We left Apalachicola with the vague idea that maybe we could make the Louisiana winery before they closed at four pm. It didn't seem hard, but it soon became clear it was going to be impossible! Interstate Ten was packed with holiday makers from Texas, Alabama and Mississippi all going home at once from their Florida beach vacations. I grew sick of the sight of immobile ice chests:
We realized soon enough that Pontchartrain Vineyards would be closed tight before we got within spitting distance of their tasting room. Released from the obligation of deadlines I relaxed and took off on a backroad or two to get around the traffic jam which reduced Mobile Alabama to a quivering mass of parked cars. It was about five in the evening when we started to close in on our final destination, New Orleans Louisiana, known to some as NOLA.
It was a seventy-five mile per journey dash across the Lake Pontchartrain Bridge but at the south end we got caught, once again in a traffic jam. The road into the Warehouse District was hardly moving at all, of course. We were tired and Cheyenne was restless and we wanted to get into our room.
La Quinta takes dogs, if the half wits at the front desk use your updated credit card. If La Quinta administration doesn't update your credit card on your rewards account and the imbeciles at the front desk don't give you a call you arrive at 301 Camp Street and find there's no room at the inn. Well fuck!
Cheyenne has traveled enough to know that the day ends in a cool room away from the goddamned car followed by a brisk downtown walk. She was pissed when we staggered out of The lobby thanking god we had a smart phone and a booklet of alternative La Quintas, because those of us who travel with Dog as our co-pilot know Red Roof, Motel 6 and La Quinta take dogs. So we stay loyal even when the chain fucks up. What choice do we have? It was a first world problem: we could have been pushing a hot dog cart in 95 degree mugginess like A Confederacy Of Dunces.
I navigated the gridlock and my other co-pilot worked her phone and we ended up south of the river in Gretna away from the tourist parts of New Orleans. This crowd on the median in Canal Street were waiting for a scenic street car. Fucking tourists! Bet they have hotel rooms...
And that was as close as we got on our first pass to the French Quarter and Faubourg Marigny. Hurricane Katrina's devastation was in evidence still alongside Interstate Ten, in-between the rebuilding of which there is plenty. Nowadays the infamous super dome is dedicated to Mercedes Benz, oddly enough. Piles of rubble still exist around town:
We drank Red Stripe and ate Brie in the room while we waited for IT to get the internet to work and then cleaned up Cheyenne's sudden pile of vomit. Luckily she chose to regurgitate dinner on my side of the bed. The perfect end to the perfect day. Oh and the front desk failed completely to get the wi-fi to work. FML. Things have to get better.
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