We did it! On the morning of November 13, we awoke early and scampered around the house, collecting our remaining belongings to pack into the RV. It took longer than anticipated, but thankfully our friend, Connor, offered his help. We drove south, saying goodbye to Denver.
We drove south through Colorado and into New Mexico. The scenery in New Mexico was beautiful – the many layers of colored earth paired with various grasses would have inspired me to paint if I weren’t busy driving through the state. Northern Texas had a somber beauty. There were many abandoned stores in the small towns we passed through, but the landscape was charming. That first night, we arrived in Amarillo. The second day, we drove all the way to Houston over bumpy roads and through bouts of heavy traffic. We were glad to take a break from traveling for a day. We went to the NASA Johnson Space Center. For all we were able to see and do, it was well worth the price of admission.
After our break in Houston, we drove to New Orleans. It was interesting to see the landscape change into swamps and fields of sugar cane. We arrived at the West New Orleans KOA at dusk. The lots were roomy and the staff was very friendly. On Thursday morning, we took the KOA free shuttle to the French Quarter. I loved the architecture, the iron work, the bright colors, and the variety of characters all around us. It was a feast for the eyes (though there were certain odors I could have done without). Our first stop was Cafe Du Monde for some messy but delicious beignets. The breeze would swing in and toss powdered sugar onto our laps while we ate. Walking along, we stopped to listen to street musicians belting their hearts out. We also dined at Antoine’s (amazing food and service!), toured the Beauregard Keyes House (wonderful tour guide), tasted a sampling of gumbo (yum!), visited the New Orleans Mint and jazz exhibit, and found ourselves audience to a calliope show on the Steamboat Natchez. After a busy day, we visited friends of ours who had recently moved to NOLA.
On Friday, we drove to the Laura Plantation and Oak Alley. Both plantations were arrestingly beautiful but haunting just the same. There, pain seemed to be entwined with every poetic detail. One can’t admire the lush grounds and striking architecture without giving pause to remember all of the slaves who lived there and suffered so that others could live lavishly. Both places were well worth visiting and I’m sure we all fell in love with the magnificent oaks.
After a busy week of traveling, we arrived in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The kids couldn’t wait to see the beach the next morning, which was an easy walk from the RV park. I loved watching them laugh and squeal with excitement as they jumped in the water and ran along the sandy beach. Dan and I stood, smiling, and I thought Here we are. We did it!