Friday, May 30, 2008

Random Travel Update 24

Previous Locations: Mobile, AL; New Orleans, LA; San Antonio, TX
Arrival Date: May 20, 2008
Departure Date: May 25, 2008

Last location: Tucson, AZ
Arrival Date: May 26, 2008
Departure Date: May 30, 2008

Current Location: Portland, OR
Arrival Date: May 30, 2008
Departure Date: June 1, 2008
Next Stop: Klamath Fall, OR

The trip home began with a Versace Mansion Party in South Beach, an afternoon diving the Florida Keys, and an all night 13 hour drive from the Southernmost tip of the US to the gulfcoast town of Mobile, Alabama, with a stop along the way to visit with a good friend of mine from college. The trip ended with a beer-enhanced float down a river in New Braunfels by tube, a brief trip to the Alamo and another 13 hour drive from the east end of Texas back home to Tucson, Arizona. In the middle there was New Orleans.

We arrived in New Orleans later than expected, due to an issue we had with a box that had in it a particularly dear item that we had left at a do-it-yourself carwash in a questionable Mobile neighborhood. The box was a lost cause until, while eating at a Taco Bell is Pascagoula 30 miles closer to Louisiana, we received a phone call from a gentleman at the Laundromat next to the carwash explaining that the contents of the box had been retrieved by the previous night's employee and was safe there at the Laundromat. This loss, and the accompanying find, was the lowest point and highest point of our trip west.

There are pictures of the Mississippi gulfcoast that will be posted on Picasa soon. A short drive later, we arrived in Louisiana. The French Quarter is more like Europe than I had expected and unlike other tourist-ridden locations, it has a terribly authentic feel to it. Many signs are in French, the streets are narrow and occasionally cobbled, customer service is provided with an attitude, food is generally overpriced, and you can drink in the streets. They also serve Absinthe. Needless to say, we had a marvelous time.

My favorite part, of course, was the jazz. Unlike our disappointing Beal Street blues experience in Memphis, we were able to find packed jazz clubs with real jazz musicians who played soulful music that drew one from the street to their door to listen. The second night we went out was perfect. The all-day rainstorm kept people off the streets but didn't stop the musicians from playing until 2am.

We arrived in Tucson early Monday morning (think 1am) just in time to get some sleep and prepare for Memorial Day lunch with the family while Jon and the Mom went off mountain biking with my cousin, Cal. And now we are in Portland for my other cousin, Matthew's, college graduation. So as one journey ends, another begins.

A big thank you goes out to those of you who generously hosted us at some point in our travels, especially to my parents and even more especially to Jon's parents whose gorgeous home has been our base for the last several months. If it weren't for you, these emails would be awfully plain.



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