|Greetings from Austin Mural Restoration Project on South 1st Street|
|A Type-A(shley) sighting at the San José Hotel.|
|A trip to ATX in the summer requires a pitstop at Lick Ice Cream. I sampled Texas Sheet Cake and Caramel Salt Lick. Delish!|
|Whole Foods hails from Austin, so we picked up a few snacks on our way out of the city. I was jealous of the gorgeous flower selection. Obvi.|
|So grateful to have spent four days away with this guy!|
|Our stay at El Cosmico did not disappoint.|
|Our humble abode, the Spartan Mansion—complete with air conditioning and colorful striped robes!|
|Ballroom Marfa in all its glory.|
|I couldn't wipe the silly grin from my face after seeing Prada Marfa. It was one of those pinch-me moments.|
|I can't stop thinking about the amazing Latte Macchiato and Waffles I devoured at the Swiss cafe, Squeeze Marfa.|
|A Texas babymoon wouldn't be complete unless a Vulture takes out the driver's side window of my beloved Rig. Poor girl!|
VULTURES ARE THE NEW HONEY BADGERS AND OTHER ROAD-TRIP REVELATIONS:
- Our arrival in Austin was delayed a few hours on Saturday due to traffic in San Antonio. Over the past year, Flyboy and I have grown to despise I-35; however, we were bound and determined to not let the pesky weekend road work affect our little getaway. That's nothing an Iced Grande Caramel Macchiato can't fix. Am I right?! Hooray for SBUX!
- When we arrived in ATX, we checked-in to our hotel, and I was ready to hit the ground running. All I could think about were the fun-tivities on our itinerary and four days away from the Swell Rio routine. Yee haw! This whole pregnancy thing was NOT going to slow me down. My family calls me Turbo for a reason. Just watch these short legs move.
- After waddling around the city for five miles in 102-degree heat, I finally admit defeat. My bladder is full AGAIN, my appendages are swollen, and that chambray dress I originally felt kinda cute in is now sopping wet from sweat. Thankfully, a handful of delightful stores keeps me upbeat and persistent. Half-way through our afternoon trek, Flyboy and I decide it might be a good idea to grab something small to eat. We stop at an adorable seafood and oyster bar called Perla's for some calamari and drinks. I can't help but wonder if everyone is staring at me because I'm sweating profusely. I hope and pray it's just that pregnant glow that people brag about. Yeah, right....
- We returned to the hotel around 6:30 pm with the intent to cool off and rest before heading out for a fancy pants dinner. Ha! You know you've been married for 6.5 years and you're 33 weeks pregnant when your Saturday night out on the town looks more like room service, pajama pants, and compression socks. Seriously, who are we?!
- On Sunday, we attacked the day at a leisurely pace. After being stubborn on Saturday, I knew we'd need to factor in a few more breaks. We started the day off with coffee from Juan Pelota's and ventured outside of Austin to Round Rock for a Texas-sized donut (one of these bad boys is equivalent to a dozen donuts—OMG!). It totally lived up to the hype, and FB joked the ginormous confection was bigger than my belly. I think he was right! Unfortunately, we both brought it weak and could barely get through 1/3 of the donut. It was pitiful, but we gave it the ol' college try. With full bellies, we made a pit stop at Ikea for a few nursery odds and ends. Having amenities like that at your fingertips is heavenly.
- Once we returned to the city, we made it a point to hit a few more of my favorite shops. Conveniently, Max seemed to be the recipient of all the babymoon souvenirs. What else would you expect?! The rest of the day revolved around eating AGAIN. Cue dinner at The Salt Lick BBQ and dessert at Lick Ice Cream. I swear the lick-tastic theme wasn't planned.
- That evening, we drove around various parts of Austin gawking at houses and great curb appeal. I can't help but feel incredibly lucky to have married someone who digs the same things I do, such as ornamental grasses and mid-century modern house numbers. How could this extended weekend get ANY better??
- On Monday, we grabbed a few breakfast burritos, coffee, and juice at Whole Foods in downtown Austin before making our way to Marfa. Eek, this is REALLY happening! Three hours into our drive and multiple potty breaks later, I start to curse the size of Texas. I knew it would take us approximately six hours to arrive, and while the country landscape was b-e-a-utiful, it felt like we were crawling at a snail's pace. Are we there yet?! I do my best to play the role of DJ and create impromptu road-trip playlists. I realize that FB really just wants to listen to Boston and John Cougar Mellencamp. Sigh. Can't a girl just sprinkle in a little Yonce or I-G-G-Y every now and then?!
- Five miles before arriving in the town of Marfa, I begin to silently panic. What if FB hates this? What if this is a complete bomb? From what I'd read, Mondays and Tuesdays are the WORST days to visit Marfa because everything is pretty much closed. We have little to no cell phone service and our trailer is without a TV. I'm certain this is not FB's idea of a vacay.
- Just as we entered the Capital of Quirkiness (population 2,000), I've already laid eyes on the one stoplight Morley Safer mentioned in that 60 Minutes segment. Yikes! We just drove 430 miles to a town that appears to be half dead. Erm... I giggle nervously and suggest we head to El Cosmico to check-in to our trailer. As we parked The Rig in a big muddy lot, I can't help but feel like we're in that movie Wanderlust with Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston. We visit the front office and a young lady walks us to the Spartan Mansion—our home for the night. A big part of me was incredibly giddy, but I needed to get a read on FB before I could really enjoy myself. It didn't help that I could see the sweat dripping from his brows and he was armed with a fly swatter and a semi-confused smirk. In situations like these, I can either cry or laugh. In this case, I opted to cackle hysterically and proceeded to ask FB the following question multiple times: "This is going to be okay, right?!" Once we unloaded our bags and figured out the air conditioning unit, things started to look up and I knew we were in for a VERY memorable experience.
- Because Marfa can be a real ghost town at the beginning of the week, I knew we weren't going to be able to visit some of the stores or museums as I originally planned. We had no choice but to load back into The Rig and head 37 miles northwest of town to Valentine, TX, and see the infamous Prada Marfa installation face-to-face. Y'all it was squeal inducing! It took several hours for me to wipe the silly grin from my face. Just off Highway 90 in the middle of nowhere sits this incredible sculpture—I couldn't believe I was finally seeing it for real. It was definitely one of those pinch-me moments that I'll never forget. While I know Flyboy could probably care less about something this silly, it always means so much to me that he finds delight in the random things that bring ME joy. I guess that's when you know you've met your match. Before I knew it, we were both running around the installation and snapping pictures with excitement.
- That night we went Jett's Grill for dinner. I'm certain it was the ONLY restaurant open on a Monday, so we didn't have a ton of options. While the food was mediocre, it was fun to sit outside, chat, and take in the Marfa night life. Ha! The highlight of the dinner had to be the drinks. FB ordered a gin and tonic. To spice things up, I ordered a club soda. I can only assume they felt bad for the preggo lady because they served my beverage with a lime wedge and cocktail stirrer similar to Flyboy's cocktail. When the waiter handed me my drink, I took a long sip and my eyes lit up. It definitely wasn't just club soda. Oops! He handed me the wrong glass. I couldn't help but feel a teensy bit guilty, but I really think it was divine intervention. I'm certain that sip of Hendrick's is enough to get me through these final weeks. It's a happy accident!
- Upon returning to the Spartan Mansion, we sat in our glamping trailer and talked some more. In fact, I probably did all of the chatting, but that's pretty normal. We watched the sun set on El Cosmico, settled in for the night, and passed out before 9 pm. Straight cray I tell you! It was incredibly relaxing and the AC never let us down. Phew!
- When we woke up on Tuesday morning, we couldn't help but laugh because it meant we'd have to experiment with our outdoor shower (concrete slab with a spout) and don our complimentary colorful robes. FB kept pointing and laughing at me in mine. He called it my kimono, but I felt like Joseph sporting his amazing technicolor dreamcoat. It was a hoot!
- On our way out of town, we stopped by a little Swiss cafe called Squeeze Marfa for breakfast. It might have been one of my favorite meals from the entire trip and seemed like the best way to end our four-day Texas road trip. Treat yo self! After devouring waffles and sipping on a macchiato, we began our trek back to Swell Rio (approximately 3.5 hours).
- Forty minutes into our drive home, I remember singing along with the radio, laughing at FB's commentary, and thinking "I don't think this trip could have been any better!" That was until we spotted four vultures in the middle of the highway. Oh. Em. Gee. This particular road is quite remote, the speed limit is 80 mph, and you often go miles without seeing another vehicle. I pointed the big black birds out to FB and he started blaring on his horn. We figured it would get their attention. As we got closer to this pack of buzzards, we realized they were relentless and wouldn't move. Finally, FB was able to get three of the four to fly away. As we got closer to meeting the final vulture, FB had no choice but to swerve left in an attempt to avoid the bird entirely. Unfortunately, the buzzard freaked at the last moment and flew right into the driver's side mirror. We heard a loud smack, and watched the bird drop to the road along with our side mirror. Expletives were thrown around The Rig (Live colorfully, right?!) like confetti as we turned the car around to see if we could salvage the side mirror. One moment you're snapping pretty pictures of your perfect breakfast, and the next thing you know, you're staring at feathers stuck to the side of your car and a shattered mirror in the middle of the highway. I guess we'd return home with a rather memorable and pricey souvenir after all.
All in all, we spent four days giggling and eating our way around Texas. Whether you've got your feet propped up on a stack of pillows, you're sporting a psychedelic robe, or you're dodging big birds on what feels like the highway to hell, it all makes for memories we'll share forever—just the two of us! This trip was weird and wonderful and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.