A Travellerspoint blog

Ida is Meeting me in NOLA

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View Pre-Germany Road Trip & Europe 2010 on Khandilee's travel map.

A simple text message that Ida was planning a visit to NOLA. I was driving along minding my own business and enjoying the scenery (well not really enjoying the scenery...it is Texas), and I received a text message about Ida. Ok, what-ever. Deciding to keep moving forward (or East as it may be), I started thinking about my back-up plan. If Ida was insistent about meeting me in New Orleans, I would then head directly North toward home and unfortunately, not get to finish the trip as planned. This was not a pleasurable decision. I do miss everyone at home but am hopeful to be able to finish the trip and see the rest of my friends as planned.

On arrival to New Orleans, the news is good. It would seem that any fury that Ida was feeling (I can't imagine that I have done anything to piss her off), is slowly dissipating and she is changing path toward the Panhandle of Florida. Did she realize that I am going to be headed to Destin on Tuesday? She seems determined to meet with me! I was planning to leave NOLA on Tuesday and go to Destin to meet with Jen.

So to appease everyone at home and resign my position as a Hurricane chaser, I have altered my plans. I will now stay in NOLA an extra day and let Ida pass by me in Destin, the follow in her footsteps. I hope she doesn't get wind of my idea and change her plans!

I found (well, actually Lisa found it), the cutest little guest house here in NOLA. It's great....walking distance to the Quarter and a mere 2 blocks to one of my favorite restaurants; Port of Call!

Although tired from about 11 hours on the road yesterday, I forced myself to go out for a little while. Did I mention that I LOVE IT HERE! Met a guy; Branden from a small town about 45 mins north of here. He was great conversation over a drink, then I headed back to the room for some much needed rest.

Airplane Aaron is trying to decide if he is going to meet me here for a couple of nights....should be a fun time!

I'll post more later.

I colored my hair so hopefully Ida won't recognize me now!!!
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Posted by Khandilee 10:15 Archived in USA Tagged women Comments (5)

Austin

Just a quick blurb about Austin.

I don't feel like I got to see as much as I wanted to in Austin. It looks like a place that I would certainly LOVE. I need to make a mental note to go back and visit again sometime.

Aaron and his mom, Trish were wonderful hosts! My time was simply too short!
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We went to an old theater, which I loved and watched Night of the Devil or something like that. It was perhaps the stupidist horror film I have ever seen. Prior to the movie, we had taco's at one of the many Taco Trucks; sorry :o( I can't remember the name. They were de-lic-ious!!

The south-side of Austin is a great place to explore (of course, I forgot the camera). There are tons of the old Neon Signs at the establishments and many of the shops and restaurants are funky/eclectic.

Aaron and I went out for a couple of drinks and the tower was lit orange for a team WIN!!
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I am certainly looking forward to a future trip to Austin....

Posted by Khandilee 10:13 Archived in USA Tagged women Comments (0)

Reflections

I have always thought the the way there is the best part of any trip. It's never really about the destination, it's the journey and the experience. This has been a wonderful experience. I'm sure that I can't even put into words the way that I have felt during this trip. The people that I have encountered along the way have made this much more than I have ever anticipated. Being able to re-acquaint myself with old friends, meeting new ones and the kindness of strangers always astounds me.

Chance has been on my side more than once. Being able to meet with Teresa in Nebraska after a near 5 year absence was astounding. The timing could not have been planned. The kindness of people that I have never met (Jared the hitchhiker, Brent and Peter in SF, and Trish; Aarons mother and Eric in Austin), and the ones that I have only met briefly (Judy); was so much more than expected.

Arriving in Austin on the morning after the massacre at Ft Hood....a somber experience, the news constant and the flags at half-mast.

Hours alone on the road with the reflections of my own thoughts. Finally understanding that as much as others touch my life, maybe I am leaving a mark on them along the way too. It's a good feeling.

I have been very lucky to be blessed with so many friends in my life. I have to remind myself that they are there...sometimes, I feel alone because the friends I have are so far away; but I guess they are only as far away as I make them.

I am over half-way finished with the trip; a trip that I had expected to be about two weeks and I am already three weeks on the road. Lots of good times had and hopefully many more to come!

Note: To EVERYONE; Please realize how important you are to me and how much each of you has affected my life. I truly mean it when I say that I want to return your hospitality (so get those flights to Germany booked!). Letting me crash on your couch or occupy a spare bedroom was much appreciated; especially when you have important things going on in your lives and my planning was at best last minute.

Posted by Khandilee 16:22 Archived in USA Tagged women Comments (3)

Car Candy and Airplane Aaron ? WTF?

LA, Tucson, Nogales and on to Austin, Texas

I thought that I was behind before....NOT! Now I am really behind. I'm going to do my best to catch up here, although I am sure that I'll miss some of the details due to my short term memory loss and the time since some of these events.

Aaron decided to travel with me to LA, and visit a friend there; Tom. It worked out for me to be able to stay with Judy, whom I had met briefly in Seattle. Judy is a friend of a friend and now I consider a friend of mine. Who knew that I was not only going to get to see old friends....but make new ones along the way! YEAH!!

Aaron, Tom, Judy and I went met for some Tex-Mex in LA (yeah...should've waited for Texas for the tex-mex). It was actually VERY good. Two pitchers of Margarita's later and a tummy full of delicious taco's, we separated ways.

Judy and I ended up at a local Country Bar somewhere on Sunset Blvd. I can't remember the name of the place. There was karoke and bull-riding (no...I didn't participate in either, much to Judy's disappointment). She did however, tell them that it was my birthday! A round of free shots and perhaps the largest ever pink cotton candy were had....and they sung Happy Birthday to me. Uggghhh!! I have always told people NOT to ever do this for my birthday, I would be so embarrased! It's interesting though, I wasn't all that embarrassed. I think that the guilt from the lie over-shadowed any embarrassment that I might have felt about being sung too.

Oh...check out the moon!!

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LEAVING LA

From La, we headed out toward Tucson. We were about to the Palm Springs exit and Aaron finally got a return call from a friend there; Don. We stopped into Palm Springs and Aaron stayed with Don while I had plans to head through Joshua Tree National Park.

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The park wasn't far and my plans were to swing around to the north side of the park and head south-east through the park to return to I10 further to the East. I headed out the way that some random person at the gas station directed me (maybe in retrospect, he was playing a trick on me). I must have gotten turned around because after driving around in the countryside of the desert surrounding Palm Springs, I somehow found myself back on the I10 headed East; just out-side of PS. I spend about 45 mins driving around in circles around PS! Nice.... ={

A while later on I10, I found myself at an exit marked for Joshua Tree! I was at the place where I had planned to exit the park back to I10. Now, since I really didn't want to trek through the park in the wrong direction, I simply pulled a short way into the park, took a couple of quick photos and got back on my route toward Tucson. I can't really comment on Joshua Tree, as I only saw a small fraction of the area; it looks to me to simply be more desert fauna.

A quick rest stop near the CA/AZ border resulted in one of the best sunsets of the entire trip. The sky was ablaze with a myriad of colors. To the west oranges and yellows and to the East the pinks and purples! BEAUTIFUL!
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MEXICO

Walking across the border into Mexico is always an unsettling feeling for me. The cattle-gates (it's my word for them) are very daunting. I felt the pit growing in my stomach as I walked closer....
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On arrival, I 'hired' a guide (not really necessary but it turned out to be a time-saver); and he headed me directly to the optical shops. The goal for this trip was to get some prescription glasses made and pick up some meds. Glasses were found, meds bought and I made perhaps the quickest trip into Mexico of my life.

Antonio and his 'boss'?
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I was surprised at the lack of other American's. Any other time I have been to a border town, the amount of American's usually outweighed the number of local's. Here....I only saw about 3 other American's during my entire time there. A little unsettling! I had my taste set on some street taco's! While waiting for the glasses, I scouted the area for my taco's....without luck. It seems that without the American tourist, the street taco stands were non-existent. I settled for a small restaurant along the sidewalk and had the most disappointing taco of my life. The taco-truck in Elko, NV was SO MUCH BETTER! I thanked Antonio on my way out of town and my palms sweated as I stood in line to get back to the USA!

AIRPLANE Aaron...Car Candy

That's his mnemonic for our little duo! Aaron was flying into El Paso to meet me again on the road. I had about five hours of quite boring driving prior to getting to El Paso.

Aaron's plane arrived without hitch and I was waiting for him over coffee at the local Denny's when he arrived. We had considered staying the night but instead, we were both pretty wired so we decided to continue to drive and stop during the night when we tired. Before leaving El Paso we stopped in for some liquid fuel at the local Starbucks. I had just asked Aaron if he was ready to go and Willie Nelson came on the overhead music with 'ON THE ROAD AGAIN' It was one of those priceless moments. I walked back into the Starbucks to get some ice/water for Aaron and when the barista saw the Nalgene bottle, she very excitedly said 'did you know that those really are bullet-proof; just like they say?' WTF? I thought. It seems that the Nalgene makers tout that their product is bullet-proof and so this girl had to check it out for real. She told me the whole story! You know your in Texas....

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We ended up not stopping until we arrived safe in Austin, TX.

The night-drive was great fun. I got to see my very first wild coyote (pics are horrible). He just stood there on the side of the exit ramp like he wasn't fearful at all.CIMG2364.jpg

A quick stop in Ft Stockton, resulted in Aaron nearly getting taken to jail! We found the largest Road Runner ever!! Aaron climbed up on the plastic bird and pictures were taken. If only he had been holding a laso! haha
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Ozona resulted in a pretty cool statue of the state of Texas where even more photos were taken.
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Just past daylight we passed the cutest little town; Fredricksburg. It's originally a German settlement and there are several German restaurants and beerhaus.
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I am now safe in Austin at Aarons Mom's house. I LOVE HER!!!

Posted by Khandilee 07:00 Comments (0)

Busy in San Fran

Wow! It's been a busy time here in San Fran. My friend Aaron doesn't let any daylight slip by without something to do!

It was great to get back to the city. I've really missed it here. I passed by my old apartment on Fillmore and became a little nostalgic. It was fun trying to figure my way around again. I am leaving tomorrow and feel like I actually kinda know where I am at and where I am headed. I will certainly make San Fran a stop when I return to the states from Germany.

Aco has been pretty good. She is getting a little confused by all of the different house rules and many different doggie friends that she's encountered, but overall adjusting well. She is sleeping in a sunny spot on the carpet right now.

My hosts, Peter and Brent here in San Fran have been wonderful. I have felt completely welcome and comfortable. Brent and I took the dogs to the Golden Gate Park Panhandle to walk and they had a good time. Aco was just lovin' smelling all the new smells. Brent and I also enjoyed a nice sidewalk lunch at one of the local cafe's. You just can't go wrong with food in San Francisco. It's always a pleasure no matter when or where and great company makes it even better.

Aaron drug me all over the place (and I enjoyed every minute of it). I got to go to one of my favorite restaurants here in SF for some Asian Noodles...CHOW! We caught a great show The Sun Road and Other Works: Multimedia Dance from The Trey McIntyre Project at the Jewish Center and then went for drinks after at a local place with a couple of friends of Aaron's. It was a late night and I slept like a baby!

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Aaron and I spent some time on Halloween day at the Open Studios on the south side of the city. It was a great time. I was impressed by how many artists were there. I found several pieces that I wish I could have taken home with me but alas, another day! I'm not even home enough to enjoy them anyway! We then spent a while at Cafe Flore with Aaron's friend Derek over a cold beer and watched all the costumed people walking by for Halloween. For dinner we ended up with a deep dish pizza that I think weighed about 12 lbs and some fabulous garlic bread with tons of butter and fresh roasted garlic at Little Star Pizza on Mission. I ended up vegging out for Halloween night and spent it relaxing catching up on emails and watching a couple of episodes of Flash Forward. Lame? YEah...whatever! I enjoyed it...

It's almost exhausting being on the road so much. It's been great to visit with everyone but I think I am ready for a day of nothing. Looking at my on-going travel plans, it doesn't seem that there will be much time for that.

On Sunday, Peter, Brent, Leo, Aco and I went out to Ft. Funston on the beach and I was able to let Aco off leash. She had a great time chasing the waves, playing with sticks and generally being a dog! After, I took her to the dog-wash and she now smells a bit better! Oh...and there were some huge Parrots at the park! Story told is that there is a guy that brings his dogs here as well as his parrots (3 of them) and lets the parrots fly around while he walks the dogs. I am amazed that the parrots don't fly off never to return. They were certainly tame and very pretty.

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Sunday night Peter (and sous-chef, Brent) fixed a wonderful meal of Red Wine Braised Beef, mashed potatoes and broccoli. For desert we had cooked apples over ice cream with a tasty home-made camel sauce. I have to say that it was better than most restaurant meals I've eaten. Good job guys. Over the course of several days with Peter and Brent, I think we consumed about 4-5 bottles of wine too.

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Today is my last day in SF and I will be leaving my great host's and heading over to Aarons for the final night. Tomorrow I am headed to Los Angeles (hopefully to meet with another traveler, Judy).

Posted by Khandilee 12:03 Archived in USA Tagged travelling_with_pets Comments (0)

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