Road Trip – Part 3

Louisiana to Alabama

Tonight I’m sitting in the drivers seat, the rest of the family on the roof…nope things haven’t taken a turn for the worst, we are camping and the fire is out (smiley face) and it’s pretty cold outside…Currently were adventuring in a spot near Decatur north Alabama, not far from the Tennessee border.

Last post I mentioned we were indecisive about where we were headed from San Antonio. We ended up choosing to head across to Houston. You will get to hear all about Houston in a seperate blog, if you follow our Facebook page you may have had a sneak peak as to how that went…

Baton Rouge?

From Houston we drove our trusty camper in an easterly direction. We booked accomodation in what we thought was a small town. Oops! it ended up being the state capital of Louisiana. Quick geography lesson, the capital of Louisiana is in fact Baton Rouge not New Orleans.

Not only was Baton Rouge the state capital, it was also possibly the most beautiful place we’ve been to on this trip so far, a real gem. For a city it had a sleepy feel, with picturesque parks and lakes. The houses were out of this world, well at least out of this century. Old renovated mansions, their walls had many stories to tell I’m sure.

A house which had plenty of stories for sure was Magnolia Mound. A Plantation Home, circa the 1700s. We couldn’t help but envision what life was like here in it’s prime. It was a hard hitting reality of what life would have been like for many poor humans during that time period unfortunately..

We left Baton Rouge with eagerness to discover more of Louisiana. Next stop the Big Easy, New Orleans.

NOLA!

New Orleans was a place we have had on our bucket lists for a long time now. A city full of mystique and bursting with culture. No sooner had we arrived, we could feel the pull of the city. Wanting us to explore..

We spent 3 days exploring the city and it’s surrounds with what could be described as mixed emotions. I personally ecstatically loved it and was bitterly disappointed all at the same time. Walking through the French Quarter your senses were overloaded. Toxic smells of a big city mixed with smells of foodies nirvana. Sights of slums mixed with historic architecture that had you muttering inexplicable noises. Sounds of sirens mixed with sounds of alluring jazz trumpets. The place is amazing. I could only imagine how amazing it would have been in it’s hey day, before it became so commercial and money hungry. The 3 hour wait for coffee and a Beignet at cafe du Monde is a prime example.

The disappointment I speak about is not about the city at all, but more from a personal growth moment I had to work through. It comes from a place of expectation and pre conceived ideas. The Big Easy comes alive and thrives at night, ghost tours, amazing restaurants and next level crazy nightlife. Not things that are child friendly. For me it was letting go of past dreams and facing reality that doing New Orleans with kids is difficult.

Time to reflect

It was tough at the time, but it was a great opportunity to find a way to appreciate living in the moment and enjoying what we could and were able to do to the fullest. Rather than dwelling on what we were missing out on.

In the end we managed to feel really satisfied by our time in New Orleans. I was able to live a dream and sample many soul food classics. We were able to soak in the atmosphere and learn about the history of the area, as well as explore the outer suburbs that are still feeling the effects of a disaster almost 15 years ago. Alicia learnt about and witnessed The Voodoo culture first hand and I was able to attend my first NBA game.

Major life lesson, appreciate what you have not worry about what you haven’t. You will have a much better time if you can.

Side note, anyone planning on travelling to New Orleans with kids, they do a walking tour aimed at the young ones. It looked amazing, unfortunately we only found out about it after we were there and it was something we had to pre book.

Misses S misses I misses S S I

After we filled our cups with NOLA experiences, we steered our chariot north, crossing the border right into Mississippi, the state not the river, phew!

We spent the night just outside the capital, Jackson Mississippi (Bruno Mars ringing in my ears from Uptown Funk fame). We really took the time to relax after a big few days. It was great to have some downtime. We treated ourselves to amazing (and affordable) hotel, took advantage of the open bar and gym (yes in that order) and got ourselves reset, refreshed and back in the flow.

We did a bit of sight seeing in the morning around Jackson, before we hit the road to home. Sweet home Alabama that is.

Where the Skies are so Blue

Tuscaloosa was our first port of call in what is our 8th state visited of this trip so far. Tuscaloosa is a beautiful little town, it’s a University town, Alabama University to be exact.

I would have never in my wildest dreams been able to paint the picture of what an American College was like. Simply one of the most dumb founding, awe inspiring things I have witnessed. The scale is unbelievable. It is effectively a suburb, a town, not a campus.

Even during spring break you could sense passion and enthusiasm in the air. We were ready to enrol just to get a deeper connection to that feeling. Unfortunately the 60k a year fee for out of towners halted that idea ha ha.

The buildings were amazing and streets pristine. It was surreal driving past all the frat and sorority houses, just like they are pictured in film.

Roll Tide!

The football stadium was incredible, it houses just under 102k and is sold out every home game. Yes that’s right, 101,800 fans pack in to watch amateur college athletes battle it out week after week. Catch cry Roll Tide! Not sure what it means. Amazing passion, must be something to witness, one day..

We left our college dreams behind, and drove towards Orr Park, Montevallo. We discovered this on the website Atlas Obscura, a great site for finding the not so normal things to see and do. At Orr Park, you are able to see some fantastically clever carvings, done by an artist named Tim Tingle. Tingle carved faces into trees that were dying or had died, bringing them back to life in a new way for others to enjoy. We spent a good few hours here, enjoying the art and letting the kids run wild in the playground.

Where the Skies are so Blue Grey?

I’m now glad the fire went out, and I’m in the car writing this. The sky’s aren’t so blue here now in Sweet Home Alabama, it just started teeming down. Tomorrow we are off to a place that we are more excited about than we should be… The lost baggage centre, where all the lost airline baggage goes for you to look through and purchase, totally bizarre, totally up our alley.

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