The Texas Thang

There are certain things about Texas that only Texans truly get. Here are a few:

HEB  – the best and most wonderful grocery store on the planet.

HEB2HEB3HEB4

HEB1

The produce section is amazing and everything is so fresh! In addition, the meats are beautiful, cheap, and delicious, and there is actually a tortillaria there where fresh tortillas are made all the time! Yum!!

Blue Bell Ice Cream

Unless you’ve tasted it, you just don’t know. Here is my favorite:

bluebell

The Texas Hill Country

One of the most beautiful areas of Texas, it includes my favorite town (New Braunfels) and my favorite waterpark (Schlitterbahn – the original one). The drives one can take on a lazy afternoon through this beautiful part of the Lonestar State are stunning and guaranteed to bring peace to the soul.

 

Buc-ee’s Gas Station

A gas station? Yes… but not just any gas station… It’s an entire experience, and the bathrooms are amazing!

Naegelin’s Bakery

The oldest continually operational bakery in Texas, and a place I’ve been visiting since I was a toddler. It is amazing and tasty, and chock full of memories. Just the aroma takes me back to my childhood and visiting the shop with my grandmother, who always made sure I had my favorite cookie before we left.

Tex-Mex and Texas BBQ

Yeah… there’s nothing to compare.

These are a few of my favorite things about Texas and just a small sampling of the wonders and exciting experiences to be had here. For those of you who have never been here, make sure you put a visit to the Lonestar State on your bucket list!

Big Love,

Lainie

 

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The 3 T’s and Lessons Learned

The 3 T’s: Texas, Trailer, Tires

Texas

Yes, we finally made it to Texas. It was a long journey, and we were both very glad to see the “Welcome To Texas” sign as we crossed the Sabine River.

Our 1st stop was at a Whataburger, which we hadn’t had in years. We were surprised to see a few Whataburger shops in other states along our route, but both agreed that we wouldn’t partake until we reached Texas, because Texas’ Whataburgers are the best!

We were barely in Texas when we spotted one, so we quickly pulled over and enjoyed a great burger and onion rings (Rico had the fries and we shared). I wanted a milkshake too but decided against it since I still had to drive to Houston and didn’t want to be too full and sleepy.

As the skyline of Houston came into view, I had a lot of mixed emotions. I grew up in that city, but I’ve never really liked it. I don’t know what it is… Rico likes Houston… a lot of people like Houston… but for me, it is just a lot of traffic and a whole host of bad memories.

As I turned onto the familiar street where I grew up, we contemplated how we were going to get the Mini and the trailer backed into my mother’s ridiculously long driveway. I had called my brother earlier and let him know we were arriving soon, and I asked if he could back the trailer since I’m still learning the craft. He suggested his roommate could do it, so Rico and I were both glad to see both my brother and David waiting for us in the driveway.

After a couple of failed attempts on my part (I wanted to at least try), David expertly backed the Mini with the trailer attached and parked it perfectly on the side of the driveway.

We said hello to Mother and introduced her to the pups before beginning the arduous task of unloading our belongings and finding a place for them in my old room.

My little 89-year-old mother is a neat person (bordering on OCD tendencies) and the look on her face as we kept lugging things through her den and down the hall to my room was priceless. She literally had her mouth hanging open.

Now, she has the beginnings of Alzheimer’s disease, so trying to explain to her (multiple times) what we were doing and why we were there at her house with a trailer and all our worldly possessions was quite trying. I think I explained it a half-dozen times over the span of twenty minutes before giving up and just telling her we were reorganizing some things. That seemed to satisfy her enough for the moment.

Trailer Tires

I had noticed back in Florida that the tires on the trailer were wearing funny. Rico and I were both a bit concerned and kept a sharp eye on them the rest of the way.

After consulting with my brother (a mechanic) and figuring out that the problem was a combination of crappy, cheap tires, us driving too fast for what the tires were rated, and an overloaded trailer, we began the search for replacements. We also discussed changes that would need to be made before we could continue our trip in order to avoid a repeat of the problem:

  1. Get rid of some of our stuff
  2. Drive slower (darn!)
  3. Get better tires

The stuff that made the trailer so heavy was our PA, speakers and a couple of amps, which we had already planned on leaving at Mom’s house. The driving slower part is going to drive me crazy (I like to go FAST…) but I know it’s for the best, so we’ll be keeping it at 65 or lower for the duration of our adventure.

The tires were a bit of a problem. Rico and I went to a couple of places with no luck, and then returned to my mother’s house so I could do an internet search. Luckily, after less than an hour of hunting, I located some at a tire shop just down the street.

The cost of the tires was a big and unexpected hit to our budget, but we learned some valuable lessons:

  1. Research stuff like tires (and what speed they are rated for) before heading out on a long trip
  2. Don’t overload the trailer and distribute the weight more evenly
  3. We should have gotten rid of more stuff before we left
  4. Minimalism is hard as hell and emotionally painful in the beginning, but so worth it in the long run

We will be spending the rest of our time in Texas with family and friends, but we have a lot of work to do as well. We still have to get rid of some things or find places to leave them in order to be more efficient on the road and avoid trailer overload. We also have to make more art and write more songs, as well as record more music videos for our channel. Additionally, we have to become more adept at this social media stuff. There is a huge learning curve, but I think we’ll get it down eventually.

While there is a lot to do, we are both supremely happy to be back among family and friends after all the years we have been away. Rico is ecstatic at the easy availability of cheap and delicious breakfast tacos, and I’m in heaven to have Tex-Mex restaurants and Taquerias on nearly every corner! We both have to watch out, or we’re going to gain a lot of weight 😦

 

Big Love,

Lainie