"Wind Advisory"

I mentioned we were headed to Texas location #2 in the last post.  Well, that's true, we did move to Texas location #2.  However, instead of driving 5 hours to our next Texas location, we drove about 45 seconds... to the campsite a couple hundred feet away.



I said from the beginning that we were going to follow the weather.  Not only did I mean away from frigid cold, but also from hazardous road conditions.  The day we were supposed to leave (Tuesday), the forecast spoke of severe storms and a "Wind Advisory" in effect for the next two days.  The advisory specifically said that it would be difficult to drive for "high profile vehicles"... which, we are.  So, we cancelled our reservations at the next place and we were fortunate enough to secure the last spot in this campground for the next two nights.

We may have lost $37 dollars in the process, but we played it safe, and I'm glad we did.  Just South of us...
"The stormy weather canceled school in parts of South Texas and apparently contributed to a school bus flipping on a rain-slick highway in Houston."  
US NEWS article about it here.

Up until now, we've been very lucky as we have been able to take off just before all the bad weather and road conditions.  The day we left Kentucky, a "Winter Weather Advisory" was in effect for that evening.  We then got out of Tennessee just before their "Winter Storm Warning" was announced.  We then spent some time in Alabama only to find out later (while in Pensacola) there were tornado warnings where we were.

http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/convent-louisiana-pensacola-florida-tornadoes-demolished-rv-park-apartment-building/55620626
Well, I'd still say we are lucky.  The severe storms that started in Texas on Tuesday actually made their way through each Gulf state we just visited.  In fact, a tornado killed 2 people at an RV park near New Orleans (see above photo) right near where we stayed last week.  And another tornado killed someone in Mississippi, and ANOTHER tornado in Pensacola, Florida... where we stayed a few weeks ago.

NBC NEWS article about it here.

I feel like we've been leaving a trail of storms and destruction. :(

Let me go ahead and preemptively apologize to all the upcoming destinations on our trip!

~~~~~~

We made the most of the 2 extra days at this beautiful lake and decided to go back to the hiking trails to make some molds of any wildlife footprints we found.  This time I came prepared with sneakers, knee high socks and an 80's tight roll... I wasn't going to let the fire ants and jumping spiders ruin my fun:


The ants and spiders were the least of my concern when I ran into this guy...


After careful consideration, we realized the snake was dead.  Yikes!

Well, I just finished my morning coffee, so I better get the house ready for the move today.  So off we go to Texas location #3!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Everything's Bigger in Texas

We made it to Texas!  


I didn't even notice the tagline until now.  Ha!  Are they being sarcastic? "Drive Friendly - The Texas Way"  Hmmmm... I almost got run off the road twice by impatient drivers within an hour after crossing the state line.  Not only that, a road that would be 45 or maybe 55 mph in Indiana is 75 mph in Texas.  Terrifying.  I didn't even feel comfortable going the speed limit when it was just us in the truck, so I was passed by many locals.  

We parked the Pequod right across from a lake in East Texas and settled in for a few days:



Hot coffee, fresh air, and a view from my front deck... this is the way I prefer to start my mornings...  


The other evening we used my tripod to take some long exposure shots of us sitting around the fire.  This one turned out to be my favorite... :)


Yesterday we went on a nature hike scavenger hunt and found all kinds of cool things.  But Sweet Mother of Moses, those freaky jumping spiders I could do without... and those fire ants (some advice: don't wear flip-flops on a Texas hiking trail)!

So instead of enjoying my beautiful surroundings, I was instead concentrating on avoiding the millions of spiders jumping around my feet.  I swear, this spider actually aggressively attacked Aaron's shoe.  I have never seen a spider do that.  It was a pretty small spider, but it had a HUGE Texas attitude!  I was very happy to get back on my bike!  

Everything's bigger in Texas... spider attitudes, even pine cones the size of your head:


But I did find something tiny here!  I feel in love with this tiny little island down the road from us:


I want to live on this island.

Tomorrow we take off to Texas location #2... a mystery for now.

February 22, 2016

The Big Easy

WOW!  New Orleans and the French Quarter was WAY cooler than I ever thought it could be.  The Big Easy is FULL of gorgeous architecture, neat shops, great food, fun street performers and talented musicians.  The following post includes my attempt at capturing the French Quarter, while also attempting to keep up with my husband and young kiddos that aren't nearly as impressed as I am with everything around me...


After searching for about half an hour, we finally found some affordable $3 parking down on Canal street and then we made our way to the National Historic Landmark (The French Quarter district) after a few short blocks (1 km)...


All the shops have ornate and original signs:


We got downtown around lunchtime, and one of the few things on this entire trip that I was adamant about doing was eating authentic New Orleans food... so we found McDonalds!  


 Don't worry, we didn't eat there. ;)  We ate here at the recommendation of some locals:


As usual, they seated the young family of four as far away from other customers as possible. ;)


We don't mind, we totally understand... while we were getting seated Selah knocked a plate off the table which resulted in a loud shattering, which of course makes everybody look.


About 10 minutes later, Simon broke another...


Anyways, Aaron really enjoyed the jazz music (he played the trumpet for many years):


and he snapped a pic of Selah being a sweetie. :)


I always wanted to try some authentic creole gumbo, so I ordered the Alligator Sausage and Fresh Seafood Gumbo:


This was my first time ever trying alligator, or gumbo in general...




I've gotta say, it was very yummy, but probably not something I'd order often.

Aaron ordered the Fish of The Day, which turned out to be a super yummy Lemonfish/Cobia dish:


The kids shared some exotic grilled cheese, fries and shrimp pasta:



 Now that was some great food and atmosphere which I'd definitely recommend!

The restaurant was along the famous Bourbon Street.  There are normal street signs in the French Quarter, but they also inlay the names of the streets into the sidewalk intersections...



There are street performers and jazz musicians peppered throughout the French Quarter...  


And of course, what Bourbon Street is famous for, it's debauchery:





We turned off Bourbon street after a few blocks and came across the Dr. Seuss art shop (we're all huge Dr. Seuss fans!)






We pretty much just wandered around The French Quarter just taking in all the sights, sounds, and smells.



I love this tiny little police car!  We also saw some mounted police while at lunch (which I did not get a picture of).  Now that's the right way to police a place like this... not intimidating in any way and very environmentally friendly. :)






There appeared to be a lot of what I guess are apartments above the shops below.  This would be the perfect place to live for a single 20 something.


All throughout the French Quarter were gas lamps like the one below... so cool!  The ambiance was amazing!  I just soaked it in!


I felt like I was back in Europe!  Which I guess makes sense since this place has Euro roots.







We eventually found our way to Jackson Square:










Did you notice that this one was a UNICORN with wings and sparkle encrusted hooves!?  She was such a good sport! :)





The kids got to participate in a magic show:




I'm not sure the kids knew what was going on exactly, but he was pretty good, as were the artists throughout the square:





Originally, before we even set off on our adventure, we were planning on driving straight to New Orleans and staying for a while.  But then I Googled when Mardi Gras was this year... the same time we planned on being there, February 9th.  For those who don't know, Mardi Gras parades and events go on for several weeks leading up to grand Mardi Gras parade on Fat Tuesday (the 9th), the day before Lent.  

I'm not one for crowds.  In fact, I loathe them.  Aaron does not enjoy them either.  So that's why we decided instead to head straight South through Alabama to Florida and wait out the Mardi Gras festivities.  Ha!  Little did we know, Mardi Gras is celebrated throughout the Gulf Coast, including Pensacola (where we stayed for 2 weeks during this time).  I was tempted to take the kids to the local family friendly parade in Pensacola, to experience the culture of it all... I really was.  I was torn.  Do I have them experience this cultural experience that ignites so much excitement and fun in so many people?  But then I came to my senses and decided instead to have Selah make her own mask and not even mention the parade...


Anyway!  We ended up visiting The Big Easy one week after Lent started.  Ahhh, much better!  All we have to deal with is the remnants of the crazy crowds...


  

By far, The Big Easy is now the coolest city I have EVER been to.  I'm not kidding.  How have I never been here before!?  I honestly didn't think I'd enjoy it this much.  To be fair, the magic did die off a little bit after walking around for 4 hours, since it had the typical musty grey water aroma, as well as the dirty streets, homeless and tweaked out people, and the annoying peddlers that you find in any big city... But it is still now my favorite!


And guess what I saw on our way home!?


That's right, another tiny house! :D   <3 <3 <3

Thanks Louisiana for exceeding my expectations!  I'm sorry I never visited sooner!  Now we are Texas bound!

February 19, 2016