Sunday, November 17, 2013

New Orleans!

It's sort of fun being back here for the second time as we're a little more familiar with the area and could find our way around much easier than last time (hard to believe it was a year and 8 months ago!).  We also did the tourist thing and took a sightseeing bus around the city.  We practically had it to ourselves as everyone stayed away from the city a few days as it was quite chilly.

the above ground cemeteries

Mardi Gras House - where the parade floats are made

House on Tree - statue from Katrina

Jackson Square

Lots and lots of pralines (did you know it's pronounced prawlines?  neither did I)

Joan of Arc statue

We had hoped to take a Swamp Tour but due to the rainy weather we had to forgo it this time.  Instead we ate gumbo and beignets and strolled around town.  

We met a beautiful artist, Jemu, on Jackson Square and had her paint us a picture for our bedroom.  Recently we had a frame fall and break during a move so we had one open space.  The picture she created signifies our life on the road, seeing a new and changing sunrise/sunset each day and our motto of "simplify".  Thanks, Jemu!  It was great meeting you!

We took a drive across Lake Pontchartrain (which we understand is the longest bridge in the world - 24 miles!) to Abita Srings and toured the Mystery House.  A little strange to say the least!  Lots of junk and one man's "art".  

Lake Pontchartrain Causeway - 24 miles over the lake

Hot Sauce House
Today we start our 2-day drive to Clermont, FL.  We'll spend tonight in a Wal-Mart parking lot (great accommodations!  :-) ) and arrive in Clermont Monday afternoon. 

Til next time...Happy Trails!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Friends and High Points!

One of the great things about traveling around the US is running into friends along the way!  Phyllis Frey Cheatham moved to Lake Jackson (south of Houston) 6 years ago when she married Mike Cheatham.  We had lost touch but she recently tracked me down to visit in PA (she was going home to visit in Oct. while we were in Texas - too funny!).  Since PA didn't work we made sure a visit in TX would work so we met in Houston for a great time of catching up and getting to know Mike.
Phyllis and Mike - great to see you!

We also had a great time catching up with RV friends we met out west last year.  The "10-pac" was traveling east-to-west while we're going west-to-east and our schedules allowed us to meet up in Texas. The time together was way too short but it was great to see everyone!  Have a fun Thanksgiving in Verde Valley!  We'll miss everyone!
Trudy and Alan

Taco salad dinner with everyone - yummy!

and even ice cream cones for dessert!
Ann, Jean, Ed and Judy
We felt the urge to tackle a few more high points so we took advantage of the time while our Jeep was having warranty work completed (and a free rental car didn't hurt!) and we hit the road for 2 days. Day 1 - we drove over 450 miles (9+ hours due to lots of back roads - very beautiful though) to Mount Magazine State Park in Arkansas to make our long (ha ha) trek of .4 mile and 153 ft. elevation gain to the top of Mount Magazine at 2,753ft.  #16 in the books!

After leaving Mount Magazine we drove 2.5 hours to Arkadelphia, AR to spend the night before Day 2 - another 3.5 hour drive to Louisiana's high point at 535 ft. - Driskill Mountain (the 3rd lowest high point in the US with FL the lowest and DE next).  This one was an .8 mile hike with a little elevation gain (maybe 100+ feet).  There is a lot of oxygen at this elevation (which we're not used to!).  After bagging #17 we drove another 5 hours back to the RV in Willis, TX (Lake Conroe).  Long days but fun as we're checking off our high points one by one!

Tomorrow we leave TX and head to New Orleans until Sunday.  Then we'll spend Sunday/Monday traveling to Clermont, FL where we will stay until December 16.  It will be strange to be in one place for 4 weeks as we have not "settled down" for several months.  It has been a great summer!

Til next time...Happy Trails!