Yippee!! We’re heading out!! Everything’s packed up, tucked away…. Snowball started the first try, looks like she’s ready to hit the road too!! Dickie is in the co-pilot seat and the girls are each in their respected hiding spots. Fluids checked, windows clean, drinks in hand – and we’re off!!
We wanted to get an early start to miss a lot of the city traffic as we went through both San Antonio and Houston in the same day. Yikes!! Neither of us were looking forward to Houston but the time and gas it would have taken to go all the way around just wasn’t realistic. Our main consolation was the route was about as easy as it gets – Get on Interstate 10 East and stay there until New Orleans, do not pass Go, do not collect $200 (dang). Easy Breezy!! We left about 10:30, a little behind schedule but we needed to talk to the home office in San Antonio once more before hitting the road and besides, realistically, honestly, we always run a good hour behind schedule anywho. The time frame still worked beautifully as we were out of San Antonio before the lunchtime traffic and just inching our way out of Houston before the brunt of the commute home was out in full force but they were definitely hot on our tails!! Both of us were clenching the wheels and our teeth just in anticipation of Houston after all the horror stories we’d heard of their unforgiving connectors and interchanges. It hit sooner than we were expecting when the traffic thicken greatly in Katy just outside of Houston and it never let up. Our saving grace was our lack of changing interstates, it was hard enough to keep in the right lane to stay on I10 we couldn’t imagine having to weave on and off different arteries in that mess. And, of course, I10 is the downtown route, which is always nerve-racking for us even without the RV.
Picture this: We’re amongst the tendrils of concrete ramps going every direction as we round tight corners getting deeper into downtown. The stretch of interstate we’re on must be 6 lanes across and at least 4 different highway/interstate/loop intertwined. We’re holding our own, barely. We round another tight curve this time to the inside and my walkie-talkie radio beeps and all I hear is a long string of curses come from Chris. I hardly had time to brake before I was on it – an enormous over sized under ground piping tube, bigger across than a single wide mobile home. This monstrosity was pulled over by a cop on the nearly non-existent shoulder as we come around in the lane directly next to the shoulder. We’re completely blinded by the curve and had to do some quick maneuvering, Chris more so than me, to avoid hitting it because it was 1/3 of the way into our lane. And I thought my ass cheeks were puckered before… I’m sure it was dangerous for that thing to be in traffic or maybe it was allowed and just did something wrong – who knows – but I do have to question the logic behind pulling him over in that location!!
After that…well…everything else seemed not so bad. We made it just outside of Houston and called it a day. We were absolutely spent. We settled us and the kids into a nice hotel suite and enjoyed the big ole bed, TV and pretty good internet connection. Too exhausted to venture far for dinner we decided to walk a couple of parking lots over to a little Mexican bar for a quick bite before an early night.
Our only goal for Day 2 was to make in to Louisiana. We were only an hour or so from the border so we knew that wouldn’t be a problem. We took our sweet time getting ready, taking long hot showers and soaking up the internet. The kids never really settled down. It was kinda weird cuz they usually settle in quite easily but they were up wandering all night. We requested a late check out so we could go across the street to the Waffle House for a quick breakfast without having to figure out how to get the rig over there. After a quite good and filling omelet we packed it up, loaded the kids back in the rig and set off to a brand new state for both of us – Louisiana!! The drive was uneventful – thank heavens!! After the stress of Houston a nice easy low-key drive was just what the doctor ordered. Snowball definitely likes these high 60, low 70 temps a lot better. She cruised our whole trip at a steady 65 mph. Chris says that Snowball has a mind of her own and he follows her, he’s just along to help her with the turns. 🙂
Once we crossed the border into Louisiana I started noticing subtle difference in the landscape almost immediately. Mile by mile I watched the parched desert fade away and the wetlands creep in. Everyone we spoke to in San Antonio would tell us how bad the drought has been and how desperately they need rain. I couldn’t help but think of them as I’m watching little streams and rivers with a lake here and there go by right and left brimming with water. What a difference 4 hours of driving can make.
Soon after crossing the border we needed to stop to refuel. We met the nicest little lady in the gas station from Westwego LA which is also part of the Westbank where we’ll be living. She was so excited for us and telling us all about things to do and see including the best Pizza place ever. We’ll be checking out Mo’s Pizza for sure after the rave reviews she had to tell.
We stopped for the night in Lafeyette LA which was our target for the day and about half way across Louisiana, by the time we made it we were both ready to call it. We made the decision to leave the kids in the rig for the night. The temps were perfect – not to hot or cold – and after they had such settling issues the night before we both agreed they might be a little pissy in the morning but it would be less stressful for them, even if not for us. The hotel was lovely and the room was huge even by hotel standards. It was nice to spread out for a couple of days and think about what it’s going to be like in an apartment. We really lucked out with this hotel…they served us dinner in the lobby with a few complimentary cocktails each. Cocktails?? Oh Hell Yeah!! We enjoyed our kid-free evening for a change. I wonder if ‘real’ parents do the same thing when they have an evening alone…enjoy themselves but always in the back of their minds wonder if the kids are OK??
As nice as the hotel was it simply wasn’t home especially without the kids around. I woke up at 3:30 am *gasp* and couldn’t for the life of me go back to sleep. I know it was a mixture of the excitement of finally getting to see New Orleans and worrying about the kids. We were up, completely ready, had breakfast at the Cracker Barrel and by 10 am we were visiting the kids before take off. No toodling this morning, we were on a mission!! The kids were fine, a little pissy as predicted but completely fine. It took Goober the longest to come around but that’s not a shocker.
We only had a 3 hour drive as the Snowball flies with Baton Rouge and New Orleans as our only cities. As soon as we took off the landscape was obvious wetlands. We spent more time driving on bridges than interstate as everything has to go over the huge amounts of water everywhere. The crops in the fields were flooded but I suspect that was on purpose I just don’t know what they were growing that requires that much standing water… The further in we went the more water until we came upon our first swamp. A real honest to goodness swamp!! The trees were submerged in deep water covered in green – I just know there were alligators in there!! After going through Baton Rouge we stopped at a huge Outlet Mall that was bustling with shoppers. I’ve never seen such a booming Outlet Mall. They were even adding a new wing for additional stores. We took a much-needed break and wandered the stores for a little bit while sipping a Starbucks (Thanks Mom & Dad!!). It was quite warm and humid so we couldn’t leave the kiddos in the rig for too long but it’s close enough that we’ll be able to go back and really shop!! We refueled for the last time and set our sites for the KOA campground just outside New Orleans which will be our new home until the renovations are complete on our apartment. Lucky for us the KOA is before New Orleans so Snowball didn’t have to go into the city, whew!!
We arrived to the nearly full KOA. It’s a lot tighter quarters than we’re used to. They sure did use every little bit of space available to get as many rigs in here as possible!! The park is very clean and we have lovely neighbors. We lucked out to be right next door to the laundry and just a short distance from the showers. We are a good trek from our Storage Unit though so we’ll have a solid 30 minute commute over the bridge that connects the Eastbank, where we are now, to the Westbank where we’ll live. It’s kinda confusing since we’re technically more west now but the Westbank and Eastbank are determined by which side of the Mississippi River you’re on.
We have arrived!! Snowball and Big Red did beautifully!! We’re excited to explore a bit especially the Storage Unit and our new apartment… This adventure is officially under way!! 😀
With Much Love