Texas – Outdoors Fun

While we’ve definitely had our share of outdoor activity since coming to Austin, we’ve been itching for a bigger dose; the past couple of weeks we got it!

It started with a trip to Adams Rocking A Ranch for some Texas style fun.

Ranch 5

We rode up to this 400+ acre ranch in Central Texas on a Friday night and woke up on a sunny Saturday to the site of free range cows enjoying a beautiful property.

Ranch 7

Ranch 4

We toured the property, let the dogs be dogs, and scoped out a good spot for target practice

Ranch 1

Ranch 6

Aaaannnd we put in some work

Ranch 2

So thankful to Bubble and the Adams family for giving us free reign of this amazing place.

Ranch 3

In the middle of our consecutive weekends in the Texas Country we headed into the city to meet Micah and Jessa for a night of Ramen at Daruma Ramen and Reggae at Flamingo Cantina.


Micah 2

The Ramen was proper and Micah killed it on the horns as usual.

Enchanted Rock (Finally)


There have been a couple of bad weather weekends that prevented us from getting to the rock, but the day of Christmas Eve it was gorgeous.

We took the two hour drive from Austin and went right to the Summit Trail.



It was a super steep climb and we’re out of hiking shape so I needed a rest.  Didn’t hurt that the scenery was incredible up there.


From the summit, instead of heading down, we hit a connector trail to Echo Canyon Trail.


The canyon was a bit of a fun challenge to navigate; we followed it to Moss Lake where Chica had a chance to take a dip


From there we headed back to our campsite and set up shop.  I picked the most secluded site which was awesome except we had to carry everything from the parking lot to the site which was a pain.

Once we were set up it seemed like the right call as the campsite filled quickly.  We were surprised to see how many people were camping out Christmas Eve.


It was a beautiful night with an incredibly bright full moon.  Felt good to be spending the night outdoors.

The next morning we decided to climb the Summit Trail again for exercise before heading home.  It was super muggy but still beautiful.


What a great time to precede the upcoming festivities of New Years!

Austin – Franklin BBQ, UT Basketball, Biking & Boating!

Another amazing couple of eventful weeks in Austin; we’re getting re-acclimated to city life and are enjoying all this amazing place has to offer…crazy we’re approaching the tail end of our stay here!

Knowing how quickly the end will creep up, we were resolved to hit up Franklin BBQ – supposedly THE best BBQ in the land, so no way we don’t check it out.  I’ll get back to this, but here’s a sneak peak to hold your interest.

Frank 3

So knowing this meat-fest was approaching, we decided it would be best to grab seafood the night before and ended up having an early anniversary dinner at Eddie V’s.  All I have to say is stack your doe and try this place out – incredible.

With full bellies and an appetite for more booze and music, we finally checked off hitting up the Elephant Room, a divey jazz bar that we’d heard good things about.

Elephant 1

This place had a good vibe and as you can see from the picture below, we had fun.

Elephant 2

Alright, back to Franklin BBQ.  So this place opens at 11 and usually runs out of food by about 2.  People know this and start waiting in line super early.

Frank 2

At first, we weren’t so into the idea of waking up and waiting hours just to grab some BBQ, but sound advice from our Austin hommie Bubble changed our mind.  He basically told us to bring lawn chairs and booze and treat it like a tailgate.  We’ve learned to trust Bubble’s advice and he wasn’t wrong.

Frank 1

We met some super cool people in line; it’s such a small world.  Met Jake, an MMA fighter, the owners of Green Aisle (an organic grocery shop in South Philly), Adam, Andrew and Charlotte and a nice guy from Colorado.  If you know anything about us, you know that we had a lot in common with all these great folks.

As the line started moving we were pumped and before we knew it (4 hours later) we were in.

Frank 4

Words can’t describe the aroma, but you can see the place has a dope vibe.

Frank 5

As we approached the counter, the meat tender (?) put out some brisket burnt tips to get us completely amped up about this experience.  We put in our order – one of everything please – and with the efficiency of a seasoned surgeon our boy served it up.

Frank 6

As our new Philly friends referred to it, the slaughter began – sorry, not sorry, vegan friends!

Isn’t it weird how you can feel amazing and terrible at the same time? As the meat sweats kicked in later on, we knew we needed some physical activity the following week.

Fortunately our resident Austin outdoors guide Wally took Amy on a bike ride (while I watched football) and showed her an awesome trail that we’d hit up in later in the week.

Amy Wally

This trail is right by our house and basically disappears you from the city.  So beautiful.

Bike 2

Bike 3

Another fun development is that Jordan and Jeska posted up about an hour north of Austin.

Porta 2

Fast forward to the next weekend, Jordan bought us and Wally tickets to the UT v UNC basketball game.  On our way to meet up with the crew, Amy and I stopped for a pre-game meal at the Texas Chili Parlor – mmmm.


Chili 2

There was a picture of me post meal, but I couldn’t bear to put it up.  I looked how I felt – fat and sloppy.  Fortunately we had a 15 minute walk to the Frank Erwin Center.

The gametime atmosphere was festive and Texas fans came with unrealistic expectations of a win against a top tier basketball team.

TX 2

Incredibly enough, those unrealistic expectations were realized and UT came out with an unbelievable buzzer-beater win.  We were all happy campers.

TX 1

After the game we celebrated by introducing Jordan and Jeska  to Chi’Lantro – YUM!


Even Chica was pumped about the win.

TX Chica

To wrap up an awesome couple of weeks we headed up to the RV for a sunset ride on Jordan’s Porta-Bote.

Porta 1

This thing is literally a foldable boat and I’m convinced it breaks every law of physics in the universe by staying afloat.  I mean we literally just roll the thing into the water.

Porta 3

But viola, it does float and we had a beautiful evening in the CO RIver.

Porta 4

Porta 5

Thanksgiving in Tacoma, WA!

Not sure it gets better than Thanksgiving and this year our family had something extra special to be thankful for – Rebecca’s (AKA Captain Jackson) safe return from her oversees deployment.

With that, there was no choice; the family headed out to Tacoma, WA to celebrate her return.  Not that it was a tough sell, with Becka cooking and the beautiful WA scenery there wasn’t much that could keep us from going.

Our first day in Tacoma was spent taking in the views.  First was a pit stop to an awesome viewpoint of Mt. Rainier.



Ahhh how we’ve missed the mountains!

Next destination: Beautiful Point Defiance Park for more scenery and a mellow hike to work off the massive amounts of food we’d be consuming in the coming days.



After about a 3 mile hike or so, it was Beer O’clock and Becka took us to a lovely watering hole – Pint Defiance.  See what they did there 🙂


The selection was yummy!

Notice I haven’t mentioned anything about food yet?  That’s because we hadn’t eaten since breakfast and we certainly worked up an appetite.  Our 7:30 reservation at Dukes Chowder House couldn’t come fast enough.


Jordan and Jeska surprisingly made it to the restaurant before everyone and it was a good thing too because we were not waiting!  The crew together at last.


As for the grub, the name says it all, we munched out hard and the chowder was official!

Thanksgiving Day!

The pictures speak for themselves: cooking, booze, football and family.  Doesn’t get any better than this.




Those of you that have been following know that there is no way we pass on an opportunity to check out a National Park.  Becka being Becka was game too and Olympic NP being just a couple hours away was a no brainer.  Unfortunately, the north entrance to the park was closed due to weather – first time in history! – BUT we made the best of it utilizing the beautiful trails right outside the Park’s welcome center.


The trails were beautiful and even cooler, wildlife was abundant!


So grateful for this wonderful experience and such fun company.


See you again Washington!