Tag Archives: Road trip

Day 13, Part 1: Alabama & F.Scott Fitzgerald

16 May

ROAD TRIP

After saying goodbye to The Smith Bryd House and its thoughtful innkeepers, David and Beth, we packed up the car to explore Montgomery before making the drive to Georgia.

Our first stop was the F.Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum which happens to be located in their old home in Montgomery. This experience was a fascinating look into their love affair as well as a look into F. Scott’s creative world (which for me as a writer was such a treat).

There was so much I didn’t know!

Rachel and I arranged to meet Willie, the gentleman who runs the museum for a guided tour. From all our email correspondences with Willie I imagined him to be an older gentleman but instead he ended up being a young and cute guy with a boyish grin, a southern accent and an easy-going energy. What a seriously cool southern gentleman!

I learned later that Willie and his wife are both writers, which made me immediately feel like we would all be friends if I lived in Alabama and talk about writing over long dinners (please tell me you guys imagine a pretend life sometimes too??). He is also a bit of a Fitzgerald nut. I mean, the man knows everything about F.Scott and Zelda’s life!

My favorite stories were the ones from the early years…

F.Scott was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota to an upper middle class Irish Catholic family- he was bright, ambitious and handsome. He attended St. Paul Academy for school and when he was 13 he published his first piece of writing in the school newspaper. Fitzgerald went on to go to Princeton where he pursued his writing. Sadly, his writing came at the expense of his schoolwork and he was placed on academic probation. In 1917 he dropped out of Princeton to join the army. Afraid that he would die in World War I with never having his literary dreams come true, he quickly wrote a novel called The Romantic Egotist in the weeks before reporting to duty.

He sent it to a publisher and was…rejected, although he was told to submit again in the future because they saw something in his work.

Fitzgerald ended up being assigned to Camp Sheridan outside of Montgomery, Alabama. It was there that he met and fell in love with a beautiful 18-year-old girl named Zelda Sayre at a dance. She was the daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge, was considered “blue blood” and way out of his league. But he liked her and didn’t care and instead decided to fill up her dancing card for the night to get her attention. Ballsy huh? I just love that story.

That was the beginning of their wild romance although there were still some road blocks in the way, the major one being “poor boys didn’t marry rich girls” at that time and Zelda and her family expected a lot.

In 1919 the war ended before Fitzgerald was ever deployed and he was discharged. He went straight to New York city hoping he could launch a lucrative career in advertising and prove to Zelda he was worth marrying. But after a short time trying to build his career in NY he returned to his parents house in Saint Paul, Minnesota to rewrite his novel. He couldn’t stay away from his dream. He spent 4 months in their attic working on the book that would become his first hit, This Side Of Paradise.

I just loved this story.

He couldn’t deny his love for Zelda nor could he deny his love of writing.

and he got both.

Shortly after re-writing his book, it was published and he and Zelda were married. This Side Of Paradise went on to become a hit and turned the 24-year-old Fitzgerald into a star.

And the rest is history…

Since the afternoon I spent in F.Scott’s house, you could say that I am having a bit of a love affair with him. He’s such a complicated and inspired soul. Being in his space made me fall in love being a writer all over again.

And then I came across this quote…

“This is part of the beauty of literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely or isolated from anyone. You belong.”

and I thought…isn’t that the truth and in that moment I felt so thankful for this year and 365 til 30 because it has taught me this very lesson…my longings are universal longings and I’m not lonely or isolated from anyone.

so thanks, guys.

(me at the house)

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For Rachel’s blog click here!

365til30: instagram @kate365, twitter, facebook

Day 12, Part 2: Arriving in Montgomery, Alabama

14 May

ROAD TRIP

Day 12, Part 2

Alabama the beautiful, the world of B & B’s and black hole beds

After spending the morning at Graceland we hit the road to drive to our next destination…Alabama!

On our drive from Memphis to Montgomery we had two goals- eat lunch at The Whistle Stop Cafe (restaurant from one of my favorite movies Fried Green Tomatoes) and stop for peaches at Durbin farms, where there are supposed to be amazing peaches.

Sadly, one of these goals did not happen.

We spent hours, (yes hours) driving around Birmingham, Alabama in search of The Whistle Stop Cafe. It was maddening. My only explanation for this is that our iPhone’s have a funny sense of humor because the GPS systems took us on quite a wild goose chase. If I were to try to find the silver lining in the situation I would say at least I got to see Birmingham, but in the moment I was starving, irritated and hot. It’s just so frustrating to be lost in a foreign city!

When we finally found it…it was closed. Hysterical, right?

 After the disappointment of The Whistle Stop Cafe, we decided to just skip lunch and continue on our way to the famous peach stand where Rachel proceeded to get peaches and I got peanut butter ice cream (did I mention that I am eating my way across America?? I can’t seem to be stopped).

This was not the most nutritious meal, but both were lovely and helped turn around our moods. After the peach stand stop, we proceeded to The Smith Byrd House, our adorable new home for the night. When I was researching places to stay in Montgomery, I came across this B&B and knew it was where I wanted to stay. There was something so very sweet about the look of it and its innkeepers, Beth and David. After reaching out to them about possibly staying with them I received a welcoming note back saying they would love to have us and I felt like I already had friends in Montgomery!

I have to be honest about something though- I have never actually stayed at B&B before and I was worried I wasn’t going to like it. The scene from the movie, “Flirting With Disaster”, where Ben Stiller’s character goes on and on about why he hates B&B’s, kept replaying in my head.

….

– Oh I hate B & B’s.

– Why do you hate B&B’s?

– Well, first of all, there’s no privacy and you have to make chitchat…with the boring old lady who runs the place.

– That’s kind of the fun, isn’t it?

– and there’s always the little cat…you have to pretend like you like the cat.

…..

This scene always made me laugh and now it was making me a little worried.

When we  arrived at The Smith Bryd House, it was after dark and we were both in need of a bed. As we got out of the car, Dave, the innkeeper, greeted us warmly with a big smile and offered to help us with our bags…and he seemed totally normal! PHEW. He brought us into the house and the first thing I noticed was it smelled like chocolate chip cookies and cinnamon and spice. I love when a house smells like a bakery. It makes me feel all cozy and warm. He showed us to our room and it was perfect- a big cushy bed, a clawfoot tub and clean towels.  After 11 nights in hotel beds it was so nice to be in a home. I felt cozy and taken care of- like I was staying with family.

After saying our hello’s and chatting for a bit Rachel and I excused ourselves to get some sleep. The bed at the Smith Bryd house was the best bed of the trip… hands down. It was like sleeping in a cloud. A cloud that caused me to over-sleep and almost miss the amazing breakfast they made for us. We were greeted by a gorgeous table (with enviable china on it) and a big breakfast of fruit, eggs and bacon and oh, homemade scones accompanied by lemon curd and clotted cream (Beth’s Specialty).

We spent the morning chatting with them about life, Montgomery and scone recipes while eating our  breakfast. If this is what the world of B&B’s is like than I may be a B&B kinda girl after all…

Thank you Beth and David for making our night in Montgomery so special!!

(bottom three pictures by One Part Gypsy)

Our day in Montgomery up next!!

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Day 11, Part 3: Memphis, Tennessee

10 May

ROAD TRIP

Memphis really comes alive in the dark- the city has an energy like nothing I have ever experienced before.

We decided to head to the famous Beale Street for the evening. Beale Street was a significant location in the city’s history, as well as in the history of blues music. From the 1920s to the 1940s, Louis ArmstrongMuddy WatersAlbert KingMemphis MinnieB. B. KingRufus ThomasRosco Gordon played on Beale Street and helped develop the style known as Memphis Blues. B.B. King was even billed as “the Beale Street Blues Boy”!

We hadn’t even arrived at Beale Street and I already made my first new friend for the evening, our cab driver, Russell. He told us all about his life, family and Memphis, which was quite an accomplishment considering it was a 5 minute car ride. He was born and raised in Memphis and was very intrigued by our road trip. He used to be a truck driver and had been lucky enough to see America from behind the wheel. I was sad when our time together ended because I would have enjoyed chatting with him some more.

When we got out of the cab I was surprised to see a police blockade just before the entrance to Beale Street. Oh no, did something bad happen? We were stopped by the cops, carded  (to make sure we were over 21) and searched for weapons. Interesting start to the night. My second new friend of the evening was a very friendly police officer named Bill and he informed me that 1. he could tell I wasn’t from Memphis. 2. He used to live in New Orleans 3. He’s single/available (good to know) and 4. they have to do this on Beale street on the weekends because people were getting too rowdy, very drunk and oh, yeah SHOT.

Shot?! Well, that sounds very bad.

After making it through security we were officially on the main drag of Beale street and it was filled with people, flashing lights, commotion, restaurants, music, bars and blues clubs- my kinda place. I was most definitely drinking the Memphis kool-aid at this point and I was high on it. Our first stop for the evening was Blue’s City Cafe– their tagline reads “Put some south in your mouth”. HA. Don’t mind if I do. In my everyday life (when I am not traveling the country with my best girlfriend) I don’t usually order ribs for dinner but you can’t go to Memphis (the land of delicious BBQ) and not eat ribs, right? At least that’s what I told myself when I ordered a huge rack with baked beans and coleslaw. Did I mention I am eating my way across America?

I am embarrassed to share how many I ate but I will say that they really were scrumptious!

After dinner we strolled Beale Street where I continued my public speaking tour and stopped to chat with everybody and anybody. So many nice people in Memphis! This may have been when Rachel started to become a tad annoyed with me for wanting to chat with everybody.

As we passed the venue Blues Hall amazing blues music poured out so we ducked in to hear some more (I’m sure Rachel also thought this would keep me quiet for a bit. Wrong!).

Enter in THE MOST amazing man I have ever met- Dr. Feelgood Potts. I mean his name says it all doesn’t it? Not only was he wearing harmonicas strapped to his chest as if they were bullets, he had an incredible voice and a stage presence that did not disappoint.

While perusing the internet for a video of Dr. Feelgood Potts for you, I came across this gem. Not only do you get the pleasure of hearing his music you also get to watch a man in a white baseball cap dance to his music. You’re welcome.

In between sets I chatted with my third and fourth new friends for the evening, a father and son team next to me at the bar. They happened to be traveling across the country as well! Although they were doing it in a huge RV and were very confused how we were doing it in a Jetta.

At this point I did not think Memphis could get any better. I was full with ribs, good music and joy and I didn’t want the night to end. But we had to get some sleep so we would be ready for the amazingness that is Graceland the next day.

We hailed a cab and we were picked up by my fifth new friend for the evening, a cab driver named William. He must have been near seventy and he was wearing a camel colored suit with a little silk hanky tucked in his pocket. Memphis just got better. William asked what we were doing in Memphis. I told him about the road trip and he smiled. He shared that he too traveled the country when he was a young man. He was born and raised in Memphis and he had to get out because it was too hard to be living there as a black man at the time. So he packed his car and set off to explore in search of better things. He ended up back in Memphis and now has a huge family and one great-grandchild (whom he was very proud of). I found his tales heartwarming.

When William dropped us off at The River Inn he wished us luck on our journey and it meant so much.

I merrily climbed into my big, plush and cozy bed at The River Inn (a far cry from the Motel 6 the night before) and went to sleep feeling deliriously happy.

Eat. Drink. Boogie. Repeat

“We’re going to Graceland!!” up next….

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To see Rachel’s blog click here!

365til30: instagram  @kate365, twitterfacebook

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Day 11, Part 2: Tennessee!!!

9 May

ROAD TRIP

Day 11, Part 2

Tennessee, The River Inn, amazing ribs, Beale Street, blues music & a very happy and talkative Kate!

If you can’t tell by the heading of this post I LOVED LOVED LOVED Memphis, Tennessee!

Rachel and I put Memphis on the itinerary because we thought…we can’t travel across the USA without stopping at Graceland, right? I mean, that would offend a lot of people, some may even find it sinful not to visit Elvis’ home!!

 So we put Memphis on the list despite it being inconvenient (we went hundreds of miles out-of-the-way to get there) and I am so happy we did.

Things I loved about Memphis- so much of America’s history took place in the city, the people are so open, generous and kind, The Civil Rights Museum was incredibly moving, the ribs were the best I have ever had, The Mississippi River was breathtakingly gorgeous (especially from our hotel room at The River Inn), the music in the blues clubs made my soul sing, Graceland provided me with some seriously good laughs and Beale Street was such a fun and lively place.

All my excitement over Memphis made me very talkative for the 24 hours we were there. I stopped to chat with everyone- the cab drivers, the cops, random people on the streets, the musicians, the bell boys, really anyone I could get my hands on. I think Rachel was ready to kill me by the end of the night but I just couldn’t help myself- I wanted to know everything I could about Memphis and the people who lived there!

But let’s start at the beginning of my Memphis story, before Rachel wanted to kill me…

The National Civil Rights Museum

It was a dark and drizzly afternoon when we drove into Memphis. We decided to drive straight to The National Civil Rights Museum to make sure we toured it before they closed for the day. It was high on my list of things to do while in the city. When we pulled up I was surprised to learn that the museum is housed in what used to be the Lorraine Motel- which is where MLK was shot and killed in 1968- it was a rather emotional start to the tour.

Being there nearly brought me to tears, not because I was unaware of what happened that fateful day at the Lorraine Motel, but  because it was overwhelmingly sad to stand where it happened, to see room #306 and to see with my own eyes the balcony he stood on that morning.

some pics from the museum…

Day 11, Part 3….my night out in Memphis up next.

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To see Rachel’s blog click here!

365til30: instagram  @kate365, twitterfacebook

Day 11, Part 1: Jackson, Mississippi…The End

8 May

ROAD TRIP

{family portrait/ photo by One Part Gypsy}

I awoke at Motel 6 under an orange bedspread, very confused about where I was. This was starting to happen a lot- I never knew where the hell I was when I first woke up!

Too many cities…too many beds.

After getting my bearings, I showered up, we packed the car (at this point we could pack a car in 1 minute flat- we were like machines) and set off to continue on our adventure.

Can I be honest about something? I wasn’t a big fan of Jackson, MS. I think one of my readers said it best in a note she wrote to me yesterday-

“The only thing I liked about Jackson, MS was leaving…”

Hahahaha. This really got a laugh out of me. But, in all seriousness, she’s kinda right. I’m not saying Jackson is horrible. I’m just saying when you are going to amazing cities like Memphis, New Orleans, Charleston and Austin it kinda falls a little flat.

Geez somebody in Jackson now probably hates me…

 Before we left Jackson to head to Memphis (which was probably one of my favorite cities on the trip so get ready for lots and lots of Memphis posts), we drove around downtown Jackson to see a bit more of the city.

My favorite moments from our drive-

{The trees at the The Fairview}

{this celebrate Jesus sign…it just screams party doesn’t it?}

{Rachel with the Andrew Jackson statue in front of The Jackson City Hall}

{Brent’s Drugs- It has been there since 1946 and was also a location used in the movie “The Help”}

{The blue skies with flags in front of The Jackson Courthouse}

{me in front of The State Capital}

Afterwards we stopped at Julep for one last Mississippi meal. This was the meal I fell in love with southern biscuits and fried green tomatoes. In my everyday life (when I am not touring America with my best girlfriend), I don’t eat biscuits and now I know why! They are too buttery and too delicious to have on one’s list of appropriate things to eat everyday! I do realize that my introduction to them were in the south and they may never be this good ever again.

{photo by One Part Gypsy}….

Day 11, Part 2 : Arriving in Tennessee up next!!

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For Rachel’s blog click here!

365til30: instagram  @kate365, twitterfacebook

Day 10, Part 2 : Jackson, Mississippi

7 May

ROAD TRIP

 Day 10, Part 2

 I finally made it to Mississippi, had a near death experience, ate fried catfish & slept at a Motel 6- it was a day of first’s

After saying our goodbye’s to NOLA (sniffle sniffle), we packed up the car to make our way to Jackson, Mississippi!

You’re probably thinking…why go to Jackson, Mississippi, right?

Well, because I thought it would be an important stop on our road trip to learn about the history of America. So much took place in Mississippi during the Civil Rights movement and I wanted to learn more about the role Jackson played.

So off to Mississippi we went.

The drive  from NOLA to Jackson was a short one compared to most of our other drives- just 3 short hours, like a trip to the neighborhood market for us at this point!

The first half of our drive was rather uneventful…well, other than learning (from the state sign) that Mississippi was the “birthplace of America’s music”?!?! Really? How did I not know this?

After stopping for a few minutes to take pictures with the state sign, we set off to finish the last leg of the trip.

An hour outside Jackson (while we chatted about mindless things like nail polish colors), with Rachel behind the wheel of my car, a HUGE big rig cut us off without a moment’s notice. Compared to the now hysterical “tornado” near death experience on day 6, this was not so comical- it was actually one of the scariest moments of my life. It all happened so fast and I sincerely thought we were going to be crushed by the big rig and that AGAIN my father would be proven right…it is dangerous to drive across the country!

Instead of being crushed by the big rig, Rachel swerved off the road (at the last possible second) and into gravel where a rock popped up, smacked the window and cracked it.

In retrospect, it ended up being a rather comical ending to a terrifying situation. Compared to death, a broken window was a small price to pay!

Welcome to Mississippi, y’all!

After recovering from our near death experience, we decided we were in need of a mellow evening and southern food- they don’t say southern food is comforting for nothing. So we headed to Hal & Mal’s in downtown Jackson to grab a bite. Hal & Mal’s was started by brothers Hal and Malcolm White in the 1970’s and has been a Jackson staple ever since. In addition to a restaurant it also serves as a venue for listening to upscale honky-tonk music.

We decided to really go for it and order everything southern we had never tried. Our meal composed of Bayou Gumbo, Red Beans/White Rice & fried catfish and it did not disappoint.

I learned that evening that catfish + fried = delicious.

 It was at Hal & Mal’s that I also learned how much I love with the word “y’all”. The restaurant was filled with heavy southern accents and I just couldn’t get enough. There is just something about the way it rolls off the tongue

After dinner we went back to our groovy room at Motel 6 (my first motel 6 experience EVER. It wouldn’t be a road trip with out a Motel 6, right?) and zoned out on mindless television for the night. I will admit I was less than thrilled about staying at a Motel 6, especially after spending the first 9 nights sleeping in fabulous 5 star hotels across America.

But there was no other option that night!

Oh, how the mighty had fallen. Even Herb was a little sad about his new digs. But we all made it work and it ended up being pretty nice! My bed was comfy, the shower was hot and they had lots of television channels- and sometimes on a road trip that is all that matters.

Day 11, Part 1 next.

365til30: instagram  @kate365, twitterfacebook

For Rachel’s take click here!

Day 10, Part 1: New Orleans, Garden district, Lafayette Cemetery

4 May

ROAD TRIP

Day 10, Part 1

After a VERY fun night out on the town, I awoke in my comfy bed in our gorgeous room at Hotel Provincial (I was seriously thinking about moving in) to a light drizzle against the window pane. Rain? How unexpected after yesterday’s muggy heat.

I mistakenly thought it was going to ruin my last morning exploring the city but instead, it made it even more intoxicating.

New Orleans in the rain is terribly romantic and it made the city seem mysterious.

After packing our bags, we set off to the Garden District- an area I had yet to explore!

We drove around for a bit viewing the AMAZING historic southern mansions that lined the streets. My lord, are they breathtaking- each prettier and bigger than the next.

After our driving tour, we parked and walked over to Lafayette Cemetery, which happens to be one of New Orleans’ oldest surviving cemeteries. Established in 1833, Lafayette No. 1 was among the city’s earliest above-ground burial sites.

It couldn’t have been a more perfect morning to explore the cemetery- the dark and drizzly clouds that hung above our heads proved to be very dramatic.

I loved reading the inscriptions on the different tombs, most of them dating back to the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. I could have spent all day getting lost in that cemetery.

Day 10, Part 2 up next…

Mississippi, a near-death experience, Motel 6 and Hal & Mal’s

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For Rachel’s take click here!

Day 9, Part 2 : New Orleans! Galatoires & Preservation Hall

3 May

ROAD TRIP

{photos by One Part Gypsy}

Day 9, Part 2

During our one and only full evening out on the town in New Orleans, Rachel and I wanted to make sure we experienced two things-

1. an authentic French Creole style meal

and

2. authentic New Orleans Jazz

After a bit of research, we decided that we would dine at Galatoires and see a show at Preservation Hall.

Between the surprise snow in New Mexico (when all we had were summer dresses) and the extreme heat in Texas (I really wanted to walk around naked which wasn’t an option), we hadn’t done much “dressing up” in the first 8 days of the trip. So we decided to get dressed up a bit for our night out on the town.

I was starting to resent the two large bags filled with dress clothes that I was lugging around America.

We left our hotel a little after 6 to walk to Galatoires which was located near our hotel on Bourbon Street. This was my first real look at the mayhem of New Orleans. Bourbon street was packed with people, most of whom were drinking booze from tall fluorescent colored glasses and in faaaabulous moods already.

The streets were filled with energy, laughter and music. It was quite the street party! I still can’t get over the fact that you can roam the streets drinking liquor- what a novelty!

After weeding our way through the crowds, we arrived at Galatoires just in time for our reservation. When we walked through the doors of the restaurant, I felt like I had been transported back in time. It was like a different world and we were suddenly in what I imagine old New Orleans felt like. The restaurant was founded in 1905 and not much has changed since then. It was so fancy!

We were brought to our table by a lovely gentleman who we ended up learning was a Galatoire-such a treat to meet him!

 I glanced around the restaurant taking in the scene. Suits everywhere- even the little kids were dressed in their very best attire. Champagne flutes lined the tables. Waitstaff moved gracefully across the room. The restaurant was abuzz and it smelled delicious.

Then there was this happy pink shirt wearing man and it was his birthday. If you can’t tell from the pic below, he highly enjoyed it when the restaurant sang Happy Birthday to him.

After singing to the pink shirt wearing man, we ordered dinner- I chose the avocado and crabmeat salad to start and the sautéed shrimp as my main course- it was delicious. I finally got my authentic creole style meal!

After dinner we entered back into the mayhem of Bourbon street in search of Preservation Hall and after a few wrong turns, we finally found it. The place was PACKED!! I guess everyone else was in on the fact that this was the place to hear New Orleans jazz when in town. Preservation Hall opened its doors in 1961 as a sanctuary  to protect and honor New Orleans Jazz and 50 years later it is still going strong. We were led into a tiny little room with a tiny little stage. I wasn’t expecting it to be so intimate. When the music started it filled the room.

 It was exactly what I wanted to hear in New Orleans…

New Orleans, you are a magical, soulful and delicious place.

I think I love you.

For Rachel’s take and more pictures click here!

Day 9, Part 1: New Orleans, Cafe Du Monde, Hotel Provincial

2 May

ROAD TRIP

Day 9, Part 1

New Orleans 

I have been dreaming about visiting New Orleans for a lonnnnnng time now. So when I started to plan the road trip I made sure New Orleans was on the list and that we stayed for 2 nights instead of our usual one night in other cities.

I wanted to make sure that I got adequate time to explore the city!

 I was a little concerned that maybe the city wouldn’t live up to my high expectations.

But the minute we drove in to the French Quarter, I fell in love- the cobblestone streets, the people walking and laughing, the colorful buildings, the worn doors, the musicians playing in the streets, the glow of the lights in the night, the smell of the air…the city felt alive and I was hooked.

I could barely sleep that first night because I was so excited to be there.

Our first stop in the morning was Cafe Du Monde to try the famous Beignets that I heard so much about before my trip! Everyone told me they were a must. I don’t really care for donuts so I didn’t expect much from this experience but I was game to give them a shot. When we walked up to the cafe there was a line around the block. A LINE AROUND THE BLOCK FOR DONUTS?! I wondered how bad I really wanted to try these famous beignets. I decided that I would tough it out because I couldn’t imagine coming all the way to New Orleans and not trying beignets.

An hour later we were seated and had a plate of beignets in front of us. For the record- I was not disappointed. Those little fried, powdered and doughy bits of heaven could change the world.  Best damn donut I have ever tried. I could have eaten 20.

This just in- I am officially eating my way across America.

I just can’t help myself!

 After eating my weight in beignets we set off to explore the city by foot. We wandered the streets taking pictures of colorful buildings, perused voodoo stores and sat by the Mississippi River listening to street music- its intoxicating.

 After an afternoon of fun I decided to go back to our hotel (conveniently located in the heart of the French Quarter) to do a bit of work before a night out on the town. It was such a pretty day that I decided to bring my computer out onto our patio and order a spicy bloody mary (Hey I am on vacation and all). It was a perfect place to spend some quiet time by myself, reflect on the day, my life and my joy and gratitude for this experience. I still can’t believe I am on a journey across the USA and sometimes I have to pinch myself that my dream came true.

Our evening out on the town coming next…

For Rachel’s take click here!

Day 8: Shipwrecked in Austin

1 May

ROAD TRIP

Day 8

The day we were shipwrecked in Austin, forced to go with the flow and stayed at a haunted hotel.

When I woke up in Austin, I rolled over to my new bed-mate (Rachel) and saw a very troubled look on her face. I knew in that moment our day was headed in a bad direction. She looked at me with fear in her yes and said, “Something is very wrong with my computer”. Considering all our photos from the first 7 days of the road trip lived on her hard drive, this was very very very bad news. I didn’t want to show my concern though, because I knew if both of us had a melt down we would get nowhere. So instead, I put on a happy face and assured her that everything was going to be just fine.

We made an appointment at the Austin Mac store to get it looked over. At this point the screen had gone blue and was unresponsive. Not good. She googled it and learned it was called the “blue screen of death”. Even after hearing this, I was managing a ridiculously positive attitude, even though our itinerary had us leaving Austin at noon to get to New Orleans by 7pm that day. We had to keep moving!

We arrived at the Austin Mac store, which was located in a horrible mall. I dropped Rachel off to look for parking and told her I would meet her inside.  After circling for a bit, I found a spot and went inside to locate Rachel. When I walked into the mac store I spotted Rachel from across the room- her head was on the counter and she was crying. No bueno. No bueno. No bueno. I knew where this afternoon was going and it was bad. I walked up (still smiling) to the kind man helping her (who seemed very confused about the woman crying on his counter) and asked him what was wrong with the computer. He explained that her hard drive had crashed and everything had been lost.

My mouth fell open. I glanced from his frightened face (I get it- women crying can be frightening) to Rachel sobbing on the counter and wondered what I should do next. Rachel excused herself to call her insurance company and I sat there making small talk about blue screens with everyone around me.

And then it happened! Her computer came alive and the Mac guy ran over to me and yelled..find her! I felt like I was in a scene from ER and it all felt so life and death! I took my job very seriously and went dashing through the store in search of Rachel.

When I found her I screamed, “It woke up!!!”

The Mac guy plugged in a million wires and started the process of pulling all her content off her computer and on to a new hard drive.

The estimated time for this…6 hours.

6 hours?!?

I started to feel very claustrophobic. We would be stuck in this store, in this mall, for 6 hours? But we are supposed to leave for New Orleans at noon! We have 8pm dinner reservations at Brennan’s!

But what else could we do but wait.

I would have to make the best of this situation. I would have to go with the flow. I would have to make peace with the fact I would not be making it to New Orleans by 7pm.

I decided to make the best of the next 6 hours and try to get some writing done. But I found it impossible to focus in the busy Mac store so I told Rachel that I was going to find another spot in the mall with WiFi and a plug for my computer. This spot ended up being located in the Nordstrom’s women’s lounge, located right off the bathroom and filled with kids and mothers (mostly nursing mothers) taking a break from shopping.

Hey, at least there was a comfy couch.

After a glorious afternoon spent at the Austin mall, Rachel and I finally set off for New Orleans…6 hours late but with all her footage and a new hard drive.

The 7 hour drive to NOLA was long and dark. We spent most of the time listening to loud rap music to keep ourselves awake and reading about Hotel Provincial, the next hotel we would be staying in New Orleans. Supposedly it is haunted- actually it’s considered the MOST haunted hotel in America. Scary right??

When we finally made it to our hotel at 1:30 in the morning, I was so ready for bed at that point, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the damn ghost stories! I wondered if I would be able to actually fall asleep. The bellman led us to our room and when he opened the door everything became immediately better because the room was gorgeous! Wood paneled walls, 2 big beds, velvet curtains, a huge bathroom and a fancy sitting area.

I was in love with the room and decided that I could make peace with a few ghosts if it meant staying in this room.

My first day in New Orleans next…

To read Rachel’s take go here!