Thursday, June 20, 2013

Happy Trails

One of the most exciting parts for me on this move is discovering new running and biking trails. And I've decided that this hobby is one that really makes a person get out there and see the sites! Typically the popular biking and running trails are through beautiful parks and scenic areas. So it really gives you a taste of the area you are in.

I don't begin my travel nursing contract until Monday - so I had this week to get settled in. Now that the week is ending, I am finding extra downtime. So have been putting my research to practice (I did my research on the best running and biking trails in SA -- as there are tons)

My first attempt was the Gruene River Trail. Gruene, Texas is a historic town outside of SA (northeast). If you are ever in the area, and you want a break from city -- this is the place! From the first glace, it has the image of "Ole Texas small town" with "Honky Tonk" dance halls etc. But the streets are cobble-stoned, and they have the cutest antique shops and restaurants. It also has a winery. The town even has a martini bar, which I was surprised to see!

Unfortunately, no martinis for this girl. It was 8:00 in the morning and I had miles to put on!

I parked at a church, clipped in, and took off out of town, and found "River Road". The River Road goes along the Guadeloupe River - and it goes about 17 miles. I did an out-and-back, and covered a total of 30 miles. The trail is mostly flat and rolling, with a few challenged hills -- but nothing unmanageable.

At times as I was riding along the Guadeloupe River, I was sentimentally reminded of "home". The combination of greenery, rivers, people tubing down the river, and seeing tractors made me feel as thought I'm back in Minnesota near the lakes! In fact, I think a Zorbaz would go quite nicely here. The big thing to do here is float down the river -- which I believe a group of us plan on doing this Saturday!

Here are a few snapshots ;)

 After viewing this photo, I realized 'Wow, my helmet is way too small for my giant noggin". So I went out and purchased a new helmet. ;)

Below is the link to the map! This was a fun and challenging way to discover the landscape. Next time I will pack more water. Forecast was 82, which is cool in Tucson. 82 feels VERY VERY VERY different here with the humidity. Let's just say I'm having a little bit of an issue adjusting ;)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Home Sweet Hotel

After several days of hotel living, I think I've found a rhythm. We've made it work, to say the very least! After going through this transition, there are several things I've learned. I know the chances of ever having to make a hotel a home are very slim in most people's lifestyles. However, you never know! What if your house floods, and you have to house up in the Candlewood Suites for a month?

For Ryan and I, there is a good chance that this won't be the last time we live in these types of quarters. I am now confident that I'll have it down by the next time we do this!

(For those of you just joining in, if there are any.......this is for a temporary 3 month move)

Here are a few tips I've found so far......

  1. Pack what you need. Seriously
  2. Again, I state, Really analyze the items you use in your day-to-day life and decide what do you really need. (For example, if there's a dress that has been worn once in the past 2 years. Don't bring it. If you really have an inkling to wear a dress similar to that? I'll bet you can buy one. You don't need every pair of jeans in your closet. Bring the one's you wear most frequently)
  3.  Make the most of your space. Many of the shirts that I like to hang in my closet now have to be folded. And I don't have a closet anymore. I have kitchen pantry as my closet. It works great! (I won on this deal. Ryan got 3 drawers and the closet. I got a huge pantry and 1/4 of the closet)
  4. Bring a real coffee mug, a real set of dishes. I'm more sentimental than some, but I cannot live drinking coffee out of styrofoam every day. I need my trusty pink mug.
  5. Crockpots are probably the most incredible invention. It takes up minimal space. And you can do SO MUCH in them -- lasagna, roasts, soup, brownies. Check out the Crockin Girls!
  6. Plan your meals. You aren't going to have the cupboard space to have a nice stock of food. Well, maybe you would if you're pantry wasn't a clothes closet ;)
  7. Purchase a hot plate. I got mine at Target for $20. Now my issues of 'no stove' is history!
  8. Make it yours how you can. I can't burn candles or decorate.But I can purchase my favorite scent of Febreeze spray and spray the room every day. When I come "home" -- it feels like mine, instead of that weird hotel smell.
  9. Buy your own hand soaps. Using a bar of soap that says "facial bar" gets old. Again, this goes back to "making yourself at home"
  10. Find walking routes, running routes, coffee shops -- whatever you must to get away. You will lose your mind in that tiny room for too long ;)
  11.  Expect that you're going to have to spend about $150-200 to get set up. I bought a cheap pot and pan, my own silverware, hot plate, and toaster -- got my basic "neccessities" for cooking (olive oil, spices, apple cider vinegar, minced garlic, ect) These things add up, but it's worth it
This is an adventure, and a major change in life -- and so far I'm taking it all in. It's tempoary, too! The most important part is that I get to kiss Ryan goodnight every night -- and make him his coffee in the morning with a smile and a hug.. Life will get hectic and we won't always be able to keep up our routines -- but those are 2 things that will always happen no matter what.

Here are a few cheesy snapshots of our "home"

This is the view of our building from the outside. Although it is nothing fancy....I bask in the glory of seeing GREEN! Being stranded on a dry desert for 5 years makes one appreciate color ;)
 This is me posing in the kitchen upon our arrival. That door leads to the pantry my closet!

 Ryan in the "living room. I'm standing in the kitchen to take that photo -- to give you a frame of reference. there is a bathroom to the left of the bed. 

 And here is my stove! That tool is amazing, I can't believe I'd never heard of a hot plate until now!! Next to it is the tabbouleh salad I made for dinner tonight. Will accompany pork tenderloin. :-)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Greetings from San Antonio!

We made it! Our 2 day drive went considerably smoothly. I'm actually quite impressed how well I did with 14 hours of driving. (I don't do well sitting).

A word from the wise to anyone who may ever take a cross country trip across I-10? DO NOT STOP IN STOCKTON, TX. Although it was conveniently located on the 10, and had a decent selection of made me worry about the state of Texas. Finding a place to eat was, well, a challenge.

I could actually do a rant on our eating experience in Fort Stockton, Texas. But I'll hold my breath. But to give you a little vision....close your eyes, picture flies, food workers touching food with bare hands, and smelliness. Okay, there you have it!

Also, another tip! Be aware of the level of your gas tank while traveling through western Texas on a Sunday. It took 3 attempts to find an open gas station. It's Sunday, y'all. There's no place you should be on Sunday, except in the Lord's house! Mercy!

We had a challenge finding a gas station. 2 of the gas stations had cardboard signs on the door stating "closed Sunday". And the pumps didn't have credit card machines. What?!?! How else would you pay for anything except with a plastic card, says the child of the 90's ;) 

Only kidding. 

So here we are! This is an experience like I've never had. Not only am I many miles away from "home", but I'm living on a military base for the 1st time in my life. Also, not only am I living on a military base, but we are living in a hotel!

I am very comfortable that we are living on base. I feel very safe, and it's nice that everything you really need is there. I love having access to a nice gym and running track.

It's fun watching Ryan run off to class everything morning in his handsome military blues or his flight suit. I have to share a quick photo (he'd be so embarrassed that I'm doing this) -- but I find him too handsome not to share.

Last night we went out to dinner with a few of Ryan's classmates and one of the other spouses that is tagging along (like me) -- and it was fun to meet this group of people! It was a very fun night, which was a great prelude to knowing that it's going to a be a fun summer! Here's a picture of Ryan and I by the riverwalk.

Stay tuned and tomorrow I will give you the run-down on "Hotel Living 101" ;)