Thanksgiving week this year, me, my Dude and Miss E went on a road trip. It was not a very long one by our standards but it added another state to our repertoire of visited states. Now the only ones left to visit are Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska and Hawaii. I fully expect to visit each one of these in the next couple of years except for Hawaii. That one’s a little out of the way to visit via road trip.
We left Central Texas before dawn Friday morning and got tangled up in the mass of humanity taking the day trip to New Orleans for the LSU/Texas A&M game. It was so bad that we had to take a detour up into Baton Rouge to evade the bumper to bumper traffic. Once clear of that, our next stop was Pensacola, Florida. We arrived at night so there was not much to actually see. We did go out for a bite to eat and found the requisite book store where we shot a pretty big wad.
When we left Sunday morning I was super impressed at the cleanliness of the city. And this sign:
The skies were clear and everything was beautiful. A gorgeous day for a drive.
At Mobile Bay, we hopped off the interstate and on US 90, otherwise known at the Old Spanish Trail. The OST connects the old Spanish colonial towns of St. Augustine, Florida on the Atlantic coast and San Diego, California on the Pacific. Sounds to me like the southern version of Route 66 but this road was not made by connecting existing roads. It was an entirely new road from east to west.
On the west side of Mobile Bay, we stopped at the USS Battleship Alabama Memorial Park. We were going to take the tour of the USS Alabama but the fees were too much so we just satisfied ourselves in walking around and checking out all the cool looking military machines they had on display.
After this we continued west through Gulfport, Mississippi. Even though it has been eight years since Hurricane Katrina roared through, there’s still a lot of evidence of her mark upon the city. Empty lots. Barren foundations. Half-broken piers that go nowhere. I just can not imagine what it looked like after she came through but I’m glad to see that things have drastically improved.
When we reached New Orleans, so did the rain and clouds from the west. Winter Storm Boreas, when we left Pensacola, left Texas for points eastward and we met each other in New Orleans. Our hotel was a couple of blocks away from Canal and Bourbon Streets and for three days we expected to walk around and take in all the sights and sounds but Boreas scoffed at our feeble minded plans and gave us raw misty weather instead. I was bummed but not terribly upset because we were lucky. That storm was a really nasty mix of snow, sleet, rain and wind in other parts of the country.
All was not for naught though. Two mornings we ate breakfast at an excellent corner cafe, Majoria’s Commerce Restaurant and drank their even more excellent coffee. Another afternoon we went over to Jackson Square and visited Cafe du Monde where we had some beignets and hot chocolate.
When we left Wednesday morning, of course the sun was out and not a cloud was in the sky. We took the causeway over Lake Pontchartrain where the cold north wind whipped the water into white caps and when we got back on dry land, my soul felt immediately restored. The north side of the lake is heavily wooded and beautiful, a far cry from the south side which is all city and urban landscape.
I could not help but sing the beginning of the Thanksgiving poem “Over the river and through the woods, to Grandfather’s house we go” as we headed back home to spend Thanksgiving Day with the family.
Hope you enjoyed the trip. Take care now.