Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Texmess Part 1: Houston and Salado

Howdy partner! Reporting back from our Texas getaway. We’ve wanted to go to Texas for years. Back in 2008 when we were travelling Europe we stayed with a friend of my Aunty’s. and she told us all about the time she lived in Texas. We were hooked.

Conveniently, we had some friends from home that were planning a bit of a road trip from Vegas to New Orleans. We managed to tag in with that lot and meet them in Dallas and Austin. Now, before that happened O’Hara and I spent 4 nights exploring some other parts of Texas.
Boots and belts everywhere
First night in, we managed to catch up with a new friend that lives in Houston. We only just met him over Christmas at a friends wedding. Perfect timing! He took us for some fabulous tacos and margaritas and then followed it up at a true cowboy bar. This was our first western bar experience, complete with trying to two-step and line dance. We learnt a few moves, all in preparation for when we take up the rodeo circuit.
Nailed it
On Saturday we got lucky, and were taken to a shooting range for some clay pigeon shooting. We had done this once before at a friends farm, and I was rubbish. Don’t think I hit a single one. This time however I bought my A game. O’Hara did not. I absolutely cleaned him up. It’s one of the only times I’ve beaten him in any sort of sport. Poor kid was not impressed.

After a brilliant morning shooting things, we tried to pick up our hire car. Unfortunately for us, it closed at 12. Epic fail. We made a mad dash back to Deavo’s place booked somewhere else, had to call them and ask them to stay open for a few extra minutes and got a car in the nick of time. We were just way to relaxed for our own good, and it was day 1.
We saw a lot of this

After finally getting the car, we drove the 3 hours to Salado, which is a cute little B&B town about an hour north of Austin. We stayed at the Yellow House Inn and couldn’t have asked for a better place (don't even get me started on the breakfast. It was incredible). Salado is a fairly central location, which meant we were able to explore the area easily. We visited the Texas Ranger Museum in Waco. Explored the funny little Homestead Village and ate delicious homemade and homegrown food. Acted like fools at Belton Lake at sunset. Spent hours looking in antique stores in Salado and ate more great food.

Monday, 13 January 2014

White Christmas Round 2

The first year was just a practice round, this/last year was the real deal. This Christmas we again congregated at Kelly and Paul’s house for an Australian Invasion. The main course… a Turducken!! For those that don’t know, a Turducken is a turkey stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken. The turkey is a whole bird and the duck and chicken are de-boned. It was absolutely freaking delicious. As is the Canadian thing to do, the whole thing was chucked in a turkey fryer. These miraculous contraptions are the easiest way to cook a turkey. Rather than waiting around the over for hours, a bird can be done in about 45min! As the outside skin of the bird is the only part in contact with the oil, it’s also not nearly as bad for you as you would expect.
I made Christmas ham! All by myself! I think that's why O'Hara wore the jumper again.
The most delicious birds you've ever seen, and Master Chef.
I ate myself stupid and suffered from the turkey sleeping power for a good hour after dinner.

On Boxing Day, Kamloops was the lucky recipient of freezing rain. Australians, this is rain that is super chilled so as soon as it hits any surface it freezes. It also happens to turn every flat surface into a skating rink. We were planning on leaving early and driving to Whistler to meet a friend from high school, but this mess and black ice on the road meant we delayed until after lunch. Luckily for us it warmed up and the roads were clear and we got to see Sarah and Shaun. Unfortunately we could only stay for one night as we had booked Silver Star for the next 5 nights.
Friend! High school friend!
Silver Star was a great success for the period between Christmas and New Year. The Wilsons, Ouimets and Greg and Lil were all there to ski with, drink with, eat with and play games with. We managed to get 4 solid days of snowboarding in, though I’m unsure if my skills progressed at all. O’Hara and I have taken it upon ourselves to learn how to do jumps on our snowboard. I think this should be quite easy, as children seem to have no problem doing it. Sadly for us this isn’t the case.
I look casual, but really fell about 5 times trying to get this pic.

With views like this, why wouldn't you get a pic in the snow in your bikini? 

We went on a snowshoeing adventure while we were there. That was a good time! A guide took us on all these paths you'd never see by yourself. Or if you did, you'd likely get lost and die. We had one near miss where we had our own adventure, but everyone made it back safely. New Year’s Eve ended up being a slight fail. The boys made the mistake of going way too hard, way too early in the hot tub. As O’Hara has found in the past, this can and will end badly.