All posts by John Froelich

Don’t Eat Fish in the Mountains

Sabrina, Mandy, and I after arriving in the mountains.
Sabrina, Mandy, and I after arriving in the mountains.

Sabrina was awesome enough to drive Mandy and I into a little mountain town called Winter Park. It is known as a skiing/snowboarding place, but with us lacking either skill, we decided to go snow tubing instead.

Mandy and I after in front of a gorgeous little condo/hotel in the town.
Mandy and I after in front of a gorgeous little condo/hotel in the town.
Waving in front of an elevation marker for us. It was 9,236 feet above sea level. 
Waving in front of an elevation marker for us. It was 9,236 feet above sea level. 
Me, lugging one of the inner tubes at the bottom of the lane. I don't care how old you are, you're never too old to go snow tubing.
Me, lugging one of the inner tubes at the bottom of the lane. I don’t care how old you are, you’re never too old to go snow tubing.
After our first runs down the slope.
After our first runs down the slope.

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After an hour on the slopes and single-digit weather, we drove a little bit more into the town and found a sushi restaurant. Here’s the thing; you won’t find good sushi 9,000 feet above sea level.

In fact, you’ll find bad sushi. Maybe we are spoiled by Orlando, but this place was not good. The drinks were overpriced and questionable in quality, and to say that the sushi was disappointing would be the understatement of the year. It was bad, and after we had finished less than half of the sushi we ordered, we left.

Heed my words: You can not find good sushi in the mountains. And if you do find sushi, don’t eat it.

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After leaving the sushi restaurant disappointed, we were surprised to find that the whole little town square was lit up with Christmas lights. We took a picture in front of the tree before heading back down to Sabrina’s.

Achievement Unlocked: Wimberley, TX

Any complaints we made yesterday about I-10 paled in comparison to what Tuesday had in store for us leaving Baton Rouge. No more than 10 minutes after leaving the hotel, we find out that the next ten-mile stretch of I-10 has been shut down due to a major accident. Because of this, all traffic was being detoured off of the interstate onto a little one-lane county road. Cars and semi-trucks alike were all being shunted onto a tiny road that you had to fight through to move ten feet.

Traffic Jam

The detour in total was ten miles, and it took us two hours before we made it back on to the road. This considerably pushed our time to Wimberley back, but being good adventurers, we tried to not let it get to us.

10 Mile Backup and Detour

It only sort of worked.

After getting back on I-10, the rest of the trip was a high-speed blur moving through Louisiana and into the heart of Texas. Hours melted away with farms and farmhouses giving way to stretches of vegetation and and the type of sunset that you only get in the South. This was another day that kept us in the car for most of the day, trying to make up for lost time from the morning.

Cows in a pasture in Texas

Around 7PM, despite the GPS trying to lead us to some sort of Indian burial ground (we forgot to take a picture), we made it to Casa deBonilla in Wimberley, TX in good time and good spirits.

Lvl. 1 Explorer : +50xp

Okay, so maybe we’re not level one. Mandy and I have been traveling with each other for awhile. Our first road trip took us along the East coast of the US to the north ; a destination of Asheville, NC, and many stops in between. Our next one took us driving from Orlando to the Grand Canyon, leaving west.

What I’m driving at (no pun intended) is that we’ve left Florida from just about every direction you can, and they’re all boring. If you’ve ever found yourself on a stretch of I-10, you know what I mean. In the winter, everything is brown, the sky is gray, and the road is black. The entire world is rolling past you in sepia going 70 mph and you begin to imagine what the Dust Bowl must have been like.

Road Trip Tip #1 : If you want to make a road trip, don’t live in Florida.

Highway 10… Much bored.

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This is what a majority of yesterday looked like for us. We’re on our way to Texas to visit family and have made the drive up I-10 to Texas (and beyond) two times now, this being the third.

This time, we made a detour in the panhandle down into Panama City to adjust our eyes back to seeing color again and to grab a lunch at a popular, local oyster house.

Hunt’s Oyster Bar proved to be a needed break from the road, with fantastic seafood. Their oysters were absolutely incredible and the fried seafood was perfection. Lightly breaded and lightly fried. Rarely can you go wrong with fresh seafood on the coast. When I say ‘the coast’, I mean you walk five minutes in any direction and your’e in the water.

Some seagulls in the panhandle of Florida

We took the rest of the way through the city, keeping the ocean to our south. It proved helpful for a couple of hours being  off of I-10, but eventually, all roads lead back, and at the end of Pensacola, we begrudgingly took the on-ramp back up.

Mandy getting ready to take some pictures

Empty beaches on the Panhandle

John enjoying a quick jaunt on the beach

Seagulls

Several more uneventful hours on the road, and we found ourselves in Baton Rouge, LA. We grabbed dinner at a roadside cajun restaurant, and we both wish we would have taken some pictures of the place.

The restaurant, Keith’s Seafood, turned out to be an unassuming little place in the hollowed out shell of a gas station, like a little cajun hermit crab, ten minutes off of I-10.  We both had some shrimp and clam po-boys and some seafood gumbo, and any apprehension I had at eating at a turned out gas station evaporated immediately. Tremendous seafood again, with the gumbo overflowing with whole crab legs and boudine. A little spicy, rich, and all around fantastic. Unfortunately, we didn’t bring the camera with us when we went out here so you’ll have to take our word for it for now. I imagine we’d probably make a detour back on our way home, though. Two more hours on I-10, and we decided to crash at a La Quinta for the night. Now, we’re getting ready to get back on the road and head west. Next stop: Wimberley, TX,