End of the week and moving into the city

We ended up getting into a rhythm in the RV Park. Wake up, go to the bathroom, login to the computers and start working. Make some eggs, and toast some bread on our griddle outside beneath the awning.  It was actually quite comfortable. We broke the AC unit out and vented outside the driver window. It wouldn’t get the bus terribly cold but it would relieve us of the humidity which, if you’ve lived in the South, you know can be pretty brutal.

Eventually we went into the city for a night. I think it was on Monday. Loren told us to eat at The Joint in the Bywater before they closed down for the night. We took a bus stop to a stop that we thought we could take into the city from the RV park. We waited and waited. Waited some more. It was near a Winn Dixie so I thought, heck I could go get some more sudafed to help with my killer allergies (of course the pharmacy was closed because of how late it was). Eventually a bus went by in the wrong direction (or so we thought) that was numbered what we wanted. We waited a little longer and said ‘Fuck it, call a cab’. So we did. The driver dropped us at The Joint for some to-go food. Matt and I both got sausage sandwiches and Jake got the chopped pork. Some seriously legit barbecue. Smoked to perfection.  This was my first night in the city and it was interesting. All of the houses are close together, the roads are complete bullshit. Lots of one ways. It was dark when we got into the city so I wasn’t sure what I was looking at. Anyways, we took our food to a bar up the street to a bar Loren used to work at called J&J’s Sports Lounge to watch the NCAA Men’s championship game. Michigan lost. Loren introduced to everyone there as his brothers from Michigan. Loren ducked out right after this. We finished up our drinks and we stopped by a bar that I can’t remember the name of. Neither can Matt or Jake. We ended up meeting some cool people there. Some guy from Cleveland who knew our friend DRB. I met a girl Zooey who was road tripping her way from her family’s place in California back to her place in New York, apparently just because it was something to do. We also met Kelly who was in town for conferences. Jovial drinking and listening to live music. We ended up going to Karaoke @ Kajun’s pub to finish out the night.

I woke up with a nice hangover the next day and worked my way through it. We went back into the city to get some dinner @ Buffas. Looking at the menu I saw redfish and po boy, and knew instantly what I was getting. Jake opted for the red beans and rice with sausage. The redfish was ridiculously good. We ended up getting some more drinks later on and cabbing back to the bus.

The next morning/afternoon Matt and Jake walked down the street and got some monstrously huge shrimp po boys. They were pretty good greasy messes. Just too much bread.

The rest of the week was pretty uneventful. We just worked and hung out on the bus to start with. Matt called and setup an appointment for his Tattoo on Friday, so we decided to take the day off and go into the city and eat some seafood. We stopped by Super Seafood in Uptown which was near where Matt was gonna get his tattoo. The pictures speak for themselves. We got a pound of boiled crawfish. Matt and I ordered a cup of gumbo each and split some fish on corn. Jake opted for a half dozen char grilled oysters covered in herbs and cheese.

Jake and I wanted to go check out Loren’s place. He said there was a spot for us to park, but many people don’t realize how large the bus really is. Anyways, we took the trolleys up as close as we could to his place and walked the rest of the way. We dropped by bars along the way and got day drunk in the city. I kept not bringing a beer to walk with. It still felt unnatural at this point. We ended up making it to Loren’s place and there was ample room for the bus!

Day turned into dusk and into night while we waited for Matt. Jake fell asleep for a bit. Matt showed up in the cab, and regaled us with his troubles finding a cab. He waited over an hour, the French Quarter Fest was going on so the city was a bit of a shit show. Anyways, Jake and I were still a little drunk so Matt had to drive. Which he was not super pleased about after having gotten his tattoo. We ended up going out that night after parking the bus. It was a bit of a mad rush to get everything secured on the bus so that we could head into the city.

I’m kind of surprised at how long this post is, because the first week felt so uneventful while it was going on. We managed to fit stuff in though to keep it eventful. We parked the bus on the street, unfortunately the street in front of the house dips way down near the curb. This meant that the bus was at an angle and I’d roll into bed. I eventually got used to this and it got to be kinda comfortable. We didn’t plug the bus into the house to start with. I didn’t know if it was cool or not since the only person I knew in the house was Loren.

Anyways, after going out on saturday night and getting a pretty nice hangover.. Matt and Jake wanted to get some breakfast. There were a lot of good reviews for The Ruby Slipper in Marigny (pronounced Mare ih knee). The food was fantastic, and the place was still pretty packed in the early afternoon on a Sunday. Everyone was ordering mimosas and bloody mary’s. I opted for an iced tea. We ended up walking back to the bus and I napped most of the day and caught up on some reading.

The one thing I noticed when walking back. There are so many little things to look at around the city. Just always something to check out. Street art, or decorations, or how someone painted their house.

So. Now we were in the City.

First week in New Orleans

We pulled into the RV park late on Saturday. You can read about the rest of that night on my previous post.

The next day, I woke up feeling significantly better. It was kinda weird waking up with a bunch of RV around me. What was really nice though, is that our lot was directly next to the bathroom/showers. While we have a toilet in the bus, the intended purpose is only really for needing to pee late at night or absolute emergency stomach situations. So far no one has had the emergency stomach situation and we hope to keep it that way. The plus side to being close to the bathroom is that we didn’t have to fill our little portapotty toilet up. (We bought ours from Walmart, but this is the portable toilet I was looking at for a long time). The bathroom was cleaned daily and everyone else who used it tended to keep it pretty clean as well. Apparently the prospect of having to use something again keeps people from being complete shit heads.

The first week was nice and laid back. We played card games, worked and later on in the week we went out into the Bywater to go to The Joint and stop by some spots that our buddy Loren told us to check out. Overall though, it was a pretty tame experience in the RV Park. The neighborhood it was in wasn’t the greatest but there was a spot to get some greasy shrimp po boys.

End of the week and on

Earlier in the week Matt and I had biked out and bought a basketball because we forgot to bring any of ours along and there was a basketball hoop nearby. (Side note, drivers in Florida lived up to their reputation. A lady almost hit me when I was crossing a street on my bike, and Jake said that he almost got hit twice when he went out to get postcards) We had some mid-week rain, but we managed to get out and play some pick up games. Afterwards I realized how long it had been since I had played ball. I had some pretty bad tendinitis in my shoulder for about 6 months (the period of time that I would have wanted to play when we moved back to Detroit). Anyways, it was great to play again but my calves were killing me the next day.

The end of the week was a bit of a blur. Between working, and trying to get out and see stuff the rest of the week fairly flew by. Matt and Katie do a weekly dinner thing with their friends where someone hosts it and the hosts make the main dish and people bring sides. We got the chance to cook, so we went with some pork shoulder and coleslaw.

At this point I had been fighting a cold/allergies for a while. Pressure in my sinuses and in one of my ears. I had an ear infection earlier in the year when I had gotten a cold and I was damned if I was going to go through that again so I went to a doctor. Fortunately it wasn’t an infection, it was just not draining because of the allergies. He prescribed me some steroids and told me to get some Sudafed from behind the counter. The stuff that has pseudoephedrine. Some zyrtec and sudafed eventually got me feeling better but I felt like fresh garbage for a couple of days.

We were unable at this point to get a hold of our friend Loren in New Orleans, so we decided to just book some time at an RV park. We ended up going with http://www.riverboattravelpark.com/. They had pretty favorable reviews from what I was seeing, the only down side being that it’s several miles east where we wanted to be at. With a big ole bridge to cross which I wasn’t super excited to do on a bike.

Friday rolled around and we packed all of our things up and headed on out to Louisiana (a little later than we were originally hoping, but we got going eventually). I was definitely anxious about leaving and going to an RV park, something which we had never done before so I didn’t know protocol or how things worked. Driving through Alabama we went through Mobile. They have some tunnel that goes underneath the city which was kinda a trip. Felt like a short version of the tunnel to Windsor. I drove most of the route, and ended up passing off after a 1 and 1/2 fill up. I was kind of a dumbass and was fighting off being sleepy for a bit towards the end of my driving shift. I should have had Matt or Jake take over sooner. Anyways, of course when I’m not driving I finally perk up and can’t nap. We ended up getting in right before the older couple that ran it closed up. Right around 8:50pm CST.

We setup shop and Matt was itchin’ to get out and see the city. He ended up convincing Jake to come along with him. I was too wiped out so I just stayed in the bus and started moving some stuff around so that living in the bus made a little more sense. With that squared away I finally laid down opened my book and got 3 pages in before falling asleep.

Early week pics and post (Tallahassee)

Gaming was a part of our stay in Tallahassee. Magic, Dominion, Netrunner, Telestrations (pictionary + telephone mixed together), and some hot potato type game where you try to get your team to guess the word you’re given. I hadn’t played Magic since I was in middle school boyscouts. And even then no one really played, everyone just seemed to have cards. So I got to see some rounds of Magic and get a feel for the game. It’s actually a lot easier and quicker than I realized. I don’t know why but I always envisioned it was far more involved to setup (deck building aside). Dominion and Netrunner were clear winners though. Dominion is like super fast Magic where you build the decks on the fly. Jacob would have to explain Netrunner as he played it the most. Or Matt. Either way they both want to buy it.

We kept busy riding around Tallahassee. We also had our bikes tuned up at Great Bicycle Shop. Unfortunately (sort of) for us, is the weather was gorgeous in Tallahassee. That meant that everyone else noticed the nice weather and decided to get their bikes tuned up. We ended up getting some brakes replaced on one bike, shifter replaced, luggage racks added. Brake lines tightened. They also had a 30.2mm seat post which fits Matt’s Specialized bike which uses a 30.4mm seat post.. which apparently no other bike makers use. Matt had next day shipped one from amazon, but they took over a week for it to show up, which was going to arrive too late.

Matt ended up finding a tattoo shop that did work he liked so we biked down to setup an appointment. The artist was ready for a session right then though, so Matt got some work done. You can check out the goods over on the Tattoo page. Jake and I ended up biking back from there. I was definitely not used to biking that much, and not biking around on hills and stuff. It was fun though to get out and get biking. By the time we got back to the house we were both ravenous so we headed out to some place called Parlay’s Sports Bar. Matt ended up joining us when his tattoo was done. After Parlay’s we headed over to Leon’s Pub to check it out. Cool beer bar with lots of stuff to look at. Completely mixed crowd, young people, old people, foreign people, and smokey.

First two days in Tallahassee

I’m going to stop belaboring my lax writing schedule. Maybe this will all be retrospective. I got to sleep through Georgia while Jacob was driving which was amazing. Arriving in Tallahassee felt a little bit like arriving back home. Being in Florida again felt good. One thing I didn’t realize though, was how hilly Tallahassee was. Hills? In my Florida? Anyways, we pulled up to our friend Matt and Katie’s place. And they came out to greet us. It had been a long time since we had seen Matt and Katie. A 7 year reunion? We had talked about coming up at some point when we lived in Tampa, but we were lazy jerks and never drove up. We had worked with Matt at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing years ago. Where we served banquets and worked shitty hours (who doesn’t want to do a 6am-7am shift, and then show back up for a 11-2pm lunch and then serve a wedding?).

One of the most amazing things about the trip so far has been our friends’ hospitality. The first day was a relief to be in warmer weather for me. I really love Florida in spring time. Warm during the day and cool at night. It feels a lot like my favorite weather during Michigan summers.

Phil was driving up from Tampa when we were driving through Georgia to meet us in Tallahassee (sorry Jess, we were just driving through!). He brought some of his clothes and music gear for us to store so he can join us later on (stuff that would be a pain in the ass to take on a plane). We hung out and just chatted and had an easy night in. Phil stayed the night and we went fishing the next day down on Wakulla beach in Crawfordville FL (side note, Katie was telling us about how Wakulla county goes by WeKillYa county and has shirts and stuff, unbeknownst to us when we went down there). It was about an hour drive out of Tallahassee and down to the Gulf. 40 minutes out on paved road then 10-15 minutes on a dirt road dodging holes through Florida panhandle overgrowth. Driving through the area, with the sickly sweet smell of decay, really brought back Florida for me. Eventually we made it through and out onto the beach. It was a little beach, and I had some trouble figuring out exactly where I should fish. I had read some fishing reports about shore fishing, but we had a fair amount of wind and recent rain.. so the water was murky. We started out through some flats and caught some fiddler crabs to fish with. We gathered up far more than we needed then started getting our lines wet. I had left my phone in the car, so I don’t have much in the way of photos, but it was nice to just wade in a bit and cast. We ended up not catching anything or even get bites but we just wanted to get out and be outside. As we were heading back to Tallahassee we were listening to UofM win their game and advance in the tournament. We also stopped by a BBQ place called Wildfire that was open on Easter Sunday! We all ordered far too much food and pigged out on deliciously smoked meats.

We rounded out the day watching the Game of Thrones season premier. We skipped on the Walked Dead (Rick: “I’M A GOOD MAN”) and called it a night after that.

On the road

Gearing up to leave Lexington and a production issue for one of our customers almost held up our departure to Chattanooga. My coworker Tony ended up taking over for me and saving my bacon and our time table… for now.

Nesa came by to say goodbye before we headed out. Leaving Lexington was uneventful until we hit an hour+ long traffic jam. Stop and go traffic isn’t great fun in a bus. At least it’s not stick! It seemed like the whole state of Michigan was flocking to the south with us for Spring Break. We were stuck in traffic with a van that had #YOLO, other hashtages and twitter handles soaped onto the car. I’m not sure they know how hashtages work. Someone also took a video of the bus while we were doing 5-10 MPH.

Traffic eventually cleared and all we could see was a family with suitcases, dog, kids and a police office near them with his flashers on.

Daylight gave way to dusk which gave way to night. Rain showers decided to show up with the night. Fog also made an appearance for our mountain travels. I white knuckled my way through the start of the rain and the mountains. The rain eventually let up a bit and I could enjoy the mountains. The bus was able to maintain 40mph on the steeper portions!

Eventually we made it to Chattanooga to stop for the night at our friend Stephanie’s place. Thank you for the hospitality Steph! I also got a chance to play her boyfriend’s Martin acoustic guitar. Martin’s are definitely worth their price tags.

Now we’re on the road again on our way to Tallahassee and warmer weather. Writing this all out while riding so I can transcribe it later. Best part about driving a bus through Georgia? You can’t go fast enough to get ticketed!

Jake also took some of the driving on. So I got to lay down and read/nap through Georgia.

Leaving Lexington (Part2)

I was surprised at the diversity of the food in Lexington. We stopped by Sav’s Grill & West African Cuisine for a quick bite. I had a fantastic lamb dish. Matt had a vegetarian soup with dumplings made from plantain flour. The dumplings were kinda chewy and hearty. They worked really well with the soup.  Apparently Sav’s also has an ice cream shop that’s kitty corner to this.

We were walking to a place called Nat’s but on the way we were enticed by the smells coming from Bombay Bar and Grill. We went in and ate too much indian food. We got 8/10 on the spicy scale which didn’t seem that hot while eating it. The next day, however, my body let me know how hot the food was. (The soup appetizer was the hottest part of the meal)

Dave took us to Indi’s Fried Chicken with the promise that it was the best Kentucky fried chicken he has had. I’m not big on fried chicken, but hot DAMN if that wasn’t the best fried chicken I’ve had. We ordered some hot wings and some fried chicken with greens.

We ordered some “New York” pizza from Goodfella’s which was stupid huge. The bread was a little too thick for NY Pizza in my opinion but it was a pretty good slice. Pazzo’s pizza is also worth mentioning. They have some crazy hoagies which we had sampled last year on our way up from Tampa to Detroit.

What was really cool about Lexington is that we were able to walk to everything from Dave’s place. Which is fortunate since winter didn’t want to relinquish its grip this year. Spring finally showed up as we were leaving. While walking we got a chance to look around at the scenery and architecture. Some of the houses look like they were held together with elmer’s glue and a whole lotta love. These conditions were no doubt due to additions over the years, settling, and whatever other environmental factors.. Lexington felt older than any of the places I’ve lived in.

Dave and his roommate Ian were great hosts and suffered us well. I’m sure I’ll continue to reflect fondly on the time we spent in Kentucky. I’ve forgotten too much about the trip already so my goal is to write daily; even if they’re little notes so that I don’t forgot the goings on to relay later.

Leaving Lexington (Part1)

I’ve been hoping to write up about each place as we’re still there. Lexington however is getting a belated write up. Matt chronicled the first week pretty well, so as we’re traveling down to Tallahassee I’ll cover the rest.

After the near miss on the bus getting towed Matt researched and found some parking for us (via http://en.parkopedia.com). We ended up going with http://lexington.centralparking.com/ because they could fit a bus and they allowed overnight parking. We ended up talking them down on the price (so if you’re looking at parking in Lexington or anywhere, be aware that you can talk prices down.. especially if there aren’t special events going on). Matt and Jake went and moved the bus to its new temporary home. I fretted a bit about someone breaking in (which was unfounded). Eventually I realized that it was a waste of worrying/brain power. If someone breaks in, they break in. So What. Worrying won’t stop that.

Anyways, we went to a couple of different bars while in Lexington. My bar recommendations are:

West Sixth Brewing Company 
501 West Sixth Street
Lexington KY 40508
859-951-6006

West Sixth is a brewery that has food trucks and carts come and serve food outside of the bar that you can bring inside. Our buddy Dave who we were staying with and his girlfriend Nesa are part of a running club that starts and ends their runs here. While they were out jogging and getting that heart rate going, we were sitting back and enjoying some flights of beers and watching the joggers toil away. There happened to be a Greek food truck (Athenian Grill) while we were there. They had really excellent spinach pies and salads that you shouldn’t miss if you’re in Lexington.  The highlight of West Sixth’s selection is definitely their Amber and IPA for me. Keep your fingers crossed that they start distributing out of state.

 

Charlie Browns
816 Euclid Ave
Lexington KY 40502
859-269-5701

Dark and quiet on the inside. Books line all of the walls and there’s a gas fireplace going. You can come in and take a book if you leave one. Lots of old guys drinking here and youngish college kids. It’s a great hang out with friends spot.

 

Arcadium Bar
574 N Limestone St
Lexington, KY 40508
(859) 317-9712

Arcadium is full of vintage arcade consoles. Galaga, Centipede, Contra, Donkey Kong, Frogger, Punch Out and a whole bunch of other games I am now equally bad at. I spent a good amount of time trying to figure out why my frog was dying when I jumped onto the land in Frogger. We walked here on a Wednesday evening and it was surprisingly busy. Fun spot.

Beer Trappe is also worth mentioning. Great bear selection and an expansive bottle selection.

There were a couple undergrad type bars we stopped by. The best was probably Two Keys (their website is flipping out as I’m writing this, so once it gets its shit together you can see more details about it or google it..). Beer pong tables, goldfish racing. Listless bar staff. All good college bar fare. Matt mentioned the two cute twins we chatted with and their potential beau’s mean mugging us. That seems like it might be quintessential Two Keys. Continued in Part2.