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Today's diary comes to you from your intrepid diarist's iPad hurtling through time and space on a drive from Texas to North Carolina along Interstate 10. No, I'm not the one driving, no worries. That task is the province of Mr. Carolina. When control freaks travel together, it's best that each of them stick to their core competencies. His is driving. Mine is... Well who knows.

In the immortal words of road trip afficionado Elwood Blues in The Blues Brothers:

"We got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark... And we're wearing sunglasses."

In our case, we started with a full tank of gas projected to propel us some 418 miles in our recently acquired hybrid vehicle. No cigarettes, but we do have a thermos of coffee. And yeah, it's dark. Unrelentingly dark, no sign of dawn so far after nearly two hours on the road. In lieu of sunglasses, I'm wearing my "no-line" bifocals, my middle age badge of honor for those times when my arm is just too short to hold the printed page at a suitable distance.

We left the Houston area at 3:40 a.m. As always, the night before a trip is characterized by "fliegs-unruhe", the restless energy that wakes on up at 1:50 a.m. with a sense that that's all the sleep we're gonna get.

Follow along below the tropical depression for more...

Weather is always on our minds. Having made this trip quite a few times before, we know that rainfall along the Gulf Coast can really mess with your travel plans. We were stuck once in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana during a downpour of epic proportions, traffic progressing about a mile in nearly an hour. At times like that, traveling with a control freak can become a pretty trying experience.

So I keep tabs on the weather with all my little links on the iPad. I have iMapweather apps activated, and our navigation system provides alerts of severe weather along our route.

Yet with all these resources, it's the great work of our own weatherdude that impresses me the most. What a treasure!! How many of us (and our family members, friends, and business associates) have been forewarned, protected, and educated by this bright young man, we will never know.

Bienvenu a Louisiana! 5:40 a.m. and there is a beginning of a dawn as we roll along.

One thing that you notice along I-10 and many other fine American interstate highways is the homogenization of the country. Wherever you are, there's your favorite chain restaurant, hotel, or gas station. Oh, sure, you have a bit of regional variation.

Here in the South, we've got Waffle House, a chain of small-sized diner-type places typically open 24 hours a day serving a dazzling array of foods from their signature waffles to chicken-fried steak. The food is nothing to write home about, the service can be kind of passive-aggressive, and the sanitation is sufficient to keep the Board of Health at bay for another week.

The appeal though, is expedience. Co-located with a gas station, the Waffle House will get your meal to you in mere minutes, and as you can imagine, the ambience doesn't encourage you to linger, so back on the road you go. If for some reason you wax nostalgic, worry not, for the next Waffle House will be just the same.

On the one hand, it's comforting to know what to expect, even if it's a lackluster experience. But that's what's depressing about this sameness. The interstate highways are lined with the usual, the ordinary, the bland. Nowadays, if you want to sample local cuisine, you're going to have to take that offramp to reality.

I have had the good fortune to spend time in 45 of the 50 states in the course of my education, work, and personal life. As you've seen in some of my diaries, I have little tolerance for "state hate": those self-righteous comments that suggest that the hurricane, tornado, wildfire, or flood is punishment for the citizens' religious, political, or social defects. We hear a lot of it here on the Great Orange Satan.

When I'm feeling benevolent, I chalk it up to ignorance. Not stupidity, just lack of real-life experience. Some people need to leave their comfort zone and hit the road. Spend some time with people in those "flyover states" (geez, I hate that term. Way to marginalize millions of perfectly fine people). When I'm not feeling benevolent, I'll churn out another diary filled with righteous indignation. Consider yourselves warned.

Memo to Bobby Jindal: I know you're trying to cut back on state spending, dude, but I-10 in western Louisiana is a mess. You can tell right away: you're not in Texas anymore. Check with Rick Perry. He keeps plenty of his cronies employed maintaining the highways in Texas. I'm sure he'd share those "Texas Miracle" secrets with ya.

Well, the sun's coming up now. With this darn hybrid, it will be hours before we stop for gas... Or a Waffle House. If you do stop there, and you're on a low carb diet like I am, try the Philly Cheese Steak Omelet. A taste of the City of Brotherly Love right here in Louisiana... or Mississippi at the rate we're going.

Just imagine all those family road trips when you were a kid - if only you'd had an iPad. You'd never need to ask "are we there yet?". Just check Mapquest or Google Maps. If there was a restroom app, we'd never need to stop at all.

Scary.

Stay tuned for updates as we cruise along.

6:22 AM PT: Fortified with a bite to eat at the Waffle House and 10 gallons of gas (seriously!) we are back on the road.

Just crossed the mighty Mississippi in Baton Rouge. It's sunny and 84 degrees and Bobby, the roads are still atrocious. Please do us all a big favor and get in touch with Rick, okay?

7:24 AM PT: Here's another modern convenience that homogenizes the road: satellite radio. You can set one station at the outset of your trip, and listen to it nonstop. Yeah, it's better than the days of constantly seeking an AM station with the right mix of content and signal strength, but that was part of the fun (and the cause of many a road trip argument).

7:56 AM PT: We're in Mississippi, passing the Stennis Internationa Airport and the John C. Stennis Space Center NASA facility. A red-tailed hawk just flew right across the highway in front of us.  James Taylor came on the radio a few minutes ago singing "Goin' to Carolina in my Mind". How cool is that?

8:11 AM PT: Unleaded regular for $2.99 a gallon in Gulfport, Mississippi. Holy cow! It's been $3.12 to $3.17 most of the way. You can thank Mr. Carolina. He buys a hybrid; gasoline prices drop. Y'all are welcome ;-)

Extra credit quiz question: what NFL quarterback hails from Gulfport?

8:59 AM PT: Alabama! We've seen a couple more gas stations with unleaded at $2.99, so that wasn't just one freak outlier. Somewhere, GOP heads are exploding. How dare gas prices drop in the months leading up to the election?! Quick, someone name a special prosecutor!

11:59 AM PT: Stopped for lunch and back on the road. No, not the Waffle House this time, once a day is about enough of that. It's a toasty 97 degrees with those nice puffy white clouds in a blue sky. 210 more miles to go today to our stopping point east of Atlanta. Scary tandem trucks going by. Mr. Carolina reports that, in Australia, they can run three trucks long. Geez... The US is falling behind the rest of the world in everything ;-)

12:27 PM PT: Just passing the enormous Hyundai factory southwest of Montgomery, AL. Shell gasoline station nearby: $2.93 for unleaded!  If we keep on driving at this rate, gas will be free by the time we reach NC. We are exiting I-65 and heading east towards Atlanta on I-85. Another southern feature impossible to miss: fireworks stores. These are often cleverly co-located with flammable operations like gas stations. Some are permanent stores; some crop up as temporary vendors before the summer holidays. This is where future Darwin Award winners are probably shopping even as we speak.


2:43 PM PT: Well, we've reached Atlanta and are 11 miles from tonight's destination. Thanks for all these marvelous stories, suggestions, kind thoughts,mand great insights. You've made today's journey a lot more fun! I will keep you posted tomorrow on the rest of our road trip!

3:39 PM PT: Okay, now this was a surreal end to the day. We get to the hotel and open the door to our room. The bed was strewn with rose petals in a big shape of a heart, and there were about 20 candles on various surfaces (unlit), and a vase of roses. While Mr. Carolina is a romantic guy, this of thing is not his style, so we called down to the front desk and explained that this appeared to be someone else's room.  Time for a beer. Or two! 833 miles down, around 400 to go tomorrow. A good day on the road. Keepin' an eye on the tropics.

Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 6:22 AM PT: We just crossed over the Savannah River and into South Carolina. Looks like a hot, hazy day, already 82 degrees. Keeping an eye on Debby in the Gulf. The current models offer all sorts of options for mischief.

Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 8:56 AM PT: Stopped for a quick bite at a Waffle House in SC. Yeah, I know. Awful House. But remember: you can get breakfast anytime. So, like Steven Wright, you can order French Toast in the Renaissance. You will also be impressed to learn that among their house brands, Waffle House now offers "Senora Jackie's Casa de Waffle Picante Sauce". No, I am not kidding. It's all about the demographics, baby. 115 miles to go. Still running about $2.98 for regular unleaded.

Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 11:04 AM PT: And we have arrived, along with some rain clouds. Thanks for all your great stories and well wishes!  Safe travels to all of you, and don't forget to write a diary,

Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 11:04 AM PT: And we have arrived, along with some rain clouds. Thanks for all your great stories and well wishes!  Safe travels to all of you, and don't forget to write a diary,

Originally posted to cassandracarolina's fossil record on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 04:26 AM PDT.

Also republished by TexKos-Messing with Texas with Nothing but Love for Texans, DKOMA, and Community Spotlight.

Poll

How many US states have you visited?

0%0 votes
3%4 votes
6%8 votes
11%14 votes
15%18 votes
14%17 votes
30%37 votes
3%4 votes
6%8 votes
5%7 votes
0%1 votes
1%2 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes

| 120 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Three things: (15+ / 0-)

    1) How many states have I visited? hmm... How many have I been IN for at least a moment? 37. Without trying very hard. Yeah, sure, a lot of that was just drive-throughs. Heck, we were in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania all in one day a couple weeks ago.

    2) I live in a flyover state. We're good people here. All but about 1% of the population of Iowa is good people, and the 1% not-good are not necessarily the wealthiest. So yeah, when you're driving through on I-80, stop for a few minutes and actually talk to us!

    3) Food on the road: unless we're really in a hurry, we always try to find a local restaurant for eats. The food, frankly, isn't always better, but it's almost always more interesting.

    Safe travels!

  •  That stretch of I-10 in Western LA (18+ / 0-)

    has been an unmitigated disaster as long as I can remember. You're right about Texas: it might be a lot of things, but the roads are pretty darned good.

    I hope you guys have a safe trip. I spent most of May in North Carolina. It's a place I always look forward to visiting.

    Here's a topical limerick for the limerick-master diarist:

    Teahadists may think it is funny
    to reject the government's money
    when it comes to bad highways,
    or potholes on  byways
    that's limited government, honey!

    Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Ren and Stimpy: Dog on Cat equalitymaine.org

    by commonmass on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 05:08:30 AM PDT

  •  Waking up in Galveston this morning (10+ / 0-)

    In a home constructed in 1876, with a stroll across the street for breakfast -- shrimp omelette, I'm thinking -- in a few minutes.

    "You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think." -- Dorothy Parker, who knew someone like Jeff Gannon

    by PDiddie on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 05:11:57 AM PDT

  •  Always enjoy your diaries (9+ / 0-)

    They're like a daily dose of sanity and humor.  Aren't long trips by automobile a delight, nowadays?  That's because of the GPS.  No longer do I have to pretend that a physical map makes any sense to me at all.  I like to look out the window and fall into a light trance, staring at the scenery.  That's when short story ideas come to me.

    Have fun on your drive to the Carolinas!  You certainly did get an early start!  And if you're typing this on an iPad, I congratulate you.  Even when the little keyboard magically appears I still make mistakes on mine half the time.

    Re your poll--there are states I haven't seen at all yet:  New Mexico, Florida, the Dakotas, Vermont, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado.  Elder son is holidaying with his fiancee in Colorado even as I write, the lucky thang.  I HAVE been to Iowa, I'm proud to say.  And I was born in Texas, have hundreds of relatives there, and try to visit the state at least once a year.  So far I've been to Corpus Christi and Austin this year--would love to go back to the latter.

    Totally agree that it's disrespectful to dismiss whole states because of their alleged redness or whatever.  I have relatives in Texas that are card-carrying LIBRULS!

    Bon voyage--

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 05:13:06 AM PDT

    •  road trips are indeed more fun (11+ / 0-)

      Even with a nav system, iPad, and iPhone and all that data, I am still a fan of paper maps, marked up with all my colorful markers showing our progress. I was the same way when we used to take our boat out in Narragansett Bay. We had radar and GPS and I learned to use both, but also used nautical charts and dead reckoning "old school" methods. Part of my rationale? The knowledge that electronic systems can and do fail. But really: I simply LOVE maps of all sorts.

      I love studying them, tracking my travels, learning about the landscape. It's astounding to consider how much information goes into a map. Sure, you can get that with interactive search capabilities, but a well-worn map falling apart along the creases suggests some wonderful travels!

      Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. -- Woody Allen

      by cassandracarolina on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 05:48:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  i love maps too. (7+ / 0-)

        i spent much of my childhood on the road.  everybody in my family is good with maps.  i remember the time a man at a gas station was astounded at how quickly my mom re-folded a worn-out map and it ended up back in the original right-out-of-the-rack configuration.  when you have a lot of maps, you learn to keep them neat and orderly.  they last longer that way.  our car always had tons of maps.  it was a big deal when those rand mcnally road atlases came out.  then when the laminated maps came out---how nice they were!

        i could reminisce about road trips forever.  the games we'd play.  and as dad rose in the company mom could afford to buy those little car games so we didn't have to make them up.  no electronic gadgets for us.  and since dad was building the interstate highway system, it didn't yet exist for the most part, so we took 'side roads' a lot.  saw a lot of the country.  windy mountain roads were fun for my brother and me in the back seat back in the days when cars were big and there were no seat bealts.  we'd slide from one side of the car to the other.  fun!

        till dad said, "don't make me stop this car!"  heh.

        A hundred years from now...Watering lawns will seem as crazy as throwing diamonds on our lawns; we're throwing the world's most important resource - clean drinking water - on the ground. - Univ. of TX Professor Michael Webber

        by politik on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 06:05:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  We moved around a lot when I was a kid (2+ / 0-)

        and took a lot of road trips, too. I learned to read a road map when I was 6 and spent my childhood years navigating with a Rand McNally Road Atlas in my lap.

        Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

        by milkbone on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 09:29:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  10 to 95 to ?? (8+ / 0-)

    I live a few miles off of 10 just west of Tallahassee. Most the Panhandle is an easy drive but Tally to Jacksonville is no fun. Then going north on 95 is brutal. Or if you are going north on 75, even worse.

    Over the years I've discovered numerous ways north thru GA without ever taking an interstate or going thru Atlanta. Many Federal and State roads are 4 laned with little traffic and bypasses around small towns. Have fun whatever way ya go.

    And I'll have 2 eggs over easy, grits, and whole wheat toast dry.....

  •  In our family... (7+ / 0-)

    We call it the Awful House. It is exactly as you have described, although too many of them have the worst smelling restrooms on the planet...never go in there first if you intend to eat, go quickly after eating and run out the door to the fresh highway air!  
    Love road trips, love this diary, thanks.  My Dad is dying of cancer this summer so no road trips for us except to the doctors. Sigh.
    Safe and happy travels to you and the mister!  :)

    Think what you are doing today. -Fred Rogers

    by JanL on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 05:44:10 AM PDT

    •  Awful House - we call it that too (6+ / 0-)

      But then where else can you sit at 2 in the AM after the bars close and watch the flotsam and jetsam of humanity float in. Nothing like bright lights to expose true feelings. There's always someone over the top acting out or a line cook burnt out and slamming his tools. I tip heavily for anyone brave ( or desperate) enough to work there.

      Then there is the Village Inn, aka Village Idiot since you could die of boredom or hunger before ever being served....

      •  We have sometimes stopped at Waffle House (6+ / 0-)

        On Christmas day. The people that work there in Christmas really an axe to grind. One time a bitchy middle-aged waitress was really ragging on our young waitress to the extent that everyone in the place noticed.  

        We left our young waitress a $20 tip for a $12 meal and gave her a conspiratorial grin as we waltzed out.

        Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. -- Woody Allen

        by cassandracarolina on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 07:03:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  oh, JanL (5+ / 0-)

      I am so sorry to hear about your dad. I lost my dad in the summertime in 2006 after a long decline into Alzheimer's and I sure didn't feel in the mood for a vacation.

      He was a creature of habit, always vacationing about 150 miles from home, but he got a lot of vicarious enjoyment from my many travels.

      Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. -- Woody Allen

      by cassandracarolina on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 06:01:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  After my mom died last year (2+ / 0-)

        the logical thing to do, for me, was to hop in the car & take a road trip.  Mom was a dedicated traveller since she was a small kid.  Left Detroit as a teenager, got on the train by herself, and went to college in New Mexico.  How daring & exotic that was back in the 1940s!

        When we were young kids, we didn't have much money, and Dad wasn't really a travel fan.  But Mom was determined, and scrimped and saved all year so we could afford a vacation.  We went by car, bringing a picnic lunch in our Scotch Cooler; we kids ate cereal in the motel room for breakfast, and sometimes Mom would heat up a can of Spaghettios on a hot plate for our dinner.  We didn't mind, we could watch tv, and we knew it was to save money.  So we traveled all over the country, on the cheap.  Every Easter vacation, we went to Florida & stayed at the beach.  Every summer, it was a western trip, making sure to get to New Mexico for at least a few days to see Mom's old college pals.  

        Dad learned to tolerate, and then enjoy, travel.  They both made it to all 50 states (I'm only at 47). And after they retired, they went on cruises to Europe several times, and once joined my husband & me on a Eurail tour.  That trip was her first time to Europe, and Dad's first time since WWII.  It was my privilege to take her to see the Hofbrauhaus and the Alps, and to take Dad back to Normandy.  And to sit at so many sidewalk cafes, having a beer and watching the people!

        Mom instilled in my brother and me a desire to see the world, to explore what was out there besides our little suburb.  So last year when she died, after the week in the hospital watching her die, after the funeral, and the other necessary tasks, I sat back & took a breath.  My teenagers' Spring Break was coming up shortly, & we hadn't made any plans.  I was too worn out to do anything fancy or exotic, and it became clear to me that the thing I needed was a road trip to Albuquerque.  What better way to honor my mother than to do something she loved to much?  

        My, I have gone on, haven't I?  I was originally only going to comment that I drove from Houston to Pensacola & back just last week, and completely agree about I-10 in Louisiana.  Plus why can't Alabama do something about that tunnel under Mobile?  We must've sat in traffic for 45 minutes trying to get throuh that mess!

        •  Thank you for this lovely retrospective (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Freakinout daily, Polly Syllabic

          and what better way indeed to honor your mother. My parents only traveled with me up until the age of 4 when my brother was born. Other than trips from MA to NH or ME, we once visited my grandmother in Ohio. I longed to see more of the world, and have gotten my wish.

          Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. -- Woody Allen

          by cassandracarolina on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 12:49:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The ones I've been in in the past few years (2+ / 0-)

      Have been clean and pleasant with a personable staff.

      We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

      by bmcphail on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 09:17:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  when i lived in TN we always opted for CK's, aka, (2+ / 0-)

      "Awfuller House"

      "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face" & "Polka will never die." - H. Dresden.

      by bnasley on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 09:54:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A much pleasanter experience here. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cassandracarolina

      It was at the Waffle House in Ohio just west of the PA line on I-76, I think, or at least nearby.  The waitresses were pleasant, gave me plenty of refills and the bathrooms were clean.  

      The written algorithms on how they handle seating were interesting and probably understandable given the history of some of the states where Waffle House does business.  

      "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

      by Yamaneko2 on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 10:30:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  safe travels! (6+ / 0-)

    love that you're live-blogging it.  this'll be fun!

    i used to live in breaux bridge.  back in the 70's.  my dad worked in heavy construction and worked on the stretch of i-10 that goes over the atchafalaya river and swamps.  we moved a lot (my dad's part of those jobs usually lasted only 1-2 years; but it was good work while the highway system was being built.  dad never graduated high school but he was smart and rose to project manager and made a good living.) but the company tried to keep families in one half of the country or the other.  we were in the eastern half. till then we'd lived everywhere from south georgia to niagara falls to streator illinois.  we knew that everywhere we lived we'd have to adjust to new cultures and dialects but we'd never experienced anything so different as life in sleepy little breaux bridge.  

    it was a tiny little town then.  i have very fond memories of that time when i was 13, 14, 15 years old.  and some not so fond: we lived in a trailer (easier to pick up and go from place to place.  at least the inside of our 'house' was consistent from place to place) and the trailer park was right beside the sugar cane refinery.  thank goodness it only operated during harvest season because it was very noisy and very very very stinky.  ugh.  awful smells.  but interesting!

    i wonder what breaux bridge looks like now.  i probably wouldn't recognize it.

    looking forward to your next installment.

    A hundred years from now...Watering lawns will seem as crazy as throwing diamonds on our lawns; we're throwing the world's most important resource - clean drinking water - on the ground. - Univ. of TX Professor Michael Webber

    by politik on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 05:57:52 AM PDT

    •  we were JUST wondering how they built (5+ / 0-)

      these elevated sections of I-10 over the watery parts of Louisiana, and what in the world people did BEFORE this highway was built. Thank you for sharing these recollections. Sounds like you had a very illuminating and interesting childhood!

      Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. -- Woody Allen

      by cassandracarolina on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 06:08:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  they're just long bridges. (3+ / 0-)

        if you stay on i-10, you'll go over another part that dad worked on: the bridge over escambia bay near pensacola, florida.  dad's "specialty" was locks, dams and bridges.  so at least we always lived near water.

        A hundred years from now...Watering lawns will seem as crazy as throwing diamonds on our lawns; we're throwing the world's most important resource - clean drinking water - on the ground. - Univ. of TX Professor Michael Webber

        by politik on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 09:53:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Took the long way round (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cassandracarolina

        or went by boat.

        Back in 67 we drove from Dallas to the FL keys to see relatives.  I-20 was mostly in from Dallas to Shreveport, the rest of the way across Louisiana was over stressed 2 lane blacktops.  The blacktop was just wide enough for two 18 wheelers to pass, had 4 ft wide (or less) trouble lanes and a steep drop off into a drainage ditch.  We goofed and mom ended up driving across the OLD Vicksburg bridge.  It too was just wide enough for two 18 wheelers to pass with no trouble lane.  She was almost ready to stop the car and walk the rest of the way across.  The last section to be completed was thru Tallulah, LA, Just west of Vicksburg.  I don't think that they finished it before 1980.

        “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

        by markdd on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 10:33:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  My favorite roadtrip of all time (7+ / 0-)

    was one I took in my 20's with my friend Sean and my boyfriend (at the time). We drove from Houston, Texas all the way up to Bar Harbor, Maine, in....are you ready?...my 1968 VW Squareback. That damned thing had no de-froster and would spew oil everywhere going up a long, steep hill. I must have put 20 quarts of oil in that thing on that trip. But I loved that car, and we had more fun than a barrel of, well, 20-somethings on a road trip.

    Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Ren and Stimpy: Dog on Cat equalitymaine.org

    by commonmass on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 06:22:07 AM PDT

    •  OMG! I had a VW Squareback! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, Aunt Pat, Polly Syllabic

      Bought it used in 1974 and the guy who sold it was amazingly prescient. It would have been about the same vintage as yours, and in addition to the other system repairs I needed to deal, it had one very annoying quirk.

      The firewall between the driver's side front wheelwell and the interior had rusted through (New England road salt no doubt) such that water would drip into the fusebox and short out one or more systems! When it was the fue injection system, that was exciting to say the least!

      I learned to leave the bottom plastic cover off during water events, and to quicky reach in blind and turn the offending fuse and get it back in business while hurtling down the road.

      Fun times.

      Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. -- Woody Allen

      by cassandracarolina on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 06:29:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My parents are starting their trip from... (8+ / 0-)

    ... New Orleans this morning and are following a route similar to yours.  They are an "older couple" driving a late model Lexus SUV with Louisiana plates.  He will be driving pointing at the GPS and heatedly discussing something with her and she will be pointing at the map and simultaneously ignoring him and heatedly replying to him.  Every hour they chill out to listen to the NPR news headlines and then resume their navigargument.  It's quite a schtick they have and they can maintain it for the 12 hours it will take for them to get to Highland, NC - and it's worth it to follow them for a while for comic relief.

    I haven't been here long enough to be considered a Kossack, does that mean that I'm just a sack?

    by Hey338Too on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 06:46:37 AM PDT

  •  Waffle House: worse waffles ever (4+ / 0-)

    For the signature dish they sure do suck. On the other hand, its about the only place to get food in the South after midnight

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 06:56:13 AM PDT

  •  Hope you and your husband have a safe trip, (5+ / 0-)

    cassandracarolina.  I agree with this:

    One thing that you notice along I-10 and many other fine American interstate highways is the homogenization of the country. Wherever you are, there's your favorite chain restaurant, hotel, or gas station. Oh, sure, you have a bit of regional variation.
    Some things do differ by region but there is also a good deal of homogenization within each region.

    Also with this:

    On the one hand, it's comforting to know what to expect, even if it's a lackluster experience. But that's what's depressing about this sameness. The interstate highways are lined with the usual, the ordinary, the bland. Nowadays, if you want to sample local cuisine, you're going to have to take that offramp to reality.
    My first father-in-law, now deceased, traveled extensively in the U.S. and Canada and he called this "local flavor".  Unfortunately, most people don't have time for this.

    Remember, it's always wrong to generalize.

    by brae70 on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 07:27:25 AM PDT

    •  Thanks, brae70 (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brae70, Aunt Pat, Polly Syllabic

      I have traveled in most of the Canadian provinces and they are succumbing to this same sort of homogenization. I wasn't expecting to see big box stores like Home Depot and the all-too-familiar chain restaurants. I fear that this is a seeping global peril.

      Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. -- Woody Allen

      by cassandracarolina on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 07:30:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  About five years ago my family (2+ / 0-)

      took a road trip fron Houston up to Michigan, Pennsylvania, W Virginia, Maryland, etc.  We had a plan, which was to eat our lunches at the usual interstate fast food places, but to make a point of finding a non-chain, local specialty place for our dinners.  Thus on our two week road trip, we had Skyline Chili in Cincinnati, seafood in Erie, PA, Italian food in downtown Corning, NY, & so on.  (the Corning Glass Museum is awesome, btw).  We only faltered on our last night, at the Cracker Barrel in Texarkana.  But we had a great trip, got off the interstates quite a bit, and my kids got to see a lot of the country they'd never seen before.  I'm going to do that again someday.  Hey, we could do a DKos diary where people recommend their local delicacies, so travelers would know where to stop!

  •  I love road trips (3+ / 0-)

    We went down and drove along the gulf coast to Florida in June right before Katrina.  We stopped in New Orleans and Gulf Shores, AL.  How coincidental is that.  Louisiana is beautiful.  I didn't really expect that.  I thought it would just be endless miles of trees you couldn't see over but the light and color were different.  It had a crispness to it I didn't expect.

    Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world--and never will. Mark Twain

    by whoknu on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 07:40:58 AM PDT

  •  There's nothing I love better than a roadtrip. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cassandracarolina

    Have fun. Be safe. We'll need updates.

    I love nature, science and my dogs.

    by Polly Syllabic on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 08:08:31 AM PDT

    •  if only you were riding along with us (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Polly Syllabic

      and taking your awesome photos!!

      Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. -- Woody Allen

      by cassandracarolina on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 08:12:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  On the road, there (3+ / 0-)

        you are. Hello Cassandracarolina. I was wondering where you had gone. Not seeing you around was unusual as I always like to read your diaries.

        I guess I am getting a bit tired of traveling. I only fly and I just returned from Texas recently and promised myself never again. It is so burdensome and tiring for me now.

        I really hope you and Mr. Carolina continue to drive, fly or just go, anyway you chose to see the world.

        Regards girl. Good to see ya

        Old men tell same old stories

        by Ole Texan on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 08:43:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  How nice to see you, my friend! (3+ / 0-)

          A road trip is almost always less stressful than air travel, which has lost most of whatever charms it once had.

          We have been blessed with good weather this time. We did this trio a few years ago with tornado warnings much of the way. Weather in the Gulf Coast can be exciting, for sure.  Pelting rain, hail, thunder, lightning, and fascinating clouds.

          Looking forward to your next diary!

          Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. -- Woody Allen

          by cassandracarolina on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 08:50:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you for (2+ / 0-)

            your prompt reply my friend. In the 80`s I loved to drive. I took my family on a trip from Milwaukee - Florida-Texas, and across the southern border all the way to Mexico City. Ahmmm and back driving myself all both ways.

            Of course it was a vacation with interval stops along the way for enjoyment type of stuff. I did that bit twice and I can tell you, you are absolutely right about the weather and everything that might jump up and bite our you know
            what if not careful.

            Please be careful and don`t take changes. Drive with care and get there.

            Oh, and lately, I have been hanging out at the Genealogy group hangout. I have been looking for some nuts that fell off of my family tree. You might have read about these siblings I lost way back during the ice age, so to speak.

            Old men tell same old stories

            by Ole Texan on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 09:07:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I don't like to travel like I did in my youth. I (2+ / 0-)

    took a road trip from Detroit to San Francisco, then one from Detroit to the east coast of Canada, From San Francisco to Detroit by way of New Orleans, and another from Detroit all along the East Coast, (memories of Maine lobster still linger), and one more from Detroit back to San Francisco, each time taking a different route. (The North Dakota route once, South Dakota once, and Texas once.)  I've visited Washington DC, Florida, and gone north to Vancouver, B.C. Hawaii and Alaska, though, were just airplane stops on the way to the Far East.

    So how come I like to stay home now? I dunno. heh.

  •  We've made the drive from Houston to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Freakinout daily, Polly Syllabic

    Florida numerous times and I must highly recommend Fezzo's to you:

    http://www.fezzos.com/...

    A great casual Cajun/French place in Scott, LA, just off I-10 next to the Cajun Harley Davidson. I can't say enough about their food. The shrimp is heavenly an the steaks are pefection on a plate. They even have a great house salad dressing.  

    Stop on the way home & you will become a repeat customer.  

    Safe travels!

    Nature created the human race, but humans created racism.

    by GrannyOPhilly on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 09:07:28 AM PDT

  •  Two things: Waffle House? Seriously? (2+ / 0-)

    But there is one bright side to your choice. It's not "Terry's."
    Did that chain finally go bust?

    Second, how many states?

    Texas. Oklahoma. Louisiana. New Mexico. Kansas. Missouri. Kentucky. Tennessee. Arkansas. Arizona. Nevada. California.
    Ohio. All of those except Nevada, I'm old enough to remember
    having visited ... and except for Ohio and Nevada, I've been
    there several times. But I'm always -- and I do mean always --
    thrilled to find myself back home in Texas.

    Preferably West Texas. On the dry side of the Brazos.

    LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

    by BlackSheep1 on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 09:22:08 AM PDT

    •  as I said... Waffle House represents the (3+ / 0-)

      triumph of expedience over quality. It's a means to an end. The end is getting to my place in North Carolina where I can enjoy Atlantic seafood, even if I cook it myself.

      Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. -- Woody Allen

      by cassandracarolina on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 09:28:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I just prefer other means to the same end (3+ / 0-)

        of course, I don't know if you're aware that (like Cracker Barrel) Waffle House has a history of not respecting all people equally.

        Which actually is an excuse for me to be a bit of a coffee snob (never had a second cup of Waffle House coffee because the first one sucked so bad).  Given the option I'll pick up a cup of gas-station Cibolo Mountain every time.

        LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

        by BlackSheep1 on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 09:31:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Well, you crossed the Pearl River. The most (2+ / 0-)

    beautiful cypress swamp in the world spreads out from its channel. Autumn is really the best time to see it though. Happy trails.

  •  We moved from the Boston area (4+ / 0-)

    to Tucson back in 1968. Two adults, 4 kids (10, 9, 7, and 4, me being the oldest), a pug, and a cat, plus luggage, in a 1964 Plymouth Fury station wagon. A lot of the interstates hadn't been finished yet, so a lot of the travel was get on the interstate for 40 miles, then get back off onto the national highway it was paralleling, then get back on again in another 50 miles. We broke down twice: once at Exit 7 on the New Jersey Turnpike, where Dad paid $50 for a "tow" which consisted of the guy pushing us 30 feet until we could coast downhill and into a repair shop, and once around Shreveport where I had my first slice of pecan pie while we were waiting for it to be fixed. Our cat, Snoopy, got loose in Columbia, SC, and Dad nearly left without her. On US 80 in Union Town, Alabama, the main drag through town, the speed limit was, no lie, 37-1/2 miles an hour. In Irving, TX, I flooded the motel room taking a shower, because I didn't realize that you were supposed to put the curtain inside the tub. At a rest stop on I-10 near Benson, AZ, I saw my first horned toad and I realized that living in Tucson would be cool. So many amazing memories.

    I'm toying with the idea of a road trip driving solo from here in the Hudson Valley out to Seattle and back. Wouldn't be a great idea with my current car, but if I get a new one this summer, then maybe...

    Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

    by milkbone on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 09:59:48 AM PDT

  •  Well on the states question (3+ / 0-)

    I've only missed Hawaii, Maine, South Dakota and Nebraska.   Gonna be difficult to catch all of them on one trip......

    I kinda miss Waffle House out here on the Wet Coast.  Nothing like it out here in WA state.  It's a very rigid format.  Expansion is often to add another unit on the opposite side of the Freeway.  One intersection in Atlanta (I-85 and Pleasant Hill Road?) had 3 of them and they were usually crowded.  Drop into one after the bars close for some real redneck entertainment.

    Used to do I-10 from Mobile to Monticello, FL back in the early '70's.  A lot of the I-state wasn't in place then, really got the flavor of the old road trips.  Heavy traffic, 2 lane roads and plenty of greasy spoons.

    Drive safely.

    “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

    by markdd on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 10:18:03 AM PDT

  •  Safe travels (2+ / 0-)

    Have fun and avoid the wingnuts whenever possible.

    There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

    by Puddytat on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 11:15:43 AM PDT

  •  $2.99 Gas (2+ / 0-)

    Wow.Here in Southern Calif. it is still over $4.00. On states lived in, CT, RI, AL, WA, OR, and CA. Only two states I've missed are Tenn. and NDak.. I was going to take a cross country road trip last fall, but one daughter blew up her car, another daughter blew out one of her fake boobs and a trip to the dentist cost me over $12,000 in less than a month. Maybe next year.

    It's never too late to have a happy childhood - Tom Robbins

  •  I've been to: (2+ / 0-)

    Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, (maybe S. Carolina but have no memories of it so won't count that), Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, and Vermont. Then: Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada, and Utah.

    That makes 36, yes?

    Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. Throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. --Mark Twain

    by Debby on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 12:27:36 PM PDT

  •  Done much of that drive… (0+ / 0-)

    …at one time or another. Most recently we covered the Lake City, FL, to Slidell, LA (and then halfway to Hammond), part when we visited our newly relocated daughter near Mandeville last Fall. You passed within about five miles of her house on your I-12 segment. In further point of fact, you may have been within a couple of miles of her when you went through Hammond as they were boarding a train (City of New Orleans—that song has been going through my head for weeks) for Chicago, but I digress.

    As I said at my brother's funeral seventeen years ago, we were a well traveled family. He (and I) had been in 35 states by the time we graduated from high school. With parents as teachers, we traveled a lot in the summers. For the old timers, I visited said brother when he was attending FSU in Tallahassee when I-10 only went as far west as Monticello. Ah, yes, AM radio in North Florida—cow music and The World Tomorrow with Garner Ted Armstrong. I'm still trying to wash that stench away.

    As an adult, I've added several more, and only AK, HI, WA, and OR are missing on my list. I've also covered Eastern Ontario and all of Lower and Atlantic Canada (except Newfoundland).

    Over the years we've done most of the food options while traveling—Awful House (my wife forbids us from ever eating there again), Huddle House, Cracker Barrel, and assorted fast food joints. We've done them because they're expedient, but we virtually never darken their doors locally.

    We've also gone off track and found some memorable places. Most recently we've tried eateries featured on Diners, Drive-ins & Dives on the food channels, downloading a list from the internet before departing and planning our route/stops accordingly. They're almost universally great food, by the way.

    Anyway, I think our congruence with your route ends in Charlotte, as we've always gone north or south from there on I- 77. And, by the way, the same daughter "ridin' on the City of New Orleans" has lived previously in Charlotte, and Atlanta, and Jacksonville, plus that's her second stint in NOLA. In any event. you're probably in for the night, or nearly so, therefore, the best I can do is offer best wishes for a continued safe journey.

    •  Thanks, exatc (0+ / 0-)

      Traveling is always interesting, and always a chance to see something new even on a very familiar route. Coastal Living magazine used to have great articles on seafood "dives" along the coasts. We have frequented some of them, with great results.

      Thanks for your kind wishes, and I look forward to posting more updates tomorrow.

      Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. -- Woody Allen

      by cassandracarolina on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 03:45:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Follow up after reading updates (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cassandracarolina

        Eleven miles east of Atlanta, eh? Well, you can't be all that far from where aforementioned daughter lived (Stone Mountain) before the move to NOLA. While there she spent plenty of time criss-crossing I-85 in her daily peregrinations.

        She's been liveblogging her train trip, by the way, including pictures. They should be just north of Champaign about now…

        •  We climbed Stone Mountain about 10 years ago (0+ / 0-)

          not much of a climb compared to the White Mountains of NH that I was used to, but it's a must-see place, and a good short hike. The civil war diorama there was very illuminating in more ways than one.

          Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. -- Woody Allen

          by cassandracarolina on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 05:42:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Roadtrip (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cassandracarolina

    We just git back from a 20 state roadtrip, camping in Ok and Tn, visiting civil war sites and back country towns. The food was awesome, BBQ, sweet tea, and a place called Tudors Bisquit World in WV that was great, very tasty with  authentic comfort foods-not to be found in Ca easily. The southern people were very nice and had local stories to tell me about their area and were amused and surprised that I came to their small town on vacation, I told them I don't go to attractions, I visit small towns, like Carlysle, Ar...nice post...

    •  I have learned a lot from visiting Civil War (0+ / 0-)

      Battlefields. Growing up in New England, I knew a lot about the American Revolution, but not much about the Civil War. Getting out into the countryside and immersing myself in the history (military and natural) has been a great education.

      Sounds like you really made the most of your roadtrip!

      Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. -- Woody Allen

      by cassandracarolina on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 06:09:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Road Trip Historical Sites (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cassandracarolina

        It was a somber and sobering time at Shiloh Civil War battlefield, to stand in the very place where the war was faught, the Civil War came to life there.Living in far west California, those wars are so distant...Seeing American Revolution sites would invoke a similar feeling. Calif. has great history, but nothing compared to the Civil War and American Revolution. This is what is great about road trips

        Next year the road trip is Utah, Wyoming, inc. Powder River basin, Montana mining Towns, Lewiston Id, and the awesome Columbia River Gorge and Cascade Locks, Or.

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