When we were planning our road trip a couple of months ago and decided to stop in Austin I knew I wanted to stay at the Lone Star Court. It has a mid-century, rustic, Texan theme that I just had to see for myself.
Lone Star Court did not disappoint. As soon as we pulled we were greeted by a neon sign and a 1950s Roadmaster.
The lobby was warm and inviting, decked in leather and hides, with western memorabilia displayed on the mantle and shelves. A turntable played old school country records which felt very “Welcome to Texas”. This room seemed like a great place to hang out on such a dreary overcast day but I couldn’t wait to make it to my room.
The pathways are lined with orange rockers and aqua doors, one of my favorite retro color combinations everrrr. This sight made me so happy!
The suite we stayed in was the most perfect place to kick my feet up after a loonnnng day. The living room area had a comfy mid-century style couch and a television, which is all I really want in life. A sliding wood door separates the two rooms.There was also a little dining table surrounded by Eames style molded plastic chairs that was covered in fairly priced mini bar snacks. The good stuff even!
It also had a SMEG refrigerator with more snacks and drinks – from water to wine and spirits. There was an excellent selection in there, which I promptly took part in before our dinner at The Water Trough (the hotel’s on-site restaurant.)My favorite part about this room was probably the bathroom though. You’ll see why.This shower and claw foot tub saved my lifeeee! It was just the thing I needed after a 9 hour drive.Plus how pretty is it?! I love the penny tile floor and black and white color scheme.Clean, crisp, white sheets and a fluffy mattress! This bed felt like heaven! The grounds of the hotel have a few places to eat- The Water Trough, a bar and sit down spot, and The Feed Store, a food truck with quick bites. The grounds also have a ton of places to hang out around firepits and a pool.Lone Star Court is conveniently located next to a mall and lots of shops and restaurants, but when you’re in the court you kind of feel like you’re in their little world. One where you can relax in rocking chairs and drink a cocktail out of a mason jar while listening to the sounds of country western.If you want retro vibes with tons of modern conveniences, check out Lone Star Court during your next visit to Austin.
Warning: This is a very image heavy post, but I just can’t help myself.
Last month we had the pleasure of staying at Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was the first stop on our three week long road trip to Florida and boy oh boy was it a good way to start off the trip.
Hotel Valley Ho has a very interesting history, so let me lay some on you real quick.
Designed by Edward L. Varney (a student of Frank Lloyd Wright), Valley Ho opened its doors in 1956 and was an impressive example of what we now know as mid-century modern architecture and design. Upon opening it quickly gained popularity with numerous celebrities and trendsetters of the time. Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood even celebrated their wedding reception at the hotel in 1957.Unfortunately, during the 70s the hotel was bought and was stripped of its design and fell into disrepair until it finally closed in 2001. Plans to demolish the structure were considered until architecture and history enthusiasts rallied to save it. Thanks to those efforts it’s now a registered historic landmark.
In 2002, the hotel was bought by Westroc Hotels & Resorts and underwent renovations by Allen+Philp, an architecture and interior design group from Phoenix. In 1958, Edward L. Varney proposed building a tower above the lobby, but it never came to fruition, until 2002 when it was built under Westroc’s owenership. The years long renovations were a success and stayed true to the spirit of the original style and era, and thus the Valley Ho we know today opened in 2005 on December 20th, exactly 49 years after its grand opening.
The lobby immediately feels like a time warp with its glass walls, cast and poured concrete details, and natural stone walls. All perfect examples of mid-century desert style.
Retro style furnishings, including large curved sectionals, shag carpet, and woven textiles surround a space-age fireplace.
The high glass walls flood the room with light and give you a sense of being within the desert landscape.
This is a great place to grab drink by the bar, or just hang out and mingle with other guests if you want to escape your room for a bit. Rumor has it that sometimes late at night Jimmy Durante would play the piano in the lounge for the other sleepless guests.
We had the pleasure of staying in a King Tower Suite for the night.
The suite is definitely impressive and features a living space, adjacent bedroom, expansive bathroom equipped with a washer and dryer, a large patio over looking the pool, and a fully stocked kitchen. It’s decked out with mid-century modern furniture and plenty of modern conveniences.
The bedroom area has a comfortable king sized bed, chaise lounge, and a light fixture that gets honorable mention because I need it in my life ASAP.
Did I mention the hotel is also extremely dog friendly? Well it is! Pandora definitely enjoyed it.
The expansive bathroom is a little on the dim side, but is equipped with a walk in closet, laundry, double sinks, and an amaaaazing shower.
The room overlooks the main pool area and has gorgeous views of the sunset which you can watch while lounging on the patio furniture.Outside, the lush property is nothing short of break taking.
The property features two pools – The “OHasis” Pool, a relaxing lap pool.And the OH Pool – the more lively hot spot with private cabanas, a hot tub, cocktail bar, and live music.
Can we talk about all of this color?? Serious heart eyes.
The hotel also features delicious on-site dining at Zuzu. Here you’ll find seasonal American food and stylish mid-century design including a curved diner-style counter, stone walls, globe lights, and round booths. We had dinner there and were not left disappointed. I wish I was able to take pictures, but it was dark and I didn’t want to be the annoying person photographing all of their food. We dined in a cozy booth and I can honestly tell you that everything we ordered was great, especially the drinks. Our server, MJ, was very helpful with his suggestions and helping us navigate the menu. We started off with the roasted tomato and goat cheese casserole and a round of their seasonal cocktails. For our meal, I had the seared salmon in a tomato broth and my husband had the short ribs that came with the most amazing green chile grits. I stole them. Delish.The next morning we ate breakfast on the patio at Zuzu before hitting the road and it hit the spotttt! We shared stuffed french toast (yessss), eggs, bacon, the works. They even brought out eggies and a water bowl for the dogs. Two thumbs way up.
I can’t get over what a great experience we had during our stay here. From check-in to check-out everything was exceptional. One night definitely wasn’t enough and I hope to go back again soon. If you’re planning a visit to the Scottsdale/Phoenix area, I highly recommend paying a visit to Hotel Valley Ho. Especially if you’re a fan of mid-century architecture and design. It’s well worth it!
As you may have guessed by now, I have this love affair with Palm Springs. Funnily enough while I was growing up and living there I couldn’t wait for any excuse to get out, now I can’t wait for any excuse to go back. It’s one of those weird things where you don’t appreciate something until you’re a grown up I guess. Or maybe it’s because Palm Springs is totally making a come back as the hottest (literally) vacation spot around for millenials. Since the 1920s Palm Springs has been the quick getaway of choice for Angelenos, and I’m no exception. I’m not entirely sure that I’ll ever live there again, but I do like making the trip as often as possible.
Built in 1959, it was originally California’s first Holiday Inn. In 1961 Gene Autry purchased the property and changed its name to Melody Ranch. Throughout the 90s it took on a few other identities, but in 2003 it became The Parker we know today. The hotel is fabulously decorated and set on a 13 acre secret garden-esque property, where getting lost isn’t so bad. Don’t worry they give you a map upon check-in.
Let me take you on a little photographic tour.
When you drive up to the secluded property you’re instantly greeted by the most photogenic brick wall and the friendliest valet around.
After you pass your keys along to the nice guys in the colorful shorts, stop and take a deep breath, because you’re officially about to experience what The Parker is all about.
Pass through the big orange doors and straight into the lobby.
The hotel, which was decorated by one of my favorite designers, Mr. Jonathan Adler, has the kind of colorful, eclectic, retro vibes that I live for. JA is great at mixing vintage and mod styles with humor and unexpected touches. Like the cheeky DRUGS sign that hangs on the wall.
You’ll notice is there is plenty of lush seating areas and colorful glasswork featured throughout the lobby.
That mid-century Flintstones-like wall kills me. Behind it you’ll find what reminds me of a 60s party pad, in the best way possible. I mean LOOK.
There’s a firepit and hanging basket chairs. What, what, WHAT?
There are three places to eat on the property – Mister Parker’s, Norma’s, and the Lemonade Stand. Mister Parker’s is open for dinner and features a posh, dark dining room where they serve french bistro style fare.
Norma’s is most known for its impressive breakfast and brunch menu and casual dining experience. I love the cute ambiance and colors of this place and the round chair cushions make me insanely happy.
Norma’s also has a small dinner menu and PIE SHAKES. That’s right…PIE. SHAKES. You pick the ice cream, filling, and topping. Like pie a la mode in milkshake form.
If you’re looking for something more of the liquid diet variety there’s the Lemonade Stand. Here they serve up refreshing and delicious alcoholic drinks.
I’ll be honest, at first I was a little shocked by the price on my tab(around $30 for 2 drinks), since the drink prices aren’t listed on the menu, but when you take into account the size of the drinks and the quality and amount of liquor they use, it’s not really any more expensive than other places. The drinks really are delicious and sizable. I definitely caught a buzz.
The Lemonade Stand is a bar conveniently located next to the main 24 hour adult pool so you can sip and sun your way through the weekend.
There is also a family pool (which was closed for renovations during our stay) and an indoor pool at the resort’s luxe spa, PSYC.
The grounds also have plenty of little secluded pockets featuring fire pits, hammocks, and lawn games where you can lounge and play.
We stayed in one of the 465 square foot deluxe patio rooms situated near the back of the property.
I loved this spacious room. It was a little dark because it’s on the ground level and has a private fenced patio, but it was nice and cozy and good escape from the heat and sun. The king sized bed was comfortable with soft pillows and good linens. I slept SO well. Oh! And free wifi!
Jonathan Adler everywhere!The spacious bathroom has double sinks and a soaking tub.Our favorite part of the room was the private patio that has a small table with chairs and a HAMMOCK. The hammock is great for private outdoor napping and milkshake sipping. Warning: the hammock is so exciting you might get a little too eager and fall out like my husband did. See what I mean about those Lemonade Stand drinks? Don’t worry. He’s ok!Now you’ve gotten a full glimpse of one of my favorite hotels in Palm Springs. I can’t wait until the next time we get to spend the weekend. Who knows, maybe I’ll see you guys there.Thank you to the Parker Palm Springs for a wonderful stay.
Even though I grew up in Southern California, I’ve always yearned for a traditional fall where the leaves turn and the air is crisp. On a good year we’ll have lots of days with chilly weather and some rain. We’ll also see an orange tree or two. I know it’s nothing compared to what other parts of the country sees, but I’ll take what I can get.
I was feeling particularly desperate to get into the autumnal spirit this year. California has been suffering from heat waves and drought, and most of October was a sweaty 80+ degrees. It was really bumming me out. As soon as we heard that temps were dropping and that the mountains might see some light snow, we immediately planned to wake up super early and take a day trip up to Big Bear.
It was definitely cold but no snow. Just some a couple of flurries and drizzle. We really had nothing to do without snow so after breakfast we decided to ditch Big Bear and head back down the mountain to Oak Glen in Yucaipa for apple picking. Best idea ever.
The scenic drive down the other side of the mountain was gaaawwgeous. Look at the trees!
There are several orchards to choose from in the area of Oak Glen. We visited Riley’s at Los Rios Rancho.
Riley’s at Los Rios Rancho is an adorable little spot to pick winesap apples. They hand you the necessary tools and you’re off to pick as many apples as your heart desires.
After spending some time there we went over to the main part of Los Rios Rancho. There’s a cider press, BBQ, a shop with tons of yummy apple foods, live music, and a petting zoo.
My phone died so I couldn’t take any more pictures, but you get the point. IT’S AWESOME. If you’re looking for fall fun, definitely look into visiting the Oak Glen area.
Now I have pounds and pounds of apples sitting in the kitchen which means one thing. Gnats. Just kidding! APPLE BUTTER.
One of the things I love most about Palm Springs is the vintage feel and Viceroy Palm Springs is a perfect place to experience the Hollywood Regency vibe of the area’s glory days. The hotel was designed by Kelly Wearstler, one of my favorite designers.
This spanish style property opened in 1933 as a bungalow retreat, but in 2001 hotelier Brad Korzen (Kelly Wearstler’s husband) turned it into the Viceroy we know today.
The mountain views make a picturesque backdrop and the property is walking distance from downtown’s shops and restaurants, making it the prime spot to experience what Palm Springs has to offer. But once you’re there, it’s hard to want to leave.
The grounds are classically decorated with black, white, and pops of vibrant lemon yellow.
The boutique style resort has 67 rooms, suites, and villas nestled around three pools and manicured courtyards. The pools are open 24 hours, which I LOVE. Major bonus points from me. Night swimming in Palm Springs is like no other. Pool floaties are included and are perfect for both soaking up the sun and star gazing. Or even keeping you afloat when you’ve had too much to drink.
When we pulled up we were greeted by the very friendly valet and escorted to the front desk. We arrived at the hotel a bit early so we had to wait for our room to be ready. That was a mistake on such a hot day, especially with dogs, but the hotel offered us sparkling wine and water, and directed us to the areas where we could lounge and wait. They even brought out water for our pups in a cute bowl.
The property offers a full-service spa and exceptional dining at Citron. I did not partake in any spa services but I did partake in some tasty crab cakes at Citron while we waited for our room.
Citron has an indoor dining room, a bar, and an outdoor seating area.
White tufted leather booths and bergére chairs with mirrored and yellow striped walls make this a really glamorous yet fun space. The pet-friendly outdoor area overlooks the main pool for prime people watching.
Once we arrived to our room we were not disappointed! A nice and helpful staff member carried our bags and showed us to our one bedroom Dorrington Villa located in the fountain courtyard. I loved this area of the resort. It was so quiet and secluded. I wish I could live there. For a second I considered becoming a squatter, but quickly realized that would probably be a bad idea.
The spanish tile roofs and vibrantly colored front doors made me so happy. The villas are set apart from the main hotel and are private with no shared walls between them. These villas are the real stars of this Viceroy.
Let’s go on a little tour.
Love at first sight. Look at that door with its amazing color, knocker, and KICKPLATE. I can’t resist a door with a knocker and kickplate. I wanted to hug it. The front patio area had two chairs, a table, and a privacy curtain.
And then I fell even more in love. The room opens up to a bright, open living room. It’s a perfect blend of classic vintage and modern. The black, white, and yellow color scheme obviously continues in here. The gas fireplace is perfectly framed by ceramic ginger jars, crystal sconces, and modern abstract art. The glass filler inside of the fireplace is so much better than faux logs.
These yellow chairs are the only pop of bright color in the room. The mirrored handles on the cabinet and the mirror-topped octagonal table add a nice reflectiveness and shine to the space. That along with the symmetrical furniture placement is very indicative of Hollywood Regency style.
On the other side there is a black and white gingham sleeper sofa. Behind that is the dining room.
I love the wallpapering in this room. It continues up across the ceiling and seemingly makes the room feel larger. Oh look, more white leather on the curved back dining chairs. Attached to the dining room is the full kitchen. It’s a standard vintage galley kitchen but has every thing you need if you choose to cook and dine in. The painted tile floor continues throughout the entire villa. I love the idea of painting over an existing terra cotta floor.
There’s a stove, microwave, and a goodie stocked refrigerator. The doors were removed from the upper cabinets and mirrors were inserted in the backs. I think that makes the space feel more open.
Not only does the villa have a patio area up front, it also has a completely private one in the back.
Back inside, opposite the dining and living area, there is a bedroom and bathroom. The bathroom has two entrances, one through the vanity area off of the living room, and one through the bedroom.
I adore a vanity area. The window above the mirror gives off a nice natural light for applying makeup and there’s enough drawer and cabinet space to store all your goodies. This bathroom is so classic and beautiful. I love that there’s a window. I love the arched shower. I love it all. It has everything you need. A stylish pedestal sink, a great light fixture, and a bath deep enough for a good soak. The shower also had the most amazing water pressure. All bath products are by Neil George.
The bedroom is serene in all white. I thought the king sized bed was plush and comfortable. The hanging lamps are a nice touch. By the way all of the lights are on dimmers, which is almost unheard of in hotel rooms, but something I definitely appreciate. The white curtains have a stylish Greek key design and wrap around the entire room. Another unique design element I love is the placement of the medallion above the bed. There is also an armoir and television inside of the room. There is no dresser but there’s a large closet with stylish bamboo luggage racks. There are also slippers and robes!
My only concerns with the hotel and its rooms is that with the use of so much white, special attention needs to be paid to housekeeping and maintenance. There is inevitably going to be more visible wear and tear on light colored walls and upholstery. The furnishings are due for a good steam cleaning and leather reconditioning. The rooms and the hotel were clean, yes, but in need of a little TLC.
Also, be aware that summer heat pushes bugs indoors, especially with the drought California is currently experiencing. I was alarmed to find a big bug crawl out of the fireplace one evening, though I’m sure the hotel does their best with pest control. They even leave a bedside note to warn you and ask you to give them a ring should you find any “unwanted guests” in your room.
Besides those concerns I loved staying here. At 470 square feet this villa is actually smaller than my current apartment, but because of the layout it felt much larger. If I could find an apartment or home similar to this I would probably live in it forever.
All in all we loved it and will stay there again. And soon I hope!
You would think after our summer road trip we’d want to take a little break from hotel life for awhile, right? Oh, no. Not us. We almost immediately got the urge for another adventure so we headed out to our beloved Palm Springs. Oh, Palm Springs. How I love your style. If you know me, you know I have a love for all things vintage, and Palm Springs is the best place to catch the vintage vibe. Whenever I look for a hotel I always look for three things: great design, great dining, and pet-friendliness. But when it comes to Palm Springs, a great POOL is a must. Summer temps soar into the 100’s so there is no point to being outside unless there is a pool and drinks. This time we stayed at The Saguaro Palm Springs – a Joie de Vivre hotel. It was my first time staying here but I’ve had it on my mind for awhile, and it has everything on my list of requirements. It was originally built in 1965 and had former lives as a Ramada and a Holiday Inn, but it’s never been as cute as this! The Saguaro opened in early 2012 and has taken on a new life in vibrant technicolor. The rainbow colored palette is the work of Peter Stamberg and Paul Aferiat, of New York-based Stamberg Aferiat Architecture. Each hue is inspired by indigenous flowers of the Colorado Desert and carried throughout the property. And the color continues inside where it’s met with handcrafted Mexican furniture. An interesting contrast that makes sense when you consider the southwestern inspiration. I loved the use of cacti and vintage brownie cameras as decor, further bringing the desert and vintage elements together. It works. The front desk stands out with its bold orange and yellow floral walls. The front desk staff was very helpful and accommodating to us. Great first impression. We were directed to our room on the color coded map and were happy to find self parking was ample and a breeze. Our king suite was spacious, and of course, colorful! The rooms are minimally decorated with only a few coffee table books and retro photography on the wall. The living area had a comfortable pull out sofa, little dining area, dresser, flat screen TV, and a walk out balcony. Oh and a refrigerator to store your drinks and stuff. Very convenient. The bathroom was ORANGE, spacious, and had a good shower. I hate when showers just have that weird, stupid mist that sprays at you and you can’t rinse your hair well, so you have to stick it under the bath faucet…sorry I’m ranting. This shower had none of that! It was delightful. The toiletries by Lather smelled gooooood. Lavender Lime lotion, bamboo lemongrass body wash, yuzu bergamot conditioner, and mint thyme shampoo. I was about to be like “heyyyy, can I have like 27 of each to take home?”, but then I just figured I should just buy them like a regular person. The bathroom has everything you need. My only “meh” is that the tile didn’t do it for me, aesthetically speaking. Hopefully it’s just left over from the Holiday Inn days. Anyway, enough about tile. LOOK ROBES! Hooded ones. The bedroom portion had a work desk, a table, and another wall-mounted TV. And a bed. Duh. Oh man, that bed was super comfy. I hadn’t slept that well in days. A lot of people are picky about room noise, but the room was quiet to me (except when the DJ was pumping jams on Saturday afternoon). It might be because I live in an apartment building on one of the busiest streets in Los Angeles, but I honestly didn’t notice any noise coming from other rooms. Bonus points for having lamps with electrical outlets on the base. I hate having to find a place to plug my phone and laptop in. Extra bonus points for the washable slipcovers on the sofas. That’s a good idea considering the dog friendly policy. WAIT. Let me talk about their super friendly dog policy real quick. No pet fee and they don’t stick you in the crappy rooms. They even included bowls and cute dog things. Mango and Pandie loved watching people at the pool and their hair colors fit right in. Now for the pool. The pool is important. If you don’t have a pool in Palm Springs, what is even the point? The Saguaro has one of the best and it’s open until midnight. There are two hot tubs, if you feel the need to soak. There is also a pool bar that has light snacks and drinks. Helllooooo. But wait, that reminds me. The middle portion of the pool goes to 9ft deep. Normally, I’m excited if any pool goes to even 6 ft deep, but in this case it’s kind of a funny problem. Every weekend they host a pool party (12pm-6pm) with a DJ and the drinks are flowing. Everyone ends up crowding into the shallow areas because they can’t stand and party it up while trying to keep their head above water in the deep end. Just make sure you snag a pool floaty if you can’t snag a spot in the shallow end. Oh, and one more minor observation: while it’s cool they have a DJ (because what pool is a party without one), they really need a better playlist. I enjoy the occasional ironic 90’s jam as much as anyone, but there really needs to be a better mix if they want to attract the crowd I think they do. The property also has a spa, bocci ball court, and daily yoga that I can appreciate but did not partake in. And FREE BIKE RENTALS! Jvee got stung by a bee and it was 106 degrees so we had to cut it short (typical luck), but taking these for a ride around the neighborhood is a blast. Rentals are for two hours at a time. There are two restaurants at the hotel, Tinto and El Jefe by Iron Chef Jose Garces. Tinto was closed during our stay but we had dinner at El Jefe where our server was very sweet and attentive. We ordered the vegetarian queso fundido as our appetizer. I had the fish tacos and loved them. Some of the best cabbage on a fish taco I’ve ever had. Jvee had the carne asada tacos because they were out of the cabrito that he had his heart set on. He enjoyed them. I liked the taco presentation. Very cute. However, I wish the food came out in the right order. My tacos came out, then the queso appetizer, then Jvee’s carne asada tacos. But it all tasted good in the end. You better get THE MARGARITAS. These aren’t watered down chain restaurant margs. I caught a little buzz off of one and the flavor was tops. I recommend the charred pineapple, even though I kind of wished it came with a charred pineapple garnish. Everywhere you look there’s color and it makes you happy! And the views! Maybe it’s the colors. Maybe it’s the tequila. I don’t know, but I’m definitely going back. I highly recommend you take a little visit to The Saguaro, too. And don’t forget to dress the part. Bye until next time.
I’ve always loved being on the road. When I was little I’d spend hours in a car traveling with my dad between the southwestern states. He’s a musician and would drag me around with him to gigs. I’d just sit in the car watching the desert and cities come and go. Once we got to where we were going, my dad would work and I would do a little exploring. Then we’d be in the car again on to the next place. Sometimes we would sleep for a few hours in the car at rest stops, but most of the time I’d just chatter away trying to keep my dad awake for long enough to make it to our destination. To this very day I can not sleep in a moving car.
The first time I made a cross-country trip wasn’t until I was 18. My mom decided she had grown sick of California and wanted a new start. She was moving to Florida and asked me if I wanted to go. I didn’t really have any desire to live in Florida but I went with her anyway. I didn’t want her to make the trip alone and we agreed that if I didn’t like it I could always go back to California. It was me, my mom, my friend, and 2 dogs, all crammed into a Uhaul cabin in the middle of July for 4 days. I think I’m the only one that enjoyed myself even a little bit. We took the 10 all the way and only stopped for sleep and food. No fun stops and definitely no sightseeing. Bummer city.
The next time I made the trip was under similar circumstances. I ended up staying in Florida for way too long because I met and fell in love with Jvee, but we were ready to move and devised a haphazard plan of moving to California. We packed up our Jeep with whatever would fit and hit the road. Jvee loves to drive and we’d spent many hours on the road together, but he’s also one that likes a plan and a certain destination. We had neither. Once again I was on the 10, in the summer heat, gunning it for the other side of the country. I think we only stopped at one hotel because we were low on money, but that’s when I was able to teach him the ways of roadside napping. It was a great experience and one that I treasure, but once again, not the fun road trip we desired.
When it was time to plan our yearly trip back to Florida to visit family and friends, Jvee suggested driving. I gave him the best side-eye I could muster but he was dead serious. My only stipulation was that we would enjoy ourselves and make it part of our vacation. We wouldn’t be on a time crunch and we would stop to see the sights. It would be just as much about the journey as the destination.
I pled my case for taking Route 66 part of the way and then we planned our route in order to take advantage of visiting a few places that we knew we would only be able to visit during this road trip. Roswell, NM and Lubbock, TX to be specific. Two places so completely out of the way of our normal travels that we had to make it happen this time.
We planned to leave LA and take Route 66, stopping in in Albuquerque for Breaking Bad sight seeing and then spending the night in Tucumcari, NM. From there we’d travel down to Roswell for alien things and continue over to Lubbock for the Buddy Holly Museum. Then we’d head to Houston, spend the night, and continue on to Florida taking I-10. Everything looked good on paper.
We wanted to leave around midnight so we could drive through Arizona and New Mexico during daylight hours and check in to our hotel in Tucumcari that afternoon. The plan was great. The only problem was that we were stupid the day we were set to leave. We woke up at 8am, Jvee worked and I finished sewing a few outfit pieces for my roadtrip wardrobe. We took care of other errands and by the time we were done it was already late afternoon. We were supposed to pack and nap but we ended up going to a mini-concert at the Jimmy Kimmel show. By the time we got home we had no time to sleep. We only had a couple hours to pack up and get on the road if we wanted to stick to our schedule. We threw everything we needed into our bags, grabbed the dogs, and headed out. That’s what I like about traveling by road though. We can throw anything we need in the car and roll out like a band of gypsies. No worries about neatly packing every item in approved luggage.
We drove for a very long time and were awake for even longer, but luckily I had all that experience keeping the driver and myself awake for what ended up being over 36 hours. We were exhausted but Arizona and New Mexico still looked beautiful through our tired eyes. We saw the most amazing sunrise, landscapes, and even wild horses. It’s amazed us how fast the landscape changed from desert to forest and then back again.
We finally reached Albuquerque, where we visited the Breaking Bad car wash, got pictures in front of Walter White’s house, and had fries at Los Pollos Hermanos (aka Twisters). It was about 104 degrees and and we were reaching the point of exhaustion.
A couple of hours later we got to the hotel. We stayed at a nifty little retro place on Route 66. It was true to the whole vibe of Route 66 road tripping. I loved the outside design of the place. Just my style. The rooms are old but the vibe is cool. The attached cafe next door makes a damn good coffee.
Tucumcari is a popular stop along Route 66. It’s full of vintage restaurants, motels, and signage. I wish I had a little more time to explore the town. It’s the vintage lover and photographer’s dream.
After a good night’s rest, we made our way to Roswell to visit the UFO museum.
They’re really dog friendly, which is great for road trippers who are just passing through. Plus we were able to take ridiculous pictures of the dogs and ourselves with the creepy alien displays. They even gave us dogs treats and toys to take home.
We had a blast at this place and spent way longer than we ever thought. If you’re an alien geek, this is the spot. The walls were plastered with pictures and info about the UFO crash in 1947. There were cheesy scenes of autopsies and encounters. They even have a complete research library and film viewing room. We could have probably spent all day in there. We were having so much fun I split my pants down the back and didn’t even care.
After all of that we had to hurry and make it to the Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock before it closed. We got there just in time and were able to walk through the center and museum.
You’re not allowed to take photos inside but they had a huge collection of Buddy Holly memorabilia, including his iconic glasses that were recovered at the crash site where he died. It was a really impressive collection and the display was well done. What a cool cat he was. I’m really glad I was able to visit. The center does a lot for the community and the arts. It’s a definite must see for any fan.
On the way to Houston we discovered Slaton Bakery, a fantastic little bakery in the small town of Slaton, Texas. They have the best thumbprint cookies and homemade vanilla wafers I have ever had. Total game changer. The thumbprint cookies were tender and sandy and the buttercream frosting on top was classic and perfect. I’m just sad we didn’t get more. I dream of those cookies.
After spending the night in Houston we caught the 10 and headed east. We were feeling a little hungry so we planned to stop in New Orleans for a quick bite but after arriving and realizing it was Saturday night, we regretted our decision. The city was filling up with people and we couldn’t find parking anywhere. It wasn’t meant to be. We gave up and headed back out of town. Lucky decision because there was a random mass shooting a few hours later. We dodged that bullet, literally.
We ended the first part of our trip in Orlando where we spent time with intended friends and family and had a fun Fourth of July with our favorite pals. We ate good meals and drank good drinks. Then it was time to move along. We wanted to visit Savannah, a city near and dear to our hearts, before heading back west. We left Orlando and drove straight to Georgia where we had a southern dinner and spent the night in a beautiful room overlooking the river.
After spending some time walking around town the next day, and visiting my favorite store The Paris Market, it was time to hit the road again. We originally planned on making our way back down to the 10 but I wasn’t feeling it. We did a little map studying and decided to instead head to Birmingham for the night and then take I-20 west to Dallas, sleep, and continue on the 20 until it met I-10, about 175 miles before El Paso.
Birmingham was cool, except everything seemed to close at 10pm, but we found a nice little restaurant that had fried green tomatoes so everything was alright after that. There’s no mood that isn’t lifted with fried green tomatoes. We drank sweet tea and ate our fried foods and talked about where we were stopping next. In the morning we discovered that most things in Birmingham are closed on Sundays, something we’re not used to at all. I wanted to visit some of the antique stores and a coffee shop I heard rave reviews about, but they were closed for the day. Instead, we found a Starbucks and left Birmingham behind. I tried to convince Jvee to take me to Graceland in Memphis, but that was a no-go. Our next stop was Dallas. We had an enjoyable drive toward Jackson and stopped at two Piggly Wiggly stores on the way. I love Piggly Wiggly.
We drove straight on through Mississippi and Louisiana and landed in Dallas for the night.
The thing about Texas is it takes days to get through it. You never realize just how big that state is until you have to drive across it. But it has some killer sunsets.
Thanks to time zones we hit Tucson at a decent time and stayed at a bummer of a hotel. After that we were ready for the final stretch home from Tucson. As soon as I woke up and saw the lightning flash in the sky, I remembered it was monsoon season and there were thunder storms brewing all over the desert. This is serious business because flash floods and extremely slippery roads are a major concern whenever it rains in the desert. Just our luck, the car started slipping and sliding once we hit the wet road. Suddenly we found ourselves hydroplaning crazily through the interstate. The car just would not stop sliding. It was like the teacup ride at Disneyland but absolutely terrifying. Jvee was a pro and got the car under control and glided us into a safe spot. We all calmed down, took a few deep breaths, and got back on the road, only slightly traumatized until the rain stopped a few miles ahead. Then, not surprisingly at all, we got pulled over near Phoenix. What’s a road trip without a ticket? We didn’t realize the speed limit changed but the cop was cool and let us go with a warning. After all of that it was smooth sailing all the way back to LA. We listened to our ‘On The Road’ audiobook and complained about the heat as we hit the California desert. Indio was nearing so we stopped to get a date shake at Shields Date Garden and then drove through Palm Springs before catching the 10 again all the way back to LA.
We made it home. Safe and sound and tired, but with a little sadness that it’s all over. 5,700 miles of sing alongs and conversations and American landscapes to remember forever. Can’t wait for the next time.