Love, Hope, Strength

The Big Easy.  Down on the Bayou. My Creole brotha from another motha.  Ray Nagin.  Lestat de Lioncourt.  Wait, what?  Forget Ray Nagin.  This is New Orleans Baby!

Holy crap it’s hot and sweaty.  I mean, slap yo mama with a wet mop, kinda hot and sweaty.  The RV air conditioners literally cannot keep the rig cooler than 82˚ during the day.  They never shut off.  I know, I know.  I’m in a palace on wheels and complaining about how my AC isn’t good enough.  Sorry.  I didn’t mean it like that.  I just wanted you all to understand how deeply swampy it is here.  As Mathew Brodick (Eugene Morris Jerome) best put it, “Man it’s hot. It’s like Africa hot. Tarzan couldn’t take this kind of hot.”

Aside from that, we spent a great night (Thursday) eating the best (and very first) grilled oysters I’ve ever had.  Even the regular half shells were da bomb.  But those grilled….., that is some good.  Maddie hooked us up with a couple great bars from her extensive research and we enjoyed a beautiful evening stroll through the French Quarter, trying to avoid tourist traps, con artists and vampires.

Friday morning we of course went to Cafe du Monde.  You’re either a communist or really, really, really crazy if you don’t have at least one cup of coffee and a few beignets.  Man those are good.  I mean, they’e so good, I’d endure this weather again anyday for just one more.  Laura buys their home beignets kits from the supermarket, but there is just no comparison (sorry Honey).  Afterwards, a little daylight stroll through the FQ was in order.  So many artist shops.  I never expected to see so many.  But the architecture is divine.  A bit neglected but divine.  The history of the FQ, the engineering that keeps it safe, the past tragedies, all combine to give it the rich character that it has.  Obviously you need to look past the countless bars and drunks.  As a matter of fact, I’m actually glad that Bourbon St. has been closed for construction while we’ve been here.  It has forced us explore less traveled paths and I’m grateful for it.

Friday night was a real special treat for me personally.  When I’m in a town for a couple nights, I like to check local venues to see if any good bands are playing.  Well what do you know, The Alarm is in town at the House of Blues.  Holy Crap, The Alarm!?  I started listening to them in 7th grade and all throughout high school.  As soon as I found out, I contacted the HOB and asked about VIP packages.  We ended up with a stage side table in the Founders Club section.  One of the coolest things however, was that the venue and crowd was so small, its was like a private concert no matter where you were standing.  Then after the show, the house lights came up and entire band just mixed and mingled with everybody left.  It was truly a treat and concert I’ll never forget.

Today is Saturday.  Let’s see whats next.


PUPDATE   (get it 😜?)

We’ve been working very hard the past couple days, with the puppies.  They seem to think they are on vacation and have forgotten all manners.  So we’ve adopted a new walking/pooping routine.  They are such sweethearts and we really can’t blame them.  There is so much energy bundled up in them, I’m sure its tough for them to spend sooooooo much time inside.  When they do go out for walks, they just want to run wild.

So we purchased a couple “Gentle Leaders” and gave it a try.  It wasn’t the quite the result that it was supposed to be.  The pups freaked out when the strap went across their snout.  But the second they shook it off, they fell in-line.  Mostly because they didn’t want them back on.  We also walk them separately and in opposite direction.  It’s having a very positive affect and their behavior is much calmer.  But whenever possible, we still like to give them some off-leash play time together in the grass.

I’m Going to Graceland

The ceilings were covered in green shag carpet, the staircase walls were mirrored, macrame was woven around hanging plants and avocado colored appliances stood tall in the kitchen…the year was 2017.

If you know me at all, you know that I am a sucker for nostalgia and that I LOVE Elvis! Whether it’s “jailhouse rock Elvis” or “jumpsuit Elvis” I am all in, so when I found out a month ago that we would be stopping at Graceland, my heart began to flutter and the tune of Paul Simon’s “Graceland” played instantly.

I didn’t know what to expect when it came to his estate, so when I arrived and saw that it was a time capsule of all things seventies, I couldn’t be happier. While we walked around the home we were guided by the voice of John Stamos (yeah, you read that right) through our audio tour which was detailed and thorough of all the rooms we viewed, the audio tour also included recordings of Priscilla and Lisa Marie sharing personal stories of the home which was a sweet addition since it was their home too. My mouth was open the entire time because I was in awe of how perfect I thought the house was. I could not imagine a better home for myself, so I plan on moving in as soon as my restraining order has been lifted.

Graceland was such a treasure to Elvis and it was truly special to be able to walk through those walls and soak in his spirit. After viewing the estate we walked through the extensive exhibition which showcased all his toys (cars, airplanes, motorcycles and golf carts) as well as his personal items and his infamous collection of jumpsuits. I left four hours later with a milkshake in my belly, a large bag of souvenirs in my hand and a deeper love for the King of Rock n’ Roll.

XOXO    Madison

In the Memphis Sky

Good morning Memphis.  Good morning Kuerig.  One of you we’ll be leaving today (headed down to the Big Easy).

Well Maddie finally made it into town, almost a day behind schedule (sound familiar?), after Delta canceled two of her flights.  Long story but she made it safe and sound with her custom embroidered “Grisworld” jacket and pocket full of enthusiasm.  Let’s get this Memphis party started.

So aside from the really good BBQ at Rendezvous, beautiful old Southern Homes and music history, Memphis needs help.  It’s a bit sad to see such a historic city, so repressed.  I mean it almost feels melancholy.  So many buildings abandoned, fenced off and left for dead.  Very few people on the street enjoying the evening.  Neighborhoods of impoverished ghettoes, one block from the Central Gardens neighborhood of classic Southern Colonial homes.  The people are polite and helpful, but you still feel an undercurrent of attitude, a scolding if you will.  You can also still pickup a sense of divide.  Of all the cities I’ve been to, this one still feels black and white.  I don’t get a feeling of One-ness or unification.  Their separatism feels too natural.  It’s been in their blood for generations, and doesn’t seem that it will dissipate anytime soon.

Maddie hit the nail on the head when she said this town needs youth.  It needs young money, young dreams and young passion to come in here and revitalize these neighborhoods.  It needs generations of building dreams together, to wash away the disdain between races.  There is so much potential here, it can happen.

If you’re any fan of architecture, the bones of these buildings are fantastic and the prices are dirt cheap.  A very talented photographer, Walter Arnold, tells the tale best on his website, “The Art of Abandonment”.  Check out his photos of the Romanesque architecture at the old Tennessee Brewing Company (amongst several others).  This building is so gorgeous and so wanting of new life.  This town is a penny stock, just waiting for it’s big break.

We spent the next day visiting (of course), Graceland.  What a treat that was.  But I’ll let Maddie tell that story…

Oh by the way, wanna read a great short story?  Check out the history behind  Ashlar Hall – Prince Mongo’s Castle.  It’s a great side-read.



To Boldly Go

Well, it officially took 1900 miles to finally travel further (in the RV) then ever before.  We crossed the Mississippi today and with that came a brand new adventure.

We left OKC at about 8am and just kept truckin.  It was really interesting to see the scenery change so quickly.  From Amarillo to OKC, it was flat brush and brown to flat brush and green(ish) yellow.  Today it went to rolling hills of green and tress everywhere.  Lots of water too.  Neither of us had ever been to Oklahoma or Arkansas before.  Gotta say, it’s not all hillbillies and banjos.  (Although there might have been one at that rest-stop…)  But they’re really pretty states, at least from what we can see on the I-40.

Maddie WAS supposed to fly in tonight to hook up with us for the rest of the way to OBX, but her flight has been delayed and she won’t get in here until 3am.  Thank goodness for the free Delta Lounge access thru Amex.  Now she can get completely wasted before her flight, FOR FREE!

Maddie, if you’re reading this, use your Uber, don’t wake us, and don’t puke in the RV.  Happy trails sweetheart.


New Roads

Other than a fairly short and boring day, we hit a new milestone when we stayed on the I-40 just East of Amarillo.  New roads and new scenery.  Up until now, we’ve driven on just about every major road West of the Mississippi, except the I-40 continuing to OK City.  In the past we’ve always turned right and headed South to Dallas.  So Yippie for us!

Tomorrow we find ourselves with a new first.  Stay Tuned…..


Howdy Y’all

Just a quick check of the weather the past few days and I got say, it’s been pretty OK.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s feeling like somewhere between 95˚ & 105˚ during the day.  But we’re in the RV chillin like Cool Whip, so it’s not much of a concern.  By the time we drop the landing gear, it’s usually about 4pm (we keep losing hours as we head East), and the nights cool off beautifully.  It’s really quite pleasant.

Each night when we land, we’ll drop the jacks, pop-out the sides and toast the drive with quick shot of Fire Ball.  Then it’s a dog walk and dinner prep.  The old girls know the routine and are always pretty cool with the “RV” thing.  But the Doodles are still learning and it’s tough for them to keep all that energy under control all day.  Even as I write this, they’re chasing each other around the RV like NASCAR drivers (and its 11:30pm).

Tonight was retribution.  We were here 5 years ago at The Big Texan  with the kids.  (Going back to the Americana  post a few days ago, this place is #2 in my book, Wall Drug Store, in South Dakota is #1)  Well last time here, Laura went to the bar to order us some drinks while we waited for our table.  2 hours later, I don’t know what happened.  I got turned inside-out.  So much so, that 12 hours later, Laura had to drive the RV out of town to Dallas.  To this day, I swear I got roofied in the beer they gave Laura.  I don’t remember a single thing about that night.  But according to Maddie, I was an ass.  She’s got some great stories to tell…

So tonight, it was just Laura and I, a couple non-benzodiazepine pharmacologic drinks and 2 half decent steaks.  What more could you ask for?  Cheers to Texas!



Who Knew?

If you know us, you know we’re suckers for Americana.  The little things you do and see, that are scattered throughout this Country, are just daily life to those that do it, but they’re little treats and treasures to us.  They’re like fresh water pearls.  Not perfect or extremely valuable, but beautiful in their own unique way.  We found one of those pearls last night at Black Barts Steakhouse, Saloon & Musical Revue.

We stayed the night at the Black Barts RV Park  and when we returned back from diner in downtown Flag, our Uber driver asked us if we’d been in the steakhouse.  Our belly’s already full of pizza and beer, we thought, why not a night cap?  Well an hour later, we finished our second dinner of the night and closed the joint.

This place is classic.  It’s an old, outdated music hall with tacky decor and rustic furniture.  It couldn’t be more kitsch.  But the swinging saloon doors, singing waiters/waitresses and downright delicious steaks make this one of the funnest steakhouses we’ve ever eaten at.

The moral to the story is, alway try new things, you never know when you’ll find yourself a pearl.



Wheels Up!

Good Morning Campers.  As the sun shines brightly upon us; we are fortunate enough to report that the RV has been fixed and we are on our way.  Yesterday was touch and go, but UPS delivered the parts early enough and the service center was able to get us up and running by 5pm.  A late night load-in helped us hit the road at 10:30 p.m. and were were able to put a couple hours behind us to get out of the cities.  We have got five hours of high desert scenery on tap today before landing in Flagstaff, AZ.  Looking forward to dinner at our favorite (and the world’s greatest) Pizzicletta followed by a cold one at Beaver Street Brewery.