Let me tell you about the day we died and went to barbecue heaven of meaty goodness.
Once upon a time, there were two hungry hungry girls trekking from Houston to Austin across the expansive kingdom of Texas. They were advised to travel to the holy land of Lockhart for “The Best BBQ in Texas” by local members of the Manning clan.
The girls were driving and driving, and driving and driving. They passed through strange, surreal little towns and were offered many opportunities to indulge in lovely little establishments, namely, Gentlemen’s Clubs and Adult Toy Stores. At every turn there was one after another, crying out for attention with only the classiest of names! The favorite of these was called “The Landing Strip.”
Nevertheless, in the nature of true self restraint and pure dedication to the task at hand, the girls pushed through to this elusive Lockhart.
THERE IT WAS.
The skies parted and the sun shone down on this oasis of barbecue. The girls could hardly stand it as they approached their destination. It rose up from the industrial surroundings and towered over them, revealing itself as a massive mecca of BBQ.
Even before they took one step out of their vehicle, they could smell the true pure barbecue deliciousness awaiting them.
The girls entered the heralded establishment and were confronted with an enormous line throughout the entire interior to the entrance door.
Forty minutes ticked by as they inched closer to their reward, figuring out how much in weight of meaty goodness they would devour.
1/3 lb hot, juicy, tender, fall apart brisket
4 thick, slide off the bone, meaty, seasoned spare ribs
1 handcrafted sausage
(Beware: change in tone of writing because I’m just that excited about this place)
They don’t serve it with any sauce or forks, because the meat is just that good. And I’m the biggest condiment fiend in the world, so I was skeptical at first about no sauce.
But, no. Guys. You don’t even know.
Anyway, we eventually made it to Austin and had a great time the night we got in, celebrated the third of July at different bars: including the awesome
1. Key Bar 2. The Market, which had great music and was overlooking downtown on a rooftop 3. Summit, aka crazy nightlife to the extreme, and also rooftop.
We also saw some sweet fireworks on the actual 4th:
So, I ordered the Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX II Lens for my trip, and yes, it is glorious. And yes, I’m going to show it off in this post.
But first, can we talk about something for a second?
Trains are seriously an awesome way to travel up the state of Florida.
Who knew?! I certainly didn’t. But I figured it out real quick yesterday.
Sure, trains are great in general – you just sit back and relax while watching the landscape whip by.
Do you know what is really great? (Aside from going on inter-car adventures?)
That moment when you realize you’d normally have to endure this trip in your car, along with all the hundreds of other cars, all packed in two lanes, speeding and stopping, lurching forward then honking impatiently…
Wait for it…
There it is…
The realization you’re traveling WITHOUT TRAFFIC.
No more do you have incur the wretched wrath of road rage! No more must you lament over the accident gawkers causing an hour long jam on the highway. You are free!
I enjoyed this revelation thoroughly.
Anyway, happy successful first travel day for me! Deerfield –> Tampa with no hiccups 🙂
In addition to trains, the Tokina is quite great as well. In fact, it’s so great, that I do believe it takes home the win for “Which excited me more?”
It definitely can create crisp, well-exposed shots in low light conditions. And obviously it’s not the lens for selfies, as it will definitely have wide-angle distortion, but nonetheless, here are some shots I took before I left to showcase my newest addition to my camera gear family:
No, it’s not that big-foot sighting expedition. No, it’s not highway truck-stop strip clubs.
Alright, let’s say you’ve done your research, maybe found some great deals, and budgeted the following as expected:
– Accommodations (hotels, hostels, campsites, etc)
– Transportation (flights, rental car, gas, parking fees, etc)
– Food estimate (and of course drinks)
– Entertainment (live music/shows, state parks/nature, museums/culture, etc)
– Some spending money set aside (souvenirs, gifts, whatever suits your fancy)
These are all generally normal expenses you’d plan for with an upcoming trip.
But wait. THERE’S MORE.
What about all that stuff you need/want for your trip that you have to purchase before you leave?
Impulse buying for a trip/buying out of perceived necessity is a real thing. A very real thing.
It’s such a real thing that it’s more real than my leftover bank account. (Exaggeration or not? You’ll never know.)
I ran into this occurrence before my last adventure with Cait too. We were going on a cruise over our last ever Spring Break to Key West and Mexico. And what do you need for a tropical cruise? Cruise attire! I swear I spent countless hours and dollars finally replacing the bikinis and beach clothes I’ve been wearing to death since ’09.
Yeah, okay, you probably have shoes that aren’t that worn out. And yes, you have that bottle of shampoo that’s not that empty. And sure, you have a camera lens that’s good, but are all of these what you and this trip need?
One correct response to this notion is “Why yes, I indubitably need new proper attire for my travels! Thank you kindly, Miss Ferris!”
Also acceptable is “Damn, you’re right. Good thing Walmart’s open 24 hours.”
Nevertheless, whatever the case may be, here’s what some of our prep expenses have been for this trip, before our trip even starts:
Data usage unless you are the almighty chosen one with unlimited data (like Cait), time to suck it up and pay the overages (like Shanna)…because add-ons are just as much
Batteries not just run-of-the-mill AA batteries, although those add up too, but also a back up camera battery, rechargeable batteries for my external camera flash, and the rechargeable battery charger
Car power inverter
okay, I can’t even complain about this one because it’s seriously freaking awesome. 2 110V “wall” outlets, 1 USB port, another cigarette lighter – all together in a neat little console that fits in your cupholder and charges all your devices! nevertheless, another expense
Car maintenance and accessories like a windshield visor for the forsaken desert heat stroke-inducing land of Southwest America. oh yeah, and maintenance so your car doesn’t spontaneously combust there either
New/appropriate clothes I have this terrible little habit of being fine with what 4+ year old things I own, until the last minute when I realize I’m going to be photographed every day of this trip
New/appropriate shoes see reasoning for no. 5, coupled with the fact that my go-to shoes just broke last week
New/appropriate camera lens since you need the right lens for a road trip, or any traveling in general really
because you need food before you get to the real food source
Water/drinks to hydrate or not to hydrate? that’s never a question
Toiletries why buy? ain’t nobody got room or upper-body strength for full size toiletries
Atlas the physical kind of map, not the kind that will disappear as soon as you’re out of network coverage
Emergency kit including, but not limited to: first-aid everything, mace/wasp spray, flashlight (not the app), pocket knife, etc
External hard drive (another) I just take that many photos
Business cards just do it
Blank CDs does your car have aux cord capabilities? ours doesn’t! so we’re rockin it old school style with burning custom CD mixes
Essentially, it’s those things you mentally write off individually, but together they really add up and get ya. ie: buying or re-buying of mundane items, but in slightly different forms to fit your travels.
I’m not even going to tell you how much all the above added up to be.
Hopefully this will better prepare you all for the ever-beckoning trip-prep purchases (say that 10x fast), or at least get you thinking about unaccounted for costs!
Another expense catch you by surprise that we all should know about? Share it in a comment!