Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Improvise, Adapt, Overcome

Hello, friends.  I thought I'd talk about the TX road trip this time.  All year we had been planning a trip to New Orleans in September.  The week before our trip, Hurricane Ida hit and took out a lot of NOLA.  Instead of canceling, we decided to pivot and go west to TX instead.  We were going to keep our flight to Dallas, drive through Tyler and down to Pineville but they canceled our flight as soon as we arrived at the airport.  Okay, pivot #2, we grab a rental car and decide to drive to Pineville, instead.

Ten hours later (quicker than the next flight), we made it to the fabulous Purdyville.  I have a lot of siblings but Luke and I are the only two that share our same Mom and Dad.  Basically, he's special and so is his wife Lillian.
The next day, we went to Avery Island and the Tabasco Museum.  Very cool place if you've never been.  No husbands were hurt in the making of this next photo.  Girl!  Look at those white legs!

It was a wonderful, relaxing day.  I got to hang out with my big brother and enjoy the sweltering heat.
Avery Island is owned by the McIlhenny family and they've turned it into a nature preserve.  It's just a really beautiful, peaceful area.  Don't you just LOVE the live oaks?!
You do have to keep your eyes open for alligators and such but we didn't see any.
We made a quick trip into Lafayette for a late lunch.  Lafayette is really cute and I wish we'd been able to spend more time there.
Luke took us to Spoonbill for a late lunch.  The loaded fries are AMAZING!  Rich liked his burger so much, he bought the t-shirt.  The true sign that some place passed his food test.
We decided to check into our hotel after lunch only to find that the state of LA canceled our reservation without informing us.  Apparently, they were reserving all the rooms in a certain parameter from NOLA for emergency workers.  I get it, but dang!  Luckily, the hotel felt bad for us and pretended we were first line workers so we wouldn't be homeless for the night.  Then we decided to stop for gas before meeting Lillian for dinner.  Guess what!  95% of the gas stations in Lafayette were now out of gasoline!

Poor Lillian had to wait an hour or more for us at Prejean's while we tried to un**ck our situation.  Rich was able to finally get the Cajun meal he'd been looking forward to.  They even had a live band while we were there.  It all worked out in the end but we were emotionally exhausted when we finally called it a night.

So TX traffic; it's crazy.  The minute we entered the state, it was constant construction and tons of people.  Our next stop was NASA in Houston.  Houston has LOTS of bridges.  LOTS of bridges.  I'm terrified of heights.  Between the construction, the bridges, Rich's aggressive driving, I had a melt down.  Rich loved to tease people.  He teased everyone. If he liked you, he was giving you shit about something.  He chose the wrong day to tease me about my fear of heights.  We had our final fight in a residential neighborhood right outside of NASA.  Then we went to Whataburger for lunch.  We both needed to decompress.  Also, I wasn't too impressed with Whataburger.  Not because of the fight...

The afternoon at NASA was amazing!  We had such a good time there.

We took the Apollo 13 Mission Control tour.  Houston, we have a problem.  The tour was in a tower, with 4 flights of stairs.  Dang TX and their love of heights... Yes, I wore Star Wars to NASA, I'm a nerd with a fear of heights and a fascination with outer space.  I am what I am.

After our eventful day, we went to a random restaurant down the street from our hotel.  Frenchie's is a hole in the wall that doesn't look like much from the outside, or inside for that matter, but has the best Italian food I've eaten in my entire life!  The owners spoke Italian, they were hosting a priest from Italy.  The meal & atmosphere were perfection. 
We finished the evening with a walk around the near by Nassau Bay.  It was so beautiful.

Next stop, Austin.  We had to stop at Buckee's or they would have kicked us out of TX.
Then, In n' Out or Rich would have left me on the side of the road.
Second stop was the Capital building.  The grounds and architecture were lovely.  Rich  made best friends with all the armed guards because he never met a stranger.

We toured downtown Austin, did some shopping.
Rich insisted I buy a pair of boots at Allen's.  Bethany and I go line dancing pretty often and he wanted me to have appropriate footwear.  
We did some YouTube research to find the best BBQ in Austin.  We watched a guy cry because Valentina's was so good.  So, naturally, we had to find it.  It's a bit out of town and we rolled in as they were closing!!  They took pity on us and let us buy whatever they had left and it was delicious.  Not sure why the guy was crying, but it was really good.  And, owned by a former Marine, so Rich was going to love it no matter what.
Second day in Austin, we hiked McKinney Falls State Park.  My personal favorite of the whole trip.

Not sure what I was proud of here, but I guess I was feeling like a bad ass.

We stopped for lunch at the side of the road and had such good food!  Our waitress was the only one working, she didn't speak English, but she served some damn good tacos!
Buoyed by our delicious lunch, we decided to cook ourselves with a stroll around Lady Bird Lake.

Rich treated me to another amazing meal at 1818 Fusion.  We were WAY under dressed for the fancy experience & I was clearly over heated but the food and entertainment were fantastic.

We drove through Waco after leaving Austin.  We stopped at the In N' Out for lunch but they had a plumbing emergency.  So, to waste time, we went to the Dr Pepper Museum.  I ended up really enjoying it.

I thought it was interesting that Vernors Ginger Soda was invented the same year my house was built.  I love me some Vernors.

Plumbing emergency fixed, Rich got his Double Double, all was well...  I know, we were across the street from The Silos but does this man look like he wanted to spend time in a crowd, shopping.  No, no he does not.
We rolled into Ft Worth in time to see the Bull Run at the Stockyards.

We attended the rodeo on 9/11.  They had a lovely memorial, not a dry eye in the place.  We had plans on going to a honky tonk as a grand finale to the week but decided in the end, we were both too exhausted.
The next morning, we had some time to explore without the crowds.
Rich, trying to sneak in to a brothel...
On our way to the airport, we stopped at Grapevine, TX.  It's a cute little town.

And, they had an In N' Out... 
We had concerns that our flight home would be canceled and we'd have to drive home but we got to STL without a hitch.  Found our car in the hotel parking lot right were we left it, except someone had relieved us of the catalytic converter.  So, we drove home with what sounded like, no muffler and Rich cussing up a storm.

In honor of our trip Rich bought a brass plaque that says Improvidus Quod Victum.  Improvise, Adapt, Overcome but not quite right because it should be Impovidus Apto Quod Victum.  He was probably paying by the letter and saved money by leaving out a word.  And that, my friends, is how two polar opposite people lived together for 29 years and raised 4 kids without killing each other, and managing to have a lot of fun along the way.

I filed a claim on our canceled flight and was denied.  So, I forgot all about it.  The month after he died, they emailed me and said I had a credit on flights but I had 30 days to use it... Well, my husband had just died and I wasn't planning on traveling, so I let it go.  Now they've emailed again that they're extending my credit to the end of the year.  I think I'm going to take myself to Boston this fall.  We'll see how that goes!