Get Ready… get set.. GO!!

As our time drew near to leave our winter nest we not only started making reservations and travel plans, but the daunting task of cleaning things up and storing them away was upon us. Sitting dormant for months you would be surprised how spread out we got. We have our outdoor living area, screen tent, yard art, ladder, multiple grills etc… etc… that all at one time had a space in the “basement” of our Mobile Condo. It was now our task of remembering how we had things packed long ago when we were moving every few weeks. Thank goodness my Handsome Chauffeur is also the “King of Tetris”! Seriously, the man can look at a space that I would try to fit one measly thing into and fit 4 to 5 things in the same allotted space! He continues to astound me!

Thankfully, we started the process about a week before our departure working a wee bit at a time. Cleaning sand off of everything was hard enough, but this winter for some reason the campsite was inundated with these itty bitty snails! They were EVERYWHERE!! Persistent little buggars as well. Every day I would sweep them off the screen tent. I can only imagine the effort it took for them to crawl at their pace up the walls of the tent to only get swept off in the morning by a silly human to start their journey AGAIN! As persistent they were they were sneaky too! I would find them hiding in the most unusual spots. As I picked up chairs to fold away I would hear what sounded like a Maraca as hundreds of snail shells fell to the ground! My work was cut out for me as I made sure not to have any stowaway snails or red ants brought on our westward journey! As I cleaned, My King of Tetris stowed. It took us a week, but we “Got ‘Er Done”… we were ready to set on our 2018 adventure!

The date of departure was upon us. All packed, reservations in place, journey mapped out. The only thing that wasn’t cooperating was good Old Mother Nature! You see she decided to be a “bit blustery” with 30-35 mph wind gusts from the west which made our north, northwest travel a bit of a challenge. The Mobile Condo is a VERY HIGH profile vehicle and wind coming at its side didn’t make my Handsome Chauffeur’s job the least bit easy! There were times that I swear we were going to blow right off the interstate! I was absolutely no help to my Handsome Chauffeur as I had resorted to the fetal position and about started sucking my thumb!!! We of course were not alone fighting the hellacious wind… we were one of MANY Snowbirds heading north. All of us bobbing and weaving with the gusts. I just kept praying that all the drivers of the other vehicles were as well equipped for the conditions as my calm cool and collected Chauffeur or there was going to be a big mess somewhere along the route.

After traveling what seemed like thousands of miles north, our route turned us west which helped. We left our “flock” of north bound travelers. NOW we had straight headwinds …our gas mileage was probably 3mpg! At least we were no longer getting tossed around from side to side. Our GPS took us off the interstate and on county roads that proved to be a hundred times better as there was far less traffic. After an 8 hour journey that seemed to take 8 days we were in our temporary home of Panama City, FL. for the next 3 days to much needed rest and a few unexpected “projects”.

When traveling we have a sliding platform that comes over the stairs to create a flat surface for the passenger (Moi) to rest their feet. Welllll …..our step platform decided that it was more comfortable in the retracted position leaving this Nervous Navigator’s feet to dangle. I may be showing my age, but back in the 60’s or 70’s there was a show we watched called Laugh In. Lily Tomlin would do a character Edith Ann in a big rocking chair with her feet dangling… you get the picture right? Yep, I was the 21st century Edith Ann in the Navigator seat feet dangling due the a silly step cover not working… it was going to be a Looooong ride with all the blood pooled into my dangling feet until I remembered that my way cool Navigator seat also was a recliner! Yippie Skippie my feet were saved!

Bright and early after a much needed rest My Handsome Chauffeur came to my rescue donning his MacGuyver hat he YANKED on the step an WAHLAH it came out!but the motor wasn’t connected any longer….Oops! Now with the step out it was a long JUMP in order to get out of the Mobile Condo! MacGuyver was able to connect the motor to the step again .. of course! He needed a device to aid in clean up of his repair.He asked his trusty assistant (Moi) to get him thiswith instructions to wrap with a rag and attach with a ponytail holderWith his project cleaned up by his MacGuyver certified “tool” it was time to try the step. BINGO… step retracted and went into position just like new!he NEVER ceases to amaze me!

Panama City Florida is a Spring Break destination for many College coeds. This year I hope the packed their parkas along with their bikinis as it was COLD!! We were not use to this… our blood must have thinned staying in Tampa! Our feet that were use to wearing sandals were now encased with SOCKS AND SHOES! Maybe we left Tampa too soon??? The morning we were scheduled to leave Panama City our Mobile Condo was also not pleased with the cold temperatures. Our brakes need air pressure to build up in order to work and due to the cold crisp temperatures that morning they were not pleased Our neighbors were most likely less than pleased to be awoken by the sound of a huge diesel engine idling at high rpms as we watched and prayed that our gages would go up. At last the air brakes were pressurized and we were heading further west. Next stop New Orleans, Louisiana!

Our travel weather was PERFECT as we motored across the panhandle of Florida, Mississippi and finally Louisiana. As we neared the city of New Orleans the roadways resembled a plate of pasta! Roadway, ramps and bridges all jumbled up to this Navigator’s eye, but our trusty GPS was guiding our way. Traffic was heavy! Finally we were directed to get off the Interstate… Whew! We were traveling through Parishes in search of our next home Arbor Aviation NAS. Unfortunately, our GPS guided us on a route that had signs stating “No Truck Zone”! We prayed that there were no low hanging wires or branches all the while justifying that we were “not” a truck! We made it through the neighborhoods waving to surprised motorists with their mouths a gapped as they came upon us. With only 5 miles left until we reached the base we saw a tunnel approaching on our route that was going UNDER the Intercoastal water way! Not only was it UNDER water the clearance sign read 13′ 7″!!! Our Circus Train Measures 13′ 6″!!! As we approached the tunnel we saw markings on the cement left by previous HIGH profile vehicles! There was NO TURNING AROUND! We collectively held our breathe and entered the tunnel. My Handsome Chauffeur, taking up both lanes of traffic as to center in the “highest” part of the tunnel. You could hear a pin drop as we crept through all the while waiting to hear the dreaded noise of one or ALL 3 air conditioners being removed as we scrapped through the tunnel. Much to our surprise we made it through without disaster! This episode reminded us of our trip to the east coast last summer. How soon we forgot the lessons learned about trusting “Lola” aka Google maps! We vowed to no longer trust Google maps as our GPS and will now ALWAYS use a Truckers app to ensure our route will not include neighborhoods or low bridges!

Up early the next day we made our way to downtown New Orleans! Thanks to advice from a dear friend we had a game plan in place to see this amazing historical city. The weather looked like we were going to see lots of rain. Our weather app cautioned us of flood warnings as the Mississippi River was at 16’4″ and flood stage is 17′. Ever the optimists and only having a day to tour we grabbed our umbrella and walking shoes and headed to the ferry boat to take us across the Mississippi into New Orleans!

We hopped a trolley car and toured the Garden District. The homes were beautiful as were the campuses of Loyola and Tulane. Stunning show of pink Azelea bushes every where! Spring was in the air. Some of the trees and bushes donned Mardi Gras beadsThe City seems to always be in party mode. We happened to be there St. Patrick’s Day weekend. The closer we got to Bourbon Street the more people were dressed in green. The party had started! As we made our way through the sea of green clad party people we saw street musicians, drum team of little boys and heard every genre of music coming out of the many drinking establishments. It was hard to decide where to stop. We knew one thing we were starved and in need of an adult beverage.

I had visited New Orleans MANY moons ago and had fond memories of Pat O’Brien’s. What better place to kick off St Patty’s day? Off we went in search of a world famous Hurricane…. and they certainly didn’t disappoint!Now that our whistles were wet our appetite for some good old Creole food was in order!With our tummy’s full and our feet ready to call it a day we made our way back to our ferry. It was a fun day and we made tons of memories. Good night New OrleansOur visit to Louisiana was coming to an end. Our last day there we felt the need to get our bellies full of Cajun one more time! We noticed a few restaurants near by that were PACKED so of course they had to have great food! Everywhere was touting Crawdads… so we too needed to see what the draw was!As we entered the establishment with our bellies growling we saw a HUGE all you can eat buffet. Shrimp, Gator, Soft shell crabs,Boudin, Gumbo, Jambalaya etc..Everywhere we looked people had platter size plates heaping with Crawdads aka “Mud Bugs 😳

After our trip to Maine and the “Lobster incident” we decided we better ask a few more questions before ordering. These Crawdads looked like a miniature version of the whole Maine Lobster we had tried to eat Our server was the sweetest gal and was more than happy to explain the intricacies of eating Crawdads to us. She could tell by the look on our faces and our KU collegiate wear that we most definitely we NOT local. She grabbed a Crawdad and proceeded to break off its head, SUCKED out the innards, before breaking apart its itty bitty tail to get what appeared to be a piece of meat the size of a Grub Worm and said, “That’s how you do it…they are soooo delicious!” Needless to say I DID NOT want ANY part of sucking out the innards of a Crawdad! The memory of the green goo/exploded pancreas of our Maine Lobster is still burned into my brain! We both politely declined the Crawfish feast and ordered shrimp and oysters FRIED and PEELED! No steamed anything for us! We left with a full belly of delicious Cajun food and an education for a lifetime!

The first leg of our 2018 adventure is in the books. We are ready to travel further west. We have set our sight towards the “Great State of Texas”. Here we GO❤️