Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Day Ten - Hammond LA to New Orleans to Tupelo MS

We awoke Wednesday morning in Hammond LA. Both Victoria and I liked Louisiana and especially the Hammond area. This is the view from our hotel window.

After eating breakfast and packing up the car once again, we headed south to the Big Easy. Upon arriving at the Visitor Center, we were informed how easy it would be to walk the entire French Quarter from there. We parked the car and made our way across many streets, including the well-known Bourbon Street... Jackson Square...

...over to Cafe Du Monde...

...where we got our obligatory bag of three beignets...

...and ate them while they were still warm on the Moonwalk with a beautiful view of the Mississippi River and New Orleans.

As we started to walk back to the Visitor's Center and the car it began to sprinkle. We made it back to the car without getting too wet and headed north out of Louisiana into Mississippi. We drove across Lake Pontchartrain on I-10, picked up I-59, stopped briefly in Hattiesburg (without seeing Hattie), picked up Highway 45 in Meridian, and ended our day in Tupelo MS, the birthplace of singer Elvis Presley. More about that tomorrow, I'm sure.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Day Nine - Houston TX to Hammond LA

Tuesday morning, packing up again and heading to breakfast at Cracker Barrel with Monika before escaping Houston.

We travelled without incident through Beaumont TX, Lake Charles and Baton Rouge to Hammond LA, about an hour north of New Orleans.

Once in Hammond, we checked into our hotel and proceeded to Tommy's on Thomas for my birthday dinner. I chose the Muffuletta pictured below. A traditional style muffuletta sandwich consists of a muffuletta loaf split horizontally and covered with layers of marinated olive salad, mortadella, salami, mozzarella, ham, and provolone.

After dinner, Victoria and I walked a couple of blocks to Eddie's Famous Frozen Custard and shared their speciality, a Tangi Turtle. I was NOT counting calories today :-)

Wednesday's plan is to drive down to New Orleans for a brief visit and then head north into Mississippi.

Day Eight - Corpus Christi TX to Houston TX

Monday morning found us packing up and getting ready to leave Darren's place in Corpus Christi. A brief rain shower accompanied us on our departure.

We had a late lunch in Katy TX with Jeff & Shelly Dyk, old friends from our 1980s Wichita days. They were our "chaperones" on one of our first dates.

After our late lunch, we made our way to the home of Victoria's best friend from high school, Monika. This is where we stayed Monday night.

Tuesday we plan to make it from Houston TX to the New Orleans LA area.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Days Five, Six, and Seven - Corpus Christi TX

On Friday, Darren took us around to see the sights on "his" island, Padre Island, both the developed and undeveloped areas.

On Saturday, we picked up some brunch items at JB's German Bakery and the strudel and pastries were gone so quickly I only got a picture of the leftovers.

After brunch, we decided we would go see the #1 tourist attraction in Corpus Christi, the USS Lexington. It was an interesting tour of the WWII era aircraft carrier.

Sunday (Easter) was a day of rest and relaxation. Victoria and I attended Padre Island Baptist Church while Darren got some study time in. Then we did laundry and had our traditional Easter ham dinner.

Monday, March 28, we start our leisurely trip through more of Texas to Houston, then Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky on our way home to Ohio.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Day Four - Ardmore OK to Corpus Christi TX

After a refreshing night of sleep at the Lexington Inn in Ardmore, we headed south again on Interstate 35. It was an uneventful day of driving through Fort Worth and Waco and then we hit stop and go traffic in both Austin and New Braunfels. We arrived in San Antonio around 5pm and made it through the Alamo before it closed for the day at 5:30pm.

After quickly touring the Alamo, I introduced Victoria to the San Antonio River Walk where we walked most of it before sitting down for dinner.

While I've visited the River Walk several times starting in 1981 when I came to San Antonio for Air Force basic training, I had never been to the La Villita Historic Village. That's where we ended up for dinner, at the Guadalajara Grill.

After dinner, we headed south on Interstate 37 for our final leg of our journey to Corpus Christi. Around 9:30pm, we arrived at our destination, Darren's apartment.

Mission accomplished for the first half of the Spring Break Road Trip!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Day Three - Wichita KS to Ardmore OK

Upon arising from a great night of sleep, Victoria and I enjoyed breakfast with Victoria's Aunt Elvira. We departed late morning and made our way a few miles to Don and Paula Henry's home in Clearwater KS. Don mentored me in the early 1980s when I lived in Wichita KS. We met their daughter, Leah, along with her three children and had lunch with all of them. It was early afternoon by the time we said our goodbyes and headed south on Interstate 35 toward Oklahoma City.

When we arrived in Oklahoma City, I took Victoria to see the National Memorial. Here she is pictured with the Survivor Tree, a 90+ year-old American Elm which survived the blast. 

And here is a short video I shot of the Memorial from the same spot.

After we visited the Memorial we continued south until we made it to Ardmore OK where we spent Wednesday night. Into the state of Texas on Thursday!

Day Two - St Louis MO to Wichita KS

Victoria and I left St Louis early Tuesday morning and made it to Kansas City before lunchtime. I specifically wanted to visit the place of my birth, Trinity Lutheran Hospital. Much to my surprise, the hospital building has been converted into condos! Maybe I should buy one and end up where I started, heh?

From Kansas City, we made our way to windy Hillsboro KS where Victoria was able to see what one of her alma mater, Tabor College, looked like 30 years after she attended there.

From Hillsboro KS, we made our way a few miles southwest to Goessel KS where we visited with the Wagner family (Doug, Gretchen, Leighton, and Lana). Doug grilled HUGE Kansas steaks and we enjoyed dinner and dessert with them.

After leaving the Wagner's we drove about one hour south to Peck KS where we spent the night at the home of Victoria's Aunt Elvira.

At the end of day two of our road trip it was so good to have a hot shower and climb into bed after a long day of travel and visiting.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Day One - Xenia OH to St Louis MO

This Monday morning started a little differently than most. A road trip to pack for, not a commute to the office :-)

Victoria and I packed up the trusty Toyota Camry, said good-bye to Samoa (Kayla's 13-year-old cat) and headed west.

It was an uneventful trip but we were lured off Interstate 70 by the promise of the world's largest rocking chair and wind chime. Sure enough, right in the middle of Casey IL they stood.

After arriving in St Louis, and checking into our accommodations for the night, we headed over to infamous "Aunt Millie's" to meet extended family and have dinner together. It was a very enjoyable evening, and I have not laughed so hard in a long time.

Around the table with me were Uncle Donald, Aunt Sharon, Cousin Rhonda, Aunt Mille, Uncle Wendel (not pictured), Aunt Carole (not pictured), Aunt Debbie (almost in the picture), and Victoria (taking the picture).

Here's a shot of me and my favorite cuz, Rhonda.

A great start to a great trip!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Spring Break Road Trip!

More scenes from an unintended road trip

Victoria and I plan to travel from Ohio to Texas and back to Ohio over the next two weeks. Similar to our 2013 road trip to Montana, 10 states in 12 days is our plan. The primary purpose of this trip is to spend Easter weekend with our son, Darren, who is currently stationed in Corpus Christi TX. We will also enjoy visiting with family and friends along the way. A side benefit, and the primary reason for the return trip route, is to visit 2 of the 3 remaining states on my list of 50. Louisiana and Mississippi should be crossed off the list next week. Our planned 3000 mile route is below.