LaTuga Packed: To Oaxaca Day One

Yesterday LaTuga and I  covered 497 miles, from Pittsboro, NC to Pell City, AL.  It’s the first time we have been in Alabama, USA, which is covered in pine forests, rolling hills, lakes and rivers — just beautiful.  Stephen gave us a send-off by doing an iPhone video of the event.


My plan was to leave at eight in the morning and spend the night in Atlanta, six hours away.  After goodbyes, last-minute loading, gassing up and hitting the road, it was nine-fifteen. (Thanks, Stephen, for finding me enough gas to get to the gas station.) So be it.  What’s the rush? I ask myself.  This is a road trip and I can do what I want.  I’m on my own schedule.

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Maybe I was too tired from the Monday night before with the grand finale mezcal and southern buttermilk fried chicken and apple pie with homemade ice cream goodbye dinner at The Small Cafe with dear friends.



Maybe, I was procrastinating the departure, not wanting to say goodbye to KitKat, the new addition to my NC house and life.

I think I was just a little bit scared and anxious about starting out across the country by car into territory where I had never been before.  A single woman, traveling alone. I’ve traveled far by plane, but not by myself in an automobile for any great distance.  As I drove along, I saw many women at wheel going long distances.    My only disappointment?  The book I bought to listen to along the way could not be heard above the road noise.

LaTuga is a formidable vehicle.  She is not really a car, nor is she a truck, but she sits high and proud.  I’m a little person inside her ample body and I feel secure.  Once I got onto the Interstate the rhythm of the drive was soothing.  It was only three-thirty in the afternoon by the time I got through the beginnings of Atlanta rush hour traffic.  The road signs said two hundred more miles to Birmingham along I-20.


So, I kept going until dusk  As soon as I crossed the border into Alabama, I entered Central Standard Time, and gained an hour, although the sun told me differently.  I pulled into a comfy Comfort Inn, and found a local catfish and steak joint where there were the best hush puppies I’ve ever tasted and a cornmeal coated catfish that was too good to count the calories. See more photos on my Facebook page. No beer.  No wine.  Only tea.  No hot tea, that would be ice tea, ma’am.  So I opted for hot water flavored with lemon and sugar.  Went down pretty well.

Now, I’m itchy to hit to the road.  I spent time writing this instead of getting out the door.  Next stop?  Who knows! I have all the time in the world until Wednesday when I’m on an airplane to Oaxaca from Austin, TX.

8 responses to “LaTuga Packed: To Oaxaca Day One

  1. Hi Norma! As a road warrior of many, many miles driving by myself I understand the importance of audiobooks and it is surprising and disappointing to hear that you had too much road noise. Probably a result of a different kind of tire than we have on ours. I just plug the iPod into the aux port on the dash and audio books are heard very clearly and without great volume. It is really nice that you have the freedom to move at your own mace, I usually do not have that luxury and often will drive 8 or 10 hours in a day, which can be kind of tiring.

    Well, have a great trip and thanks for keeping us all posted!

    • Hi Roger. Just to confess how little I know about road trips … Yesterday morning on the advice of a friend I plugged ear buds into my iPhone. All perfect now! Duh? Since La Tuga and I are becoming acquainted I will need to investigate the Aux port. Gracias for your connection. Norma

  2. You GO, Girl! Love the car – looks great for driving up & down the dusty roads in Teotitlan. S.

    • Suzanne, yes, it’s going to be a swell Mexico car. A rugged haul-mobile. I ran into Jane Robison in Chapel Hill the day before I departed. Funny stuff. Oaxaca to Carolina. Can’t wait to see you all soon. Abrazos.

  3. happiest of trails to you, norma! call me if you get lonely.

    • Hola, Norma de Santa Fe. I will do that. I’m now plugged in to a multi-generational dramatic audio book, called The Son. I remove the earplugs when I see the state troopers hanging out by the side of the road. Since I’m stopping over in Texas, the novel is about a land-grabbing, oil baron Texan in the mid-1800’s and his progeny. Kind of like Giant. So, not bored or lonely, but would love to talk.

  4. I have driven that route a lot. It’s interesting…

    • Yes, interesting until you get on the other side of the Mississippi where it flattens out. tonight I hit another local joint specializing in seafood, recommended by the motel. But, once more, lots of rice, beans, hush puppies, sweet tea (no hot tea, no wine), and an equal number of very over-weight people at the trough. Can’t wait to get to Austin, where I might be able to find a good restaurant and glass of wine.

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