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DRIVING SOUTH, USA

Anyone who has driven across Interstate 10 in Texas knows the long, boring, drive lasts for days. We find a great way to break-up the monotony by camping in Hueco Tanks State Park, about 30 miles outside of El Paso. The rock formations surround pools of collected rain water, and hold Native American petroglyphs in this sacred ground.

Hueco Tanks

Hueco Tanks

You cannot hike without a park guide, and must watch a video before paying $27 to camp. Mare, Jack the dog, and I enjoy sleeping on a pad in the back of our new truck for the first time, before cooking bacon and eggs in the morning. No need for the available electricity, but running water is a luxury.

Riverwalk in San Antonio

Riverwalk in San Antonio

After a night in a dirty motel (cheap at least) in San Antonio, we take a morning stroll along the Riverwalk, which offers a cool place to chill from a long day of driving. One of the best chefs in the state runs “The Luxury” restaurant, right on the river, where we enjoy a fish sandwich with an array of fresh herbs. They serve water to Jack in the outdoor grounds of this dog friendly restaurant.

Music is everywhere in New Orleans

Music is everywhere in New Orleans

Bourbon Street, here we come, Baby! Glad to see good crowds of tourists here after the storm. Gourmet food, and fresh oysters somehow mix well with the drunks, sex clubs, and faint smell of vomit. The streets surrounding Bourbon Street thrive with shops, music, friendly people, and are more relaxing for us “elderly.” However, we still manage to have a blast for two solid days before heading to Mississippi.

Camp Crawfish

Camp Crawfish

After gumbo and oysters on the coast in Biloxi, we truck-camp again in Gulf Islands National Sea Shore. We munch on boiled crawfish, crackers in Cajun seafood dip, and fried Andouille sausage for our dinner in the woods. After trying to sleep in the hot, humid night, I wonder about connecting the red dots from bug bites covering Mare’s legs and ankles.

Motel camping

Motel camping

Got another cheap, nasty motel halfway up Mississippi en route to Memphis. Brought out the two burner again and cooked crawfish, potatoes, peppers and onions on the motel sidewalk outside of our room.

Our first visit to Beale Street reveals B. B. King’s House of Blues, and the entire street is shut-down to vehicles, filled instead with barbeque and Blues musicians.

Beale Street Memphis

The second day we visit the National Civil Rights Museum, which fills us with emotion for the peaceful, passionate energy that fuels the fight for equal rights.  We look through the boarding house bathroom window where escaped convict, James Earl Ray, shot Dr. King to death. Then we stand in the very spot where Dr. King was shot outside the doorway of his room at the Lorraine Motel.

No words to describe the emotions while standing next to room 306 at the Lorraine Motel

No words to describe the emotions while standing next to room 306 at the Lorraine Motel

We both choke back tears, thinking about how people were treated as sub-humans not that very long ago. James Earl Ray may have killed the man, but not the movement.

I am a man

The Rock and Soul Museum displays good music and history, and brings home how blues and rock musicians care nothing about skin color. Blues music was black, and country was white, and when the musicians intermingled, they found a white person with soul who could bring this music into the homes of all Americans…none other than Elvis Pressley.

Camp Kentucky

Camp Kentucky

On the road to Mingo Junction, Ohio, we stop in Carrollton, Kentucky and camp one final evening in the wooded hills, near a lake at General Butler State Park. The squirrels look like mini-grizzly bears. Massive storm warnings are in effect, and the air is nice and cool. We eat “Hometown Pizza” in camp, and cook the last of our Andouille sausage with eggs in the morning.

After a week-long visit in my hometown of Mingo, next stop…Iceland, Baby!   Ron Mitchell

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. You go, Ron…keep the trail open and tell us all about it here.

    May 27, 2013
  2. Carole Cruson #

    Sounds like a successful, diverse experience; And wow that is a snazzy new truck. We are enjoying a quiet Memorial Day weekend; getting lots of yard work done and will enjoy Matt’s fine cooking at he and Dana’s tonight. Love to you and Ron’s parents and travel safe.

    May 27, 2013
  3. So fun to read this post Ron! It was about 2 years ago that we met you & Mere in Haines, AK. Last spring, KC and I traveled through many of the same places you just were in. It was the “return” end of that trip we started 2 years ago in Alaska. Our camper van was parked in my hometown in NJ for 4 months while we took a ‘side trip’ to south & central America. Then from mid March to early May 2012, we went from NJ to CA by way of the gulf coast, dodging storms, hanging in New Orleans, walking the river in San Antonio, etc. We cut up through Amarillo, to NM & CO, so we didn’t drive Hwy 10 across. But in 1994, we did the entire stretch of 10 in Texas. That was LONG. Also – in the early 90s, I took several climbing trips to Hueco Tanks – that was before they required a guide. Much better on a college student budget.
    Glad to see you are traveling again and look forward to reading more posts. cheers, Gretchen

    May 29, 2013
    • So great to hear from you, Gretchen and KC. I’ll never forget sitting in the cabin in Haines with you guys, while you were on your way to ultimate frisby tournament. Sounds like you have had had some wonderful travels, and looks like we have retraced some of your steps. I hope that things in life are still good with you. After two years as campground hosts, we decided to have some new adventures. Yes, Cheers! Ron

      May 30, 2013
  4. Dorothy Mazik #

    It was wonderful seeing you andMare while you were in the big town of Mingo Jct.(oh well it’s home).Be safe on your trip to Iceland. You are a,WILD andCRAZY couple,and wonderful.Love you guys,injoy yourselves,you will be in our prayers. Ken and Dorothy

    June 7, 2013
    • Thanks so much, Ken and Dorothy. We enjoy seeing you guys anytime. Just arrived in St. Petersburg on a red-eye. Stay tuned…, Love to you too.

      June 7, 2013

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