Friday, October 31, 2014

The Trip: Day 13

After the story with Bill, I was feeling both depressed and exhausted.  I mean, this trip has not been easy when I think about it.

I consider myself quite good at long distance driving now because I can go and go and only stop when I need gas, but once I got situated (On this couch I'm staying on) I was dead.  MY hands were shaking and I was just tired as hell.

I spent the morning of October 30th, 1AB (After Bill), being tired but productive.

I searched and searched for housing and attempted to play with the dogs that live here.  They weren't having that shit.  Some stranger in their house and they just sat there looking at me...

Mostly the housing search has been a complete bust, but I wasn't expecting to find a place right away.  That being said, I may start moving a few more things into my friends house here as they have storage space and I have things I'd like out of my car while I'm traveling around and looking where I can plant myself.

After a few hours I got bored and went to the gym in the facility and then cleaned their sink of dishes...  you get really bored when you've been on the road for 2 weeks and, when you finally get to your destination, no one is around to hang out with.  You sit around in an empty apartment all day twiddling your thumbs and, while you are working on things, it's still like... WHERE ARE THE PEOPLE?

Eventually Lauren came back and we walked her dogs.  They pooped, she picked it up. Classic dog walking story.  Then we sat around and ate a small dinner.  The girls of the apartment were particularly excited about TV's offerings.  
First, Bones was on which my momma likes so I was kinda up to speed on that one.  Then SCANDAL.  I tell you, those writers know their audience because the whole damn episode was "girl power!" all the way.  I'm totally fine with that, but like... yikes on some of it.  Lastly, How to Get Away With Murder was on.  That was, while silly because I didn't know what was going on, and very enthralling show.

So, with TV night closing down, I took over the TV and watched Howl's Moving Castle.  I you haven't seen it, it is great.  I've seen it once before but it was here and so I watched it.  

No where near the excitement offered by most of my trip, but this day had its pleasures.  Mostly, it had its laziness.  I'm anxious to get started on this whole "adult-ing" thing, but... I got time to watch cartoons I think.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Trip: Day 12

So I decided after much deliberation and comments from others not to do Vegas alone.  I had no real intention of doing it alone, I had every intention of finding some one willing to meet me there and explore the city with me.  I was wrong and so I decided it was in my best interest to skip Vegas and head on into Los Angeles.  I've seen the signs for Los Angeles.  I'm so close to my final destination.  I want to be there!

Its at this point our story takes a dark turn.

As I mentioned, I was unable to make this trip happen how it was intended with me and another individual.  No one could or would come so I found myself alone.  Well, almost alone.

Luckily, I had Bill Murray, my pepper plant and living companion since 2010.  He was a volunteer pepper plant we dug up in our back yard and he was awesome.  Couldn't be killed no matter how hard I tried!  He was the best, and I referred to him as Bill.  He was my buddy.

Well, as it happens, California is pretty strict on their border when it comes to foreign plants and produce.  This hadn't even dawned on me as a possibility.  

To explain where this is going, Not only have I had this plant since 2010, I've just made a trip across the country for just under two weeks with him.  I've seen New Orleans, Austin Texas, Roswell NM, the Grand Canyon and places in between.  I've walked the Grand Canyon and slept in freezing weather.  I've done so much and seen so much, and my pepper plant, Bill Murray, was with me most of the time.  I took him with me to eat a few times.  He sat next to me while I slept almost every where.  I looked insane carrying this pepper plant with stickers from places we had been all over his pot.

And, at the border of my final destination, a man grabbed Bill by the stem. Ripped him, roots and all, from his home, and tossed him like a piece of garbage into a bucket where they will no doubt incinerate him if they have not already done so.

Sadness is a strong feeling I had, but worse than that was shame.  I was given the option to turn back with him and drive those 40 minutes back to civilization in Arizona to where I could have, and should have, mailed Bill back home.  I could have taken him to someones store and let them have him.  I could have left Bill in the hands of someone who may have taken care of him.  For God's sake, I could have taken him up from the roots myself and murdered him.

Instead, I let some stranger kill him in front of me.  I let him be murdered and I had every chance to save him.  I feel ashamed, I am racked with regret, and my heart feels like it has been ripped from my chest.

I sold Bill out for personal gain. For my own selfish desire, I let an innocent die.

I Judas-ed Bill Murray, and now I have to live with that.

I drove the rest of the trip in silence.  I may have cried.  I may still cry.  
I loved that stupid plant, and I killed him.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Trip: Day 11

After those stars and the freezing temperatures, the only thing I could do was work on getting my car restarted.  It took very little time as the LOA people no doubt have had to do this numerous times before.

My tent packed, my car up and running, and my tuna salad from a can (Bumblebee) eaten, I decided it was time to head to see this "big stupid hole in the ground" known as the Grand Canyon.  I hopped in the car running on the taste of a dream still left in my mouth and no good sleep to find and just drove.  Silence.  Silence for my companion and thoughts streaming in and out of my head like a tide that can't make up its mind if it is low or high.

I payed some duckets, stuck a tag onto my car, and I was in.  The grand canyon isn't as not-populated as you might think.  There is a whole damn town inside the park. Grocery store, post office, the whole 9 yards.  I went to the grocery store and snagged a cliff bar and some Hawaiin macadamia nut things that were very, very tasty.  I decided no food I got in the grand canyon that was hot or cold would be worth the jacked up price to get it, so I stuck with my already bought almonds, cliff bar, the Hawaiin things, and some sunflower seeds.

From there, I drove to the visitors center and walked.

And for the rest of the day, know that if I haven't been telling you what I was doing, most likely. 
I walked.

From the visitors center, I crested the hill and there it was.  Off of Mather Point I saw the drop and then the huge expanse of land ahead of me.  The grand canyon in all it's glory!  I can't say it was breath taking as I've been jaded by movies and television, but I can say that to use the word "awesome" to describe it would be one of the first time's I've ever heard awesome used properly.  It truly is awe inspiring.

From Mather Point I wound my way around the lip of the canyon.  Not sure how long it is, but I walked from Mather Point to the Bright Angel Trailhead.  I took stops and pictures along the way and it was a relaxing time.

At the trailhead, I went down.  I wasn't about to go to the Grand Canyon and not be adventurous!  I hiked down into the canyon a mile and a half, then I hiked back up.  I would have gone further, but I was running on no sleep.  Screw that.

Going up, as you might imagine, is not as simple as going down.

Once at the top, I found a spot, and I sat.  People watching be something I do and some thing I do very well, I sat there and watched the people go here and there, talking all kinds of nonsense.   I must say, I've people watched at a lot of places, but never have I ever come away thinking:
"There are beautiful people everywhere!"

And its true.  The Grand Canyon is full of beautiful people.  The languages are all over the place and it is something to hear Chinese and french being spoke on either side of you.  Then there are the differences in style.  What I would never consider wearing was worn by an entire bus full of people as just part of it.  It's fashion and its not mine I suppose.

Most notably, the differences in faces of people.  When I say beautiful, lets be serious, I don't mean everyone there was movie star worthy (A lot were, but not all by any means).  I mean that there were such different structures of faces staring out of everywhere.  Noses and eyebrows and cheekbones and lips all combined in the gorgeous hodgepodge of people walking here and there.  It was incredible to see and it just struck me as something beautiful.  Humans, all of us, looking different but all the same.  I just thought that was something incredible.

4:30pm, I snagged a prime spot next to a tree close to the edge of the canyon, and I just looked out.  A California Condor flew 15 feet above my head, and as the sun started going down, a whole lot of people jealously rustled behind my some what secluded spot.  This sunset was mine, and I was not moving.

The sun crawled its way down the side of the canyon, and as its last rays went out behind the rim, i snagged my keys and went to my car.

I found myself, after about an hour, at Williams' Grand Canyon Hotel/Hostel.  I met two ladies from France on holiday and we hunted out some food.  We ended up at the Brewery (I may have influenced that decision) and at some tasty burgers (and a veggie burger for one of them) and then we drank some good beer.  The beer was much better than I expected it to be, but I am totally okay with that.

After that, we headed back to the hotel and said our goodbyes.  I was exhausted and my knees kind of hurt. I needed a good nights sleep, and I haven't slept in a bed for a long time.  

Good Night!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Trip: Day 10

Driving. Another day of driving for 8 hours. I mean, it's not terrible, but it's not ideal. Of course, there were things I needed to do before the driving came.  Such as aliens. I needed to see aliens!

The International Museum of UFOs (or something) was everything I knew it would be. Newspaper clippings, first hand accounts, pictures and admissions from govt. Officials after the fact. "They weren't human!"

There were hoaky displays of aliens landing, and a really cool designed door from a Mayan site in south America that they had on display (probably one of the cooler things they had).  I Milled about the museum learning and snapping pictures and then looked through the end gift shop. About noon, I decided it was time to leave this place, so I snatched up my belongings, checked out, and I was on the road.

The breakfast at the Best Western was what you expect; sausage, ham, cereal, egg product. They had all the common stuff. I had a bit, grabbed boxes of cereal and some oranges and left. I figured I could stop on the way. I did eventually.

Stopping for gas, I realized I was about starved so I went into the store. Inside was a burger joint known as Laguna Burger. I had a good feeling about it so I sat myself down at the bar and ordered.

1/2 pound of meat, mustard, hatch chiles, onion, pickles (Xtra of course) and some hand cut fries and I was in business. An absolutely delicious butger, and locally sourced if you are into that!  Lester and Thomas, the fellas working there did me right.

I got back on the road.

Out of all the places I have driven, New Mexico, I must say, made me feel the most adventurous.  Crawling plains and steep plateaus in the distance. The tree ed, earthy colors and the low sitting flora. For me it had such mystery and beauty about it. I was driving through and all I was thinking is that I would be back. I wanted to get to the tops of the plateaus and explore around them.  I'll be back New Mexico!

Driving driving, hunting for deer, driving. I didn't want to hit one of those deer or elk, but the last 200 miles were in the dark and I was on the edge of my seat.

Finally, I arrived at my KOA site and set up. 2 things.

First, using your car lights is a good idea to set up a tent in the dark UNLESS you don't have the car running. In the words of Forrest Gump, "I am not a smart man".

Second, no matter thetemperature, you are about to freeze your bollywogs off at night. Arctic fucking temperatures appearantly. I did not realize that, though it was cold, it would continue to drop down to the coldest shit you have ever tried to sleep in.

All that said, my battery dead, my phone dying and my nutskies frozen... it was all worth it to see those stars. Beautiful swaths of light striking every corner of that black nothing and I would sleep naked out here just to look at them. Insignificance noted universe, I get the message. Thanks for the view!

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Trip: Day 9

You wouldn't believe how easily your brain can occupy itself for 8 hours of driving by yourself.  I got some weird stuff going on up in that noggin.

The drive was long but pleasurable. Texas going west turns into hills and valleys and winding roads and ranches. It was amazing to see so many ranches, and the fences went on for miles.  People told me that Texas was boring mostly, but I disagree.  I've lived a majority of my life traveling between Tennessee and Illinois.  Seeing the rest of what this country has to offer is amaizjng.

I'm not talking about the cities. I'm talking about it all as a whole! The towns, the people, the food(especially the food), and the countryside.  Look at a map and Texas is some arbitrarily chosen color connected to Mexico and the rest of the US. THAT is borong. Seeing that that shape for what it is and mapping that out in your head, that's incredible!  Brush and trees and creek beds dried up. Rocks and marments(mostly dead, but still) and the biggest damn trucks you ever seen. That was what I wanted to see, and I did.

As I neared my destination and crossed that state border into New Mexico, I was growing tired of driving. Most of it had to do with the suns ceaseless shine which, as a whole, I love. However, when it is pulverizing your retinas with its cancerous rays and you blink and see its circle in you eyelids, you grow weary of its embrace.

I pulled into Roswell NM as the sun went down, kicking and screaming, and throwing some final suckerpunches through gaps in trees right into my eye holes. I snatched up my phone, parked in a McDonald parking lot. As I decided my destination for the night, I heard a small sound to my right. Looking up, I about dropped some mud at the sight of a pair of blue eyes, connected to a one legged man in a wheelchair, peered into my car from the driver side.  I decided at that moment, I would get a hotel.

I snagged up my room for a decent price. More than I wanted to pay, but cheaper than its usually $100+ rate.

Now, all I have to say about Roswell NM...

"I want to believe"

If anyone's wondering, Texas bugs are juicy and they smear easy.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Trip: Day 8

I awoke from my slumber and milled about the place.  I showered and fixed a small sandwich before I decided what I woulpd do with my day.  Around 11 I hopped into the car.

I had met the owner of North By North West Brewing at Hopsfield and told him I would get him a Tennessee Brew Works Business card, and so I snagged some and headed for NXNW.

To my surprise, they were having their annual Oktoberfest!  I got myself a mug and some tickets for beer and food, and I enjoyed a kielbasa with sour kraut and cabbage with my NXNW Oktoberfest beer.

Showing how small the world really is, I ran into a friend from UT Knoxville at the Oktoberfest.

After that, I had planned on going downtown to attend an improvement class. Sadly, that class was not happening at the the time due to a miscommunication from the website to the real world.

Instead, I walked around downtown Austin and people watched. It was fun, but I grew hungry and bought myself a Donner from Kebabalicious. It was spicy and delicious, and hut the spot.

I went back to Aarons apartment and watched a movie called "The Fall". It was visually unbelievable, and then I hung out with Aaron for a bit when he was home from work.  After that. I went to bed.  I had a lot of driving tomorrow.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Trip: Day 7

Pinballz Arcade!

My first stop of the day!


 After snagging a bite to eat and all that, I headed out for the first stop of my day at Pinballz Arcade!  It was a wonderland of old and new gaming towers encompassing a deep, 2 leveled gaming area.  At the front you are greeted with pinball machines and the prize counter. 

These are surrounded by games like Gauntlet Legends, XMen (Welcome... TO DIE!) and Ninja Turtles. On the opposite side sits one of my favorite machines, the Cyclone, as well as other ticket winning games. 

Continue on back and you find the pinball area.  Pinball machines eat the second level of the place, their 8bit sounds attacking your ears and their lights sparkling in your eyes, its hard not to walk around in amazement! 

Tucked away in a nook up front you can find old atari titles as well as Tron and Off Road, two of my favorites.  Rampage was also there, and I had a great time munching on soldiers and wrecking buildings.  It was just a fun start to a fun day!

 I had some time to kill and had been requested to snag some Emergen-C and hand sanitizer, so I ran over to Wally World and grabbed up those items.

Afterwards, I drove on out towards Jester King.  A brewery half an hour outside Austin.

 Now, if you want to drink beer and get a feel for what I always thought Texas would be like, go to Jester King!  Its out in bush country and its gorgeous!  Connected to it is a Pizza place that, by all accounts, is delicious, but the feel of the place is just so... ranch.  Its like a cowboy became a beer snob and made this brewery come to life by sheer cowboy will!

 I met some fine gentlemen who invited me to sit with them at their table.  Turns out, they are in process of opening up a brewery themselves,

Steam Theory Brewing Company

so keep your eyes peeled for these guys.

It was nice being able to share stories and discussions related to homebrewing over the extensive list of sour beers that Jest King has to offer!

 Again, that Texas feel was prominent as the sun set over the compound and the spindly, bendy trees and bushes that speckled the rocky ground around Jest King.  I felt so cool being part of the scenery here, and being able to experience it for myself!


At Jester King, they didn't just have their beer, and I am always, Always, ALWAYS ready to try some pineapple drink of some caliber.  Beer, wine, mead, I want to try it all. These were two of the pineapple pleasantries I was privy to enjoy.

Now, by all account, the Pizza out there by Jester King is absolutely delicious, and I believe them because the line was INSANE by the time I was getting hungry, so the boys from Steam Theory and myself all rode on into Austin again and ended up at the Pint House.

I didn't ask about the mermaid beer girl there, but I'm sure she had a reason.  She looked cool at least!

After pizza, I said my farewell to my new friends.

Post pizza, Aaron, Tio, and I went to the movies to see John Wick.  What a fun film that was!  Violence, revenge, Keanu: everything you'd ever need to have a good time!  After film, we all headed home and hit our respective pillows.  It has been a long day!  I'll have more to do tomorrow!

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Trip: Day 6

The day started with a wonderful breakfast, made by my gracious, caring, and omnivorous host!

Aaron wizard-ed around the kitchen to create delicious, veggie and meat filled tortillas that hit the spot called my empty stomach.  I provided some homemade pico (Thanks Mrs. Butrum!) and some hotsauce from Louisianna, and then Tio, Aaron, and myself tucked into our food.

After that, I lazed around Aaron's apartment and looked up the breweries I had already seen bits about online. I wanted to make sure I knew exactly which ones I would visit if I could only choose a few.

After that, Aaron and I went for lunch at Hopfields, and neat little eatery with a large beer selection.  I drank a Belgian style farmhouse and ate one of the most delicious burgers I've had in quite some time.  Homemade pickles and pickled jalapenos, whole grain mustard, caramelized onions.  Magnificent to say the least!

Aaron and I parted was after this and he scooted off to work.  Tio also needed to make some duckets so I was left to my own devices.  I took a power nap and headed out for Austin Beerworks.

I did not choose wrong.

Austin Beerworks was absolutely a blast.  The people were excited to be there, the staff was happy to be part of the scene, and the beer was quite tasty.  The first introduction you have to some of the brewers is on a sign which I will place... here:

So that is what I saw first, and I new I had arrived.

Not only was that fun, their deal of $10 for 3 fills and an Austin Beerworks glass and I knew I had made the right decision of coming here first (Also, it was down the road from my place of residence, but that was that good 'ol convenient factor)

I drank my fill of Black Thunder, a German style Schwarz beer and the beer I was most excited about, as well as an experimental IPA and the Golden Fist, a Belgian style with a power 9% punch.  I met some fun people who worked and played there, namely Olivia and Ryan (respectively).  We had fun chatting about the beer scene, Austin in general, and laughing about my outfit choice which was IDENTICAL to another patrons.  From the Henley and the shorts down to the TOMS shoes on our feet, we snagged a picture (sadly I did not get a copy) and laughed about it.
That dude is Rysan!

Post Beerworks, I hopped in my car (sobered up of course) and headed south towards the Violet Crown, a swanky movie theatre in Austin where you can sit in recliners and eat proper food while enjoying the film on screen. 

I snuck into an early view of "Birdman" with Tio and we watched a great and strange film unfold on the intimate screening experience.

Finally, having my fill of food, beer, and art, I left for Aaron and Tio's apartment once more, hell bent on getting some decent sleep and waking up refreshed and ready for tomorrow!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Trip: Day 5

The sunlight crept onto my little face, and it was time to get up.  Faith snuck out the door after grabbing a sleepy hug from me and she was off to work.  I rolled off the couch and started packing up my belongings.  First my bag, then my electronics and shoes, toothbrush and all that jazz, then I grabbed Bill Murray and the car was loaded.  I put the keys on the counter and closed the door behind me... I hope I didn't leave anything.

I tooled around the French Quarter and ogled the buskers and tourists.  Snagged a shot of the Cathedral (gorgeous by the way) and attempted to grab a begnette.  I failed... forgot to bring cash.  

Very flattering
Faith called me and asked me what my plans were, so we met up for some lunch at Sammy's Food Service and Deli.  I wanted my last flavors of NOLA, and Sammy's delivered: Comfort food with red beans and rice, spicy sausage, cajun fried chicken, and jambalaya. 

After this, I filled up the gas tank and split for Austin.  The original plan was to head half way to Austin and camp somewhere along the way, preferably the beach.  I scrapped that plan when I couldn't find any good places that stuck out as beach camping.  Kept on moving.

Just outside of Batonrouge I met my first hiccup.  Car problems!  A few calls, a lot of driving, 2 hours later and some duct tape, I was backon the road.

Looks like it was bright outside. It weren't.
Funny enough, I drove all night through Texas,  Night being the key word there.  I have cleared a vast chunk of Texas and the only thing I got to see were the strange lights coming from the towering structures in teh distance and the neutral face of the tollbooth worker.  I can't wait to actually see this state!

Another side note, Texans drive fast. Like, super fast.  Mega hella fast.  Speed limit through Houstin (A preposterously large city) is 75mph at some points. I was going 75mph.  People were passing me and had to be going at least 90mph, weaving in and out of traffic.

Do you want dead?  This is how you get dead.

Obviously the vast majority of drivers were fine, but there was a proportional amount of fast flying fiends that warrant that note.

For dinner, 1 hour outside of Austin, I opened my goodie-bag and peered in.  I snagged a small can of "Chicken Spread" and crackers and opened the can.  As far as I can tell, it was cat food.  I was hungry, so I ate it, but all that means is I ate cat food.

My dad always asks:

"What's the difference between what you will and won't eat?"

The answer: 

"24 Hours"

Finally pulled into Aaron's place or residence.  Time for sleep!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Trip: Day 4

After Day 3 and all that drinking I did, I needed a break.  Needed a little shut eye.  Needed some rest.

Also, I was getting sick.  So I slept away most of the day.  Snuggled and wrapped in lots of blankets, I pounded water down myself and made sure I sweat a lot. My joints were starting ti get achy.

When I woke up around noon I was feeling a bit better so I hopped in the shower for the steam and knocked all the gunk in my nose out.  Then, the only thing I was feeling was starvation. I hadn't eaten for quite some time and I was feeling it.

But, I waited.  Food was important, but it was also important as to what kind of food.  Upon internetting, I found that a place called "Luke" existed, only with some fancy shit over the U.  I found they had what I sought, but at 3pm.  So I waited.

The Stew
When 2 rolled around, I hopped into my vehicle and took the drive downtown.  I found a sot a block away from "Luke" for $3 and popped into my destination.  A fancier, upscale place for sure.  I snagged a seat a the bar and was shortly joined by a couple of gentleman who I believe were from a law firm.. Friend;y enough, but droned on about shady characters they worked with.

I was there for what they had, but I needed to wait till 3, so I ordered that days special.  Seafood gumbo as my side and a White Gulf Shrimp Cuccuza Stew with smoked Pork Jowls on Jasmine Rice... Majestic to say the least.  The gumbo was meaty and a blast of flavor, and the stew was magnificent as well.  When I was finished with my meal, it was almost time. I ordered a beer and waited.

Oysters are so damn good!
When 3 o'clock hit, the girl tending the bar brought me my prize.  12 oysters, at oyster happy hour.  Cheap, delicious, and for all I know nutritious.  I sat there at the bar and ate the little boogers one at a time as I watched the men behind the bar shuck more for the upcoming rush for the happy hour.  When the final oyster was gone and its shell turned over in a sign of solidarity, I leaned back to relax. My stomach full, my beer almost gone, my mind finally at ease.  I knew that the only thing I could do at that moment was count my blessings.

I did so by ordering a second dozen.

Twenty four oysters for $12 was something you can't pass up, and I would have ordered more had I had a "wooden leg" as people often ask.  What a wonderful thing to eat.  I'm glad I'm on this planet to do it.

After this, I came back to Faith's and took a power nap.  Shortly after, we were off to "The Spotted Cat".  A live jazz joint.  It was so great to hear more Jazz music, and particularly funny to me as I realized... all the dancers from last Sunday were here.  It was great to hear the Jazz, and Faith, Anderson (Faith's friend) and I listened on intently to the music.

After a while, we headed towards a house party where there were tacos and margaritas for $5 all night.  An eclectic crew was present: sugar skulled ladies and gents, a rooster with a kangaroo pouch, mother nature the stripper, some dude in a hazmat suit, and a couple lady-men were present.  After a bit, Faith and Anderson left me and I was there alone.  I danced with Beth, a swing dancer from London, and drank tequila as that's basically the only component of margaritas they had left.  It was a lot of fun and particularly funny as I was just some guy there. Not in costume, just being something of a wall flower.  Eventually I got tired and headed for "home".

Water water and more water, then off to bed.  I suppose it's time I get to rambling on, but I'm going to miss this here silly town.  Its been fun New Orleans, but if I stay any longer I might stay for good.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Trip: Day 3

I woke up.

Always a good start to the day.

After the wake up period, I relaxed a little bit.  Round 11, I grabbed my keys and met Faith for lunch.  We had intended to go to the "Munch Factory" but they were closed on Wednesdays, so we ended up... at a Daiquiri shop.  Naturally I snagged a fried shrimp Poboy, which was majestic, and a large Daiquiri.  

After tossing the majority of the Daiquiri into a to go cup, I snagged my keys, said my farewells to Faith who went back to work, and I tooled around New Orleans.  I drove by the lake in all its monstrosity.  The breeze coming of the thing was quite relaxing, but the construction I was driving through didn't make for a perfect event of driving.  

After that, I headed over to NOLA Brewing Company and tried my tastebuds at their beers.  I had their Pineapple Ghost Pepper IPA, the Pineapple Coconut IPA, Their "Girl Stout Cokie" which tastes like a thinmint in beer form, quite majestic.  Then I went on to taste the A.L.S. IPA.  After those wonderful things, I tried the Grape Sour they had whose name escapes at this time, and then the Smokey Mary.  All great beers, and always excited to try a Pineapple beer. (The coconut Pineapple Beer was something I am quite interested in trying my hand at)
After water, I slunk back into my car and headed for some oysters in the French Quarter.  I drove around looking for a spot longer than I stayed in the French Quarter however as I needed to meet up with Faith and her friends for a movie.  A dozen oysters and some Crescent Cities Beers later and I was headed back to Faith's.

I walked into the house, grabbed a large gulp of water, and then Faith and I headed out to see a movie called "Vi ar Bast"

After that, off to "Pal's" to snag a few beers and some Red Beens and rice, something I was excited about as someone who has never seen this tradition before, and someone who hadn't eaten dinner.  We talked the night away at Pals and then drove home.

All I can think about is... I want more Oysters!

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Trip: Day 2

It was a positively wonderful day. The weather was a nice 70°. The sun was shining and the sky was a beautiful blue. I woke up and headed towards Commanders Palace for brunch. 

Well, you can't get in with a T-shirt on.

The couple in front of me were pointed towards a cafe called Coquette just down the road so I tagged myself on with them and we sat at the bar. They didn't stay for a meal, but it was as good a place as any so I ordered myself a Bloody Mary and some Foie Gras Doudin Blanc and had a delightful breakfast.

I filmed the restaurant and my new friends from Florida, and asked one of the bartenders to mix a drink in front of me. He mixed a signature drink and gave it to me free of charge!
After brunch, I passed through the streets and admired the houses, took a stroll through one of the cemeteries and just meandered around.

I decided I wanted to do something else so I hopped in the car and drove to the Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival. Few things could be better than planning a trip to a city and finding out about a Blues and BBQ festival you hadn't even planned on seeing. Met up with Kendal Rowe and snagged a spicy BBQ poboy. It was delicious but short lived. I should have eaten more of them!

Vasti Jackson rocked the crowds blues soul with his majestic guitar licks, even working his way through the crowd with all of us. I filmed quite a bit with my GoPro before I decided to give him my undivided attention, and not a moment to late as a security guy came through looking for me and my gopro. "NO FILMING" he glared at the man next to me. I chose that moment to slink back into the crowd.

I wanted some rest and retired back to Faith's apartment for a siesta. I meant to go back out but instead decided to save money by sitting around and eating beef jerky in my underwear.

As 8 o'clock rolled around, I skipped down the street to the Allways Theatre and took an hour lesson of Charleston. At 9, The Toddy and His Fully Dressed Poboys swing some tunes at our ears as all manner of individuals jittered and jived around the slick, well worn wood floor.  It was a sight to behold and, while similar to all my friends in Nashville, there something infectious about this city. The music has a certain sound and feel that brings out this sense of yesterday. As if you permeated time and no one seemed to be bothered because the music is timeless and everyone just wants to move.

I danced with Becca, Steph, and Jennifer(an actress moved to New Orleans from LA. Small world)  Katrina (An unfortunate name to own in this city) was also vivacious and alive that night. She was taking it all in, on Holiday from New Zealand. She had a zest for life about her and was one of the highlights of the evening. She was energized by all the dancers and wanted to be part of it all, so we danced some freshly learned Charleston and listened to the music.  She was also in need of a cab. I snagged a cab number for her and said goodbye, then I headed home.  

As far as I can tell. If you live in New Orleans, you can get away with anything. The culture is different and the clothes go with that. In Nashville every one is "in a band".  There is a certain style of clothing that exists in Nashville, a color scheme of dull grays and dark blues that tends to be close to normal there.  Here everyone is outlandishly styled. The only overall encompassing style is one of over-the-topness.  Flapper dresses and feathers in the hair.  Tattoos, skulls, fancy hats and suspenders. It's such a vibrant city and the music I feel is the contributing force.

The music is an absolutely wonderful change of pace to the omnipresent "Bro-country" permeating Nashville's bars.  I went out last night and didn't hear "Sweet Home Alabama" once (or the common 6 times as happens in Nashville). Some may argue I wasn't going to the right bars in Nashville, and there are plenty of great bands all around Nashville playing all manner of music, but Blues and Jazz never sounded so sweet to my ears.  The music is enchanting and you can't help but get involved with it and the people around you. On my travels already 

I can tell that this will be a difficulty city to top. 

 Might as well start on a strong note when it comes to trips.  Glad New Orleans is delivering.