another big adventure, laundry is in the washing machine, my bag has piles around it but nothing in it, and mostly I just want to sit on the couch for a few more minutes instead of preparing to embark. But let me explain…

After another eventful and beautiful summer in Grand Teton National Park, I’ve returned home to Seattle for an all-to-fast week on Queen Anne. As usual, my list of places to see and visit has only continued to grow despite my wanderings of the last couple years. So my good friend Kayli and I are headed around the country to see all we can. We have plotted our course but allowed for flexibility and given ourselves about a month to make it from Seattle, to the Southwest, to the South and up the East coast as far as possible, ultimately ending our road trip in Missouri where I will stop to spend some time with my grandparents.

During the next month, I hope to write both reports and reflections on our experiences on the road and our adventures at our various stops. I know I had quite a readership by the time I left my semester in London and, though I don’t expect to recapture the interest of everyone, hopefully the blog will once again serve as an entertaining and informative account. I will also be posting pictures on flickr and with my new camera I really have no excuse for not taking and sharing some fantastic photos. Let me apologize for not continuing my blog during my time in Grand Teton both summers. It is not for lack of material, just lack of free time and concentration. However, I’m determined to be better about recording and sharing the events of my nomadic life for the next month and with a fellow English major in the passenger seat there will no doubt be plenty of analysis, conversation, reflection and of course a little reading. Stay tuned.

I’m not sure I truly understand what the life of a graduate entails as I’ve only been out of school four months, but for the first time in seventeen years I’m not spending the autumn months writing papers, completing homework assignments or reading material selected by teachers. This is it: the “real world.” Everyone has talked about it and so far, so good. So off we go!