Mopar Action Article Extra
A journey of 8,000 miles continues with:
St Louis, Mo. A full day to enjoy the city of St. Louis. The arch, a riverboat cruise, and the Old Courthouse (where the Dred Scott case was tried) were all on our list and we did it all! We hope that the pictures tell it all.
St. Louis to Memphis (284 miles of divided interstate freeway). Again, the most dominate feature of this drive was the number of highway construction zones where projects to repair our infrastructure were prevalent. Still we made good travel time and arrived in time to get a sample of Beale Street. Loaded with music venue nightclubs (including BB King’s), it is touted to be the 2nd most visited street in the U.S. (Bourbon Street is first). Overwhelming at first – all of the clubs blast their sound into the street, and the opposing sound waves collide like a train wreck in the center of the street.
A full day in Memphis
Not being a diehard Elvis fan like my wife, I lacked the enthusiasm of going to Graceland, but soon found it to be far beyond my expectations! I had no idea that his career spanned so many years and yielded so many Gold records. Nor did I fully realize how much of a contribution he made to our culture and especially youth culture. We spent the entire morning and noontime taking in Graceland.
Memphis, TN to New Orleans, LA (395 miles).
A beautiful drive with a brief highway segment of Mississippi road near Jackson. Coming from Seattle (Boeing country), we’re used to seeing large manufacturing plants, but the one near Jackson was as massive as any I’ve seen. It was the Nissan plant! But our nostalgic spirits were uplifted as a carload of young people passed us, gave us thumbs up, and took picture of our classic Mopar muscle car with their cell phones. To see a Northbound look at this plant, check out this YouTube contribution taken by another driver: www.youtube.com/watch?v=kS7as79cBTc. As we approached New Orleans and drove over the 18 mile stretch of elevated Atchafalaya Swamp Freeway, we were anxious to enjoy 4 days in one place.
The first of the 3 full days that we planned to spend in New Orleans. And first……
Our second full day in New Orleans:
We felt we owed it to the residents of the 9th Ward that we visit the area that seemed to bare the brunt of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation. Our tour guide/bus driver, did not hold back her disappointment and frustration with what she felt were the causes of the most the damages (subcontractors for the Army Corps of Engineers), and the slowness of response from the Federal Government. She spent quite a bit of time driving around the 9th Ward and gave us glimpses of the negative as well as the positive aspects of it’s present state. A slow recovery compared to French Quarter.
Last full day in New Orleans (3 of 3)
This last day in New Orleans was completely occupied with our visit to the National World War II museum.
That night I had Cajun red beans and rice that was suspiciously too pasty…….and around midnight until morning, I agonized more than a dozen times in the motel bathroom.
New Orleans to Houston, TX (348 miles),
Despite not sleeping more than a couple hours, I was too excited to be concerned about my severe case of the “runs,” lack of appetite, and slight fever, so we loaded up the Roadrunner and hit the road early. This entire trip has exceeded all expectations for enjoyment and therefore refused to let myself be distracted by anything – including digestive system problems. As expected, the interstate between New Orleans and Houston was an easy drive……until the cloudburst about 75 miles from Houston. It was the first rain that we had experienced in 17 days, but it so severe that we had to pull over and park at a gas station/convenience store/casino until it passed. The traffic on the freeway was crawling at a still dangerous 35 mph. It passed over us in about 15 minutes and we caught the lighter side of the downpour for the next hour. But it was the first rain that that part of Texas had seen in a month.
Spend the night near Houston with my cousin Calvin (who I grew up with) and his wife Dorothy. Because of the 3000 miles separating us, it had been 10 years since we had seen each other. A wonderful reunion.
Digestive problems persist, but I ignore them. Looking forward to the San Antonio “Riverwalk.”
Houston to San Antonio (200 miles)
At this point in our travels, a 200 mile drive is almost like a commute. And who can go to Texas without visiting the Alamo!
San Antonio to Amarillo (511 miles): “Miles and miles of Texas….” The song says it all. Lots of range area, cactus, and some very scorched areas from the wildfires this Summer. Very hot (95 degrees), but dry weather. The A/C was cranked way up, but did it’s job perfectly. I’m still having intestinal problems, but as I’ve said before – having too much fun to let it slow me down.
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