Thursday, July 2, 2015

2015 Road Trip, Day 11: Eastward Ho!

 Last spring, Luke wrote a piece for his series about the Alamo.  Today, we got to see the Alamo in person, and take a guided tour.

What most people associate with the iconic "Alamo" wasn't there during the battle!  It was the US Army who added the capstone.

Davy Crockett lost his seat in Congress because he refused to support the Native American relocation plan.  When he was voted out, he told everyone, "You can go to hell...I'm going to Texas!"

William Barret Travis was in command of the Alamo during the siege by Santa Anna.  He actually was the co-commander with James Bowie, but had sole command when Bowie was stricken with pneumonia days before.

This is a later "model" of the Alamo, during the American years. The doors and windows are square, and there is a truss system for the roof.  During the mission and Mexican eras, there was no roof.

We found out that one Richard Stockton of New Jersey fought in the Alamo. That name is familiar because his great-uncle represented NJ in the Continental Congress.  "His grandfather's brother" wasn't making sense, so we added visuals.

"Alamo Richard Stockton" family is in front of Matthew. Celia's other hand is holding "Declaration of Independence Richard Stockton."

It started to rain, so Luke ran back the two blocks to the car to retrieve umbrellas.

According to Neal, no Falciani vacation is complete without a picture of feet.  I let Jude hold my camera for a few minutes, and he got a good shot of his.  Feet photo - check!

After the Alamo, we turned east and started making our way back home.  Checking the odometer, we were 2500 miles from home, as the Falciani squirrels skitter. (As the crow flies, it's only about 1700).

Our Dallas friends recommended we stop at Buc-ee's while we were in Texas. We were amused by the road signs - they reminded us of the Pedro/South of the Border billboards in South Carolina, but with better puns.

Buckee's hard to describe.  It's like a convenience store meets deli meets hot bar meets gift shop meets...I don't know.  Let's just say these Yankees were a bit taken aback when we saw buckets of stuff in. the. doorway. that was guaranteed to "float" any debris from cleaning birds.  We knew we weren't anywhere near home then!

I couldn't resist this can of Coke!

The boys found an interesting lunch.  They had a sausage taco on a stick.  It was weird looking, but it was really good!

Back out along the road, Luke was taking pictures again.  Of course, we saw some cows -- this is Texas, known for cattle ranches.  And yes, we have cows in New Jersey.

But I can't say we've ever had one looking in our car window.

Eventually we got to Katy, and knew we were close. We have friends in Katy we can't wait to catch up with.

 I think we'll skip here, but the concept was interesting!

I think Houston roads beat DC for "longest rush hour."

DC's roads at least take a mid-day break!

Remember yesterday's "Chikin tastee, cows not" roadsign?  Celia likes this one better.

Chicken looks OK for her to eat, and beef was one of her biggest fails - including a hospital stay.  Chicken always, beef never!

Our hotel is on the "far side" of Houston from San Antonio, so we headed a little south.  I now have the chorus of Glen Campbell's "Galveston" singing in my head...

Luke did get a great shot of Houston, though.

Houston, the Falcianis have landed.

©2012- 2015 Adventures with Jude. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

2015 Road Trip, Day 10: Finally to Phoebe!

When we first planned our trip, Jude wasn't sure he wanted to be away from home for so long.  I mentioned we were going to see Isaac in Kentucky, and he warmed to the idea.  I told him that we might also get to meet his pen pal, Phoebe, and he was off to pack his teddy bear!  Today was the day.

After stopping at the pack-and-ship place to send home the souvenirs we couldn't fit in the car, we headed west again.  Phoebe or bust! 

For as fast as Texas drivers seem to go, I am loving that they very much observe this rule:

Texas is probably the nicest place to drive. Even in traffic, cars keep moving.  Plus, we went past two accidents in Austin that were on the opposite side of the highway, and there was NO gaper delay.  I was shocked.

Jude just asked "How far is Phoebe's house?" and I said "About two hours." His response: "Whew!! That's short!"  After nine days and 1700 miles, I guess it is!

 Celia became friends with Phoebe's sisters...she's itching to write to them.  And go back, of course!!

It was so nice to sit and talk with my friend Jennifer.  She's also been a "lives in my computer" friend for ten years.  It was crazy how alike our kiddos are.  Unfortunately, our visit was much too short.  This came on as we pulled out of their driveway.

We made it easily through Dallas, and down I-35 a few hours when the clouds started rolling in.

Yep.  Rainclouds. 

We wound up pulling off the road until things cleared up.  It was crazy.  

Luke has been having a good time taking pictures on the road.  He's been getting a lot of the "signs for things to do" and our "can we come back to..." list keeps growing.   He's also be getting some of the side-of-the-road whimsy.

Bodacious Bar-B-Q on the way to Dallas.  I can only imagine.

 Inflatable couch potatoes in Austin.

We've been laughing at the Chick-fil-a cows.  This sign is Celia's favorite.  Beef makes her very sick, but it looks like she's tolerating chicken.  She's in complete agreement - grilled chicken is good, beef is not.

Tonight after the rains stopped, the sun came back out in time to set. I'm glad he got pictures -- I couldn't enjoy it as I drove, but the pictures are great!

We finally got to San Antonio just before dark.

We're now at our farthest point from home.  After we visit The Alamo tomorrow, we'll start making our way back east and north towards home. 

©2012- 2015 Adventures with Jude. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

2015 Road Trip, Day 9: Everything is Bigger

Day 9 included a visit to Graceland, home of Elvis Presley.  The only way to top the over-the-top of there was to go to Texas.

I actually was very surprised at Graceland.  It wasn't nearly as wild as I had expected.  Opulent, certainly, but only three rooms that would qualify for "You have more money than taste."   From the front, the house looks grand, but not wild.

Ok, so maybe the stained glass peacocks are a bit much, but the formal rooms when you first enter the house aren't too crazy.  

And the color theme continues into the dining room across the hall.

It's when you get downstairs, into the more relaxed spaces, that the "Whoa" factor comes out.

Add mirrors on the ceiling to reflect all the shiny.  It's wild, but considering it's the '70s and Elvis, it doesn't seem too crazy.

Then you walk across the hall into the pool room, and you think, yeah, this is odd...

 The pleated-fabric motif starts from the center of the ceiling and continues on.

After the house itself, we entered the Trophy Building.  Yes, building.

Halls were lined with Grammy awards and gold and platinum records.  And I know this isn't all of them, because we saw some in the Rock & Roll and Country Music halls of fame.  It's just amazing.

The next building was Elvis' racquetball building.  The walls of what used to be the court are now lined with posthumous gold and platinum records. It's just as filled as the trophy building.

After Graceland, we headed back on the road.  The kids were asking why we needed to go north on I-55 when Texas was south of us. I reminded them of a little puddle in the middle of the country -- you know, the Mississippi River -- that we needed to find a bridge to cross.  Ohhhh!

We had to travel through Arkansas. I've never seen so much nothing.  It's not even pretty.  It's just scrubby weeds for miles.

It was really hard to drive through, and I had to take a break from driving because my eyes hurt from the glare (even with sunglasses).  We had to laugh when we saw this sign outside where we stopped.

Maybe it was a Soul Food place?

Once we got to Little Rock, there was finally something to see.

Politics aside, I've never been to a presidential library, so I'm curious what it would be like.

On the other side of Little Rock, we went through the miles and miles of trees.  Not particularly exciting, but it was nice to have the shade.  We got a chuckle over this state park -

We finally got to Texarkana...

And knew Texas was right behind!

Drive friendly? Y'all, it's like driving the autobahn.

 We'll stay in the "slow" lane -- I was going 75, and the left lane was zooming by like we were turtles! Yeep!
This is a big state for friends -- in Longview, I got to meet a friend who lives in my computer.  Kristy and I have known each other for years through Kids with Food Allergies, but never met in person.  It was wonderful to finally meet her in person.  Next up, we are heading to Dallas to see Jude's penpal Phoebe.  I'm just as excited as he is -- I get to met her mom in person, too - and we've been KFA friends for 10 years. 

©2012- 2015 Adventures with Jude. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.
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