Monday, December 7, 2009

Day 32 Dec. 6 headed to Louisiana

It was a cryptogram puzzle, country music listening, rest stop viewing, multi state kind of day.

We had 450 miles to accomplish, so we put the pedal to the metal and covered some ground. We have now managed to collect enough stuff to only have room in each seat for our rear ends. When we go to get out, half of it falls out and we have to re-collect our belongings.

We made extremely quick work of the rest of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and most of Louisiana.

"Watch where you put your hands," my aunt said to me as I sat down for this picture. The top of the sign was full of bird poop so you will notice our hands are not touching it.

Nice rest area. I'm telling you what, the northwest has a lot to learn from the rest of the country when it comes to rest areas!!! The east coast and south have really nice, clean rest areas. And the welcome centers, like this one, are metropolises. They have a staff of 10 people and are like museums.

The restaurants down here in the south have got it all figured out, as far as I'm concerned. They give you a straw with every drink, including water!!! What a treat!! At home, the waitress looks at me with a cocked head like I am asking for something way out of the norm when I ask for a straw.

At the Louisiana border, we stopped at the information center and got a map of New Orleans. Since we left so early and made such great time in the morning, we figured we had time to stop in New Orleans. I have always wanted to see this city, so LET'S GO!!!
As we approached the city, I consistently saw something that I thought was strange. The buildings were buried in ivy. These aren't abandoned buildings, they were open stores. I would think that would destroy their buildings! Hmmm... The damage from the hurricane is still visiable. You can see many houses that still have not been repaired and areas that were wiped out but we didn't venture to see what the outskirts looked like.
WOO HOO- We made it to the mighty Mississippi. This was the main goal in stopping here because I started the trip going across the northern states and took a picture of the Mississippi in Minnesota, so I had to take one here in New Orleans. Made it from end to end of the river.

Here is a New Orleans Trolley

Let me just take a minute here to give you a little feeling of what it was like in this city. As we approached the parking lot, we knew we were in trouble. The sign said $5.00 discount.
Discount??? So if it has a $5.00 discount, how much does it cost to start with?
That would be $5.00 an hour so the discount was for the day rate. To park for one hour is almost equal to two breakfasts at the Waffle House.
Once I parked in the spendy lot, I opened the car door and was overwhelmed with the stench of urine. As we walked the streets, it smelled as if we were walking with a port-a-potty over our heads. YUCK!!

The city was a far cry from the quiet country I have been used to. There was jazz music coming from every corner, people everywhere, homeless on every corner, horse and buggy clanking down the streets, cars honking, and boats blowing their horns.
A typical building in New Orleans.

Oooo... Now, there's some comfort food... "Hey, you have a camera, you must be a tourist- want a ride?" I am actually a sucker for things like this and if we had more time, I would have taken a ride.
This is Jackson Square. The most beautiful place in the city that I saw.

Take a look at all the wrought iron lace that covers the building and the wrought iron fence that is in front of it. Almost all the buildings had this. What intricate work. I can't imagine the hours it took to make it. It used to take me a couple hours to make only one steel design and a month to create a gate for a driveway. I can't imagine doing a whole railing and making one for each floor.

Jazz is in the air. The sounds of street artists abound around every corner. Here is one of the many jazz bands playing in the middle of a sea of homeless. I like to support these kids too. You gotta hand it to them for getting out there and doing something to make some money. Many are doing this to pay for college.
A typical street in the French Quarter.
Almost every building had a balcony like this and most had chairs and tables on them. This surprised me because many looked like they were headed for the ground in a matter of days. The area is so moist that the rot is widespread. I was told that they can hardly keep paint on the buildings because of the moisture.

And plants grow out of the sides of buildings. Guess who? :p
Well, 45 minutes in New Orleans was more than enough time. It was time to get moving and see my friend that I haven't seen in so many years!!!
BUT first...
Let me present to you the most creative, stylish, and character filled RV I think I have ever seen...

I was going to save this for the special redneck page I am creating for you all, but I couldn't keep this one to myself!! Now, that's one heck of a motor home!!! I like how they left the tires on the top. That added the extra touch. From what we could see, the inside was all converted to live in.
The next stop was at my friend's!!! That was awesome!!! So great to catch up!!! While 11 years had passed and so much has happened in our lives, the conversation was as if not a day had passed. It is so neat to see him living a great life!!!
Friends are the backbone of our lives. We can have all the objects in the world but nothing compares to people.
I encourage all of you to find those old friends and catch up.

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