March 4th, 2017
After arriving late to a truck stop in Slidell, LA, we woke early, quickly unhitched the Civic, secured the RV and drove south towards New Orleans. Our plan was to do the city in a day.
(Quick Note here on truck stops: they’re noisy, bright and rough around the edges – that said we did not sleep very well. Being our first overnight at a truck stop on this adventure, it was filled with very unfamiliar sounds throughout the night that made sleep very light – we never did another truck on our trip after Slidell) We were happy to jump in the car early and get on the road, eager to check another adventure off of our Get Living List!
Our first stop was Café du Mondé, this was one of the places on my Get Living List. The beignets were good (lots of powdered sugar on noses) and the coffee was decent. I can see why the place is popular.
We then spent the first half the day walking the city. From Jackson Square to the St. Charles Streetcar; we took in the sights and all the street performers. The kids have been reading The Magic Treehouse book series, and recently finished up one that was set in New Orleans. So they enjoyed channeling their inner Jack & Annie (the young characters in the series) exploring all the sites in the city that they had just read about.
Upon arriving back to our car in the parking lot downtown we found our Civic booted. Yep, you read that right, booted. What in the world, we had paid to park there! Now, if I could go back in time I would have taken a photo, but we were in such a state of shock in that moment. Cortney and I have never been booted before! (And we had paid!) So we failed to take photo. Needless to say the mood went from excitement and adventure to pit in our gut stress. In our explorations, we misjudged the street car schedule and ended up on a later than planned streetcar back toward Jackson Square. We had just ran several city blocks to get back to the car so we could make our swamp boat tour across town.
While I sorted out the boot with the tow company, Cortney wisely took the kids for water and a snack while I spent the next 45 minutes rescuing our car from the impounder – who the person was I have no idea – but in the end we got it squared away and off we raced back to Slidell for our scheduled swap boat ride. Being booted in the Boot State, now that is a story that we will share for generations, I am pretty sure the kids will never let us forget!!
After rushing from downtown New Orleans, we navigated down the back roads of Slidell, LA to toward Dr. Wagner’s Honey Island Swamp Tour and pulled in just as our boat was loading. The wind blowing through our hair as we jetted down the waterways, we saw a couple of alligators, nothing too big, but exciting – learned their love of marshmallows as our guide lured them to the boat. We saw some turtles, birds and snakes. And really most fascinating of all were the homes on the bayou where people live in the swamps, their homes were incredible.
After the swamp tour, we found dinner at the Texas Roadhouse (to think we were missing Texas already), then made a quick trip to the tuck stop to hook the Civic up and get on the road. We did it, New Orleans in a day! We headed out and drove in the dark through Alabama and Mississippi to a Cracker Barrel in Crestview Florida. After the truck stop we did some quick research for alternate overnight stays and learned, you can stay overnight in a Cracker Barrel parking lot – who knew!?
First note: Cortney and I are not what you would call city folk. We enjoy the country and rural areas more. Now when you are near a city like New Orleans – you have to go! We didn’t want to regret not going to check it out. In the end we were glad we made the trip, adventuring the streets of downtown New Orleans.
Also came away with a great story of getting our sweet Civic booted. Glad to have also checked off café the Monde from my Get Living List. I know it was place my Dad enjoyed and I am glad to have experienced it.
Second note: Cracker Barrel parking lots are divine! They far outrank truck stops and are also better than Walmart parking lots. I mean don’t get us wrong, Walmart parking lots were fantastic. You need a place to stay, they have the room and if you need to resupply, they have nearly everything you could need. But CB has them all beat. They are quiet, usually far enough away from freeway, and they have a free checkers outside to play!
This post is part of our Live Like No One Else series, a retelling, through journal entries kept along the way, of all the sights and memories we made during our 2017 #getlivingadventure. We were so busy living the adventure we missed sharing many of the experiences with you. Just happy to have you along as we relive many of the great memories that we hope one day our kids will have to read and remember!