The Road Trip: Austin, Texas to Pasadena, California and back

Over New Year's Kris and I went on a road trip to the BCS National Championship Game in Pasadena. Kris' parents gave us the tickets as a Christmas gift and my parents' sent us spending money so we decided to email them every day from the road and give them an update on our trip. These are the emails I sent nightly before I went to bed.

Thursday, December 31 and Friday, Jan 1
We arrived at Kelsey's lakehouse yesterday around 4PM. Sarah and Andy arrived shortly after us. For dinner we had hamburgers that Kris and I brought - they are the delicious burgers from Hebert's in Henderson, LA. We enjoyed visiting with each other after dinner, toasting marshmallows and talking by the fire and we did that right up until the fireworks show that Scooter and Brady put on for us. Then it was time for champagne and the New Year countdown. We all went to bed shortly after that.

This morning Scooter and Kelsey whipped up some delicious breakfast tacos for all of us. The plan for today is to watch football all day and just enjoy the weather. Kris and Scooter are outside throwing a football around and Kelsey and I are relaxing and talking.

We are looking forward to another fireworks show tonight, some tamales from the Tamale King and then a good nights sleep for our long drive tomorrow. We are planning on driving 575 miles tomorrow and spend the night in Las Cruces, NM.

More from the road tomorrow...

pictured below: Kris relaxing at the lake; Me, twirling in my UT Snuggie; moonlight on Lake Buchanan

Saturday, Jan 2
Hello from New Mexico!

We left Buchanan Dam around 830 this morning because we were so excited to get on the road. We made a couple of stops for gas as we made our way down I-10 towards El Paso.

It was amazing to see the landscape change. We could also see the border at Juarez from the interstate... it was easy to spot with the huge Mexican flag flying over it! We saw numerous mountain ranges along the way and our map provided the height of the highest peeks which was very interesting. I can't believe that some people get to see mountain ranges in their everyday lives!

We made it to Las Cruces around 4. We stopped at a Holiday Inn to check in but after a quick chat we realized that we both wanted to press on. After looking at the map we realized that if we drove just 2 more hours that we could make it to Silver City, NM at the foot of the Gila National Forest and we'd be that much closer to the Grand Canyon.

So here we are at the Holiday Inn Express in Silver City where dogs are allowed! We just saw a dog that looks exactly like Bevo - he was so cute!

We ate a delicious dinner at a place in downtown Silver City and now we are back in the room relaxing and getting ready for our drive through the Gila National Forest in New Mexico and the Apache National Forest in Arizona tomorrow.

We'll write again tomorrow from the Bright Angel Lodge at the Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon.


pictured below: New Mexico state line; change in the landscape along 1-10 in New Mexico; frost in front of our hotel in Silver City, NM

Sunday, Jan 3
Good evening from the Bright Angel Lodge at the Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon!

What a day! We left Silver City, New Mexico at 830am and made our way north on highway 180. The drive was amazing. The altitude change was noticeable to both Kris and I as we dealt with popping ears along the way. But we were too busy admiring the beautiful scenery to be bothered with the annoyance.

We crossed over into Arizona from Luna, New Mexico still on 180. Kris and I were both so glad that we decided to take 180 through Silver City to get to the Grand Canyon instead of taking the interstate through Tucson because 180 is the most beautiful drive either of us have ever taken.

180 also had a nice surprise for us... Before it connects up with I-40 it has an entrance to the Petrified Forest National Park. We decided to drive through it. It was a wonderful detour. We got out of the car near the Tepees Rocks which are big cone shaped rocks and took some pictures - I even made a snowball to throw right at Kris! We also saw what they call the Newspaper Rock because it contains some Indian carvings that date back to the 1200's.

After that we got on I-40, which is the historic Route 66, and made our way to Flagstaff to catch back up with highway 180 to take us all the way up to Grand Canyon National Park. 180 continued to be a beautiful drive with several designated "snow play" areas where I saw some very creative snowmen built close to the road. The Aspen trees were something I had never seen before and thought they were really pretty resembling skinny, tall elephant legs.

We have a little cabin with a view of the canyon and it is spectacular. The first thing I wanted to do before unpacking and even putting on my sweater was to take pictures! I can't wait to share them with y'all when we get back.

Kris drove the station wagon very well in the snow despite my nervous energy in the passenger seat. We are now planning out our route to get to Las Vegas tomorrow. I am really looking forward to this part of the trip since I haven't been back to Vegas since we moved to Austin in '96.

Hope everyone is doing well and had a great weekend. We'll update you again tomorrow from Sin City!


pictured below: Arizona state line; Apache National Forest sign; frozen lake; entrance to the Petrified Foreset; striations; Tepees Rocks; Newspaper Rock; Bright Angel lodge; the Grand Canyon; Kris and I just outside of our cabin

Monday, Jan 4
We pulled out of the Grand Canyon Village and said goodbye to our little cabin at the Bright Angel Lodge around 830am MST. But not before we watched the sun rise. It was just beautiful and of course I have pictures to share.

As much as we loved seeing the Grand Canyon and all of its grandness we were not sad to leave the snow and 20 degree weather! We had to let the car warm up for an extra long time this morning!

Around 4 hours later we crossed over the state line from Arizona into Nevada via the Hoover Dam. Although we were not thrilled with the slow moving traffic it was interesting to see the construction of the suspension bridge that is being built to bypass the dam. Also, I always love seeing Lake Mead because the water is the most beautiful aqua blue.

Just 40 minutes later we were exiting Las Vegas Blvd and headed towards the Strip through the downtown area. We were sent on a detour because of a shooting at the federal building earlier this morning. We felt bad when we found out about this because we were complaining that the traffic jam was probably due to filming of CSI!

We arrived at Treasure Island and Kris got our room upgraded so we are on the 28th floor with a westward view of the Strip. It's amazing. I never get tired of seeing all the lights. After a short nap we got ready to head out for the night. First stop was the Treasure Island Pirate show. It was very dramatic and entertaining with cannons and explosions. Then we headed to Emeril Lagasse's Stadium at the Palazzo to watch the TCU Boise State game.

We had dinner at a place called David Burke. I had some great scallops and Kris got a gourmet hamburger... It was delicious! Our waiter asked us about our plans in Vegas and when Kris told him we were just passing through to go to the National Championship game in Pasadena, the waiter said that he should have know because of Kris' orange shirt. He then said he was sorry but he had money on Alabama. Kris told him "Well I better give you a good tip then since you are going to lose that bet!" Haha!

Now I am back in the room and ready to hit the hay because I am feeling a little puny with a runny nose and itchy eyes. Kris tucked me in and is now off to look for a poker tournament somewhere.

I think I am going to sleep very well tonight and can't wait for tomorrow to get here! I hope you are all enduring the cold weather as best you can.


pictured below: Nevada state line; view of the Strip from our room at Treasure Island

Tuesday, Jan 5
Today was great because there was no driving to another state on the agenda!

We slept in late and then had a nice breakfast at the Treasure Island Coffee Shop. Then Kris surprised me with a gift certificate to get a massage at the spa at the hotel. It was wonderful! When I got back from my massage we drove out to see the house that my mom, dad and I lived in off of Tropicana. I couldn't believe how much the area changed, but then again it was 14 years ago!

We are now at Lagasse's Stadium again to watch the Orange Bowl. We really like this sports bar because they have seating areas that are like sitting in a living room and the menu has things like Acadian Caprese Salad and New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp.

We have talked to Uncle Bill almost every day and he seems excited for our visit. This time tomorrow night we will be enjoying his and James' company at dinner.

Kris and I are getting so excited about the game. We have been watching all the news coverage and it seems to be very slanted towards Alabama. We just hope that Colt is watching! One thing I forgot to mention yesterday is that when we were checking into the hotel there were some Silver Spurs in the lobby, BEVO was not with them. We said hi to them and told them we'd see them in Pasadena.

Oh, and speaking of BEVO, I brought along a little miniature longhorn on the trip with us and have been taking pictures of him all over the Southwest, for example I snapped a shot of him in the frost in New Mexico and another at the Grand Canyon. I hope you will think these pictures are as funny as I do.

That's about it for tonight. Another update will be coming tomorrow from Palm Springs!


pictured below: Kris and I headed out to watch the Orange Bowl at Lagasse's Stadium @ The Palazzo

Wednesday, Jan 6
Good evening from my second favorite city in the world... Palm Springs, CA. That's right, we're in love with Palm Springs!

We left Las Vegas a little later than we would have liked due to errands. Because of our late start, we didn't arrive in Palm Springs until around 4. As soon as our bags made their way to the room, we started to get ready for our night out with Uncle Bill and James.

I took a few minutes to check out our surroundings after my shower because I was just so in awe of the Riviera hotel. The hotel is a combination of styles: mid-century modern and glamorous. It's just the most beautiful hotel that we've ever had the pleasure to visit. The furnishings are luxurious, comfortable and colorful. Our bell boy gave us a lot of information about the hotel... for example, this was Marilyn Monroe's favorite hotel in Palm Springs and therefore there is a picture of her in every room.

By 5:30 we were on our way to Bill and James' house. They are the best hosts in the world so it's no surprise that we were welcomed with cheese and crackers, cocktails, a tour of their fabulous resort-style house, some French soap for me and a handshake from their lovable dog, Brett.

Bill and James treated us to dinner at Melvyn's, a Palm Springs landmark. From the maitre'd to the head waiter, everyone knew Bill and James and we received the best service. Dinner was absolutely delicious and easily one of the best meals I've ever had - I had the veal with crab, asparagus and Bernaise sauce and Kristopher had a steak. YUM!

After we dropped Bill and James off we came back to the hotel. We simply had to maximize our time here so we each got a drink at the bar and sat outside at one of the firepits at the hotel. It was a really cool night so the fire warmed us up as we relaxed and enjoyed the surroundings. Now we are back in the room and ready to hit the hay. We have a big day tomorrow starting with picking up Kelly and Basil at the airport, then brunch at Spencer's with Bill and James and ending with a University of Texas victory in Pasadena.

Good night!
Love, Tobi

picutred below: hallway to our room at the Riviera; the seating area in our room; headed out for dinner at Melvyn's

Thursday - Jan 7 - The BIG DAY
Tonight's update was created by Kris and typed by Tobi because she is too tired to think.

We picked up Kelly and Basil at the Palm Springs flying field this morning, their flight was right on time. We drove a short distance to Uncle Bill and James' home for juice and a tour of the house for Kelly and Basil. We then went to Spencer's at the Tennis Club for a wonderful brunch. I was surprised to find out that Martin Landau was not only alive but eating at the table next to us.

Our time in Palm Springs was too short but it was great getting to visit with Bill and James and hear about their upcoming travels. We certainly hope to get back to Palm Springs to see Bill, James and Brett again very soon. Tobi, Basil, Kelly and I left for Pasadena right after brunch with a care package from Bill and James of fruit, pastries and other goodies.

We made fantastic time to Pasadena. With Basil at the helm, our 2.5 hour trip was only 1.5 hours! The Rose Bowl was a sight to see and I was happy to have Tobi there with me. We arrived in plenty of time for the opening events and especially loved the fly-over of four F16's with full after-burners. It shook the stadium!

The 3rd quarter of the game made the entire trip worthwhile but I can't help but feel bad for Colt; had he not been injured he would have destroyed Alabama in short order. Now it's time to turn our attention to our 2nd place basketball team and perhaps plan a trip to Indianapolis for the Final Four!

We head back to Texas tomorrow, grateful that we're not from Alabama. ;)

Good night, Kristopher

pictured below: Kris and I in front of the Rose Bowl; Kris and I at our seats

Friday, Jan 8
We have made it all the way from LA to Tucson, Arizona. Look that up on the map right now and marvel at how many miles Kris has put behind the wheel!

After driving from Pasadena to Los Angeles to drop off Kelly and Basil at LAX, Kris and I dined on a fine lunch of chicken and waffles at Roscoe's in LA. It's one of the famous places that we read about and have always wanted to try. We were pleased to see 3 other parties of Longhorn fans there as well and we all shared pitiful glances knowing that none of us was ready to talk about it just yet.

As we got on I-10 I saw the big Hollywood sign up in the hills and got so excited. A couple of hours outside of LA, Kris woke me up from my nap because he spotted BEVO and the Silver Spurs ahead of us on the road. I got out the camera and rolled down the window and starting snapping pictures while we were going about 65 mph. I know that is nuts but pictures had to be taken!

After my second nap I enjoyed some more of the delicious cookies that Bill and James packed for us. We made just one stop in Phoenix for gas before driving another hour and some change to get to Tucson.

We are planning on visiting Tombstone, Arizona tomorrow and then get on the road and start heading home.

We keep hearing how cold the weather is back home and in Louisiana and are really hoping it starts to warm up by Saturday night!

Love, Tobi

pictured below: #13 - Carol C. Special at Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles on Pico; the Hollywood sign from I-10; the trailer carrying Bevo (the UT mascot) on I-10

Saturday, Jan 9
We spent last night in Tucson, Arizona and got up early today so we could stop off at Tombstone for a couple of hours.

Tombstone was really fun. We walked along the same streets as Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday! We saw some buildings that date back to 1882. We even took a stage coach ride around the city and saw Texas John Slaughter's house.

After we left Tombstone we started heading home planning to spend the night in Fort Stockton. Once we got there we decided that we really wanted to sleep in our own bed tonight. So guess what? I am emailing this to you from AUSTIN, TEXAS! That's right we have finally made it home. And tomorrow we will get our girls... We can hardly wait. We have missed them so much - we talked about them every single day!

Here is our trip summary:
3700 miles driven
10 days on the road
9 cities visited
5 states driven through
12 tanks of gas

And every where we went someone noticed our orange Texas Longhorn shirts and said "They should have won that game." :)

Thanks again to all of you, because you made the trip possible for us. We will have such great memories of this trip forever. Be on the look out for pictures tomorrow.

Love,Kristopher & Tobi

pictured below: Kris walking along the boardwalk down Allen St. in Tombstone; view of the store-fronts and the beautiful sky; Kris and I on our carriage ride around Tombstone


Martha and Bailey said...

Hi Tobi,
We have to come back and read your trip again!
Sounds fun ...... exhausting....but fun!
The thought of driving all those miles and over 500 in one day!
The mountains were wonderful - that is what we love about the Highlands of Scotland - really there is nothing to top that sight.
We were sorry about the game but we are sure you 'was robbed' as they say in Glasgow!
Certainly a very different way of spending the holiday.

Channon said...

We honeymooned at the Grand Canyon for a couple of nights... BEAUTIFUL photos.

Tina. said...

Wow what an adventure! It looks like you had a wonderful time! I love your pictures, especially the mountains!

fnp cook said...

fantastic...the blog is back. where i find nice comments about myself!