Sunday, November 3, 2013

New Orleans to End of the Trail for Awhile

Tuesday we took a Hop On Hop Off tour of New Orleans. It was a 2 hour round trip covering all areas of the city, Garden District, French Quarter. Interesting history that NO was such a divided city based on being French or American*.   Lots of old houses, most of them not very impressive. I don't think it comes close in comparison to what I've seen in San Antonio or Galveston -- or many other places. We visited the oldest cemetery in the city which was interesting. 

Where Nicholas Cage will be buried

John and I love their Dirty Rice

Mardi Gras beads on power wires
Along parade route they are hanging from trees,
post, balconies

There is total Saints fever in this town

The Might Mississippi River

Warehouse where they make the parade floats

So many beautiful cast iron porch railings

Clubs, clubs and more clubs
Music is everywhere - street, corners & parks

St. Louis Cathedral
Rebuilt after a hurricane,a  fire, expanded
Quite a history for this most photographed site
in New Orleans

Walked down on Frenchmen Street for dinner and had Creole/ Cajun food. We had shrimp etouffee as an appetizer just to try and it was tasty. I had fried shrimp with side of macaroni and cheese (good) and John had jambalaya. We both had greens and they were pretty darn spicy, along with corn bread. I find it so odd that people in the South eat macaroni and cheese as a side dish even a required dish at Thanksgiving. Mac and cheese, to me, is a separate meal. Just a regional thing I guess. Walked back along the clubs and there was lots of music all over. We were too full and tired to even think about having a drink.

The Praline Connection

Wednesday we drove out of NO to see the Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie, LA. The home was built from 1837- 1839. The most amazing feature of this property were the oak trees in front of the plantation for a quarter mile - the trees were 300 years old. 

Sugarcane - something we'd never seen

Close up of sugarcane

Jacques Roman
Built the home for his wife so she
would leave New Orleans and come
out to the country

Originally named "Bon Sejour" (good living)

National Register of Historic Places

Mrs. Roman loved to entertain
She was lonely in the country

Mansion air conditioning
Slave would pull cord to move this
fan over table holding a block of ice
Dinners would last for hours

Ornate baby crib

Back of the house
Huge sugar pots for boiling cane juice
Many were melted down during WWII

We had a nice day strolling, having a Southern lunch and after the house tour, we had a refreshing Mint Julep on the veranda.  Can't get much more Southern than that.  Sublime.

Refreshing mint

On the way home John took me for my must have beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe Du Monde, a requirement when in New Orleans.

Happy Halloween and we are heading out of the Big Easy to the calm shores of Pensacola as we journey south to our Clearwater destination.  On our drive to Perry, Florida, we had rain that came down in sheets. We had to pull off the freeway twice to try to let the storm die down a little.  It can rain so hard that you just can't see when you drive.  I was caught in that type of rain last year going to Tallahassee and it is scary. Besides rain the first day, nothing exciting along the way, drive, eat, sleep.  

Third day we got to Tarpon Springs where we had to stop to have our favorite turkey sandwich -- we discovered it last year.  This is the place where they carve 28-30 lbs. of fresh turkey a day.

Bread and Butter Deli
Never tasted better

Reached our destination and we're in Clearwater for a week where we rented a huge room which is more mother-in-law quarters.  We are waiting for Robert who left Boise on the afternoon of November 1st and is making great progress.  He stopped to get some stuff he left in Knob Noster, Missouri and visit with his Air Force friends.  Once there, he was ready to get out and back on the road.  Sort of an armpit of the world sort of town.  John and I are looking for a nice furnished apartment for the three of us.  Robert's orientation for technical school is November 11th, with classes starting November 12th.  With the federal mess up of shutting down the government, his funds are up in the air, but we feel confident they will come through and all will be well.

So, since there will be no traveling for awhile -- nothing to report and no pictures, I'll stop the blog and maybe pick up when we go to Guadalajara, Mexico in January.

This ending here is so much better than last year's rush to Boise with John so very sick.  We count our blessings daily.  John is doing great.  That pacemaker he got in August has helped him more than we ever would have imagined.  We are so thankful.

Thanks for hanging in, hope you have enjoyed some of what we had to share as we've been traveling and "going to see it all."

*When Louisiana was sold to Spain, the French were furious and there were a number of bloody uprisings. Although the new Spanish settlers were every bit as proud and snobbish as the French, the two cultures would eventually learn to co-exist peacefully. However, once the territory became a part of the United States, the Creoles were united in the common belief that the raw Americans must be kept separate from their far more cultured company. Canal Street became a kind of dividing line or "commons area" where the Creoles conducted trade, but did not socialize, with the "Americans."

Monday, October 28, 2013

Onward to Texas - the Lone Star state.

Saturday, headed out of Santa Fe, stopped in Hatch for a famous green chili burger at Sparky's.  Pretty darn good and not too hot.

Looks like the Colonel is missing something

The wonderful Hatch chili

Got to Las Cruces and visited historic old Mesilla, the original Plaza area.  Looked in some shops and then went to Lee and Emily's house and got to see Daisy cat.  She is the most beautiful cat.  Gave her some treats and she curled up in our bed and took a little nap.  We were going to go see the BSU game at a sports bar, but decided we were too tired, so we listened to it on the computer.

Old Mesilla - the Plaza
Where Las Cruces began

Basilica of San Albino

On National Historical Building

Daisy, our house mate

Sunday down to El Paso to visit Bliss Army Base.  This is where John was in Basic Training after being drafted in 1966.  We both have military ID's due to John's disability so we were able to go on the base and look around.  Had lunch, went to commissary and Exchange and got gas.  That was about it.  Drove on to Fort Stockton for good night's sleep.

Monday was just a day to drive to San Antonio.  Long day and glad to have arrived.  Stopped for early dinner at Rudy's BBQ - lots say the best BBQ in Texas.  Sure was good.  I had baby back ribs and John had turkey.  Got to house and unpacked.  Read awhile and to sleep early.  I was woken up by airplanes - seemed like 100s of them, right over the house which caused the window to rattle....... and could not get back to sleep.  The next two nights the plane traffic was not as heavy.

Oh these ribs are good

Tuesday up and ready for the day.  Stopped at famous Old Guenter House for a delicious breakfast.  Rich old flour mill family home with mill right next door on river.  This is the old German historic area and many of the homes have been refurbished.  These places are mansions and so truly beautiful.  It was just such a treat to look at these homes as we walked and then drove by.  The grand old days.  Stopped by to see the Vietnam Memorial, a wonderful detailed bronze.

We had breakfast on the patio

Beautiful old German neighborhood mansions

On the way home we drove across town to  Reuben's Tamales what is rated by Yelp as #1 tamales in San Antonio.  Got two dozen pork (said they were small) and shared them with our hosts.  I'm not much of a tamale person, but even I ate three.   Sat and visited with David while eating.  He was a drummer back in the day and has toured the world as a musician with various bands.  He's an interesting guy.

Up late and took the car in for an oil change.  Then downtown to visit two beautiful missions.  We saw Mission Concepcion and Mission San Jose.

Mission Concepcion

People were shorter

Mission San Jose, 1720

Up the road a few miles to see the World's Largest Cowboy Boots, corny but fun.

40 feet tall 

We then went to a San Antonio Couch Surfer meeting held at the Bombay Bicycle Club - a weekly gathering - where the group works on language and just in general visits.  We had two girls from France there and I'd say the turnout was about 15 people.  We had a nice time visiting with various people.  An attorney/actor, a marketing person who just returned from an extended trip to South America.  Back home and had nice visiting, wine and nuts, with David and Charlene.  We heard some great stories about New York, as they had lived in Manhattan - Italian restaurants, John Gotti and the mob encounters.  Fun people we enjoyed getting to meet.

Up early on Thursday for drive to Spring, Texas. Stopped and got my flu shot so that's taken care of. Arrived our Lorraine and Darryl's house around 2:30 p.m. Lorraine was home so we sat and visited a long time. Darryl got home from work and we went to dinner at a fun place, The Potatoe [sic] Patch, where they throw you dinner rolls across the room. They give you fried okra and fried green tomatoes free as appetizers. Huge meals. They even gave us a free cup of milk to take home for my coffee. Fun place and great service.

Our friends had to work and we slept in which felt so good.  John found Mercer Botanical Garden close by so we went there since we love flowers.  It was a lovely garden and we had such a good time.  Our friends took us out for Mexican food and we had a good dinner.

Little lizard

Lady bug, lady bug

Up early and Daryl went and picked up kolaches - something we'd never even heard of -- a sort of baked yeast roll with either a ham roll, or a smoked sausage inside.  He also brought donuts, so we had quite a breakfast.


Darryl, John and Lorriane

Headed down the road at noon toward Vidor to our friend Melinda's house.  Arrived, visited, ate and then we went to a bar called John Wayne.  It was quiet at 10:00 p.m. and the 3 of us played pool.  Little by little the place got busier and lots of people came in costumes.  Melinda introduced me to a new drink that I love, the Water Mocassin.  So we drank, danced, and just had ourselves a good old time and closed the bar.


Superman, BSU fan, Lois Lane

Up at noon, Melinda made good breakfast burritos.  Just visiting and she showed us some of her cross stitch projects.  She does beautiful, complicated work.  Sat around, visited and then had some tasty ribs for dinner. Early to bed since we've got to get up and head for New Orleans, our next stop.  Hate to leave this good cooking, but must say adios to Texas...................