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I know the Rogue has been quiet this week, but she has been BUSY! After some fun exploring and some very productive meetings in New Orleans (can’t wait till I can tell you more about that!), we headed off to Texas. Most of you know Texas is home for me and the vast majority of my family lives there.

After driving across Louisiana in some horrible rain storms – think 20 mph on the highway with everyone’s flashers on and wipers at full speed because you can’t see the cars in front or in back of you – those kind of storms. I finally gave up & stopped in Jennings, LA for the night. 30 minutes later, the storms stopped. Oh well! I got a good night’s sleep at least.

The next morning, it was on to Houston for an overnight visit with my aunt & uncle and my dad & stepmom.  Then I was on my way to the Dallas metroplex to see the rest of the family.  I spent a fun 3 days driving all over Dallas and seeing aunts and cousins. Of course, this Cowboys fan got herself a new tshirt while she was there!

Next post is Texas – Part 2.  It is a big state and I have lots of family and friends there!

Cruisin & boozin…

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Well, cruising and a little boozing.  I spent the last 5 days on the Carnival Triumph out of New Orleans to Cozumel and Progreso.  Lots of great food, lots of laughs with my nieces, nephews, brother and sister-in-law, lots of pictures taken and, unfortunately, a LOT of motion sickness meds. I am back in NOLA combining a little work and play for the next couple of days. Bonus: a amazingly low rate at my favorite hotel – The French Market Inn.  This is the 6th time in the last 20 years I have stayed at this hotel.  Quaint, historic, right in the Quarter, but far enough off Bourbon to not be too crazy.

More on the cruise and New Orleans later. Right now, I’m off to find some gumbo and red beans and rice! I worked up quite an appetite exploring the Garden District (my favorite spot in NOLA).

Enjoy these few pictures from my phone and I’ll add more when I download them from my camera.

Every trip to New Orleans has to start with beignets & cafe au lait.

This was a sort-of honeymoon for my Dad and new stepmom, Sue, so we made sure their cabin was appropriately decorated.

Once we were out of the Mississippi River, the water was soooo blue.  I want to live where it looks like this all the time!

We spent our day in Cozumel at Mr Sancho’s – a really cool, all-inclusive beach resort. All you could eat and all you could drink – we made sure we got our monies worth!

My brother’s three kids always make me laugh and smile. Hannah is my mini-me; Jared is the entertainer; Ethan, the oldest celebrated his 20th Birthday on-board with a surprise cake set up by his girlfriend, Amanda. 

We were trivia and bingo champs!

The best part was spending time with my amazing brother and his family. 

Now, will someone please buy me one of these houses so I never have to leave New Orleans! 😊

Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga, TN 

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Forgive the slightly out of order post!

How often are you driving down the highway, headed from point A to point B, when you see a sign for some place that sounds interesting? You think “that sounds cool, maybe, I’ll stop there one day”.  But that day rarely comes.   We really have to stop doing that! Take the few minutes and the slight detour. You never know when you might get the chance again.

Yesterday, when I saw the sign for Bristol Motor Speedway, I took the detour. The speedway was closed, but it was exciting just to stop and look.

A little farther down the road, the signs for Lookout Mountain, Ruby Falls and Rock City started appearing. The adventurer in me, said, Why Not!

After the winding drive up the mountain, I decided to skip the lines at Ruby Falls and Rock City. Instead I stopped at Point Park – the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park.  I have to give a big shout-out to the National Park Service.  This park is beautiful and educational. The period appropriately dressed guides are engaging and informative. I even got to see and hear a musket and cannon being fired!

I have a bunch of photos to download from my camera that I will add to this post later, but here are a few that are on my phone.

The view from Lookout Mountain is stunning.  What struck me as much as the view was listening to the park rangers tell the stories of the Civil War battles that happened in the area. Looking down the mountain and imaging battalions of soldiers scaling that steep face.  It left me awestruck.

It also set the tone for much of the rest of yesterday and today’s drives. Imaging our forefathers and mothers crossing the harsh, unforgiving, early beauty of this country with only their feet, horses or wagons to carry them. Certainly puts our first-world problems into perspective.

Mississippi & Louisiana

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Day 3 was a short drive – Mobile, AL, through Mississippi, to New Orleans.

Or more accurately, the south shore of Lake Ponchartrain. Other then a couple of quick rain storms, it was an easy, uneventful drive over the bayous.

Best part is the RV park I am staying at – Ponchartrain Landing.  It a gorgeous park with tons of amenities & a great restaurant.  Yay, for a hot shower and this amazing meal.  Pssst…that is sangria made with honey bourbon.  

Not only do they have fully equipped RV sites, but also a hotel and villas.  Great spot! I highly recommend it.

Even if my “camper” is dwarfed by the campsite.  LOL!

Virginia, Tennessee & Alabama – Day 2

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Day 2 was looong! From Bristol, VA to just north of Mobile, AL with a great side trip. (See the Lookout Mountain post for details).

The 1st half of the day was beautiful. The 2nd, not so much.  Heavy rain made for slow driving so I didn’t get to my stopping point till late. A quick “camp” set up (hanging the curtains over the windows) and I was out for the count.

Things I discovered on Day 2’s drive –

Reveling in the wonder of nature is a glorious thing.

I still have a near paralyzingly, irrational fear of driving over bodies of water in the dark – even worse in blinding rain in the dark. It was mid-day today before my knuckles were no longer white.

This journey is amazing already.

Photos from Day 2 –

Yes, driving a car on this track is a bucket list item!

Of course, I had breakfast at Waffle House!  Pecan waffles!!!!

The view from Lookout Mountain was stunning.  (See that post for more photos)

What was even more amazing was listening to the park rangers talk about the battles that were fought there. Imaging battalions of soldiers scaling that mountain – mind-blowing.

Car camping! Night 1

Day 1 is in the books. Made it over 500 miles to Bristol, VA. Other than remembering that big trucks & mountains make for slow going on 2 lane highways, it was an uneventful drive. Uneventful is good! 

I am camping in my car tonight. Did you know you can park RVs (or in my case, a Rogue) overnight in Walmart parking lots? As long as it is just 1 night and you park at the far parts of the lot, you are good to go. 

I have a small camp lantern and a small fan that should let me be comfortable.  Worst case scenario is it gets a little warm and I need to slightly crack the windows.  Doors are all locked and I am settling in for the night. By the way, did you see my other travel companions in the front window? 😉

Sweet dreams all. Onward to Birmingham, AL tomorrow. 

June 2017

And the first of the solo road trips in 2017 begins! Through the month of June, I will be combining work, family visits and vacation travel while I visit these great cities and sites

New Orleans
San Antonio
Marfa, TX  (seeing the Marfa lights!)
Grand Canyon
Canyon of the Ancients
Sand Dunes National Park
Mt Rushmore
Memphis  (Graceland!)
and then meandering back home

I’m looking forward to a cruise with family, learning the ins and outs of my new Canon EOS Rebel T6 and my first experiences car camping!

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