Posted by: Travis | December 31, 2007

Christmas Wrap Up

Rachel and i have been super busy lately so i haven’t had a chance to do a little wrap up of all things christmas. As i mentioned in my previous post Rachel and I flew down and met my brother and his girlfriend, Marie, in El Paso on Thursday the 20th. From there we drove down to Big Bend and met up with my parents. We got up Friday morning and did the epic 14 mile hike that is the South Rim. It was pretty sweet. After being gone all day we drove into Terlingua and ate dinner at the starlight theater which was on point as usual. Saturday morning Rachel and i got up and did the window hike (around 6 miles round trip) with my folks. We got back just before check out time and packed up our stuff and hit the road. We ate lunch in Marfa at the Austin Cafe, which was awesome. Then we wasted some time by hanging out at the Marfa Book Store and the attached coffee shop.  Once we finished there we drove over to Marathon and checked into the Gage Hotel, where we would be staying for the night. Its a pretty cool, old school, west texas kinda place. After a nap and a round of drinks at the bar we hit up the restaurant in the hotel (the name i which i can’t for the life of me remember). The food has been really good in years past, but they recently snagged a top notch chef from Houston who has kicked up the quality of the food a few notches. It was a truly spectacular meal. Rachel and i split a risotto dish, a pork loin with sweet potato hash, elk medallions with veggies, and a pumpkin french toast which had been crispy-fied with a creme brulee torch.

The next morning we plan on leaving before dawn so that we can get home at a reasonable hour. We meet in the lobby at 7 and head out with Ryan and Marie bringing up the rear of the caravan in his car. In retrospect having a car with 140,000 miles on it bring up the rear probably was not our best idea. About 30 minutes outside of Marathon ryan starts having transmission problems and starts to fade back. We think nothing of it and keep pushing on as he fades further and further behind. Shortly after going out of sight his car dies and they are left stranded on the side of the road as we push on to Fort Stockton assuming he is just behind us. We get to McDonalds (my first visit to the damn place in 5 or 6 years, yes, the dining options were that bad), eat breakfast and 45 minutes later, still no ryan. Finally we decide that maybe something happened and we start driving back to Marathon. After covering about half the distance we find them stranded on the side of the road with no cell phone reception about and hour and a half after breaking down. We get the car towed to Fort Stockton and decide to rent a car as my parents car doesn’t have enough room for the people or their things. Turns out the nearest place to rent a car is the Midland airport, about 2 hours away. So we leave Ryan, Marie, and my mom at the same McDonalds we ate breakfast, and Rachel, my dad and I take off for midland to get a car. On the way there i became overwhelmed with a soar throat, headache, and nausia. It wasn’t much fun. We get a car rented and then high tail it back to Fort Stockton. Im already tired from all of the day’s driving, then i realize that we are seven hours behind schedule and still have about eight hours of driving left. We ended it up making it to san antonio by 8:30 for dinner (but we had originally planned on lunch there) and got home to Houston around 12:30.

On christmas eve we got to do some christmas shopping and hang out with Rachel’s friend Jenny who happened to be in Houston and her niece Emerson, who is about a year and a half old. It was pretty fun.

We had the normal christmas day stuff at our house and it was pretty fun. Robert made a butternut squash soup with a butternut squash biscuit that was really good. Grandma killed it as usual on the dressing (it was sooo good), and the greenburg turker was top notch as we have come to expect. Rachel and i made chipotle sweet potatoes which seemed to go over pretty well.

Though we flew out the day after christmas, Rachel and i had brunch with her family friends David and Judy who live and San Antonio but were in Houston for christmas and then ate lunch with my friends from high school Eric and Alex. Eric graduated from Rice last may and has been doing some freelance photography work in addition to working at a media production company. Alex (who i hadn’t seen in 3 or 4 years) is currently living in Washington DC and working as chef de cuisine (second in command) for a restaurant called EVE. He was previously working at a place called Citronelle, one of the best restaurants on the east coast. Clearly, he’s found his niche.

After we flew back to Palo Alto on wednesday night, i work thursday and friday so that i could take some time off later. Rachel’s mom, who was up visiting Rachel’s grandparents about 3 hours north of us for christmas came down and had dinner with us on thursday night. Then on friday she and Rachel drove back up to her grandparents house while i drove up after i got off of work. It snowed up there on thursday night and given that the whole drive up there in friday night it was rainy and foggy, i thought i was in for some really terrible driving conditions, but luckily i got there before everything froze over and got icy. We spent the weekend with Rachel’s extended family, mostly cooking, eating, and drinking because the weather was so terrible. Sunday we surprisingly woke up to a beautiful day. We drove Rachel’s mom and great aunt to the Sacramento airport on our way back home.

Im working today but Rachel’s office is closed until the 2nd. I think tonight we will probably just cook dinner, drink some prosecco (better than champagne) and stay at home. I got a brown sugar, apple, and berry stuffed prok top loin that im planning on cooking, it should be pretty good. Tomorrow we are planning on doing a bike ride up Mount Hamilton, which is the highest point in the area. Apparently it is a pretty popular thing to do around here on new years day. Here’s a website of one group that goes. Some years they get snow, but i think tomorrow is actually supposed to be pretty nice.

Friday Rachel and i will be flying down to san antonio for the weekend to meet our friend Katie’s boyfriend who will be coming to town from Kenya, and also to see our friends from college that we haven’t really seen since we graduated. It should be a good time and we’re really looking forward to it. Im going to try and remember to take a disposable camera up on the climb tomorrow so hopefully i will have some pictures to share with everyone. Im hoping that we will get back safe and sound and with enough time to watch some of the awesome college football that will be on.

I think thats about all for now. If you’d like to see some of the pictures from Big Bend, you can check them out here.


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