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  • Writer's pictureNgoc X Doan

Taking a Break from Driving to Spend Time with Family in Texas

Updated: May 21, 2020

This past week, we took a break from living in our tiny home. Instead, we spent time with my cousins in Dallas and Houston. Home is family. Don’t worry, we still have tiny home stories for y’all!

Map of Week 3 - We didn't make it that far...

Common Questions: Do you guys cook or where do you cook or can you cook or have you guys cooked yet?

We have been eating out every meal since we began our trip. There are too many delicious restaurants to try along our path or Mark planned it so that we would hit up all of these local restaurants! And yes, we can cook. We just have cook outside of our trailer since we have a butane burner. We will start cooking when we camp at National Parks with warmer weather. This past November, when we were in Italy, we bought porcini mushrooms and dried pasta back to the US with us so that we could use it to make our first tinyHome cooked meal. I can't wait to see how it turns out!

Our home likes to hide behind shrubs and trees.

Week 3 - Highlights

1. We spent time with family. Nothing is better than catching up and eating delicious food with my role models and their beautiful families. They’re my cousins, but they always treat me as if I’m their sister. They fed me with so much good food. In our family, food equals love. I’m really going to miss them. If only Dallas and Boston were closer...

2. We babysat our cousin's daughter, Callie. She is the cutest!

3. We rode our bikes along the Buffalo Bayou Park in Houston and played spikeball with some locals! We lucked out because they were missing two players. Also...I was trying to be careful to not aggravate my sprained ankles, I ended up walking away with new fingers injuries...I just have to start using my left hand now. Whoops.

4. We stayed in a hotel for 3 nights and it was a luxury! Kindly sponsored by my cousins, Viet & Tina! I know, we are spoiled...

Week 3 - tinyHome Lifestyle

1. We have to plan ahead when we do our laundry. Luckily, we were able use the laundry machines at my cousin's house this week. We now have fresh clothes to last us for a few more days before we need to bust out our laundry machine! Stay tuned. I’m also looking forward to using it, although feeling a little nervous about doing laundry in our tinyHome. We’ll have to wait for a hot and sunny day to hang dry everything!

2. We forgot about our portable fridge. In order to charge the battery in our trailer, we either have to run an extension cord from the trailer to a wall outlet somewhere or the back of our truck while we're driving. Since we were not driving long distances, our 12V battery was running low on power on the last day in Houston. We needed to drive around to charge the fridge. Luckily, it's still working fine! Just another thing that we have to be mindful of.

3. We have a backup gas can in case we need it. We planned our fill-ups to optimize driving range.

Week 3 - Most Memorable Restaurants

1. Thien Thanh in Houston, TX

Their steamed rice rolls with BBQ pork (Banh cuon thit nuong) tasted amazing with their fish sauce. It was so good that we ordered a second plate. Cash only.

2. Banana Leaf in Houston, TX

We really miss roti canai from the UK. This restaurant was one of the few places we found that offered it on their menu and it was fairly inexpensive as well.

3. Killen’s BBQ in Houston, TX

Another delicious BBQ joint. We had beef rib, pork belly burnt ends, Waygu brisket, pulled pork, corn pudding, and bread pudding. Everything was delicious! The brisket is however not as good at Lewis BBQ, but it could just be that the cut we had was leaner.

4. Pho Binh in Houston, TX

Their specialty is dry pho. It did not disappoint. The dish came with soup on the side and it was like concentrated pho broth. It tasted like home.

Week 3 - Top Desserts

1. Sul & Beans in Dallas, TX

We had their mango bingsu. They gave us a small cup of milky syrup to add more flavor. We liked it better than Snowy Village.

2. 7 Leaves Cafe in Dallas and Houston, TX

We ordered almost everything on their menu over a number of different visits. They were all delicious. They're known for their Vietnamese coffee drinks and mung bean milk tea. Mark's favorites were their house coffee and Thai iced tea, but he still thinks Gong Cha's milk tea is better.

3. Eck Bakery in Houston, TX

Their specialty is egg tart. We asked for the ones fresh out of the oven. They were still warm and very tasty. They remind us of the egg tarts we had in Hong Kong. They cost $1.25 each and sell a dozen for $15. There’s no discount, but most people probably don’t notice…

Week 3 - Top Landscape Locations

1. Buffalo Bayou Park in Houston, TX

A beautiful, windy, green park with beautiful view of Houston's skyline. New landscape architecture design by SWA.

2. Cima Club in Las Colinas, TX

My cousin Viet and Tina took us to the Cima Club in Irving for dinner. It was the most fancy dinner we had on the trip! The view was amazing! This reminds me of our time in Europe when we would try to get free access to top floors of buildings to look at the city from above. This was a perfect last dinner in Dallas.

Week 3 - Random Tidbits

1. A curious staff member from Buc-ee’s approached our trailer while we were eating our snacks, trying to see what we were up to.

2. We have a hard time navigating in Houston’s complicated roads.

3. We saw a couple's proposal at the Gerald Hines Water park.

4. I think this tree grate detail is nice. It allows the trees to grow and can be easily replaced once the trees grow bigger in size.

5. I love seeing orange trees in the south.

6. Texas truck vs Massachusetts truck.

7. Traffic from Dallas to Houston. Thanks to Google Maps, we managed to avoid it!

8. First time seeing many lanes on Google Map. Yikes, our dash is dusty...

This is a wrap for week 3! It was so great not having to worry about finding sleeping locations, internet, or power sources, since we were staying at my cousins' homes and hotel. Now, we are back on the grind. We need to start planning for the next few weeks. Austin, we are coming! Or more accurately, Franklin BBQ, we are coming!

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