Friday, May 15, 2015

Texas Bound

Leaving Saint Augustine was hard, but the prospects of seeing old friends along the way seemed to add a little sunshine on the horizon. We had originally planned on taking a very indirect route so that we could stop over in Nashville and add a new city and state to list of time spent, but once I knew that one of my dearest and best friends was going to be in Alabama while we were on our trek west, our route became more direct. Plus an added bonus, we would be driving through Pensacola, which meant a dinner with one of my college/sorority sisters must be included.

Loren and I
We arrived in Pensacola early Friday evening and it allowed me the opportunity to sneak away and meet up with Loren; a ZTA Sister from SUU, for a drink and reminiscing about the good ol’ days at college and all the life developments since then. It was such a great night of fun conversation and I a reminder as to why I completely adore this lady. Plus I haven’t had the chance to see her since her wedding many moons ago, but seeing her and talking, it was like no time has passed; I just love those relationships where you can get together after years apart and it’s as though no time has gone by, it’s almost as though the conversation started off just where we left it last.

Sunrise view from our hotel room
Saturday was full of surprises and unexpected gifts that all started early. First we were lucky enough to have a beautiful east facing hotel room over the bay, so all we had to do was open the drapes and let the suns painted light permeate our room all while we laid in bed in sipped on our coffee; this was a much needed start considering the early morning loading of the car the day prior. A sunrise call from Stephanie, letting us know she landed safely in Alabama the night before and her ETA to meet up with us for a full afternoon of hugs, laughs and non-stop talking. We quickly devised a plan to meet up in downtown Pensacola for lunch, giving her time to drive the coastline and for us to stop and visit the Air Force Armament Museum.

Tom and the look of joy on his face from staring at planes
The Armament Museum was great, giving Ethel the opportunity to strut her stuff by age old planes and of course my favorite, watching Tom completely geek out at all the aircrafts. His bits of history and information about each plane floored me, I knew Tom loved them, but how much and what he knew was such a pleasant surprise. His giddy reaction and fascination was well worth the stop and total man haven if you’re ever the area.

Beads, beads, beads!!!
From there we were on to Pensacola to find a dog friendly lunch haunt and to meet up with Stephanie. We had originally planned on meeting up with her downtown, but once we arrived we were immediately met with the mayhem of a Mardi Gras Day parade and celebration. We had a bit of time on our hands so we parked the car and took off to explore some of the floats and the crazy antics that were already unfolding. It is these spontaneous adventures that I just love stumbling upon and getting to be a part of, plus the people watching just takes the cake!

Fighter plane engine
Instead of trying to figure out how and where to meet amidst the Mardi Gras crowds, we found a little diner just outside of downtown to meet up at. Fortunately for us we were the only ones outside for the three short hours we occupied their tables, which was wonderful for Ethel, she was able to run amuck and not be bothered to share anything, especially her people. Sorry, y’all I have raised a dog diva!

Stephanie, Bonnie and Tom
Time flew by and before we knew it the sun was beginning to set, at some point the restaurant staff ceased to exist and all that remained was endless conversation. Although Stephanie and I would regularly text and often talk on the phone, there is just something to be said about seeing one of your favorite people in person after a long absence.  I don’t think I realized how much I missed Stephanie until she was standing in front of me and couldn’t stop hugging her; seriously, if people didn’t know us, they might have though us lesbians; especially after the boundless hugs goodbye! You’d think somebody had died!

Crossing the Mississippi as we head back west.. What an amazing year since we crossed it going east!
Next day, we were off to Texas and bound for our new home for the next six weeks. This is the first time since we set out that we have not used Airbnb for one of our extended stays, instead this time we used Execustay through Marriot. Not because of a lack of options with Airbnb, but pricing more or less; I don’t know if it because part of our stay was during spring break or what, but the housing prices were off the charts high for Airbnb. In fact I had checked out the cute little retro place we had stayed at last time we were in San Antonio (click here for that post), but that had close to doubled since our last stay over a year ago.

San Antonio apartment
Our home in Texas was a great location for Tom, less than half a mile to his client, so he could walk to and from work, making the need for the car almost obsolete other than Ethel and I’s adventures during the day. Our cute little apartment was exactly that: cute and little, although we don’t require much. Execustay managed to win us over with everything: new, clean and completely organized for our stay. This is definitely a service we would use again, the fresh new towels, bedding and dishes, pretty much won us over.  Not to forget the pool and the gym, seriously though, the pool was divine at the complex; it almost felt like we had been transported to a Vegas resort! So here it is, our perfectly located Execustay:

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