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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Gas for $2.79 a gallon or$2.59 or $2.51

We finally left New Orleans Sunday morning after two failed attempts. Thank God for our GPS but it’s not perfect. It may be perfect but you probably need to make sure you have the latest software loaded. My bad. Anyway, after getting lost twice, we finally got headed the right direction, north and left town. The first thirty some miles were spent on two separate bridges, we crossed miles and miles of Bayou’s, It felt good to be  a solid ground when we finally left that last bridge.

Two things I can not be without GPS and backup camera

We pulled into the same park we stayed at on the way down in Memphis, a nice park right on the Mississippi River. We had a nice evening watching the barge traffic on the river.  

 Camping on the Mississippi West Memphis Arkansas

 Camping on the Mississippi West Memphis Arkansas

Camping on the Mississippi West Memphis Arkansas

Monday we made it to Bowling Green Missouri; we are right off highway 61 just south of Hannibal. We are at a small campground that is very quiet and clean.

Cozy C Office 

Cozy C RV park Bowling Green Missouri

Just after crossing the Missouri border this morning from Arkansas we noticed gas prices at $2.79 a gallon, we needed gas so we stopped and felt pretty good about it. An hour later we saw $2.59 and an hour after that we saw $2.51. I don’t think gas dropped that low all over today because we saw it back at $2.89 a little later on.

Just before we saw $2.51

Our worry about this trip and coming home this time of the year is getting caught in freezing weather before having a chance to winterize the RV. Most of the campgrounds and RV parks in Minnesota close for the season around the 15th of October for the same reasons, having their water and sewer lines freeze. We know of a Casino RV park in Iowa just south of Des Moines where we had planned on making our finally stop and winterizing the RV. The forecast for next few days looks pretty good and it doesn’t look like a hard frost anytime soon but I think we will still stop at the casino and prepare the RV for winter.

Because we have no phone service or WIFI where we are at tonight I will try and post this tomorrow from the casino and it will be the finale post of this trip. 

We made it to Lakeside Casino in Osceola Iowa in time to spend one last day basking in the warm sunshine. It is still short pants weather with temps in the 70’s.  We should be home early tomorrow afternoon with great memories from a great vacation.

 Lakeside Casino

Lakeside Casino RV Park

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bridges, Gophers, Blues and Bourbon Street

The Causeway 24 straight miles

Today we decided to drive the causeway which is the world’s longest (continuous over water) bridge. From shore to shore it is 24 miles long. There are a few cross overs should you freak out and have to head back. God forbid you have a flat tire or engine problems because there is not much room to pull over. There are a few police and tow trucks stationed along the way and a simple *27 on your cell phone will have them scrambling your way. At the end of the causeway is the town of Manderville which appeared to be a very nice town. We stopped and had coffee and let our nerves settle down a bit before returning back across the bridge. We spent the rest of the morning driving through the neighborhoods on the north side of the city. I can honestly say that we saw the majority of New Orleans these past four days.

No room to stop or pull over

We had lunch in the garden district which is similar to our Upton area. We ate at a sports bar which had football games on eight different TV’s and as luck would have it the Gopher game was on one of them. I didn’t get to see much of the game but did manage to catch the end. At least Minnesota has something to be proud of again. Go Gophers.

As we were heading back to the RV we stumbled upon a large festival taking place downtown, a blues and BBQ festival. There were three large stages, lots of BBQ and great music. We wish we hadn’t stopped for lunch when we did because the BBQ sure smelled awesome. When we saw the festival we found a lot to park and decided that once we tired of the blues we would walk the few blocks and visit the French Quarter for one last time. The place is really crazy it’s just one big party all the time.


One of two weddings we saw parading through the French Quarter. This one was very large and was complete with police escorts.

Our time is up here and in the morning we hitch up and head out. Other then we will be heading north we have no idea of our destination for the day, we will see what happens.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Cities of the Dead

We went back to town this morning to visit the famous cemeteries of New Orleans. I cut and pasted some information I found online to better explain these famous places. We started at St Louis Cemetery #2 and went on to the most famous St Louis Cemetery #1

From the Internet:  

Only in New Orleans, which is unique in so many ways, could cemeteries be major tourist attractions. However, because the city is built on a swamp, the deceased have to be buried above ground here in elaborate stone crypts and mausoleums. Over time the cemeteries, with elaborate sculptures and other decorative artwork embellishing the tombs, have come to come to resemble small villages. They are known by the nickname of “Cities of the Dead.”
The most famous cemetery, St. Louis Cemetery #1, is walking distance from the French Quarter and the Downtown area. 

Many crypts are in disrepair

I'm not sure what we are looking at here

Again a lot of disrepair

Cities of the dead

WOW 1789

Located on historic Basin Street, it is the burial place of Marie Laveau, the legendary “voodoo queen.” Believers and non-believers alike make pilgrimages to her tomb to make offerings to her spirit in return for what they hope will be blessings. The many “X’s” scrawled on the tomb attest to the power she is believed to wield, even long after her death.

Marie Laveau's crypt

Many offerings are left daily

More offerings, notice the fresh fruit

From the Internet:  

The beautiful Marie Laveau, and yes she was beautiful, was born a Free Woman of Color in 1794 and died an old woman in 1881. She became the most famous and powerful Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. She was respected and feared by all. Voodoo in New Orleans was a blend of West African religion and Catholicism. Voodoo deities are called Loahs and they are closely paired with the Catholic Saints. All people in New Orleans were Catholic and slaves were baptized. Marie was a devout Catholic and attended Mass daily. Marie began as a hairdresser and later became a nurse during the Yellow Fever epidemics. She was skilled in the practice of medicine and knew the healing qualities of indigenous herbs. Concerned about the soul too, she would sit with the condemned in their last moments sometimes serving them their last meal. She was the first commercial Voodoo Queen and she specialized in romance and finance. She was an astute business woman. Marie was all-knowing and all-powerful. She could easily help you get a lover, keep a lover or get rid of a lover. Marie married Jacques Paris at St. Louis Cathedral when she was 25. He disappeared 6 months later and from then on she became known as "The Widow Paris". A year later she became the common law wife of Christopher Glapion and had some 15 children by him. The youngest of these, also Marie, followed in her mother's footsteps and succeeded her. It is believed that you can come to Marie's tomb and ask for something. She accepts money, cigars, white rum and candy as offerings. Appeals must be made 3 times with full concentration. In voodoo it is believed that when a Voodoo Queen dies her spirit re-enters the river of life and moves to the next realm, adjacent to this one. Her spirit will always be here, close at hand, in New Orleans. To this day, people still visit her tomb with the hope that she will grant their wishes.

St Louis Cathedral

We spent the remainder of the day driving around the city and exploring some of the neighborhoods. We drove along French Street which is reported to be the place for music and food that the locals go to. It’s not near as crowded as Bourbon Street and is said to be less expensive. We saw the trolleys and street cars that make their way from the center of the city. We drove past the Silver Dome and returned to the French Market where Chris picked up a few things.

Hop on Hop off tour bus

Downtown street car on Canal Street

St Charles street car is the oldest continuously operating streetcar in the world!  It has been running daily for the past 150 years

We returned to the State Park and explored areas that we haven’t seen yet. It is really a pretty park with lots of room for day use besides the campground.

Canal that runs through the park

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Beignets and Hurricanes

We made it to the ferry by 9:30 this morning to start our day in the French Quarter. We covered ¾ of it by foot before we headed home at 7:00 PM.  I’m not sure how far we actually walked but it was significant. Our first stop was Café Du Monde for Beignets and chicory coffee; you cannot visit New Orleans without a stop at Café Du Monde.

Getting on the ferry for the trip across the Mississippi

Looking at one of the ferries that make the crossing daily 

A look at downtown New Orleans

getting ready to dock

This place only serves Beignets and they are opened 24hrs a day

We spent the morning walking the streets of the French Quarter and admiring the unique architecture of the local buildings and homes that line the narrow streets. We stopped for lunch at a small café, bourbon heat, and enjoyed our meal in their wonderful outdoor courtyard. We followed up lunch with some more walking and enjoying many of the street bands that were playing along the way. 

The French Quarter is made up of narrow one way streets 

Most building in the quarter have balconies

Streets are very narrow

One of many street bands

 Another band

This guy brought his lunch along to listen to his favorite street band

There were a lot of halloween decorations

maybe a duplex

and another

very old and small home

corner bar

We finally made our way to another New Orleans land mark, Pat O’Brien’s (home of the Hurricane) and stopped for an afternoon libation. I’m amazed at the number of people that visit this place each and every day.

We managed to get ourselves back to the dock to catch our ferry which took us back across the Mississippi.