Buenos Journey West by Kelly Garcia



If you have ever been out to west Texas, you know. The sky goes on forever and like the sea, you can't tell where the earth stops and the sky begins. You can see the shadow of every bird that soars between you and the sun. There are hot springs, cold springs, snakes, tacos, cacti, sand dunes, bears, mountains, cold rivers and swift shifting skies. Shaking out your boots is a routine part of every morning and you'll need a bandana handy for the next sand storm. It's a magical land where tumbleweed roams and you can see the start and end of a rainbow.  I could go on forever with details, but you just don't know until you go.

This whole adventure came about because my husband Seth booked a few guitar gigs in Texas. We are both from Texas now living in Tennessee so of course I invited myself along on his trip back home. It had been around two years since I had visited my favorite place on earth and that's unacceptable. I blocked out a few days to be in Houston with family before and after the journey west and starting looking at which destinations I could hit within 8 days. So many places, so little time! I wanted to hit a few new places and still reserve time to revisit some golden oldies. Once I had a rough idea of what I was going to do, I invited my sister Brandi to join me. We've been out west a handful of times, but never just the two of us. I warned her that is was a camping trip and my two person tent meant that we would be sleeping shoulder to shoulder. Brandi is constantly traveling (check out her blog here), so I fully expected her to say she was already going to be out of town or she needed time to rest between trips, especially with only three weeks notice! But she didn't. She was down for the 8 day journey west. 

The plan was as follows:

Sunday 3.5.17 .......... Houston --> Balmorhea State Park
Monday 3.6.17.......... Balmorhea --> White Sands, New Mexico
Tuesday 3.7.17.......... White Sands, New Mexico
Wednesday 3.7.17.......... White Sands, New Mexico --> Marfa, Texas
Thursday 3.7.17.......... Marfa, Texas --> Terlingua, Texas
Friday 3.8.17.......... Terlingua/Big Bend
Saturday 3.9.17.......... Terlingua/Big Bend
Sunday Terlingua --> Houston, Texas

But as things usually go, the plan went out the window due to some unfortunate events that took place during our first night in Balmorhea. Stay tuned for the full story and for our actual whacky west Texas route that spontaneously developed! 

In the meantime, check out Brandi's blog post about my desert hairdo, the triple braid.

Camping With Stolen Rum by Kelly Garcia

OOoooo lordy, I love a dang cocktail. I used to go for wine or whiskey on the rocks only, but for the past two years, I've been on a solid experimental beverage kick. My good pal, Reuben Bidez, is always making my next favorite cocktail, so I'm always trying to pick up tips and tricks from him. 

I've never really ventured too far into the world of rum. I blame my senior year cruise to the Caribbean. With that regrettable blur more than a decade behind me, i've been a little braver. I had Reu help me whip up a few different cocktails using Stolen Smoked Rum one night. It has a interesting smokey and mildly chocolate taste, so we experimented with two fruity cocktails and one smokey. I enjoyed all of them!   

Eager to relax the week off and recreate what I just learned, I packed a bag, and Seth and I headed away from the noise of the city. Of course he brought his guitar. He even brought his guitar on our Honeymoon. He played us some tunes and I shook up some yummy drinks.  If you want to give this smokey rum a shot, they have a few starter recipes at

I'm curious, do you like rum? if so, please share some recipes with me! I'm always looking for something new to whip up.