Just Passing Through: Onward to Oaxaca, Day Two

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Day Two on Interstate 20 took me through the rest of Alabama, across Mississippi and midway through Louisiana.  LaTuga is running great and I’m getting to know her better.  The manual says the Honda Element is a high-profile vehicle, not to drive her fast or make sudden moves. So, I didn’t. Slow and steady wins the race, I keep telling myself.

My intention was to spend the night in Vicksburg, MS, on the Mother America Mississippi River, wide, magnificent.  Mark Twain’s river, paddle boats then steam boats.  One of the greatest and prolonged Civil War battles happened at Vicksburg. It was worth a stop.  And, when I did, the restaurants were closed and there was this dead-end, shut down, trying to make a comeback as a cute tourist chatchkah kinda’ town that didn’t quite make it.  The views were magnificent.  I honored the dead on both sides, imagined the force of battle, the strategic location on the bluff protected by still evident forts, and how the war turned against the Confederacy once it lost Vicksburg.  Controlling the mightiest river in America meant controlling food, munitions, life itself.

Once I crossed the Mississippi, I was immediately plunged into Louisiana’s flatlands and bayous.  The rain came.  It was getting dark at three-thirty in the afternoon, and by four-thirty I was ready to get off the road.  Where?  In West Monroe, LA, where the Quality Inn welcomed me.  This is not a high-end road trip, Judith Reitman!

Oh, boy, I though.  Louisiana bayou country.  Fish. Cajun. Jambalaya. Etouffee.  Dinner. I asked the woman behind the front desk, Where is a good local place to eat?  Why, jess dawn dah rode, she answered.

Repeat  from Day One:  at Willie’s Duck Diner where fatigue green and all-terrain vehicles populate the TV screen along with some scrufty looking millionaires, and diners whose bodies are testimony to overindulgence of hush puppies, corn bread, and jambalaya, there was no beer or wine.  Sorry ma’am, said the waitress, we don’t serve alcohol here, and no hot tea.  OK.  Hot water and lemon please.

Can’t wait to get to Austin.  I know from Eva Olson and Norm Chafetz that I can get a good glass of Malbec or Pinot Noir!

6 responses to “Just Passing Through: Onward to Oaxaca, Day Two

  1. Hi Norma — I have never felt like the Element might be easy to turn over due to a high center of gravity, but it definitely does catch the wind like a sail sometimes! When we were driving north for Thanksgiving a semi had blown over on Fancy Gap Mountain (I-77 near Mt Airy, NC). A couple of gusts hit us hard and I was more than a little worried for the rest of the trip to the top of the mountain. After Christmas we will be driving it across the Mackinac Bridge, probably in high winds and driving snow. It should be fun! Really enjoy riding along with you vicariously!

    • Hi, Roger. Yes, I caught the wind today in a real Texas plains bluster. The wind might have been whipping up at 35-40 mph. The speed limit even on country roads here is 70-75 mph, but me and LaTuga slowed it down to 60 as we were getting pushed around the highway. I decided, slow and steady wins the race! Ah, perhaps you are a Michigander? Abrazos, Norma

  2. Norma, it’s fun to read your notes from the road. Keep ’em comin’.
    A long time ago, a boyfriend and I drove across country (everyone should do it once) in a VW camper van (no pop top). Our return route, back to Oregon, was through the south. I don’t remember all the dry (no alcohol) restaurants, probably because we leapfrogged from Florida to New Orleans. I did not know that hot tea was not allowed. You must not be a coffee drinker. Maybe a glass of wine would help to curb the appetites for a 3000 calorie dinner plate. At least you are not driving across Texas. That takes 3 days! Austin will be a great place to relax in and take off from. Is there a direct flight from Austin to Oaxaca? Aero Mexico?
    The Element looks like a great choice – particularly the high clearance for the roads in the hills around Teotitlan. Although the high profile could make you prone to tipping over. Kidding, (I think).
    Enjoy the rest of your trip.

    • Elaine. I named her LaTuga so as not to roll over. I’m a coffe drinker bit not at night although it was offered. I must learn to carry my own decaf tea bags for such occasions. I’m almost to Austin. Driving through rolling cAttle country where the buffalo roamed and listening to the saga of a Texas family. Loving the experience. It’s been 40 years since of done a cross country driving trip but never in these parts. Always SanFrancisco to Michigan.

  3. I’m reading your blog with great interest. My husband and I drove to Oaxaca from Ontario, Canada a few years ago and subsequently spent an additional 4 months driving throughout Mexico. It was an incredible adventure. Enjoy the trip!

    • Hi, Dale, thanks for following me. I’m here in Austin, TX, and LaTuga will go to Oaxaca from here without me. I’m flying to Mexico City and then on to Oaxaca on Wednesday. Someone with more fortitude than I will take her across the border and further south 🙂 Glad my journey is bringing up fond memories for you. -Norma

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