Monthly Archives: February 2010

Tex Mex Cowboys

Ivan and I went to Chuy’s for lunch on February 25, 2010.  Ramano recommended it.   It’s known for good Tex Mex cuisine.  Ivan and I shared the chicken enchilada and chicken fajita burrito.

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Big as Your Face Burrito

The chicken fajita is huge.  It was really great food!  We were so stuffed when we left.

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We stopped at a McDonald’s that’s shaped like a happy meal.  Inside, it’s very nice with wood paneling on the booths.

Ivan drove us to Arlington.  We got to the Dallas Cowboys stadium.  We bought tickets for the tour.  Our tour guide was very informative.  He had a thick Texan accent which reminded me of George W. Bush.  The stadium is the biggest sports arena in the world.

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The stadium was getting ready for a monster truck event.  So, there was no grass down.  It’s a huge place!  We went into the Dallas Cowboys dressing room and the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders dressing room.  The dressing room is underground.

We drove back to Ramano’s house.

We went to eat with Ramano at Vermont Tangos.  Most of the dishes are for sharing.  Ramano ordered four dishes:  sweet potato fries, hummus, chicken and waffles and sea bass skewers.  All the dishes tasted awesome!  It was the first time that Ivan and I tried chicken and waffles.  We had a drink each: a Victor Tangos and a Passionfruit Gimlet.  They tasted really good!  A few couchsurfers Ramano knows joined our table.

We went to another bar called Capitol Pub.  We just chatted there.  Ramano’s friends played darks.  We had a glass of red wine there.

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Dallas

Ivan and I said thank you and goodbye to Jeff on February 24, 2010.  He’s a really friendly guy who likes to talk.  We started driving to Dallas at 11:30 am.  We stopped at Wal-Mart to grab some food.  When we arrived in Texas, there was a rest stop with lots of Texas information.  Apparently, there’s free wi-fi as well. 

We arrived in Dallas at 3:30 pm.  Ivan drove to the downtown area.  We went to the Sixth Floor Museum.  It talks about John F. Kennedy and his assassination.  It was really interesting.  I found it a bit sad though.

We were getting hungry.  Ivan was looking for food places in the GPS unit.  He saw Dick’s Last Resort.  We decided to drive there and see if there was anything good to eat nearby.

We parked near Dick’s.  There wasn’t much selection so we decided to eat at Dick’s.  Dick’s Last Resort is a restaurant is where the servers are rude to you.  They make witty, humorous comments to you.  They also make hats with funny things on them. 

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Our waiter started out rude but then became nice.  We ordered the salmon and a side order of catfish to share.  The catfish was good and the salmon was alright.

We drove to the couchsurfer’s house we’d be staying with.  We talked a little bit to Ramano.  He took us to a bar called Barcadia.  It’s filled with 80’s arcade games, skeeball and big jenga games.  We met Ramano’s friends.  Ivan and I ordered hummus to share and each had a glass of wine.  We played a few games of Street Fighter II. 

We all went to another bar nearby called The Corner Bar.  It’s really noisy in there.  People were singing really bad karaoke.  The main room was way too noisy.  We stayed there for little while.  Ivan, me and Ramano headed back to Ramano’s house.

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Sightseeing in OKC

Ivan and I left Jeff’s house around noon on February 23, 2010.  We wanted to do some sightseeing in Oklahoma City.  We drove towards Bricktown.  We parked at Sheridan and Oklahoma where there’s $3 all day parking. 

We browsed a few different restaurants to find something good.  We stopped by Red Dirt Emporium.  We grabbed a few flyers about Oklahoma City there.

We went to Abuelo’s for Mexican food.  The restaurant has a lot of lunch specials available from 11 am – 3 pm.  Ivan and I shared tasty chicken enchiladas and alright chicken fajitas. 

We walked around Bricktown. 

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It was once a warehouse neighborhood.  Most of the buildings are made out of bricks there.

We made our way to the National Oklahoma City Memorial.  It’s quite pretty and quiet there. 

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We walked back to the car.  Ivan drove us to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.   It’s filled with lots of things like guns, things from the rodeo and clothing.  There was a fake town that you could walk through.  It was rather dark in the fake town for some reason. 

We went back to Jeff’s house.  We chilled for a little while.

Jeff drove us to McNellie’s Public House.  It’s a bar that has numerous beers on tap.  Ivan had a hoegaarden while I had a pear cider.  We ordered some dinner.  I had a chicken sandwich with sweet potato fries.  Ivan had a chicken wrap with tahouli.  The sweet potato fries were really good. 

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Next, we went to Cock O’ the Walk for a glass of wine.

We went back to the house.  Jeff suggested that we watch a movie.  We saw Boondocks Saints.  Ivan fell asleep.  Jeff fell asleep a little while later.  I saw the whole thing and it was really good! 

So far we’ve traveled 1,561.3 miles on our trip.

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Oklahoma City

Ivan and I checked out of The Big Texan on February 22, 2010.  It was freezing cold outside.  The night before, it snowed for a little while so there was an inch of snow on the car.  Ivan cleared the snow from the windows.

Ivan drove us to Cadillac Ranch.  We actually drove right by it the night before.  But, we didn’t know since it was too dark.  It’s 10 Cadillacs that are stuck in the ground.  It’s been there 36 years so the Cadillacs are very deteriorated. There’s also lots of graffiti on the cars. 

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It looks really cool though.  I took a picture of each of the ten cars. 

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I would have done the bottom of each car but it was way too cold out.  I forgot my gloves so my hands were freaking cold.

We started driving around 12:30 pm.  I’m glad that Ivan was driving.  It was still actually raining a bit and the roads were a little icy.  At one point we skidded a bit. 

As we drove past Groom, Texas, we saw The Leaning Water Tower.

We stopped at Devil’s Rope Museum in McLean.  The museum was actually closed but somebody was interviewing a man for a position since the museum opens back up in March.  He let us in for free.  It was cold in there since the heating wasn’t being used during the closure.  There’s a Route 66 area and a barbed wire area.  We went to the Route 66 area. 

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There was lots of Route 66 memorabilia there.  There were signs, items and newspaper articles. 

I drove for about three hours to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  We arrived about 6:10 pm.  We met Jeff the couchsurfer we would be staying with. His house is really massive that’s set up like a loft.  It has some really cool decor inside. 

Jeff is a friendly guy.  He works out of his home.  Currently, he’s making a few products that he hopes to sell in the near future. 

Jeff drove us in his new car to Khazana.  It’s an Indian restaurant with a buffet.  The chicken tikka masala was so tasty! 

We went back to Jeff’s house.  Jeff got some movies for us from Netflix.  We watched a movie called Lo.  It was supposed to be a comedy horror movie.  It was just a really weird horror movie.  Lo is definitely the weirdest movie I’ve ever seen.  I wouldn’t recommend it.  We wanted to watch another movie.  Ivan was naming different British movies that Jeff might like.  Unfortunately, only some movies are available for streaming.  We watched the movie Heist.  It’s a good movie with lots of twists.

We said good night to Jeff.  Ivan and I used the internet for awhile  then went to bed on this huge, comfortable couch.

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The Way to Amarillo

It was snowing on February 21, 2010 in Santa Fe.  We started walking to the plaza and it started snowing even harder.  We wanted to check out Tia Sophia’s but it was closed since it was Sunday.  Apparently, a lot of things are closed on Sunday in Santa Fe. 

We walked to Cafe Pascual and decided to eat there.  There was a wait so Ivan put his name on the waiting list.  It only took a few minutes to get a table since people left.  We ordered a quesadilla and huevos motuleños to share.  The food was okay and pricey.

We walked to the Loretto Chapel.  It’s $3 for entry.  It’s known for the Miraculous Staircase.  It was actually features on the tv show Unsolved Mysteries.  This staircase was built by a carpenter in 1877. 

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Apparently, the staircase was made of wood that’s unknown to man.  Also, it was built without nails or any central support.  Nobody saw how the staircase was created.  The story also states that the carpenter disappeared before they could ask him how it was made.  The stairs has 33 stairs, the age of Jesus Christ when he  died.  The railings were added later on and also a support that connects it to the wall.  The chapel is pretty inside.

Ivan started driving towards Amarillo, Texas.  It was raining or snowing a lot during the beginning of our trip.  We made our way to Madrid and made a short stop.  We went inside Cowgirl Red.  There was a lady who had a place that had lots of weird art.  Unfortunately, she was convicted since she couldn’t pay her rent.  Two of her art pieces are inside Cowgirl Red. 

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The art was a motorcycle made out of human bones.  It looks pretty cool!

A few years ago, Peter Kay (a comedian in England) remade the song Is this the Way to Amarillo?  It was really popular.  So, Ivan wanted to stop there because of this song.  We did play the song a couple times before arriving in Amarillo. 

We stopped at Love’s travel shop.  Ivan asked a lady there Is this the way to Amarillo?  He thought that either the person would be annoyed since they’ve heard that question a lot or tell him the way.  The lady said You’re in Amarillo.  He said where’s the town?  She said it’s down the highway that way (and she pointed). 

We arrived in Amarillo at 8:30 pm.  We drove to the Big Texan Hotel.  The rooms are set like an old town with colorful buildings.

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We wanted to eat at their Big Texan Steak Ranch restaurant.  Ivan asked the rate at the hotel.  The lady said it was $69 plus tax for two people.  Ivan somehow talked her down to $50 with tax.  That’s a deal!

We went to the Big Texan Steak Ranch.  It’s known for the 72 oz. steak meal (with salad, shrimp, 2 rolls and dessert) that’s offered free if you can eat it for under an hour – otherwise you pay $55.  There was a guy who was attempting to eat it.  You can check out their webcam  showing people trying to eat the big steak online.  We ordered the 1 lb. catfish dish and a chicken salad to share.  It was delicious!  We had a friendly waiter named Josh. 

It was snowing lightly while we walked back to our room.  We watched some television and then went to sleep.

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Wild and Wacky Dancing

Ivan drove us to the Farmer’s Market.  It’s located indoors.  There was lots of things for sale like apple cider, bags, clothing, cheese and salsas.  There was two good cheeses but expensive.  We had Rose’s Tamales there.  We had a vegetarian and chicken tamale.  The chicken tamale was a lot better.  It would have tasted better with hot sauce.

We were about to leave.  In the next building over, there was about 20 Native Americans dancing around.  Really strong incense was burning – it made me want to sneeze. 

We drove back to the hotel.  We walked to the Plaza.  We stopped at The Burrito Co. for lunch.  We each had a breakfast burrito with egg, potato and chicken in them.  They were so tasty!

Later that afternoon, we met up with The Pink Lady for the Wild and Wacky Walking Tour.  We were going to check out the Miraculous Staircase at the Loretto Chapel.  But, unfortunately there was a wedding going on and it was closed.  The Pink Lady gave us an overview of Santa Fe’s history.

The Pink Lady took us to many places like Todos Santos a famous chocolate candy shop.  The chocolates were alright.  There was one with sea salt on it that tasted pretty good.. but the rest were rather plain.  The shop is really kewl and colorful inside.  They don’t like people to take pictures inside though.  We inside the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi.  It was pretty inside. 

It started snowing – just a sprinkle.

We went into the Chuck Jones Studio Gallery.  He’s the artist who drew Roadrunner and Coyote.  It had lots of great art inside.  Then, we went to The Pop Gallery.  The art in there is very cool and unique. 

The tour was interesting.  I’m not sure what was so wild or wacky about it.  The Pink Lady does dress up all in pink though in southwestern style.

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That night, we walked to the Convention Center.  It was the Let’s Dance event.  We arrived a few minutes after 6 pm.  There was free dance lessons from 6 to 7 pm.  There was a lot of people already there learning the moves.  We learned the foxtrot and a swing.

We got some food.  Food was being sold by Cowgirl BBQ.  We got the butternut squash casserole and chicken enchilada.  The butternut squash was a lot tastier.

There was a volunteer orchestra playing.  It was mostly ballroom music that wasn’t that fast.  Then the jazz band came on. 

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We danced for a little while.  We tried out some of the new moves we learned earlier.  It was a fun night.

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Santa Fe

Ivan and I woke up around 7:40 am on February 19, 2010.  We packed everything up.  We said thanks and goodbye to Andy.  I gave their daughter a hug.

We wanted to ride the tram to see the Sandia Peak.  I started driving and went up the mountain.  Ivan went to find out where the tram was.  We didn’t see a sign for it while driving.  It turned out that the tram entrance was in Albuquerque far from the mountain.  We were at the top of the mountain.  Apparently, the top of the tram is lower than the top.  The view was nice up there.

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I drove down the mountain and then started driving towards Santa Fe, New Mexico.  We stopped in a small town called Madrid.  It used to be a mining town.  We had lunch at the Mine Shaft Tavern.  It wasn’t anything special at all.  The chicken enchiladas were alright, but the cream of asparagus soup was horrible.

We arrived in Santa Fe about 20 minutes later.  We checked in to the Garrett’s Desert Inn. 

We walked around the plaza a little bit.  It was a bit cold outside.

Ivan phoned up to make a reservation at El Farol.  There was a band that would be playing that night.  There’s a cover charge of $5 per person for it.  He asked the guy on the phone if there was a way to avoid paying the cover charge if we ate there.  He said there’s an area where you can sit and you won’t be charged the fee. 

So, we drove to El Farol for dinner.  Our waitress, Jennifer seemed like she was covering for somebody and didn’t want to work.  We ordered eight tapas for $53.  The tapas came out.  The waitress didn’t give us a spoon for our soup.  She asked us if we wanted to stay for the band.  We said yes.  She said it would be $5 per person.  Ivan explained to her that he talked to a guy that said we wouldn’t be charged for it if we sat in a certain area.  She said she had never heard of anything like that then said Wait and left.  A guy came over and talked to Ivan.  He said he was the one who talked to Ivan on the phone.  A guy from another table said to Ivan I’m sick of you man.  Ivan said sarcastically to him I’m sorry.  I didn’t want to say anything to the guy since it would probably just add fuel to the fire.  I think he was just being all macho around his girlfriend or he was a friend of the band.  The guy who worked at the restaurant said he never said that on the phone.  He was not very nice at all.  It’s just messed up that he made a promise and not keeping the promise.  Finally, we got the food which was alright.. some of the tapas weren’t very good.  We definitely prefer the tapas at La Tasca in England.  Later, Ivan was talking to the waitress about how that guy said one thing and is now saying we have to pay.  She said the money goes to  the band.  She said Do you think it’s fair?  I said it’s not fair that he’s not keeping his promise.  Members of the band were near by.  Ivan overheard them said that What? Drunk people think they don’t need to pay cover charge.  He told me this a couple minutes later.  Just because we had a glass of wine in front of us, does NOT make us drunk.  Plus, they didn’t know the whole story.  I kept giving the band members dirty looks since they were rude to us.  They kept looking at us anyway.  The music was boring rock funk.  I just kept yawning.  Ivan talked to waitress again and she said Don’t worry we just want to make you happy.  But, she never said that they waived the fee.  It seems like they did.  But, like we’d want to stay after how rude they were.  We finished our meal.  I gave the band all dirty looks while I walked out.

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Old Town Albuquerque

Leslie woke us up early and asked if we wanted to join them for breakfast on February 18, 2010.  We went to breakfast with Leslie, Andy and their daughter at The Range.  It was decent food.

Ivan drove us to the Old Town.  There were different shops with souvenirs, pottery and hot sauces and salsa. 

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It was really quiet in the area.

We went to the Rattlesnake Museum.  The entrance is $5 per person.  There are lots of snakes and reptiles in the museum.  It’s a rather small museum. 

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Ivan and I don’t really like snakes, but it’s alright to look at them as long as they’re in a cage or an enclosure.  There were videos playing in each room.  I sat to watch one for a few minutes.  It showed a crawfish get eaten by a snake.  I also saw a python eat a whole antelope. 

I was going to meet up with an old friend from high school.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get to meet up since our schedules didn’t match.

We drove to a movie theatre nearby to see Valentine’s Day.  The movie was entertaining and interesting.  It was a few different stories all intertwined into one.

We drove back to Leslie and Andy’s house.  Lesley cooked chili chicken stew.  It was really tasty and spicy.

Ivan talked awhile to Leslie and Andy. 

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I played with their daughter in her playroom.  She’s such a smart little girl.  It was fun playing with her.  We said good night and thanks to Leslie.

We went to bed early since tomorrow would be an early start for us.

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On to New Mexico

On February 17, 2010, Ivan found out at 1 am that the couchsurfer in Santa Fe, New Mexico had canceled.  Great!  Ivan wrote to more couchsurfers.  We both looked for accommodations online.  Ivan thought we should go to Albuquerque instead.  It was an hour closer to Flagstaff.

In the morning, Ivan talked to Isaac about how our couchsurfer canceled at the last minute.  He also talked how we’d be headed out to  Albuquerque instead of Santa Fe.  He told Ivan about his friends who were also couchsurfers that lived in Albuquerque.  Ivan wrote them a message.  We said thank you and good-bye to Isaac. 

We drove to get breakfast.  We ate at Macy’s.  We had cous cous with saltanas and a yogurt with granola. 

We started driving to Albuquerque at 12:30 pm.

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We saw a few different things on our travels of Route 66.  We saw Two Arrows, Jackrabbit and the La Posada Hotel. 

We stopped by to see the Wigwam Motel.  It’s not actually teepees but concrete that’s shaped as teepees. 

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It looks pretty small inside.  In the parking lot, there’s a couple classic cars there.

We got a call from Leslie (Isaac & Marguerite’s friend in Albuquerque).  She said we could stay with them.  We were happy to hear that!  She said we should stop by and she’d give us suggestions for dinner.

I was taking a nap while Ivan was driving.  He woke me up saying Jen, the police.  I thought he was playing a joke on me.  But, I looked in the rearview window and sure enough a police car was chasing us.  The guy who pulled us over was nice.  He said that the GPS unit was blocking the driver’s view, the license plate was obstructed and Ivan was driving in the wrong lane.  Ivan said he was from England and showed his driver’s license.  The license plate has a frame around it so you can’t fully read the Nevada on the top.  Ivan said he would move the GPS unit from the window.  The cop said it’s alright.  He let us go.  I guess he was just bored. 

We arrived about  7:30 pm.  Leslie was having a meeting.  She recommended Garduno’s for good southwestern food.  We drove there.  Ivan had chicken fajitas and I had a great honey and chili chicken dish. 

We went back to the house. We met Andy, Lesley’s husband.  Ivan also saw their cute daughter.

We chatted with Lesley and Andy for awhile.  They gave us lots of tips on Albuquerque, Santa Fe and New Orleans. 

We went to bed early since we were so tired from not getting much sleep the night before.

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Grand Canyon

Ivan and I went to breakfast at Brandy’s on February 16, 2010.  It was featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins  and Dives.  We had a lovely meal of eggs brandy (like eggs benedict except without the bacon) and trout and eggs.

We started driving to Grand Canyon.  Ivan wanted to see Grand Canyon.  It was my second visit.  I noticed Bedrock City in Valle, Arizona.  I went there as a kid  with my family.  Ivan thought we should go in since it was only $4 per person since it’s off season.  It’s a recreation of The Flintstones Bedrock City.  It’s pretty kewl.  The train ride wasn’t functional and it was empty.  I rode down the slide. 

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We checked everything out like Fred’s house. 

We set again towards Grand Canyon.  We arrived at the Visitor’s Center.  We walked to see the amazing view.  We hiked a little bit.  The canyon is massive and really breathtaking.

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We drove to Grandview Point which is the highest point at the Grand Canyon.  Then, we drove to Desert View Watch Tower.  We saw a nice sunset there. 

We drove back to Isaac and Marguerite’s house.  They cooked us a tasty dinner.  Holly and Josh (the British couple we met the night before) came over.  Holly really wanted to get hypnotized.

Ivan hypnotized Holly and it was very entertaining.

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