Thursday, April 29, 2010

So Cool

Everyone who knows us knows that we love hiking and finding ways to exercise outdoors. We chose Austin because everyone is always finding a way to get outdoors and enjoy the trails and lakes no matter what time of year. We were still getting used to our neighborhood and all of its special little treasures when we stumbled upon a place called, "Barton Springs Greenbelt". This 10 mile trail/creek/swimming area is literally 3 minutes away from our house! We've heard a lot about it while researching Austin before our move and could never have imagined something like this! We don't know if we are more excited about the fact that this place is so close (ahem...anyone is LA knows it takes a least 20 minutes to find a gem like this) or the fun that we will have hear in the near future, but wanted to share some of the (many) pictures that we took there.

The trail that greeted us after we parked our car...

Because of the shade the greenbelt is a popular place to go for a run or bike ride

The water was SO warm! A lot of people (and their dogs) were wading the the water, hanging out after a warm spring day. The water was really clean and we can't wait to come back with Stew!

The conclusion:
- We plan on heading back here to go on a longer hike this coming Sunday to explore a lot more of the falls.
- This will definitely be one of our "visitor stops" when our family and friends start to head out here.

Sunday on the Lake

Last weekend we posted that it was our first weekend where had the opportunity to enjoy some of the fruits of Austin. Spring is Jessica's favorite season and we wanted to make sure that we enjoyed all of the beautiful weather before it gets too hot here in Texas.

We went to The Oasis on Lake Travis with his cousin, Lane, and Paul. It was so great to catch up with family.

What was a great day! We were glad to be able to enjoy the lake under blue skies and with some good company especially since the last time we were here the lake was down almost 50 feet and it was pouring rain. like the areal view of our new place?!

Monday, April 26, 2010

On Your Mark. Get Set. GO!

With over 1400 miles, numerous showers, and a move behind us our cars DEFINITELY needed a wash asap. Although we normally would never think to write a post about washing our cars, our experience at the self serve car wash was too good to not to share.

While Jake had been to a self serve car wash before, it was Jess's first time. Big deal right? Weelllll there are a few things. ONE: we only brought about 7 dollars in quarters and were too lazy to drive around too find a bank to get more cash to make more change (plus we wanted to do the job as cheap as possible!) and TWO: We only had 3 minutes per car (Jake has a freakin' Tahoe OK) to wash and 2 minutes to use the vacuum to clean out the interior.

We decided to "tag team" the effort (again something new Jess learned that day) to get the most out of our three minute washes. After we washed Jess's Honda we developed a strategy (haha) to make sure we actually finished the Tahoe before time ran out and the vehicle was left dripping with hot pink soap. We seriously felt like we were on some twisted version of some spousal game show with hidden cameras lurking around the corner. Literally running around the car in a "wax on, wax off" motion we worked together and finished Jake's car before the buzzer went off-- really there was a buzzer counting down the last 59 seconds! We left the car wash feeling satisfied of a job well done, and finished off the inside/mirrors once we got back to the townhouse.

It wasn't so much
what we did, but that we did it together. Yes we could have gone down the street and paid 15 bucks to have our cars washed by someone else, but we really wanted to make this move about each other and getting out of our comfort zones (on a side note we are missing our fam and friends A LOT). Even after the hustle and rush of it all, we wouldn't have wanted even one more quarter. It was fun to be able to head to the "wrong side of the tracks" together and experience something new. We think that the only thing that we will do differently next time is bring a few more towels, some window cleaner, head to the self serve "Genie" down the street instead to save on gas.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Won't You Be...Our Neighbor

We've been promising pictures from our new place and have managed to get some of the downstairs. Although the upstairs is complete, for some reason we're not really into any of the pictures we've taken. SO for now you'll just have to imagine the upstairs- master bedroom and office. We love our cozy downstairs feel and enjoying spending lot of time relaxing here now that it has become a "home".

So glad to know that everything (we brought!) fits nicely in our place. We do have a few odds and ends back in Cali and have learned to be very creative when it comes to storage and the necessities. For now, we're looking forward to entertaining many of you as you make your visits to the town we now call home.

Fredricksburg and Flowers

So today was the fist day and we actually got to experience something "Texas" besides trips to Target, the market, or Home Depot. With all of our bags and boxes unpacked, curtains hung, and furniture in place we decided that today (keeping our fingers crossed that the icky weather held off) we would make the 2 hour drive to a small quaint town called Fredricksburg- think the Texas version of Solvang but German not Dutch. Thankfully the sky was clear and the weather was a perfect 80 degrees.

The drive over to Fredricksburg went by really quickly...amazing how time flies when you're not waiting in traffic inhaling carbon monoxide from the gas guzzling Hummer in front of you, and found our self on Main Street. Yes the town is that small that it actually has a main street called "Main Street".

We found out from an older WWII vet that the town was established in the late 1800's and remains a big tourist attraction because of the town's history and "small town feel". We had a great lunch under a fan lined patio followed by some yummy ice cream in waffle cones ( mouth is watering just thinking about this delight).

In true Jake form (thank GOD I married a man who isn't afraid to chat it up with anything and anyone!), he asked some of the locals where we could find the infamous wildflowers. One of the women told us to go to a nursery down the road- um hello?! why would we drive 2 hours to see some flowers in pots? while another at the ice cream parlor (I knew I needed that cone for some reason) gave us directions (and a map!) to the beauties below.

Texas Bluebonnets- TX State Flower

She said it was another 30 minutes drive, but we didn't think that was too bad with the beautiful road that took us there.

The pictures seriously do not do what we saw justice (put on your 3D glasses NOW!!). The greens were almost fluorescent while the Texas Bluebonnet blue popped. AND the fragrance...WOW!!! It seemed as though each time we rounded another bend the view and flowers were even more impressive then the last. Thankfully we went on a weekday and we were able to stop (a lot!) while we were driving to take in this marvelous sight. We took over 70 pictures because we couldn't get enough of this place, but have selected a few of our favorites for you all.

We even drove along side these little (or not so little) guys having an afternoon snack...

Many of the people who we talked to today said they haven't seen the flowers this amazing for over the last 20 years...guess we really lucked out! Anyone who is even considering visiting Austin should really consider coming during the springtime. We've never seen anything so...magical. No wonder there is a camping/hiking place near by called "Enchanted Rock"- you can't help but feel the magic when you are in this special place.

With the scattered showers and nightly thunderstorms, it is definitely a departure from California weather (which we also love). We are enjoying the constant change of weather and relish in the fact that a nightly shower doesn't mean we have to break out the coats and long sleeves. We're sure that the wet winter/spring Austin has been experiencing caused the amazing wildflowers we saw today--so bring on the rain!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

We're not in Ozona anymoore...

Ozona you ask? Exactly. We're not quite sure either but we'll get to that part in a minute.

Day three and on our last leg of the trip...or so we thought. We woke up and hit the ground running. Excited to finally roll into our new town, we didn't want to miss a beat. The drive from El Paso to Austin was a longest leg of the trip, and most of it looked liked this:

not too exciting huh? We don't know if it was the vast nothingness or the mere exhaustion of driving with a small circus, but we didn't make it to Austin that day. Instead we pulled off into a small town called Ozona to get gas and decided a drink (yes driving has caused us to increase the cocktails), food, and sleep. It eventually started to rain-HARD so the stop was probably inevitable. Driving along the highway at night with NO street lamps is not the smartest idea. Anyways back to Ozona. As we checked into our hotel we asked the clerk where we could get something decent to eat and have a drink. She said there was only one place- ONE PLACE! in town that served anything to drink but we would have to be a member if we wanted to order something. We figured we'd give it a go and headed down the "main drag" (aka the one street in town) to find it. Driving past the post office, taxidermy, and general store (seriously!) and we figured we were probably close

Yup that's the place, the "Hitchin' Post". We walked in a little leery... I mean come on who needs a membership to buy a drink? and quickly found a cozy table in the smoke filled bar and all ordered something to drink. Sure enough our waitress said it was a members only bar and that we would have to buy a membership in order to drink. With our $3 temporary memberships in hand, we ordered an had a great time relaxing after a long day's drive. Feeling refreshed, we headed back to our hotel ready to tackle the last day and officially become Austinites.

Oh Let's Just Skip New Mexico

Day two started off much smoother. Although we lost an hour because of the time change (I think?), we were refreshed and ready to start the day after a quick bite and refuel.

Who would have thought that a Denny's breakfast could be so enjoyable? We had an awesome waiter who gave us a little pep in our step that morning.

Stewie got leftovers from breakfast. We'll admit it, we felt guilty that he had to sit in the car for so many hours.

Rest stop pictures below. Not quite sure where this is.

Notice that there are NO pictures of New Mexico. That's because there is literally nothing in NM. To summarize in a word- flat nothingness (ya that's two). If you're into that sort of thing that's cool, it's just not our thing.

We definitely filled the hours in the car with some books on CD (thanks Addy and Lix), music, laughs, and snacks. Note to our friends who plan on making this drive some time soon, take lots of small breaks- it helps break up the monotony of driving and use cruise control.

We rolled into El Paso just before dusk (how's that for timing!) and with the help of our navigator ate some great Mexican food (are you seeing a theme here?). Tomorrow- TEXAS!

LA to AZ

Our morning started early. Now when I say early it doesn't mean that we grabbed our togo cups and headed out the door...nooo way, that would be too easy.

After a night spent on the floor (donated're welcome Franco!) we woke up bright and early to finish up some packing- yes more! And like a bonehead Jess left her wallet at the Penske rental place on Saturday (all money and cards in tact thank you very much) so she had to go drive back over there to pick it up before she went to pick up Carol in Thousand Oaks. Once she got back you'd like we'd be on our way, but we got sidetracked with some more goodbyes, a final walk through in the house, gas, the bank, and lunch. Oh it WAS lunch before we finally made our departure from Zelzah. With Jake (his new nickname Penske...not to hard to see why) in the moving truck and Jess, Carol (our navigator), and little Stewie in the Tahoe we were well on our way.

On board: Mr. Penske (Jake), Jessica with her copilot Stew (yes that is him "air sleeping", and our much needed navigator Carol (don't you love her hand map set up?!)

Course today: Desert, desert, and mooooore desert. The shots below some as we went through the Palm Springs/La Quinta area as well as one as we crossed the AZ border. We only had one stop because we left so late and wanted to make up for lost time.

We left the Northridge area around 12:30ish (emphasis on the "ish") and arrived in Phoenix right as the sun was setting. Out original plans had us driving to Tuscon, but that was an additional 2 hours past Phoenix and we figured that since the sun was calling it quits for the day we might as well follow suit. A cold beer and some Mexican food later, it was lights out in our rooms.

Monday, April 19, 2010

And the Story Begins...

""> We were SO very lucky to have a million people come over and help us pack. OK, only 8 but when you are moving and not offering money as compensation that many people may seem like a million. Perhaps the fresh coffee and bagels for breakfast and beer and Pizza Cookery for breakfast brought the troops over?

Anyways, the troops arrived late in the morning (too much to drink the night before) to empty last 7 years of contents from our two bedroom townhouse into a 16 foot moving truck. Did we say 16 feet? You got it toots. But when you're towing a car behind a moving truck hallf across the United States, downsizing into a smaller home, and the next truck size up is about $1000 bucks more, 16 feet is what we were stuck with.......HOW was this all possible you ask? Just ask "Tetris" aka Franco and the big burly men helping that day. Franco is a pro at moving, and with the help of all of the other muscles in our group we managed to pack everything into our moving truck. of course the muscles didn't include the women. We stuck to organizing inside and using these really cool rolling furniture dollies (and when placed just right make a skateboard you can mess around on) to bring boxes out to the guys. In the end, we did manage to leave behind a small pile of non essentials that will just have to hang out in Cali until we get a bigger pad.

Yes you do see a sidewalk FULL of boxes and furniture and a hazard triangle out of the street..... apparently we had a small Home Goods supply store in our house. Note to anyone buying us a gift, we don't need anything but thanks in advance for the kind gesture!

Lucky friends- they walked away a few pounds lighter and with a few goodies in tow

The troops (sans Lizzie- she went to rehearsal)

Ready or not we come!

Bye Bye Birdie

We never quite thought the day would come that we would say goodbye to the Valley, let alone California. In our previous post we mentioned that Allison (Jake's sister) and her husband (Brian) offered to throw us a going away party to send us of with a bang. We had an amazing time catching up with family and friends (some of whom we hadn't seen since our wedding!) while enjoying some food and drinks in a casual backyard setting. We don't have too many pictures from the evening because we were so busy catching up with everyone- no wonder you hire a photographer at your wedding!

Enjoying some quality time around the bonfire

3 GREAT friends

We'll miss them old or young

Trying not to cry during two beautiful speeches

Allison giving a speech


A big THANKS to everyone for showing their love and support on that Saturday night. It is truly a night that we won't soon forget.