Day 7 – New Orleans to Jacksonville, FL

NOTE to readers – SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM (if you are on the main blog page) and work your way up if you are the type of person that likes chronological order. The first post is “The Backstory”. ALSO –forgive any grammar, spelling, or whatever other writing mistakes you will find in my posts. Yes I love to use dashes and dots – I write how I would speak! Since I am writing from the road my first focus is enjoying the sights and trying to record them as best I can. Therefore, in regards to proof reading  – Ain’t nobody got time fo dat!

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I woke up not feeling rested yet again but when you have places to explore and new adventures it’s pretty easy to rally up some energy and just go for it. 

I checked out of the hotel and headed to the French Quarter in New Orleans. After attempting to find parking for 15 minutes (and multiple signs with multiple different rules), I decided to just pay for parking and stop wasting my time driving around. I parked right on the water and made my way down past Cafe Du Monde where the farmers market is. Once I got there I noticed a NO DOGS sign so I turned around and headed back up the other side of the road. The whole time I was hoping and willing LaRoo not to go poop because I had ran out of doggy clean up bags. 

I randomly made a turn down a street and the first store I saw was a pet supply store. HELL YEA LAW OF ATTRACTION!!! THANKS 🙂 I stepped inside and was greeted with a strong stench of cats and animals. A couple was playing with a kitten they were considering adopting and the shop owner was doing her best to convince them to do so. Two small poodle dogs walked over…once had a bright green mohawk down its back and the other had some purple highlights. I asked the owner where the poop bags were and she handed my over bright pink zebra ones. NICE. She also bagged up some treats for LaRoo and we were out the door. 

At this point it was starting to get scorching hot and I had a dress on with sleeves. I NEED TO DO LAUNDRY STAT! I found my way to bourbon street and was quickly pulled inside of Bourbon Heat. The guy on the street said dogs were welcome so I figured I could cool off. Inside there were 3 others guests given it was only 11:00am. I ordered myself a hurricane… WHEN IN NEW ORLEANS!! haha. I only had a few hours til I had to hit the road so I figured I would make the most of it.

I had been to New Orleans 6 years prior for a work business trip so I had done a lot of the site seeing stuff. BUT I was vegetarian at the time so my main thing was I wanted a seafood po boy or whatever NOLA grub I could get my mouth on. Nom nom nom. 

The door guy came in and I was chatting with him. He had just moved to NOLA from Philly a few months prior. I was like holy crap small world! The further we investigated where we were both from we realized we lived within 15 minutes of each other in Pennsylvania at one point…. love when stuff like that happens!

Next, LaRoo attracted the other group of people over to us and we started chatting. There was a group of 3 people who were in town for the Saints game. They lived in North Carolina in the Smokey Mountains. The one lady was a teacher so we chatted about that for a bit. I think they were in their late 40’s early 50’s. We drank and talked a bit before they had to head out for their brunch reservations. 

While chatting with that group another girl came in by herself. She seemed to know the staff and I got to talking to her. She was singer in town and knew of some good spots so before I knew it I was out the door and following her to our next destination. We stopped in this one bar that had this cool band playing. I was fascinated with the one dude who was wearing a metal vest which I was told is a scratch board. I want to play that stuff!! We ordered a drink and quickly left to the next place. We met some guys who were in town having a “guys weekend”. Aside from that, the streets were kind of quiet because it was morning. BUT… EVERY hour is happy hour in NOLA!

It was getting later in the afternoon and I had to find my po boy and hit the road. I had asked around and several people suggested Parkways. I found my way there and asked the order taker what is THE BEST thing to eat. She suggested the surf and turf po boy and 5 minutes later I was munching down on this deeeeeeeeeeeeeeelicious sandwich. Given I had only had two drinks and no food I was chowing down. Add that to the list of least attractive things I’ve done this year. Luckily it was only me and another chick on the patio at the time.

I was back in the car and on the road headed to Jacksonville. After 10 minutes of driving I felt kind of tired and didn’t want to chance it so I pulled off to McDonald’s, left the car running, and took a 15 minute power nap. Upon waking I felt good to go so I was off to Jacksonville (again).

ANOTHER hell of a drive… about 8ish hours. I messaged my friend Erin who I had met through my prior job at the brain training center. She was a Director of a center in Jacksonville and we had met in Colorado Spring at training and convention. We had become Facebook friends and when she saw my journey she said I was welcome to stay with her… not having a game plan I wasn’t really sure on dates but when I messaged her earlier in the day she said I was welcome to come. 

Now I knew I was going to be arriving super late (about 1:15am) but what I had not accounted for was a time change. I’m not sure exactly when I realized this but it was about when I THOUGHT I had an hour left of driving… then my phone changed times and I realized I still had TWO HOURS of driving. FREAKING FAIL. Erin had said it was ok to arrive late but now I was going to be even LATER. Whoooopsie daisy. She had said to just text her a whole bunch if she didn’t answer. 

I stopped off at a McDonald’s to go to the bathroom and when I got out of my car my right knee felt super duper weird. Like it wasn’t part of my body or something. It felt a bit numb and was swollen… probably a result of too much driving. It didn’t hurt so I just got back in the car so I could keep on trucking it to Florida.

A few hours later I stopped again for coffee because I started to get a bit tired. There were only three people in line but this lady in an arm sling had knocked her coffee over on the counter. She was struggling to get her lid on so I helped her out and she thanked me in her southern draaaaawl. Oh i love accents! At the checkout counter the older gentleman working was moving at glacial pace cleaning up the coffee spill but I did my best to be patient. I was a bit antsy to just get back on the road. I asked for a plastic bag and made an ice bag for my knee considering it was still acting weird. I tied it around my leg and was continued on my way.

Once I realized I was going to be even later, I had texted Erin but didn’t hear back. I figured I would just get in touch with her when I got closer. I arrived at her condo complex and attempted to call and text but there was no answer. I felt so bad for having miscalculated the timing of my arrival that I didn’t want to have to bother waking her up. I was super exhausted so I decided to crash out in my car in her parking lot. At least I was in a safe, gated, community so it made it a lot easier for me to just fall asleep!

Ahhh I made it back to the east coast…. home sweet kind of home.

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