Sorry, but this post won't be near as exciting as yesterdays! I can only get engaged once so that was the big one. :) Today we spent our last day in New Orleans, and of our road trip, exploring the city and eating as much food as humanly possible. Waking up around 6AM has become 'normal' apparently so we had a ton of time to goof around today!
First things first, coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde this morning. I don't think I've ever seen so much powdered sugar in my life! Our entire breakfast only cost $5 total, now that's a steal! And I didn't even have to ask for the newly engaged special! ;) After Cafe Du Monde, we looked around in the French Quarter for a few souvenirs to get for family and friends. No mom, I didn't get you anything.. sorry. Following the gift buying party, it was nearing lunch time! BHW had a place in mind called Central Grocery. They are apparently the home of the original Muffuletta.. a HUGE sandwich with salami, cheese, and olive salad. I'm not even a fan of olives and I cleared my plate! I have never seen a sandwich so big in my entire life.. check out the picture below. We also swung by a couple more shops and sampled pralines and every kind of Tabasco sauce under the sun!
BHW also wanted to take me to see the Garden District before we left. The area had some big beautiful homes, complete with Mardi Gras beads hanging from every possible object. We also stopped by the Barnes and Noble and picked up some wedding planning books! Ahh! After sitting in a McDonald's for a couple hours talking about wedding 'stuff'. We perused through some vintage shops on Magazine St. We had a blast looking at crazy clothes and pretending we were going to wear them for the wedding.. BHW had a highlighter orange suit in mind, I had my eye on a sequined dress that weighed about 15 pounds.
Dinner time approached quickly and we had to find somewhere to eat! BHW's dad suggested a place called Johnny's Po-Boys but they closed at 4:30.. who does that?! Lame! Apparently they're supposed to be really good, so we'll have to make our way back to NOLA for some po-boys! We decided we actually weren't that hungry so we went to the Howlin' Wolf for a free comedy show called Comedy Gumbeaux! It was actually pretty funny and we had a great time! One particular comedian was asking everyone where the worked.. BHW said Habitat for Humanity and I told them I was a student, planning on getting my Master's degree in Social work. He looked around and said.. 'have fun bein' broke.' and that was it. Sadly, he's right. On a side note, we don't care. :)
After the comedy show we went to our hosts house, Rhodie/Dragon/whatever else he's known for, to sleep. Thanks again Bama for hooking us up! He showed us around and told us to take all the Mardi Gras beads we wanted, that he would be throwing them out after we left. Tomorrow we head back to Evansville to hang out with BHW's brother and his fiance! A long drive is ahead of us but now that we've got a wedding to plan, we'll have plenty to talk about!
Just like every other morning we've been on the beach, we woke up with the sunrise and seagulls.
Our trip to New Orleans is just 6 hours away but we wanted to get on the road early to spend the afternoon walking around the French Quarter.
After we jam packed the car full of our clothes, the tent, beach towels, and everything else required for a 3 day camping trip on by the sand and sea, we headed out to the beach to watch one last sunrise. It was cloudy but warm, a perfect combination for a couple of bums with sunburns. Walking hand in hand BHW started blabbing on about being in love and what not. This is not something unusual, we're pretty lovey dovey. :) He asked me, 'Do you want to get married?' I responded with a long and obnoxious, 'DUH'. We both laughed, talking about marriage isn't strange between us, we talk about it at least 1 time a day. 'When do you wanna get married?' he said. I said, 'Right now! There's a guy walking his dog over there, he can marry us!' Then we figured he probably wasn't ordained and that idea went out the window. We're always joking about funny ways to get married so I didn't really sense anything weird going on. We started walking back to the car just soaking in our last minutes on the beach together and then BHW got a little more serious and said, 'Johnny, I really do want to get married..' I turned to look at him he reached in his pocket, got down on one knee, and asked the 4 worded question that every girl dreams of hearing; 'Will you marry me?' while pulling out a little brown box. Did I mention I was in my pajamas and had windblown hair and a sun-burnt face? Not my best look for sure. Ok, after this point it's a little fuzzy, I was crying and laughing and crying and laughing and crying some more. I obviously said YES! He opened the box and I saw the most magnificent pair of diamond earrings from Andrews Jewelers. Earrings? Who gets proposed to with earrings?! I do. :) Here's the back story, the ring I've been dreaming of is a custom made piece from a place in Michigan. My ring will include both of my parents wedding rings melted into mine. BHW didn't want to mess anything up since my parents only have 1 set of rings. So, the plan is that we'll go and make the ring together. The entire morning was perfect, it couldn't have been any more amazing!
After all that goody goody stuff we hopped in the car and headed for New Orleans! I'll keep the rest of the blog short and sweet since I blabbed about my engagement forever. BHW's dad told us we had to stop at this place on the way called Poche's Market. It's the crawfish capital of the world! We ordered the classic crawfish etouffee with baked beans and guess what.. more slaw! We had never had crawfish and we were both really impressed with the dish! There was one minor detail we weren't too happy with.. the entire place was decorated with stuff from the Super Bowl against the Colts in 2010. I'm so glad we weren't wearing our Colt's gear, that would have been super awkward!
We got into New Orleans and pulled up to our hostel. It was a super quaint little place, we actually drove past it once! We walked in and thankfully the place was pretty nice, and clean. We brought our stuff in and headed down to the French Quarter. The place was hoppin' for a Wednesday night.. and it was only 4PM! I had a place in mind to eat for dinner called Yo Mama's. I was told by many friends that the Peanut Butter Bacon Burger was something I had to try, so we did! BHW got the Peanut Butter Burger and I got the Chili Burger. The food arrived and the burgers were huge! They were also so delicious we scarfed them down without even thinking about how full we were getting.
After dinner we walked up and down Bourbon Street and watched the street performers and checked out the shops. We went back to the hostel a little early to rest after such a crazy trip and an even crazier day! Tomorrow we'll be exploring more of the city and hopefully checking out a free comedy show!
_ The sunrise was beyond gorgeous this morning. BHW cooked some oatmeal and we set up chairs to enjoy the morning together. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the sunrise before and it was so peaceful. We were literally the only people on the beach, I couldn’t believe people were sleeping through this experience!
We finally found a place to sleep in New Orleans called Joe and Flo’s Candlelight Hostel for $55/night. I spent all morning at Starbucks trying to figure it out, worried that we didn’t have a place to sleep and we were going to be there tomorrow! It was way out of my price range but it’s somewhere to sleep, a private room, and we were getting desperate. I didn’t want to have to sleep in the car.. in the middle of a ‘not so nice’ city. They only had 1 night available and we needed a place to sleep for 2 nights. I refused to pay for another place to sleep so I called a couple friends from back home. Bama, a friend from ultimate at Ball State, hooked me up with his friend Rhodie who lives in New Orleans. I was told to call him Dragon when I met him on Thursday. Not sure why, but I’m sure I’ll find out when I see him.
The internet pointed us in direction of The Strand, a historic district of Galveston with shops and food joints. We walked into a few of the shops, not really finding anything authentic. I was a little disappointed until we came across LaKings Confectionary Shop. I walked in and all I could smell was chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. Row upon row of truffles, fudge, and brownies were all I could see. On the other side of the shop was something even better, ICE CREAM! They handmade milkshakes and malts from anything you could think of. I went with the traditional chocolate chip cookie dough shake and BHW had a chocolate malt. We also both got truffles, Amarato mousse for me and Grand Marnier for BHW. Everything was delicious, and fattening. Before we left we watched a guy hand make the chocolates.
After walking up and down The Strand we headed off to our next adventure, a dolphin tour! I didn’t know dolphins were in/near Texas but they sure are! We took a boat tour around the Galveston Harbor and learned a ton about the city, it was really interesting. The guide talked about off shore oil-drilling and things of that nature. We also saw a few dolphins here and there too! They didn’t come right up to the boat or anything but it was still awesome!
Since we hadn’t eaten since 6AM we found a place for lunch called Taco House. Another hole the wall, family owned place. If you haven’t caught on.. we like to eat at places that look a little iffy on the outside, slow service, might not be up to health standards, but totally worth it in the end. Running low on cash, we shared a dish that had tamales, tacos, guacamole, beans, and rice. The service was fast and friendly and the food was fabulous.
I’ve never ridden a ferry before and neither has BHW. The tour guide on the boat said the ferry that took you Bolivar Penninsula was free. Being cheap college/college grads we headed over to the ferry! It took us to, well, nowhere really. We turned off on a side road though and we literally drove onto the beach and about 2 feet from the ocean. We could have driven in if we wanted! It was pretty strange. After our day full of adventure, we headed back to the campgrounds, made a fire, heated up our leftovers from Shrimp N Stuff, and hit the sack. Tomorrow we wake up at 6AM and head to New Orleans for a couple days!
_ 6:44AM: Seagulls screeching and the sun is shining. Welcome to Galveston! BHW and I woke up just after the sunrise and we went out to the beach to check the place out since it was dark when we got in last night. It was beautiful, and hardly anyone was camping at the site so we basically had the place to ourselves.
At 8:00AM, we went to the park rangers office to get everything sorted out with them. We obviously set up camp at the spot, but what we didn’t know is we set up camp across the street from where we were supposed to be. The camp grounds over there were $15 and on the bay, the spot we set up in was $25 and 200 feet from the beach. I decided to just do the full upgrade, I hated paying almost double what I had planned, but the view and location is just too perfect to pass up. Sometimes traveling doesn’t always go smoothly! Gotta learn to roll with the punches. What I didn’t know was that apparently you have to pay $5/person/day to stay here.. now that was something I just about refused to pay.. but 105 dollars later, we had our spot secured for 3 nights and our passes purchased.
BHW has a portable gas stove and we took it out to the beach to cook oatmeal for breakfast. The sun was rising and we were chowing down on some warm oats, it was amazing. We were the only people on the beach, paradise for sure! After breakfast we went to put the dishes away when a man came up to our tent with his 2 little kids and wife trailing behind him. In an accent he said ‘hello! We’re from Switzerland and we have a gift for you!’ Uh.. ok? ‘My roommate back home is from France and she gave us 15 gifts and said we had to give them to strangers and video record it for her, you’re gift #1.’ As he turns on his iPhone he gives me a little box wrapped in colorful paper. I open it up and it’s one of those 3D puzzles with the wood and rope and metal link in it. We thanked him for the gift and they went on their way, strange but awesome!
The rest of the day was spent making a sand fortress and being lazy on the beach. Tossing the Frisbee around we realized that not many more people had joined us outside. Everyone was cooped up in their RV’s.. the people next to us even had satellite TV! Oh come on! Is the beach not good enough for you? We went on a little hike through a marsh-land and watched the sunset from our camp site, how gorgeous!
After showering, we headed to a family owned diner called Shrimp N Stuff. As a local favorite, we just had to try it out! We pulled into the parking lot and walked into a simple diner. Placing our order at the window, we waited for the food that has everyone talking to come out. I ordered 2 pieces of catfish and 4 shrimp. BHW ordered the seafood platter. Our food came out and everything was HUGE! Neither of us could finish our meals, too.much.food! The catfish was fantastic and BWH got hooked on the fried oysters.
The night ended early after a long hard day at the beach. Too much relaxing just makes ya tired!
_ I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to wake up in my entire life than I was today. Our private hot springs bath at Quapaw Baths was at 10AM followed by a trip to the ‘steam cave’. We arrived at 9:45 and signed a couple things.. not really sure what they said.. but we signed them anyways. An older man led us back to the locker rooms and told us to get into what we wanted to wear for the bath.. or take off what we didn’t want to wear in the bath. This place was most certainly clothing optional, and I opted to go ‘au naturale’ and wore my birthday suit. It wasn’t really awkward at all! The lady came in, asked me if the bath temperature was sufficient, told me she would be back in 20 minutes, and said if I needed anything, to ‘ring this little gold bell like hell’. After BHW and I each had our baths in the mineral water, we were told to change into our suits and follow the guy back to the ‘steam cave’. We assumed it was going to be like a sauna, but from 1922. They also had some peppermint extract in the air, it cleared our sinuses right up! No matter how ‘touristy’ it seemed, I suggest everyone tries the baths at least once! Many people in the past and people still to do this day, believe that the water has healing powers. I met this elderly lady in a wheelchair who says she comes to the baths 2 times a week to soak. ‘I don’t look this young because of make-up! It’s the water young lady!’ is what she told me in the locker room after we had both had our soakings. My apologizes for not having pictures, check out the link above!
Hester’s was our last stop in Arkansas before we headed to Galveston Island Texas! LS told us we needed eat there before we left, so, taking her advice, we stopped in. If you’re looking for year-round access to a Thanksgiving dinner and the most amazing fried chicken, Hester’s is your place! It’s a buffet for $10 a person but they also have a full menu too. We decided to get the buffet and gorge ourselves before our 8-hour drive. Everything was tasty! My favorite was the fried chicken, it was just so crisp! BHW also favored the fried chicken but the stuffing took 1st place for him.
We admit, we weren’t looking forward to this 8-hour drive but it went by swimmingly. We stopped for gas once and I was in desperate need of some coffee. We were about an hour outside of Houston when we stopped. I asked the lady at the gas station if there was a Starbucks or a donut shop around here and she shook her head sadly and said ‘No mam, not in these parts.’ The lady in line behind me piped in and said ‘I’m from Houston and honey, you’re in the twilight zone out here. Ain’t no Starbucks for miles.’ I grabbed the 99 cent coffee from the gas station and guzzled it down, trying not to think of how much better it would have tasted from somewhere that actually knew how to make coffee.
Driving into the campgrounds, we were so giddy. We could hear the ocean and smell the salty air. We were supposed to call if we were going to be in after 10PM.. or so I thought. We got there at 8:30 and not a soul was around. After a minor freak-out, BHW said we should just set up camp and explain it all to the park ranger in the morning. Setting up camp about 200 feet from the ocean, we’re all settled in for an awesome.. but freezing night on the beach. Here’s to hoping we don’t get arrested!
Woke up to the smell of biscuits and gravy this morning cooked by LS's husband, SS. After filling our stomachs with a home-cooked breakfast, it was time to head to Hot Springs for the day. Our first race was the horse track for some racing and betting! The first race started at 1:05 but we wanted to get there a little early to check the place out. We stopped at LS's brother's house to pick up some trainer/owner passes a family friend of theirs gave us for the day. LS grew up across the street from Lynn Whiting. Who is that you ask? Oh, he's just a famous horse trainer that won the Kentucky Derby in 1992! His picture is actually on the wall at the Hot Springs track as one of the 'greats'. LS grew up across the street from the Oaklawn (probably why/how Mr. Whiting got into horses if I had to guess) so we just parked at her childhood home and walked to the track instead of paying $20 to park. BHW and I had never been to a horse race, let alone bet on one.. or anything for that matter, so we were pretty pumped for the races to start. We bet $2 on a horse named GOALTOGOAL to win the first race of the day. The race took longer to set up and start than it did to complete but it was so exciting! Everyone was standing up and yelling for their favorite horse to wi them some money. Naturally, BHW and I had no luck with betting and we lost every bet we placed. It was still fun and in the end, we were only out $4.
Stomachs growling, we headed to McClard's for some more BBQ. We didn't care that we just ate BBQ after we ate here! BHW opted for the same dish as last night: ribs, slaw, and beans. Out of the 2 slabs of ribs, McClard's were his favorite. LS and I decided to split the Tamale, a dish similar to a walking taco. It was so tasty we practically licked the plate clean! This hole in the wall, cash only diner was a total treat for BHW and I. We were so lucky to have such great 'tour guides' for the day.
Once we ate enough food to feed an army, we figured it was the best time to get out and do some sight seeing. LS and SS drove us to the top of a couple mountains and we looked over the city. The weather was crystal clear and we could almost see Little Rock (about 50 miles away) from the top of the look out tower! LS also took us to a couple of hot springs to feel the water in the park. I couldn't put my feet in the spring, it was too hot to handle! Tomorrow we are scheduled to have a private hot springs bath at Quapaw Baths & Spa, I hope I can 'wo-man up' and actually get in!
All in all, today was fabulous. LS showed us around her hometown like a proud mama and gave us an awesome experience! Too bad we were only here for 1 day! We head out tomorrow after our hot springs bath. An 8-hour drive is the only thing that separates us from the beaches of Galveston Island in Texas! We are more than excited to be a couple of beach bums for the next few days! Camping and the beach? I don't think it gets any better than that!
Not sure how the Internet situation will be tomorrow but look back for pictures and another blog update! I'll make sure it gets updated, especially the pictures! xo
6:30 AM came as quickly as I thought it would. The city museum was the first thing on our list to see and we were headed straight there. After checking the weather, we realized we might be driving through some nasty storms. We're glad we took our chances and left when we did because the weather wasn't actually that bad. It god a little hectic when we crossed into Missouri. The rain and wind picked up and somehow BHW's windshield wiper flew off and was hanging by his side view mirror! Oh the stories we come home with after a trip. With skill and precision, while lacking a driver's side wiper in the pouring rain, he managed to get us to the museum in one piece. Fingers crossed it doesn't rain anymore!
We parked in one of the sketchiest parking lots I've come across to this day and made our way into an equally sketchy building dubbed 'the city museum'. There weren't any signs and the place hardly looked functional, let alone kid-friendly. According to many of my friends, this place was supposed to be 'the best place in the world'. Going on their word alone, we headed in. Alright guys, you were right, the St. Louis city museum is the best place in the world, at least museum-wise. Not sure how to describe the place except for 'a jungle gym on steriods and acid. Slides and underground tunnels were no unusual sight in this place. I don't see how people didn't get lose and die or something! We first walked in and were greeted by a Willy Wonka-esque man who told us, 'we don't offer maps, but have fun exploring!' I think BHW and I were the only people over 10 years old running around like maniacs, the other adults looked like they were about to pull their hair out searching for 1 lost kid after another.
3 hours later we decided it was time to 'hit the old dusty trail' again (I know you'll get a kick out of that phrase MCE). Our next destination was Memphis Tennessee for dinner at the Rendezvous, a BBQ joint we were told to visit by our Little Rock host and family friend, LS. Apparently this place has been on the Food Network a time or two, and on a Friday night we were skeptical about finding a seat. It all went down a little something like this:
Did I just eat at the McDonald's of BBQ joints? By far the quickest sevice I've ever recieved in my entire life. The only thing the place was lacking was someone to personally feed me, and I'm sure if I asked, someone would have. Take note: aside from fabulous ribs, the baked beans were literally to die for. Satisfied after a tasty meal, BHW and I went for a stroll down Beale Street. Blues and bars were all we could hear and see down the strip. Since it was only 7PM it wasn't too hoppin' yet but I don't have a doubt it got crazy after we left.
900 miles later and we crossed 5 state lines in 1 day. We're finally at a family friend's house in Little Rock Arkansas (pronounced AR-CAN-SAW not AR-KANSAS). LS told us before we arrived that she has a roommate named 'Crazy'. I have to admit, I was a little nervous pulling into her driveway. Who was this 'Crazy' person and how did he/she get their name? Thankfully Crazy ended up being one of the coolest/nicest people I've ever met! Crazy and LS's husband, SS, went out and fixed up BHW's windshield as soon as we got in town! What a couple of handy men! Thanks guys! They've got the whole day planned out for us tomorrow. Here's a little preview: horse races, hot springs, and more BBQ!
Our day started out late since we both had work/class/exams. BHW and I got on the road around 5:15PM. The plan was to stop to at my house in Greenwood to pick up a couple things before the trip and grab a bite to eat. According to my mom, the door was 'unlocked'. Well, it wasn't. Which isn't surprising because she always says the door is unlocked and it literally never is when she says that. I called my mom and asked her what to do.. we ended up trying to break into the house, finally climbing on the roof and trying to get in through the balcony door.
After all these failed attempts we gave up and headed to Evansville to rest up before our long journey tomorrow! We got to E-ville and played a board game with BHW's brother and his fiance', now off to bed got to be on the road at 6:30AM! Our next stop is the city museum in St. Louis Missouri! I've been told it's the coolest place in the world! After the museum we'll stop in Memphis then on to Little Rock! It'll be a long day of fun and then driving! Thanks for checking in on us!