I wanted to share with you a little story from our last day in Austin. There we were, calling all around, trying to get in a last minute oil change for Maude before hitting the road toward New Mexico. At one RV service spot we were quoted at $425 minimum. At another, $120 just for labor. We called a few Jiffy Lube's after getting a secret tip that because Maude had a baby body, and a Mercedes Diesel engine, they should be able to do it. Three different Jiffy Lube's said no, but there was definitely a pause beforehand. Like "ehhhhhh we can, but we'd rather not byeeeeee". We really just needed a simple RV oil change.
And then we tried one last time, a Jiffy Lube in South Austin, located on Stassney Lane and I-35 South. A woman answers the phone. I ask, hope dripping through the mouthpiece, if they'd do it. She said hold on, and asked someone in the background. A man's voice came through, and asked the height of the RV. We said 11ft just to be safe. His response, "If it doesn't fit in the bay, I'll change the oil outside. Bring her in!"
It's amazing to me that customer service like this still exists. Roy Rodriguez and the crew from Jiffy Lube #3036 were absolutely phenomenal. Turns out Maude is a bit big on top and didn't fit in the bay. Roy said no problem, he'd do it outside. Then he proceed to drive to the Auto Zone down the street to get an oil pan they didn't have in shop. We were in shock at how helpful he was, but even more so, he didn't make us feel like a bother at all. He even said that it reminded him of changing oil way back when and he had fun.
We're writing this to you from New Mexico, where we arrived safely after an 8-hour trek. Stories like these need to be shared, not only to honor the kindness that still frequents our every day lives, but also to remind us that there are still people out there who go the extra mile just because it's the right thing to do. Thank you so very much to Roy Rodriguez and the crew at #3036. The Roamans will forever be Jiffy Lube customers because of this experience.
We've spent a lot of time in Austin, as of late, which means we've become well-versed in the local vegan fare, particularly the burger selection. Nothing makes us happier than a plant-based burger that hits all the right flavor notes and textures. So, we searched high and low and finally found the best vegan burger in Austin, Texas.
There were some worthy contenders, however. But there were also some disappointments. Vegan spots that we had heard such great things about that unfortunately, fell short. So here it is, our comprehensive list, for you to feast your eyes and possibly your stomachs on.
5. Counter Culture
We ordered The Beet Mushroom Walnut burger at Counter Culture, which is right off of East Caesar Chavez. First let me preface by saying this all vegan restaurant got rave reviews online. The ambiance is great, with outdoor seating and a boho-style setup. Yet, for us, the burger did disappoint. As far as flavor is concerned, we appreciated the richness of the mushrooms, the soft notes of walnut, and the meaty texture of the ground beets. However, the burger was a mess, and probably could've been called a Sloppy Joe instead. Also worth noting, the burger's accompanying side of raw pickled veggies did taste a bit like shampoo.
4. Hot Dang
We got a tip from our friend Sara about a delicious burger locally made, that can be found in most natural grocery stores in Austin. The company is called Hot Dang, which is basically what we exclaimed when we heard the news. So, we ended up at Wheatsville Co-op, and found a few different Hot Dang choices, which included a southwest-style, an Italian-style, and more. However, the only vegan option was the original. Texturally, the burger was nutty, grainy, and delightful. Flavor-wise, there was a bit left to be desired. While the burger tasted healthy, and without preservatives or additives, it was still missing something. Maybe we just needed to deck it out a bit more with some vegan cheese and veggies.
3. H12 Cafe Food Truck
This was a very unique burger in comparison to the rest. We stumbled upon H12 coming back from Pedernales and had to stop. The outdoor cafe/food truck is adorable with random mismatching furniture, string lights, and hanging succulent planters. We ordered the veggie burger with accompanying waffle fries, which were outstanding, by the way. The burger had an earthy-flavor which may have been attributed to the crimini mushrooms or the turmeric, which gave it a nice yellow hue. There wasn't any sauce, which did make the burger seem a bit dry, however the flavor stood out on its own. We both said we would go back for the waffle fries, as well as the free rain water that they collect on-site, which tastes snowfall.
2. Bouldin Creek Cafe
This has been one of our go-to stops for vegan food in Austin. It's such a different vibe, with delicious food and an eco-friendly mission. The Veggie Royale burger is outstanding. The sauce, which I chose from three options, was a savory BBQ, so creamy and delicious. The burger itself is meaty and thick, and holds together so well. Paired with the locally grown tomatoes, the jalapeños and vegan cheddar (extra) made this burger absolutely delectable.
1. Arlo's Food Truck
This vegan burger changed our lives. We're not joking. Everyone in Austin needs to try this. If ever there was one meat alternative to save the lives of cows as well as satisfy meat-eaters across the globe, this is it. Bold statement, but entirely accurate. We got the Bac'n Cheeze Burger and almost died at how delicious it was. The house made soy patty was cooked to the perfect crispness, and held all the right flavor inside. The cheese melted on top, plus the lettuce, tomato, pickle, and "mayo" made this burger taste damn near like the real thing. Make sure you get the tater tots, too. So much yum.
So there you have it! The best vegan burger in Austin. Who's hungry?!
There are a few things in Texas that we still want to see before we take off, and Hill Country certainly topped the list. We had been through before already, but never made any stops to enjoy our surroundings. Until just a few days ago. As part of our non-traditional Valentine's Day celebration, we decided to cut out from all the Austin commotion, and take some time to get back into nature. After doing some research, we landed on Pedernales Falls State Park.
Although coming in at over 5,000 acres, this park is not on everybody's radar. It takes a bit of a trek to get to it, so much so that cell reception was few and far between. We decided to stay two nights in a water + 30 amp electric spot, which was $20/night. Seemed reasonable enough, until we discovered that you need to pay the entrance fee EVERY DAY YOU'RE THERE. $5 per person everyday, regardless of whether or not your entered the park only once! Seemed a bit ridiculous to us. So the $20/night quickly became $30/night and that really had our gears grinding. I know for a fact that McKinney Falls requires the entrance fee only on the day you enter. Makes sense, right?
Some highlights though (which really were everything else besides the $$$) included the beautiful camping spaces which were all being renovated, the amazing hiking trails, and of course the waterfalls. Our camp host Dwight was an absolute delight, and made the experience even better. We actually almost left the first night, due to our camp neighbors across the way BLASTING Ed Sheeran, but not like a mix of his best songs, just one album....the old album....on repeat for the whole night until quiet time. The next day, we woke up to have coffee and swing in our hammock and we hear "so what do you want to listen to? More Ed Sheeran?" We almost died. (It's worth it to note that this incident corresponded with Ed Sheeran's birthday, which we too laughed uncontrollably after finding out).
All in all, I would recommend this park. Very family-friendly, the deer roam free and unafraid, the water is wonderfully refreshing, and the views are insane. We are absolutely coming back during the warmer months so we can swim without abandon. Take a look at some of the highlights from our trip.
Yes, Vanessa jumped in the 50 degree water. Yes, I only dipped my toes.
It was a win-win for each of us.
We've been wrapping things up in Austin lately, and although bittersweet, we're so excited for what's to come next in our RV travel adventure. We're tempted to call it a road trip, because essentially that's what we're doing, one long continuous road trip. However, at the same time, it's not. We've changed our lifestyle to become full-time nomads, so there isn't much of an end-date in our future. It's an ongoing wayfaring expedition without a final chapter...
(Note: If you ever want to see steam come out of Vanessa's ears, call what we're doing a road trip).
So....the next stop on our wanderlusting voyage is....New Mexico!!
We've been before briefly, if you remember our photos from White Sands National Monument. But this time around, we're spending an extended period of time traveling through the state. We came up with a list of things we really want to do in New Mexico. Things people have recommended, things we've seen, things we've researched. This tentative road map will only serve as a guide for us. One thing Vanessa and I made sure of when we chose this lifestyle, was that we would have the opportunities to stop and go as we please. To live more nomadic and explore as we wish, with no serious time constraints in our way. But, with that said, we do like to have a general idea of the direction we're going.
So, without further ado....this is our tentative map to travel throughout New Mexico:
A few notable destinations in New Mexico that undoubtedly made the list were:
The Blue Hole in Santa Rosa
Bandelier National Monument
Tent Rocks National Park
Valles Caldera National Preserve
Bosque Del Apache
Gila Cliff Dwellings
We want to take our time, stretch the trip out for a few weeks, and see how much we can get done without rushing the process. We don't want to be scrambling around when we're trying to enjoy the country. We don't want to check things off a list quickly, but rather immerse ourselves and absorb what we can in due time.
We're unsure if we're going to save Taos for Springtime/Summer. We might just decide at the last minute to cruise on up. We're also hoping to end up in Horseshoe Bend, Arizona, before trekking south toward San Diego.
We want to hear from YOU! Any recommendations for our journey? Any particular stops you'd suggest we make? We've gotten some really great tips on Instagram for our upcoming journey and would love to hear more.
See you on the road!
If you haven't already noticed, Vanessa and I enjoy a more bohemian, minimalist decor. We wanted the inside of Maude to be a Bohemia on wheels, if you will. Our own paradise, that combines both style and functionality. This is why, when we were searching for pillows to add a bit of character to our repurposed couch, we were ecstatic to come across Sophie's Bazaar.
We absolutely fell in love with this brand. The pillow covers, decorative poufs, and Kilim rugs are imported from Turkey, and showcase a beautiful vintage style, with uniquely colorful prints and patterns. We had a heck is of a time only choosing one. But eventually settled on this little number:
As you can see, the pillow just added this bout of color, that isn't overpowering or distracting from the rest. It's as if the pillow knew it was home, and just cozied right on in.
The online store has an eclectic array of pillow covers, decorative rugs, and mosaic lamps that appeal to everyone's inner-boho spirit. These one-of-a-kind pieces are constantly rotating, and carefully curated by Sophie herself. What was most appealing to us about Sophie's Bazaar is that it blended modern sophistication with a superior hippie vibe.
Okay, now here's the really cool part...if you're in California, Sophie's Bazaar is touring your state this March. She'll be featuring her Kilim rugs and other decorative pieces, and you have the opportunity to get a front row seat. All you need to do, is host a rug party and gather your friends and family, and Sophie will come to you!
For those of you who aren't in California, you can still shop online and save some $$$. Simply use the coupon code: welcome10 for 10% off your entire order.
A huge thank you to Sophie's Bazaar. We look forward to hosting our own Kilim rug party on the road, in the near future.
Happy Shopping, everyone!!
Please note: We were not financially compensated for this post. We received a sample for review purposes. However, the opinions are completely our own based on our personal experiences with the products. We only choose to review products and brands that we love.
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Marisa & Vanessa have a whole "About Us" blurb that they are dying for you to check out.