Sunday, 6 July 2008

21/06/2008 - /07/2008 - New Orleans and Texas

21/06/2008 - Biloxi, Mississippi - On our way over to New Orleans, Louisiana we drove through the town of Biloxi. Hurricane Katrina has certainly left it's mark on the casino town of Biloxi, however many of the Casinos have been rebuilt. The rebuilt Beau Rivage is king of the strip, it is to Biloxi what the Bellagio is to Las Vegas. And yes - I'm sure many of you will be surprised we did just drive through, no gambling and yes it did hurt.

Unfortunately there has been some schedule changes and Desrae and Steve are not going to be able to meet us in New Orleans.

21/06/2008 - 24/06/2008 - New Orleans - Louisiana. We really didn't know what to expect to see in New Orleans. Because of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina a lot of people have told us to give New Orleans a miss. But boy are we glad that we didn't listen to them, we just wished we had more time. We stayed in a terrific RV Park only a few blocks away from the French Quarters. The RV park was not in the safest area but the 24hour security in and around the park made us feel very safe. In fact one of the staff from the RV park would drive us (in a golf cart) within a block of the French Quarters when we needed to head out and they would also pick you up from the drop off point 24 hours a day. We started our day off at the Cafe Du Monde famous for it's coffee and beignets (similar to a doughnut without the whole). We then had a bit of a wander and shop around the French Market. From here we walked along the Mississippi and then hopped on a horse drawn carriage for a bit of a tour (this was a bit disappointing as we expected to hear a bit more of history of the area). We were getting a bit thirsty by now so we decided to incorporate a bit of history whilst quenching our thirst. First stop the oldest bar in the US - Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop. From here we headed down Bourbon St (with a plan to going home, freshening up and heading back in for a nice dinner and some live music at a few of the local hot spots) - well of course that was the plan. As we were walking down Bourbon St we decided to stop in at The Big Easy bar for another quick drink - well, one drink lead to another which lead to another,which - you get the picture. It really was amazing to just sit there and watch the people come in get a drink then head on back out onto the streets. It is illegal to have a glass liquor containers in the streets so all the bars dispense plastic 'go cups' to take out into the street and wander. The Big Easy bar had approx 20 pre-mixed frozen cocktails all set-up, these drinks are served in either 16oz or 20oz cups and cost from $9 - $12. Apparently Bourbon St and all the bars start to fill up by 10:00pm. Unfortunately (one of us - who happens to be over 6 ft tall) had the wobbly boot on, and I wasn't able to keep him upright. So we tried to have that meal (as originally planned), but after the entree that was all the sitting down that the Big Fella could handle so we decided to call it a night - it's only 7:00pm. As we were getting out of the Taxi the Big Fella thought he had lost his sunglasses, but to his surprise they were actually on his face over his eyes, not even just sitting on his head. We really had a great day and wished that we had more time to keep exploring New Orleans. The French Quarters area was exactly like I had pictured - we really did enjoy our taste of New Orleans.

25/06/2008 - 27/0/2008 - Fort Worth, Texas. We arrived in Fort Worth the night before the girls competition. It really is an interesting competition, each competitor's name is drawn out of a hat, then a horse's name is drawn out of a hat and that's the pairing. It appears to us as if a lot relies on the luck of the draw of which horse a competitor draws, at least everyone is in the same boat. Each competitor than gets 2 x 1/2 hour practice runs on their chosen horse. Lisa had her 1st practice session the night before the competition and all went really well. Unfortunately, Bec was unable to get a ride on her horse as the horse was still competing. So Bec had her 2 practice sessions before the competition started - Lisa also had her final practice before the comp started. Both the girls looked absolutely gorgeous all dressed up in their riding gear. Lisa was the first of the girls to go into the rink, unfortunately for Lisa the horse she was riding played up. Lisa handled the tantrums of the horse really well and placed 7th. Bec had a great ride and it was any one's race for the top 3 position - Bec placed a really well earned 3rd. Dave and I were both really happy and proud to see the girls compete.

27/06/2008 -29/06/2008 - San Antonio, Texas. Desrae and Steve joined Dave and I and we headed off to San Antonio. The first night we headed into San Antonio for dinner and a beautiful river boat ride. All along the banks of the river are restaurants and hotels - my kind of town.
The next day we headed back into downtown to visit the Alamo. On the way to the Alamo we watched a Street Rodeo. This was the first time that I had witnessed a Live Rodeo- it really gets the heart pumping.

Dave really enjoyed visiting the Alamo - it was one of items on our list of must sees. It was interesting hearing about the real history of the Alamo. From here we headed back down to the river area for lunch. We went to a place called Landry's for some fabulous seafood and wonderful cocktails.
Unfortunately the time went too quick and it was time to head back to Fort Worth to catch up with the girls on the way back we stopped off at the outlet shops at San Marco - recently voted the 3rd best place to shop in the world. Unfortunately we didn't have a lot of time. As much as I don't like shopping I would still like to go back and do a bit more.
30/06/2008 - 03/07/2008 - Fort Worth / Dallas, Texas. Well it's not long before we head home for a few months, so we have been trying to get everything organised before we leave. We have found a nice safe place to store Stubbie and we are just trying to work out exactly what needs to be done to store her for the time we are away . We've been to the championships a few times to watch a few events and catch up with the girls.

Desrae, Steve, Dave and myself all took a trip into Dallas for a day to see the spot where JFK was shot. It was quite interesting learning the history and hearing some of the conspiracy theories of who shot JFK. With Desrae's insistence Steve, Dave and I trudged along to Pioneer Park to see some art work - to our surprise this has been one of the best city sculptures that we have seen, so Desrae after all out whinging etc it was worth the trek. Dave and I had been craving a good steak for awhile so after back tracking from where we started we finally found a place which served exactly that, it was a German Steak house. Steve needed to leave Fort Worth a week earlier than the rest of us to get back to work.
04/07/08 - 08/07/08 - Desrae being a great host took us to a full Rodeo in Dallas. Whilst this wasn't as big as normal - due to the fact that it was on the 4th July, Dave liked to tell everybody that Texas was putting on the fireworks for his birthday. We had a great night, a couple of the highlights was watching Cowboy Poker - this is like a game of Chicken except the Cowboys try to stay seated whilst a Bull is let loose into the arena, the last one seated is the winner. We also got another laugh out of watching the children try to ride the sheep, they come out of the same stalls as the Bull and Bronco Riders. The evening of the 5th of July was the last night of the World Paint Horse Show, we had a great night just watching all the final events and demonstrations. After the show the team and supporters all went to a Cajun Restaurant.
The night before Desrae and the girls had to leave we all went to 'Hooters' for dinner. This is were Dave finally found out that Light Beer isn't light in alcohol content - it's light in Carbs. Luckily he found out after the first couple of beers - so there was no need to spend the night in the carpark at Hooters.
It was to say goodbye to Stubbie, however we are looking forward to catching up with everyone.