Like everyone else we had to lock down and social distance.  For us that meant spending our days within 164 sq. feet.  We know that because we were so bored one day we measured.   So when our son Austin invited us to meet him in Arizona, we put a four day driving route together that had us stopping in ‘friendly’ states.  Georgia, Florida, Texas and Arizona were all starting to open.  Armed with Clorox wipes and an ice chest filled with food and adult beverages we took off and had an easy four day drive out.  Light traffic, clean nearly empty hotels and friendly people.  Well except for the masked lady in the elevator whose eyes filled with terror when the door opened and she saw us ready to get in.  We graciously waited for the next one.     

Arizona was just opening up restaurants when we arrived so after 65 days of cooking we enjoyed our first meal out.  But I honestly enjoyed our dinners in, Austin is a really good cook as are several of his friends.  The house we rented was filled nightly with his college friends; a really great group of young adults we enjoyed talking with.  Our pup, Oakley still remembers us each time we see her though we know she is slowing down now at 11 years old.  

Oakley getting some loving from her Dad

Austin cooking up dinner for a crowd

All too soon we were saying goodbye to Austin, Nicki and the pups.  Since the lower states continued opening up, we took a more leisurely trip back.  Our first stop was Las Cruces, New Mexico.  Ok so they weren’t open.  After booking a one night stop at an AirBnb, I read that out-of-state people were banned from hotels and short term rentals by the Governor.  Not subject to quarantine but actually banned.  I was pretty sure I booked a place in New Mexico and not Mexico but I checked the reservations just in case.  Luckily, as with most AirBnb’s, you let yourself in so there was no one to ask any questions.  We did venture out to the downtown area, which was totally closed as expected.  

We had a cute little AirBnb in Las Cruces. We cooked up some pasta and used up the excellent bolognas Austin made in Arizona.

The next morning we left New Mexico in our rear view mirror and headed into Texas.  Our first stop there was the town of Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country.  In keeping with their German roots they had several good German restaurants, lots of wineries and a nice downtown area that was hopping when we were there.  The merchants and restaurant staff were all so grateful to be open and back working.  

We had a nice porch on our cabin in Fredericksburg overlooking the horses and goats on the property. Gary had his first Texas Lone Star.

After several days, we headed off for a week to a town with the cool name of Dripping Springs.  Also in the Texas Hill Country it is about 20 miles from the city of Austin.  We had a secluded cabin surrounded by wineries, brew pubs and distilleries.  The city of Austin still had not fully opened up so we couldn’t explore like we wanted.  We did walk the trails around Lady Bird Lake, which runs right through the city.  Lots of people out and about, with many paddle boards and kayaks on the lake.  The Dripping Springs area reminded us of the Sierra Foothills in California.  If you like visiting wineries, I highly recommend this area. 

12 Fox Beer had just opened and were celebrating their first year anniversary. All outdoor seating and it was packed. Owned by veterans.

Texas size T-bone steaks grilled up by Gary.  For the record, his was bigger than mine.

After several days of Texas sized BBQ, Gary grilled us up a seafood medley with veggies.

We did get to the famous Salt Lick BBQ but due to Covid-19 restrictions and getting attacked by flies while eating, the pictures sucked. So here is proof we were there.

We loved the cabin in Dripping Springs. Anything over 164 square feet is large to us and we had our own washer and dryer.  Score!

Not a full size refrigerator but bigger than ours!

Lady Bird Lake, Austin Texas

We hiked up Mount Bonnell, which is in Covert Park in Austin, Texas.

Our third stop in Texas was in the Galveston area.  Loved their old town but unfortunately we were rained out so we didn’t get a single picture.  The last stop was an overnight in Pensacola Florida, a town we’ve visited before. 

So whats next?  We had hoped that Virginia and Maryland would be open by the time we returned so we could continue with our original plans of spending the summer cruising the Chesapeake Bay.  We also had plans to cruise up the Potomac River and spend time touring Washington DC.  While we enjoy being on the water, our main goal of traveling is to explore the towns we encounter along the way.  Obviously the timing is not right for the Chesapeake area so moving via water is on hold.   But Georgia is open so we may hit the road and explore the north western portion and the Great Smokey Mountains.  Cruising has taught us to aways have a backup plan.

Solaro Estate Winery in Dripping Springs. The owners very knowledgable 20 something daughter gave us our wine tasting. They were ready to bottle when Covid-19 hit in March and couldn’t bring on help. They ended up bottling with only 5 people.

This isn’t where we wanted to spend hurricane season, however, the sunsets at Brunswick Landing Marina never disappoint.