Three Weeks in Texas – A Big Stop on the Road Trip

Three Weeks in Texas – A Big Stop on the Road Trip

I’m typing this in the car while back on the road and heading out of Texas. Don’t worry, I’m not the one driving! We spent three weeks in the state and now it’s time for us to move on.

For those of you following along, we started our road trip out of Ohio on August 10 and made our way to Texas on August 14. My brother and sister-in-law live just outside of Austin and we spent the past few weeks with them.

We made sure that we didn’t squander that time either. Texas has a lot to offer and we made sure to make some memories with our time there.

But most importantly, I drank one of the most delicious beers that just came out. As good as it was, it didn’t prove to be a good evening for me.

All that and more in today’s fun-filled post about our visit to Texas!

Horseshoe Bay – Fun but out of my cost comfort zone

My brother and sister-in-law have been cooped up at home for months in an effort to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure. They both work from home so this has been easy for them.

The problem is that they live for entertaining people at their Texas resort house and for traveling. Neither of those ideas would be considered ideal during the pandemic, so they’ve just been waiting it out at home with a friend or two in “their bubble” visiting. They’ve also been going stir crazy.

So our visit was an opportunity to do something. They both took a vacation from work and we made a trip to the Horseshoe Bay Resort which is about an hour west of Austin, Texas. We stayed there for three nights and had all sorts of fun.

Pontoon

On our second day there, we rented a pontoon boat and had a great time on the lake. They threw in one of those giant mats for us to play on and that made it even better.

For some reason, I just love being on a lake on a pontoon boat. It’s just such a peaceful, easy-going way to spend the day.

Cabana

Our third day was a pool day and we rented a cabana. This wasn’t bad at $100 for four hours. Regardless, we all know that I’m too cheap normally to get a cabana.

We had fun swimming in the pool and drinking in the cabana. One feature I thought was really cool was the hot tub setup – I’ve never seen anything like it and Faith loved it as well…

Birds of the Bay and Tortoise Connection

The morning we were going to head out, my brother and I went driving around so he could scope out the place. He was considering buying a place to rent out there down the line. While we did some exploring, the girls went to a bird and tortoise event that they enjoyed.

Goodbye, early retirement! 😉

Except for some goofy things like the hot water tank not working for the showers (YIKES!), we had a lot of fun and it was a good getaway for my brother and sister-in-law.

Now, for all my personal finance friends out there, I need to tell you that this was definitely not at my comfort level with the spending we did.

Our half of the condo we stayed in was along the lines of $650 which is pricey but I can roll with that. The pontoon was also pretty reasonable at $540 for 4 hours out the door (gas was included). That cost we split as well.

But meals at the restaurants were what I think are just stupid excessive. Drinks prices were also insane, but that’s resort pricing, right? All of that stuff added up real quick.

Regardless, this was my brother and sister-in-law’s vacation, too, and that’s what they enjoy so we made due. I did alright, but I do struggle to have as much fun though when I’m watching a ton of money just slip through my fingers.

Pool Time in Texas

Texas can get hot… like really hot. We had temperatures in the high 90’s and low 100’s the whole time we were there. Sitting outside, you could just feel the sun trying to kill you. Don’t forget, I love to whine about the weather being too hot or cold. Boquete, Panama was perfect for me floating at around 75 degrees Fahrenheit every day.

Those Texas kinds of temps are crazy! That means you’re only safe in the air conditioning or if you’re lucky enough to have one, the pool. Lucky for us, we know a couple who have a pool and we just happen to be staying with them. Not only that, but my brother and sister-in-law’s house is eerily familiar to just staying at a resort.

We spent a lot of time in the pool, chilling out in the cabana, cooking out, playing cornhole, etc.

They have a small group of friends who are staying in their bubble and being careful throughout this pandemic. Those are the folks that came and visited periodically for some good times.

Austin Street Art

Austin’s got a cool vibe to it overall and one of the fun things to check out is the street art you’ll find scattered around. We took a day to go drive around and see a bunch of them. Pictures speak louder than words, so here is just some of the artwork we found around the city…

There’s always room for puzzles in Texas

It’s become a tradition for some puzzle time while at my brother and sister-in-law’s house. Usually, we might get one puzzle done while there, but with us staying there for so long, one 1,000-piece, one 500-piece, and almost one 1,500-piece puzzle were tackled.

Three Weeks in Texas – A Big Stop on the Road Trip - Faith and a Completed Puzzle
Good job team (I probably did 6 of those pieces!)!

I’ll also mention that I’m not a big contributor. Lisa and my brother go to town on these things. I’ll show up every now and again and throw in a piece, but I’m still counting myself as a contributor!

An amazing beer was my downfall

I like beer. I don’t drink what I’d consider excessive but I do enjoy a beer or two periodically.

Well, I enjoyed my beer a little too much the second last night we were in Texas. My brother and I decided to go out for a drink and ended up at the Whitestone Brewery in Cedar Park.

Three Weeks in Texas – A Big Stop on the Road Trip - I Love Beer So Much
A little take on the street art we saw earlier… pretty funny!

They had just come out with a new beer that sounded delicious – their Cookies & Cream Imperial Stout. It was so new, that I had the privilege of being the one to add it to Untappd.

Three Weeks in Texas – A Big Stop on the Road Trip - Whitestone Brewery Cookies & Cream

I was expecting it to be a good beer but holy cow, this was awesome! It was sweet and it’s a little heavier in that it’s a stout, but if you like those two things, this beer doesn’t let you down.

I only had one of these, which is probably good because we learned later that it’s an astounding 11.5% ABV! It didn’t taste like it though – it was really smooth.

That’s about the time the problems crept in. We only had a light lunch earlier in the day but that’s ok, we’ll just eat dinner there. It’s Texas so of course there’s a taco food truck there. As soon as we finish this beer, we’ll go grab some grub. Ruh-roh, our beer is now finished and the food truck is already closed.

So we did what any smart people would do – we had a couple more beers. They weren’t 11.5 percenters, but they were strong.

Long story short, we went back to my brother and sister-in-law’s house where we had more beers. My sister-in-law also busted out shots of Screwball Peanut Butter Whisky (another awesome find!). I did a couple of shots of that.

I’m just going to end this by saying that I honestly don’t remember much from that night at all. Somehow I wasn’t hungover with a headache but my stomach was so screwed up, I couldn’t eat anything all day until dinner that next day. I guess that’s a punishment I deserved for being so reckless.

I’m not proud of that evening but I’m still standing by the Cookies ‘N Cream stout as being one tasty beverage. I would just recommend sharing one though and calling it a day! 😉

Heading out of Texas

I almost forgot to mention that I got a little satisfaction when we got the license plates for our car. We bought the Honda Pilot in Ohio last month but we’ve been running on temp tags. If you remember, we changed our state of domicile to Texas last year so we needed to make that happen while there.

Three Weeks in Texas – A Big Stop on the Road Trip - My New Texas License Plate!
First off, get this guy some sunglasses so he can actually see! And just so you know, the real license plate does have actual non-smudged numbers – I debated blurring because I don’t understand why people do that… and then I caved.

After three weeks in Texas, it was time to part ways and get on the road again. We left last Friday morning and headed toward El Paso for a night before continuing onto Arizona.

Next week, I’ll fill you in on some of the awesome stuff we’re doing as we continue on this trip.

Texas and Texas-family – love you but it’s time to go!

Thanks for reading!!

— Jim

12 thoughts on “Three Weeks in Texas – A Big Stop on the Road Trip”

  1. Poor Jim…
    “I do struggle to have as much fun though when I’m watching a ton of money just slip through my fingers.”

    Give it a rest, let go, Relax and Just enjoy.

    Hoping you will have the Best of times.

    1. Haha, I know… I know. It’s a tough hurdle for me psychologically that’s just stuck with me from early twenties when I had to dig myself out of $30k in credit card debt. I try my best but it’s still a difficult task for me to do sometimes. Regardless, we did have fun!

  2. LOL. I remember an axiom from college days: “Beer before liquor, never been sicker; liquor before beer, you’re in the clear”. Seriously…I’ve really been feeling cooped up these days with Covid distancing, and I’ve enjoyed living in the outside world vicariously through your posts. I hope you and the family are able to get back to Panama in the future as I’ve found this part of your journey to be especially fascinating. Cheers!

    1. I remember those words of advice! The updated advice for me should just be to stay away from liquor and high ABV beers! 🙂 I’m glad to hear that you’re enjoying the posts, Ken – it’s a different world right now but I’m glad we’re blessed to be able to do the things we’re doing.

  3. Looks like a ton of fun Jim, but I completely understand how it feels when your paying 3x or 4x normal prices at those resorts. It feels like a complete rip-off.

    Oh well, I suppose it’s only once in a blue moon that it happens, so it’s probably not a huge deal. Do that often enough though, and you’ll be back on the corporate dole.

    1. Yeah, I could see how you and I would feel similar about the overpricing at the resort. But you’re right that with this being unique, it’s not a big deal – if only I could convince myself of that when it happens! 🙂

  4. Texas is wonderful, heat and all. We live in Dallas so understand the heat and the required A/C. Did you like El Paso? Quite different than Austin and other parts of TX. I grew up in ELP and went to college there. Wonderful mountains for hiking and then driving through New Mexico is an excellent trip as well. Enjoy your road trip. So many wonderful sights to see on the drive.

    1. Yes, El Paso seemed a lot different than Austin when we were there. We only spent the night there but it had a completely different vibe there and it was beautiful where we camped for the night (Franklin Mountains State Park). It didn’t have any electricity or water but there really wasn’t anyone around except for us and some gorgeous mountain views!

  5. Sounds like a fun adventure. We’re right down the road in San Antonio, so we know all about the crazy hot temperatures. Glad you got to enjoy the expensive resort lifestyle with your brother. You can’t put a price on memories. (Well, the resort can. 😜)

    Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip.

    1. Haha, the resort can put a price on the memories and certainly did! 🙂 We still had a good time though.
      We almost took a day trip to San Antonio but didn’t get a chance. We’re on our way toward Colorado from Vegas as I’m typing! Have a good weekend, Aaron!

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