Thursday, July 2, 2009

Red Sticks, Big Heads and Dirty Water

Got to see the Johnson Space Center on Sunday. Mission Control, walked inside a space shuttle, saw some very very large rockets. Bob – I know your buddies think that landing on the moon was a hoax, but man, it’s an expensive one!
Left Houston reluctantly, but it was time to move on. Learned so much from Joani and Mike and the other outstanding people there. I really felt at home. I will return some day.

I’m sitting and sweating in the pop-up in Biloxi, Mississippi. People on either side of me are enjoying their beer a second time and burping the way I used to in the heater when I was in college (I was able to get the coils to vibrate the sound so intensely, it sounded like a train – little did I know that the guys downstairs could hear it too – always wondered why they never asked any of us out). Well, I’ve grown up a little and have decided to move on tomorrow. No reason to relive the past. I’ll consider tonight as karmic pay back and that’s good enough.
As I crossed into Louisiana yesterday, I said out loud, “Louisiana – get me some crawdads and hot sauce” and shazzam – on the radio comes, “looking for some hot stuff” by Donna Summers. I thought that was pretty cool. I also appreciated the better roads of Louisiana. Yet another camper near disaster – was bouncing across the very poor road in Texas, minding my own business, and then a guy drives up next to me waving like a maniac, cranking his arm into a 90-degree position, which caused me to look in the right rear mirror and the friggin door to the camper had popped open!!! I pulled over and found that only the screw of one of the extra jacks had fallen out. Whew! Could have lost the tool box, Higbee’s bed, the fridge, and a few other items.

Robyn, I realized today that I left the handy log in Houston, or maybe it fell out too. That would have been a big one to avoid for the car behind me. Oops!!!Enjoyed seeing the signs in French in LA – my favorite was, “Grande Tete” which means, “Big Head.” Maybe the guy back in in Barracho Station woke up in Grande Tete. Spent the night at reliable Motel 6 in the Red Stick (Baton Rouge) and was disappointed to learn that the ribs place that was recommended by the front desk guy was out of business. Alternative was Taco Bell. But I got to enjoy my first Waffle House for breakfast!!! Did not eat a waffle, however; enjoyed a couple of fried eggs, hash browns, sausage and WHITE bread. There was no choice for wheat or English muffin – it was white bread or nuthin. And lots of butter, and no sugar substitute. I knew I was in the south. Since then, I’ve seen, and I honestly kid you not, at least 65 other waffle houses.  Who eats all those waffles???

There’s one next to the campgrounds, but I found a local place right on the water nearby. I’ll break fast there tomorrow.
Stopped this afternoon in New Orleans. Told myself that I had no need to see the devastation. But as I approached the exit for the city, I just had to pull off, and I felt a bit like I did driving into SF for the first time after the Loma Prieta quake in ’89. What would I find of a city that I loved? And in both cases, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had imagined. 
The thing about NO is that it’s in a steamy swamp, so there will always be paint coming off of the wood and there will always be buildings in disrepair. And yes, I did find quite a bit of that as I drove around (the amazing thing is the power of the Kudzu plant – it was growing all over the abandoned houses) but I also saw a lot of Tyvek – which means a lot of buildings were in the midst of repair. And the good news is that NO got to keep their natural canopy – While Galveston lost their trees to Ike, NO got to keep their beautiful oaks. Much better.Continued on to Mississippi. Decided to take the scenic route and have been following hwy 90 for most of the day. Beautiful old houses, but this area too has been devastated by hurricanes. Don’t know if it was Katrina, but there are a lot of foundations with no structure above it. A guy I talked to on the beach said that many Antebellum homes were destroyed, as were a lot of the mom and pop beach restaurants. What’s replacing them are chain restaurants (can you say Waffle House?) and high rise condos. Kind of a shame.

The trusty Motel 6 was booked solid for a family reunion, and after trying other places without luck (not many places here take dogs), I chose a campground. As I said, it’s not great, but it will do. I usually don’t like hassling with the camper for just one night, and I do feel I made a wrong choice by staying here (there’s more than burping going on, no need to detail), but I was ready to stop driving and I’ll be moving on soon enough.
Took Higbee to the beach this evening for a swim and a walk. Conveniently ignored the No Dogs sign (it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission) and we waded out nearly a quarter mile with the water coming only to my knees. It wasn’t the nicest ocean I’ve ever been in, but the sand is beautiful! Unfortunately the water got worse when Higbee pooped in it. I tried to run over and get it, but by the time I got there, it had floated away somewhere, so to make up for it, I used the plastic bag to pick up trash on the beach. Filled the bag in no time. We are even.
Tomorrow it’s time to move on. Will stop in Mobile, Alabama – heard it’s a beautiful city (similar to NO but not as many beads) and would like to see it. Then on to Florida. Since I’m not doing Independence day in DC, I think I’ll head down the state and join my buddy Danny for some fishing in Key West. Have never seen it, so I might as well check it out! I think the water will be bluer – that will be nice!!!

Sending love to all.


Stephen said...

Love the bit about your picking up beach trash in exchange for the poo Higby launched at sea!

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