Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tucson to Los Angeles 500 miles

After two weeks 5,200 miles have been traveled . This leaves me with one more thing to say. HOME!!! We will give a in depth update tomorrow, today we celebrate.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day 12 – San Antonio, TX – Tucson, AZ – 868 miles

Hi again, 

We started out early, as today was the longest leg of the trip. We continued on the 10 West, just like the days before. The countryside west of San Antonio was ranch and farmland and pleasantly hilly. After a while the landscape turned from hilly farmland to dry, high desert scenery. Not much going on for most of the ride at first, no big towns, just small clusters of buildings and gas stations. As we approached the border to Mexico, especially getting close to El Paso, we noticed lots of border control action. Driving through El Paso we could see into Mexico simply by looking south into Juarez, quite interesting. Once into New Mexico we saw quite a lot of dairy farms along the 10.
The landscape stayed desert like all the way to Tucson.  For the last hour or so, of our roughly 12 hour trip, rain was pretty constant. Tucson was really rainy and rather chilly with 43 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Day 12 pics

                                                                    Leaving San Antonio

Lots of big trains

El Paso

Finally in New Mexico

Transitioning between sunny and raining


Day 11 – New Orleans – San Antonio – 543 miles

Hey guys,

Left a freezing cold, but beautiful New Orleans in the earlier part of the morning. Once the city was behind us we drove mostly over bridges that lead the way over the swamps and bayous surrounding New Orleans. Mostly on this trip all the way into Texas the scenery altered between swamps, swamps with trees and flat, open farm & ranch land – no hills to be seen. Crossing the Mississippi over a very cool bridge was impressive. We saw lots of industry and huge container ships. Driving into Houston we saw a lot refineries, especially south towards the ocean. It was actually a nice change of scenery to be driving through a major city. After Houston it was back into the boonies.
We stopped for lunch in Columbus, TX, at the ‘most famous’ barbeque place of the south – Jerry Mikeska’s. We had brisket, chicken, sausages & a sandwich, all Texas bbq style. The d├ęcor of the place itself was rather interesting – there was a trophy of almost all hunt able animals displayed in some form – nailed to wall or standing up, from your backyard squirrel to small ice bears including a Texas long horn. Jerry though actually really seems to have been famous, he walked the restaurant’s floor in a suit and bow tie – quite the stand out – and apparently has catered a Capitol Hill luncheon back in his days.
Arriving in San Antonio, light rain greeted us. Checked into the Emily Morgan Hotel, explored the Alamo across from it and then set out to the river walk. Although the rain continued it was still very pretty. We ended the day over margaritas, virgin pina coladas and food at a fun Mexican restaurant.

Day 11 pics.

Mississippi River

                                                               New Orleans Bayou

Welcome to Texas

Downtown Houston

The only Longhorn we saw

At the Alamo

                                                          River Walk in San Antonio

Monday, December 27, 2010

Day 9 - Bonita Springs, FL to New Orleans, LA - 860 Miles

Hi Everybody,

first day of driving after 4 days of rest - we are back on the road! Of course Claudia has joined us now and Nick had to give up the front passenger seat. We had a long trip ahead of us, so far the longest 860 Miles and 12 hours of driving. In the morning (6:30) when we left it was really cold in Bonita Springs - low 40's (5 Celsius) and it got much colder during our drive to New Orleans - 32 Fahrenheit (0 Cecilius). We took I 75 up to the 10 Freeway going West, first into Alabama, then Mississippi and then into Louisiana. The northern part of Florida looks very different to most of the state. Lot of farm land and rolling hills. In Alabama we took a detour from the 10 and went down to one of the beach cities. Beautiful beaches - all with white sand, but windy and very cold. Driving further west passing by Mobile, AL driving to Mississippi we arrived in New Orleans around 7:30pm. Checked into the hotel and went out for dinner. We are going to stay an extra day in New Orleans for some sightseeing and will be back on the road on Tuesday early morning for our drive to San Antonio, TX, roughly 500 miles away.
                                                                           Our map
                                                                            Off to New Orleans
Road to the Gulf Coast in Alabama
New Orleans, French Quarter
Beignets at the world famous 'Cafe du Monde'
Nicholas Cage's family's above ground resting place

Bonita Springs Day 5,6,7,8 (no miles)

Hi everybody,

just relaxing in Bonita Springs. The weather held up nicely, mostly mid seventies, nights really cold though. We kept busy playing tennis, riding bikes, swimming in the pool, reading, food shopping, cooking dinner and enjoying drinks & company.Celebrated a really nice, traditional Christmas on the evening of the 24th with poems, singing, gifts and food. We even had a tree!
See some pictures of our "food sessions" below. After 4 days we are getting ready for our drive back to LA with stops in New Orleans, San Antonio and Tucson. Planning to be back in LA on Thursday night.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 5 Gainsville, FL to Bonita Springs - 260 Miles

Hi everybody,

today was the most relaxed day on our trip. Only 260 Miles - left the hotel at 8:30 this morning and headed direction Fort Myers to pick up Claudia at the airport. We arrived 10 minutes early - after 2700 miles!!!!!!!

From there we headed to join our friends Ingo, Barbara & Anna  in Bonita Springs, FL, at Belle Ville community. Conditions were just perfect - light breeze, mid 70's, blue sky. Later on we walked the soft, white Vanderbilt Beach in front of the Ritz Carlton Naples, collected some perfectly white shells and coral and watched a beautiful sunset from their beach restaurant, drinks in hand!

Back at the house we made a delicious pasta, had some more drinks & wine and enjoyed each others company.
We will stick around here in Bonita Springs through Saturday, Dec 25th and stay busy with tennis, riding bikes, reading, relaxing, a little shopping as well as more food & wine.  We will keep you posted with culinary updates till we get back on the road on the 26th.
Picking up mom (sorry it's sideways)
The group in Fl
Relaxing sunset to a relaxing day!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 4 Memphis,TN to Gainesville, FL- 670

Hey everybody,
WE ARE IN FLORIDA!!!!! After a long day of driving (over 12 hours) we arrived this evening in Gainesville (birthplace of Tom Petty). This morning we started with a little tour in Memphis, TN. We visited Graceland and the Graceland mansion, and the original Sun Record Studio. This is where Elvis recorded his first album and many others very important music stars started their careres and Rock n' Roll. From Memphis we drove south into Birmingham, Alabama. Then we contiued to Montgomery, Alabama(Rossa Parks and the Bus Boycott). From Memphis to Mongomery we were driving on a freeeway, then to the border of Georgia we were on a two lane road for more that 150 miles. The drive it self was very senenic. We drove through small towns some depressing some not, no traffic, and good weather. When we got into Georgia it started to get dark and the drive into Florida was uneventfull and we had some very yummy ... NOT Wendies dinner. It was soo disgusiting we were considering driving all the way to bonita springs. Tomorow will be our last travel blog for 4 days. Don't worry though we will keep writing about our food and drink experience.
Recording studio
Nobody was home
Graceland mansion
Why does Elvis get a street named after him but not me???
Downtown Birmingham
Confederate memorial in Alabama
Downtown Montgomery
Horse ranch
Opposite of a low rider a high rider
Finally off the small road and a nice lake to welcome us back to civilization.
Tomorow is the las leg of our trip to Bonita Springs, FL.