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Driving cross (southern) country without A/C report

Driving cross (southern) country without A/C report

Jul 29th, 2009, 11:05 AM
  #41  
 
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Nothing is more high end than the Driskill in Austin, and it's in the middle of everything you'd want to do in Austin.
bkluvsNola is offline  
Jul 29th, 2009, 11:15 AM
  #42  
Don
 
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I agree on the Driskill.
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Jul 30th, 2009, 02:05 AM
  #43  
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Just a quick review of the hotel and dinner restaurants:

Valencia Hotel Riverwalk - beautiful property, great service, great locations, IMHO the place to stay in SA.

Dinners at Boudro's and Chama Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse - both were excellent choices. Highly recommend.

San Antonio - fell in love the city. Beautiful, historic, fun, friendly.

We decided to visit the Mc Nay Art Museum today before heading out to Austin.


Thanks to all for hotel suggestions in Austin.

Driskill looks like what we are looking for so that's where we will be staying at for 2 nights.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Jul 30th, 2009, 06:56 AM
  #44  
 
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AAFrequentFlyer,

Be sure to check out the bar at the Driskill (I think it's on the second level relative to ground level). There are some wonderful statues of Texas folklore and some beautiful paintings of Texas. The cocktails are great too, and there's always interesting people to socialize with.

For dining, don't miss Uchi's. It's a sushi bar that probably has the best sushi in the country.

If it's hot (like it's been although it's raining today for the first time in two months but I guarantee it will be sunny by later), check out Barton Springs. the water is a refreshing 68 degrees year round because it's a natural springs.
bkluvsNola is offline  
Jul 30th, 2009, 08:04 AM
  #45  
 
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Be sure to head out to Lake Travis and eat at the Oasis - The Sunset Capital of Texas (on Comanche Trail). Be sure to try to time getting there at sunset, the views are fantastic - some people have commented that they thought they were in Italy or Greece when they were there. Sip some margaritas or Shiners on the outdoor patio.
bkluvsNola is offline  
Jul 31st, 2009, 06:21 AM
  #46  
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We made it to Austin. My little baby is still purring. No problems yet. Back in El Paso we bought couple of small fans that clip on. It will be easy to live without A/C at home as this will not be the "work" car. If it rains the car stays in the garage and even if I get caught in the rain while running around town, I can make it home with the top up, but it's a different story on a long out of state drives when you need to get from point a to point b at somewhat pre planned times. Anyways, the fans do help when we needed to have the top up for brief time.

The Driskill Hotel turned out to be a great suggestion. We stayed in last evening and had dinner at the hotel restaurant, I believe simply called the Driskill Grill. Very good. Today we decided to hit the spa, get a massage. Our bodies need little pampering after the long drives and busy visit in San Antonio. Tonight it's a dinner out on the town followed by an evening out at one of the better music venues.

If any locals read this can they comment on "Speakeasy Club". We were told they have a very good local band playing there tonight. They play 70s and 80s music. Kind of appropriate....

Tomorrow it's all the Austin touristy things. We are planning on staying 3 nights here before heading out early on Sunday to Houston.

See YA!
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Jul 31st, 2009, 09:11 AM
  #47  
 
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Glad you got the british racing green. If it were me, I wouldn't accept another color either. And I am enjoying your report.
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Aug 1st, 2009, 07:33 PM
  #48  
 
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Eager to hear more about your August leg of the trip...
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Aug 1st, 2009, 08:22 PM
  #49  
 
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Let me know when you're driving thru Houston. I"m just south of I-10! I'll be sure to wave to you!
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Aug 2nd, 2009, 08:40 AM
  #50  
 
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Sorry, I meant Austin leg of your trip, although it is indeed August!
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Aug 2nd, 2009, 12:55 PM
  #51  
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Sorry about the delay but we're very busy for the last 2 days. We're in Houston now and still running around like chickens without a head.

Will make a report about Austin and Houston once I have some free time.

In Houston just for 1 night. My wife needs to back home by this weekend and we still have NO, Biloxi, Panhandle and Tampa in our sights.

2 nights in NO, 1 night in Biloxi, 2 nights in Panhandle and we may just skip Tampa all together.

See YA!
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Aug 2nd, 2009, 02:21 PM
  #52  
cd
 
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AAF, I would just do NO and then the Panhandle. Honest, Biloxi is no big deal
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Aug 2nd, 2009, 02:52 PM
  #53  
 
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If you take up cd's recommendation of Cape San Blas, here is where we stayed in the area. It is a very well run B&B, on the beach. The hostess is great!

Starrs has a TR of the place & I added mine with hers, but now can't seem to find it:

http://www.turtlebeachinn.com/
olesouthernbelle is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2009, 02:58 PM
  #54  
 
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Can't wait to hear the rest of your Austin report, very glad to hear that you enjoyed the Driskill. I've never personally stayed there, since I live here, but I've been to many functions there and really enjoy it.

Also can't wait until you get to New Orleans. Have you decided upon a hotel? I can probably help you for that as well.
bkluvsNola is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2009, 09:45 AM
  #55  
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Slight change of plans. We will have to skip NO and visit with a friend in Tampa. We may just stop by his place to show him the car but won't be able to stay for a night.

My wife really has to get back as soon as possible. A new client is getting antsy and since it took her months to sign the company she does not want to lose it.

The reason we decided to skip on NO is that we have been there numerous times although not together (just yet). We will be back. I was looking forward to a muffaleta sandwich from the Central Grocery, and some fun in the FQ.

We both know Biloxi but the only reason we want to stop there is because we like to gamble. We like the Beau Rivage, very nice place, they treat us well, as we are regular guests. That will be only 1 night stay.

Then on to the Panfandle for couple of nights and home sweet home from there.


Ok, first, Austin Texas. We stayed at the Driskill Hotel Wonderful stay, great location. On Friday night we had a dinner at the hotel restaurant. Very nice but not outstanding. Still I would highly recommend both. After dinner we headed out to the Speakeasy to hear a local band. Fun time.

Saturday we started with the Texas State History Museum. Great place to learn a great deal about the great state of Texas. Worth few hours of your time. We also checked out the Capitol Building. Very impressive. Then on to the Old West Austin neighborhood where many historic residential homes are located. We walked around a bit before heading back to the hotel. Refreshed we decided on dinner at the Carmelo's Restaurant. We had a taste for Italian and this place fit the bill perfectly.

And then it was time for something special - The Austin bats. Instead of taking one of the cruises we decided to stand on the bridge. What a sight!!! Hundred's of thousands coming our from their hiding place underneath the bridge to kill tons of bugs. It's a must see. It should be at the top 2-3 must sees when in Austin.

Back at the hotel, we decided to check out some night spots on 6th street. There are so many music venues that I don't remember which one we chose, but it was a fun way to close out the busy day.

Sunday we slowed down a little and decided on the Inner Space Caverns. Located ~40 miles north of Austin. I always had a fascination with caves so it was a fun for me. My wife thought it was okay, but she's really not that much into that kind of stuff.

Drove back and hit the LB Johnson Presidential Library and Museum. Neither one of us have ever been to any Presidential Library so we didn't know what to expect. We loved it. There is so much history and really shows what's going on at the Oval Office on a daily basis through the many exhibits. We were there for few hours and we believed we still missed some things. Another must see.

Back to the hotel for little relaxation and out for dinner at the Wink Restaurant. Excellent! Then on to the 6th Street entertainment area for couple of drinks only as we had another road trip in the morning.

Houston - The only part we regret is that we had couple of nights there but since we only had 1 we decided to split and do our own thing for the day. She went shopping and I headed out to the Space Center Houston. I had a blast as I'm kind of NASA junkie. My beautiful SO was also happy upon her return from her shopping excursion.

With smiles on our faces we headed out to the Rice Village for Thai dinner at the Patu. Very good.

Afterwards, we had couple of drinks at the Hotel zaza Houston, our base, and up to bed as we had an early start. Once again it was a wonderful choice and we had a very nice stay. I wasn't sure about the wild, eccentric decor, my wife loved it. I did like it but I just thought it was too much. Anyways, the service and room was impeccable. The decor? either you love it or hate it, but for the most part I believe the majority of guests do love it. I just could not get used to it.


After about 6.5 hours of driving this morning we arrived at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi. Just checking e-mails, Fodor's and relaxing. Nothing special planned. Lunch and dinner in the hotel and gambling. We don't plan on leaving the building.

Tomorrow it's on to the Panhandle. Still undecided where to stop but I will work on something in next couple of hours. We are leaning towards the Apalachicola(sp?) area.

Car is running like a champ. Not one problem yet. No oil leaks, no electrical problems. Very happy with the purchase.

Thanks for reading and if anybody has any suggestions for the Panhandle area please keep them coming. I will be on here for couple of hours and I will also check here tonight and tomorrow morning. Thanks to all for all the great suggestions.

See YA!
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2009, 09:48 AM
  #56  
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btw, the reason for Panhandle? - total beach bums and relaxation before getting back to the real world. Not looking for any 5* restaurants, just fun places. We do prefer full service hotels but B&Bs or Inns are fine as long as it's not very "homey".

Thanks again!
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Aug 3rd, 2009, 10:30 AM
  #57  
 
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Sounds like a nice trip so far.

Austin - LBJ Library is quite interesting - even if you weren't into his politics. Great overall feel for the office and its operations.

Houston - Glad you liked Patu's. Used to be one of our favorites. Thought it was a little subpar the last couple of times we were there, but think we'll have to go back and recheck it.

Hotel ZaZa is definitely different. About as eclectic as you can get. Our daughter worked there for a summer at the front desk and her stories were the source of nightly entertainment. You're right, you either like the decor or you don't - not much in between. Very pretty area.

Since you were a block from the Museum of Natural Science, hope you had a chance to see the Terra Cotta Warriors from China. First time they've been out of China. But sounds like you weren't able to work it in.

Gook luck on the rest of the trip.
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Aug 3rd, 2009, 10:46 AM
  #58  
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Since you were a block from the Museum of Natural Science, hope you had a chance to see the Terra Cotta Warriors from China.,

we thought about it but with having only one day and my heart set on Space Center we decided against it. I'm not even sure if we could have purchased tickets on such a short notice. We didn't check.

Anyways, the exhibit is moving to the NG Museum in Washington DC. We both have a quick trip planned there early next year so we hope to catch it there.
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Aug 3rd, 2009, 10:57 AM
  #59  
cd
 
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AAFF
A total beach bum will love the Cape San Blas/Indian Pass area. However, the full service hotels that you also like are non-existent. The drive from Panama City along the coast
to Cape San Blas and Indian Pass and onward to Apalachicola is lovely. There is an Inn on Cape San Blas that is very nice but it's not on the Ocean, it's on the Bay so I would recommend going to the Turtle Inn recommended above by oldsouthernbelle and Starrs at Indian Pass. Indian Pass is in the immediate area of the Cape San Blas Peninsula. St Joseph State Park is at the end of the Peninsula and has a beautiful beach.

If you want a good place to eat or just have drinks on your way to the the Cape, you could stop a Toucan's Restaurant in Mexico Beach. Very good food and you can eat on the beach. You will pass Port St Joe, it is about 15 miles from the Inn recommended above. You might want to go back to Port St Joe for dinner. The Sunset coastal Grill is excellent. http://www.sunsetcoastalgrill.com/ For lunch you must experience the Indian Pass Raw Bar. The only menu is on the wall and you help yourself to the beer. This is oyster country and they are the best ever! If you drive into Apalachicola I recommend Boss Oyster, they have at least 20 kinds of oysters. It's a cute little town but stay on the ocean! The only place for a beach bum. You can horseback ride on the beach at Cape San Blas, sounds like something you would enjoy!

Continued joys in your toy!
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Aug 3rd, 2009, 01:12 PM
  #60  
 
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I also concur with cd on the rec's of Indian Pass Raw Bar & Boss Oyster! The later makes good Mai Tai's.
Another fancy convertible at Boss Oyster 7/2008:
http://yfrog.com/2fimg7655j

Bay side seating at Boss Oyster: http://yfrog.com/47img7649jj

Indian Pass Raw Bar ( note the words were so faded last year, you could hardly make them out on the building):
http://yfrog.com/58img7672vj

Shrimp Boats near Boss Oyster: http://yfrog.com/58img7672vj

A panhandle, FL sunset near Port St. Joe:
http://yfrog.com/61img7637ij
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