Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Epic Road Trip # 2 - Day 2

Epic Road Trip # 2 - Day 2
2/28/2014 - Gulfport, MS to Orange, TX

As is once again the case, since crossing the Florida border, my sinuses are in full swing...congestion, earache, dizziness...thank goodness I planned ahead and have packed a small pharmacy to combat these afflictions. Now all the medicine has to do is kick in...

Fisherman's Castle - this uniquely shaped home is located just out side of New Orleans, LA. On the water, it was a bit chilly when we were there. Purported to be built as a minor amusement attraction for the 1984 World's Fair...it was not completed in time ....

Welcome to the Big Easy! Our travels today saw us roll into New Orleans, LA just as the streets were being closed in the French Quarter for the parade to start the Mardi Gras Celebration. Our timing was spot on... While finding reasonable parking left us quite a walk, we were still able to enjoy some of the energy of the city and still get out of dodge before the real craziness began.

Marnie found an 18-hand mule!

New Orleans Jazz Memorial - the only memorial to represent a style vs a place or thing. 

Preservation Hall - still here after all these years....

Cafe Du Monde, a New Orleans must, is quite charming. Beignet, anyone? Even I tasted one. For a dessert it was quite good. I really liked the Cafe au Lait.

Marnie enjoying here beignet....

Beads ... And the party has started...

An interesting 'Mardi Gras tree'

Gotta get some history ....

Interesting...bad hair day?

Before leaving New Orleans, Marnie just had to have a Muffalato Sandwich....

Today while traveling we learned that Louisiana is the 3rd largest producer of rice. We also learned that the number 1 producer of rice is Arkansas. The other states that are big producers of rice are California, Mississipi, Missouri and Texas. In learning how to harvest rice we also found out about the difference between wet and dry harvesting of cranberries.

We left the Big Easy in search of more Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives quality food...however today, once again, we did not succeed. Dwyer's Cafe, in Lafayette, LA is only open from 6 am -2 pm ... Double bummer...maybe our luck will change tomorrow.

We found a suitable dining establishment at Fezzo's. The Ribeye & Pasta was delicious!

...And Marnie found a new friend!

We didn't cover very many miles today...only 300, but it was a fun-filled day with lots of touristy things and adventures seen and experienced.

We finally called it a day in Orange, TX at The Texas Best Inn.

Epic Road Trip # 2 - Day 1

Day 1 - St. Augustine, FL to Gulfport, MS

2/27/2014 - The next adventure has begun! Marnie and I left St. Augustine, FL bright and early and hit the open road looking for new adventures. Our goal is to make it to Tucson, AZ no later than March 6, 2014 in time to participate in the BAC Tucson Suguaro National Park Ride. 

Day 1 - St. Augustine, FL to Gulfport, MS - It was a chilly 49 degrees when we began and it never got warmer than 55....brrrrrrr......but we are hardy souls and we toughed it out stopping at a few neat places along the way. 

Our first stop was Clark's Fish Camp - 12903 Hood Landing Rd, Jacksonville, FL. Off the beaten path, I think it will be a great place to check out for dinner or brunch on a weekend once I return from my world wanderings.

Then we got back in the truck and headed west on I-10 and ended up stopping in the historic town of Madison, FL to see the Four Freedoms Monument - US Hwy 90 & N. Range St.

Before checking out the monument we stopped at the Sunrise Diner for a wonderful breakfast. 

Located near the center of town, the monument is almost on the site of the Seminole Indian War Blockhouse. There is a very nice gazebo/bandstand and just across the street is a wonderfully cared foe Victorian Home.

The Four Freemdoms Monument is dedicated to Captain Colin P. Kelly, a Madison, FL native,  widely considered to be the first WWII hero. He was a bomber pilot who bombed a Japanese ship right after Pearl Harbor. His plane got fatally hit, but he was able to maintain control long enough to allow all of his crew mates to safely bail out and then it exploded with him in it. He was the first West Point graduate to die in the war. 

I hadn't heard or thought about the Women's Christian Temperance Union since high school history class, so this bible display was quite interesting.

After leaving Madison, FL and headed to Tallahassee, FL and Dog et Al - 1456 S. Monroe St. It is a hot dog place fitting of 'Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives.' Definitely worth the stop.

Back in the truck Marnie and I had a rather long discussion that included Stephen Foster (The writer of the famous song Swanee River that he actually never saw) and somehow got on the subject of Hoagie (Hoagland) Carmichael. I thought she was talking about the 60's activist and she kept talking about music and "Stardust' and 'Georgia on my Mind." After what seemed like forever and much going back and forth, we realized I was thinking about Stokey (Stokley) Carmichael, an activist aligned with the Black Panthers....what did we do before the advent of the iPad?

From Tallahassee, FL we continued west and stopped in Daphne, AL to check out the Scrap Metal Sculptures at the United States Sports Academy - 1 Academy Dr. They were quite interesting and inside the school there was a lot of bronze sculptures and sports related artwork that were marvelous.

Then we are off to the Annex Restaurant - 3676 Pascagoula St., Pascagoula, MS which was recommended by Roadtrippers, but when we got there it was closed. It no longer is open for dinner....just breakfast and lunch...bummer...we we looking forward to a great home cooked meal.

Not ones to pout (for very long) we continued on our way and found a wonderful Mexican Restaurant in Gautier, MS which was definitely worth the stop. Lots of food, chips and delicious salsa for under $10!

Our final stop of the day was as the Hurricane Katrina Memorial - 115 Main St, Biloxi, MS. Very small and not well-lighted (and no parking), I was shocked to see how many people died from Biloxi. All the news talked about was New Orleans, but you forget that so many other areas were devastated by this catastrophic storm.

After 12 hours on the road we called it a day and stopped at the Best Western Plus in Gulfport, MS. We had been seeing billboards advertising a great rate (Mon-Thurs) so we stopped since today is Thursday.... We were quoted a price a lot higher than advertised, but once we mentioned the billboard, they honored the lower price and it is a sweet deal.