TOBER's Blog
Traveling on 2 wheels with us old broads…

Jun
04

And did we ever have a good time in the Big Easy…..

We were leaving our French Quarter condo this morning so I figured Mary would appreciate a hand delivered begniet.  I made a short hike to Cafe du Monde via Jackson Square and picked up an order of the powdery treats!

  
  

Soon after that delicious sweet doughy goodness, we were loading up. Since our cable car trip the day before was a disaster, we decided to drive through the garden district. Great, old homes and lots of road construction. Understand now why the trolley couldn’t make the trip. 

We have crammed quite a bit into the last couple of days! Most especially FOOD‼️ NOLA, such a great place to sample food. 

No eating for the next several hours as we make our way to Luling and a swamp adventure. 

   

   

  

 

Had a great time with this guy collecting spiders, baby gators, viewing the swamps, even took us to view a bald eagle nest. Very colorful character  that seemed to know a lot about the Louisiana swamps. These airboat tours continue to be very entertaining and I’m certain this will not be the last one.

Our next couple of nights will be at a fish camp in Slidell, on one of the canals around Lake Pontchatrain.  Some down time. I had plans to do some crabbing while we are here but can’t seem to muster the energy to do even that. I can tell you that I’ve not spotted any gators near our dock. We have seen a few fishing boats cruise by and a couple of pigeons procreating. That’s been the extent of our excitement here. We have decided to shorten our trip a couple days and will head back to Camden tomorrow. Hope you’ve had fun with us…and gotten your fill of seafood😝.  Till next trip….

  

Jun
03

I know I said we were going for beignets this morning…just a minor change in plans. We started our day’s adventures with the riverfront cable car. Long wait for a short ride. Still, it was pleasant. Not crowded at all, open air.  But, hey, we were doing it! 

  

 By the time we got to the French market, it felt more like lunch than breakfast. 

  
Central Grocery – their claim to fame being the creator of the muffuletta. Definitely a tasty sandwich. Just enough to fuel us for our journeys on the cable cars of New Orleans. This is going to be fun.  Wait for it….it wasn’t exactly what we were expecting. After reading and hearing all the hype, we were thinking more tourist – less public  transportation. Not! We were riding cram packed, elbow to elbow with all the working (and non-working) stiffs in NOLA, plus all the tourists that thought the same as us!  We tried different lines and routes – still the same. Alright, we ended that adventure a little early. 

A brief rest and cool-off before we crossed the river to eat seafood “where the locals eat”.  Zydeco’s in Belle Chasse for a seafood buffet.  I know Mary didn’t enjoy her fried shrimp platter nearly as much as I  enjoyed the king crab on the buffet!  Awesome!!!

 before…  after…

Our plans tonight included the Jazz show at Preservation Hall.  This was a great show in one of the original music venues in the city. And I don’t think the seating or the cooling had changed much since day 1!  Wooden benches and ceiling fans. Kinda glad it didn’t last longer than an hour. 

  

But not before we enjoyed a couple of cocktails at the world famous Pat O’Brien’s. Man, we are wore out!  Caught a pedal cab back to the condo so we can hit the hay and get ready for tomorrow.  Surely we can find some more food that will interest you😆.

  
  

Jun
01

Can you think of a better way to start your day than a ferry ride?!?  Well, I can’t.  Every one is different in some way. This morning we loaded and unloaded from the side of the boat.  As we entered the ferry, the crew directed us to circle the wheelhouse. Just thought that was a bit odd. 

  
  
After exiting the ferry we made our way south along the river’s edge eventually picking up US61.  The drive took us past a lot of refineries, chemical plants and smoke stacks. Finally wheeled through LaPlace (where I happen to know of a really good root beer joint).  So, of course, we had to stop for a float. Lots of history here. Definitely worth a trip.  Hey, I warned you this excursion was going to be food driven!

 
We arrived in New Orleans a little early for our electronic keychain to let us in. So we drove around a bit.  I’m tickled with the location of our condo. Just a few blocks from Jackson Square, Cafe Du Monde, and Bourbon Street. We’re on the 4th floor and I can watch the river traffic as well. 

Once settled in, we narrowed down our dining choices until we decided on the Acme Oyster House (as seen on Man v Food and DDD).  No disappointments here. 

  
We shared a dozen char-grilled oysters  before we each had a po-boy. I had the soft shell crab and Mary had the “peacemaker” (fried shrimp and oysters with a tobasco infused mayo).  Yummy!  Time for a little nap. 

  
A short respite and we’re back in the truck with more of a driving tour of the Big Easy.  Beyond the French Market and the old U.S. Mint building, through the Marigny area and into the area that had been hit so hard by Katrina. I’m certain much has been cleaned up but still lots of abandoned homes, small businesses and office buildings.  I noticed there is a 9th Ward Living Museum but we didn’t make that tour. 

I did manage to flush out another ferry to top off our day.  The Chalmette/ Lower Algiers ferry put us on the other side of the mighty Mississippi for a different route back to the condo.  We’re hitting the sack fairly early so we can make the walk to Cafe Du Monde in the morning while the beignets are still hot!  Hope you sleep well. 

May
31

It was going to be a motorcycle trip with (cousins) Julie and Phil but I suppose it just wasn’t meant to be.  Between all the rain, graduation and a few other things beyond our control, our plans changed. 

The first change was the mode of transportation. All this rain is wreaking havoc on my riding.  Ok, a trip in a cage beats no trip at all.  That is until you lose your traveling buddies.  J and P have been unable to make a bike trip with us these past 2-3 years. So we were excited about this one.  Phil scheduled his time off but who wants to burn good vacation days and not ride their bike???  Understandably, they decided to save the vaca days for another time.  

Mary and I are winging it on our own. We’ve altered the plans just a bit…no bayou cabins this trip.  Still, this promises to be a fun few days. 

Due south from Camden to Alexandria, where we pick up I49 AND lunch.  My navigator was busy working the “Yelp” app and we settled on Quebedeaux’s Boudin and Cracklins. Before we go any further – fair warning – this blog will (most likely) be focused on food for the next few days.  

  
Back to the boudin. Good gosh! You should have seen the size of those balls! Maybe I’ve led a sheltered life but I’m accustomed to seeing these about golf ball size. What we enjoyed today was the size of an orange.  Our shared plate included 3 boudin balls (1 each stuffed with pepper jack cheese, jalapeño cream cheese and a plain one), 2 boudin rolls (kinda like an egg roll but made with boudin, battered and fried) and some fresh fried cracklins. Yep, we’re in Louisiana. 

 
Back on the road to our day’s destination…Plaquemine. But wait,  a Denham Springs detour! Who knew there was a Bass Pro Shop here?  Only a few more hours to shop… Hurry. 

Sep
14

Another fabulous trip! Over 7,000 miles of one big loop. 14 US states – some of them 2 or 3 times, Mexico and Canada. National parks and forests too numerous to count. 1 repair at the dealership in Twin Falls, ID and one roadside repair at the Idaho/Oregon border. Neither very serious. Two melted rain pants, 1 shredded microphone sock and one bounced helmet. 15 days on the road – PRICELESS!

This is where we usually share some words of wisdom from the road…

LouAnn shared her road thoughts first.

The 3 flags adventure overcame any doubts. The challenge overcame the fatique.

The newness of the road was awe inspiring and kept me looking forward to the next curve.

The best was miles and miles, no big cities. Miles and miles, no cars. Miles and miles, no billboards. Miles and miles of the best place to live in the whole world.

(Borrowed quote) “Insisting on perfect safety is for people who don’t have the balls to live in the real world.”

Still need earplugs. Still need to change my long underwear. And still need a cold Draft with friends at the end of the day!

Personally, I find that I continue to be surprised. No matter how many miles I have traveled or the sights I’ve seen, there is always more jaw-dropping beauty around the next curve or beyond the closest mountain peak. And beauty is not prejudiced, finding itself in a desert cactus, a mountain stream or vermillion cliffs.

After our morning ride with Sam and Sandy, we experienced several more roads that begged “Sam’s rule”. You kinda had to be there but, in a nutshell, it translates to push the boundaries and test yourself. In other words, if the speed limit sign says 25 through that curve, then try it at 40!

CW Post helped pave the way for us.

After driving through Kansas, there are two things that make more sense: Dorothy’s imagination and the Wizard of Oz movie.

Gravel didn’t miraculously get easier to ride on since last year and we rode on it a lot!

Becky, there’s a deer!

Clouds on the mountains are beautiful to look at but really suck when you have to ride in them.

You can’t hear conversations through your headset if you are wearing ear plugs.

After traveling with me, you need a vacation to recover. And you have to sight see really, really fast.

Beware of white pickups and Subarus. They aim for motorcycles.

To Goldwings and the adventure touring group… the gray space between the two center yellow lines is NOT your personal passing lane. And put some louder pipes on those things so we have a little warning when you blow by us.

Becky, watch out for that deer!

We think our moms are glad we’re home. And we did them proud because no matter how far from home you are, you will run into someone you know every time.

I’m done rambling! Suffice it to say, it was a good trip. Can’t wait for the next one!

BECKY!!!!! DEEEEEEERRRR!!!

Sep
09

We got beat up by the weather again today. First, leaving Fort Collins, the rain required that we suit up. That is never fun. Then 100 miles later, we were peeling off raingear because of the heat. HEAT. HEAT. HEAT. Ugh!

That was the extent of the day until we reached Garden City, KS….yep one more state line. But once we made it that far, the winds unleashed. We were so glad we only had 50 miles of that.

Dodge City – where the west began! All the cowboys and outlaws. The Santa Fe Trail, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson and the list goes on. Too bad we won’t get to see some of the sights. Leaving early in the morning trying to beat the heat and the wind.

More tomorrow.

Sep
08

Today we crossed two state lines (Wyoming and Colorado) even though only one was a new one.

As we left Driggs, ID the sun was coming up and the commuter traffic into Jackson Hole was already moving. We fell into line and over the mountain we went. Once at the summit we could see the valley below, nestled under a blanket of fog or cloud – what’s the difference. It was so beautiful with the tree tops and mountain peaks slicing through. Pretty to look at but NOT SO PRETTY TO DRIVE IN once we descended a couple thousand feet. By the time we rolled through Jackson and Hoback Junction it was beginning to lift and the temps were warming.

Our goal today was to cover some ground! So once out of the Tetons we picked up I-80 for a few hundred miles. CAUTION SEVERE WINDS and they weren’t lying! We fought the wind all the way across the bottom of Wyoming! When we reached Laramie, we turned south and got out of some of the wind.

From that point, the scenery improved again. We crossed into Colorado and made our way through the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, through the red rock formations. Today we saw lots and lots of pronghorn sheep, plus deer. And Suzanne finally got to see an elk! Thank goodness. The only thing she failed to spot was a bear. Maybe next year.

Tonight we are in Fort Collins, CO and planning an early departure tomorrow. Like I said, the smell of home is in the air!

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Sep
07

First of all, aside from the problems yesterday, it was probably the best riding day ever.  I even had to agree with Suzanne that the roads we were on yesterday topped any on our long trip last year!  We endured some awful road construction on the way into Red Lodge, MT (but the scenery was wonderful).  A quick stop there and we began our ascent to Beartooth Pass.  Before we even reached the summit, the GoPro mount broke and the camera went rolling onto the highway.  Thankfully, it didn’t roll off the road and down the mountain.  It was still filming when we went back to retrieve it!  And it seems to be working fine.  So after supper last night I hooked ’em to WalMart in search of a new mount arm.  Success.  We are back in business.

Another road on the way into Cody was the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway.  I’m not quite sure how I’ve missed both of these roads as many times as I’ve been up this way.  But you can bet that I won’t miss them again.  These are “turn around, let’s do it again” worthy!!

A leisurely departure this morning from Cody.  It was almost 8 o’clock by the time we gassed and headed to Yellowstone.  LouAnn has only seen it from the air, so it was a necessity that we make it to Old Faithful.  We did, with no problem, encountering moose, deer, antelope and buffalo along the way.  Traffic through the park was pretty slow even though school has started for everyone.  Being Sunday, I would have thought it wasn’t so busy but I was wrong.  Still, a great leg of our journey!

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Just a minor glitch as we left Old Faithful.  Seems there is a bridge out between the geyser and the southern-most exit.  Of course, that’s the we were headed.  Backtrack, regroup and see where we end up.  Our original plan was not going back into Montana or Idaho but that’s where we ended up today.  We have stopped in Driggs, ID for the night.  Beautiful view of the Tetons and a cute little town.  We shut down early and are doing laundry, tightening loose bolts and repacking.  Tonight we are watching the weather.  Somehow we are going to have to avoid the rain that seems to be moving into our line of travel.  So much for side trips, scenic highways or byways and special detours.  I think the smell of home is in the air!

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Sep
06

We are in Cody, WY for the night.  Had a few problems today that kinda has us flustered.  The most recent problem is another non-working A/C in our room.  Nothing worse than a bunch of hot old women!   Now that you know that, I’m going to leave you with a few nice pictures of the day….   Tomorrow I will fill you in on more of the details.  Nothing that hasn’t already been fixed but just kinda put a kink in the day.

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Sep
05

wooooooo!  I’m tired, full and ready to hit the bed.  I’m going to shut it down in about 20 minutes so wherever I am in this essay will end.  I’ll pick it back up tomorrow.

First, a couple of humorous things before I forget them again.  We have to check Suzanne each morning before we leave the room.  Seems a few days ago, she caught herself with her UnderArmour shirt on backwards before we left.  I think she noticed the logo in the wrong place.  This was one of our “layering” days and she had a long-sleeve henley style shirt on over it.  As the day progressed and we all got warmer, she thought she would unbutton her shirt to help cool off.  Next thing we knew, she was laughing so hard that we thought she was going to run off the road!  Apparently, she had put her henley on wrong as well and the buttons were going down her back.  Not quite sure how you can do that and not notice so we try to keep a more watchful eye on her now!

The other thing is when we arrived at our motel tonight, there was a church bus unloading some seniors, some with luggage, some just struggling to get inside.  When I walked in to register, there was a fellow also checking in wearing a Harley t-shirt from Alabama.  I made the comment that he was a ways from home, blah, blah, blah.  One thing led to another and it turns out the church bus is from First Assembly of God in Eldorado, AR!  They do a senior trip every year with the Baptist church and one other in Eldo.  We all got a chuckle out of that one, then the night manager told us his family lived in Stamps, AR!!!!   What are the odds????  This world is getting smaller all the time!

This was yet another chilly morning but we are still trying to get a jump on our day by leaving at a reasonable hour.  First of all, we had to change our plans so that we didn’t make the “Road to the Sun” due to 9 miles of gravel on the east side of Glacier NP.  We could have ridden to the pass then turned around but that would have taken too much of the day and we would have had to stay in Kalispell another night.  So off we went about 7:00 this morning.  Weather was beautiful.  Sun was shining.  We stopped and took pictures of the Flathead River before we began our ascent to loftier elevations.

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As you can see, the clouds were hanging very low on the mountains.  Beautiful at first, but about 10 miles past Glacier, we could hardly see.  Kinda defeated the whole purpose of leaving after sunrise.  So around we turned, found the first cafe, went in for a hot breakfast and lots of coffee while the clouds lifted.  Much, much better.

We stayed on US2 around the southern side of the NP until we picked up US89 south (yes, we are headed back!).  We took a little side road to get some pics and decided to stay on it for awhile.  Probably one of the best decisions made all day.  Rolling, winding terrain with range cattle and wild horses – plus some fenced ones too.

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It was along this stretch that we began noticing the purple mountains majesty and the amber waves of grain.  Sounds corny, I know, but it was beautiful.  Yesterday I saw a bumper sticker that kinda nails it too…NO FARMS – NO FOOD!  We understand Montana as the Big Sky Country but today we also recognized the massiveness of the agriculture industry here.  Just amazing.

We followed US89 into Great Falls where we had to make a Harley stop.  Then picked it up again outside of town.  This stretch of US89 turned into a designated scenic highway…. and that it was.  Not knowing what we would encounter when we chose this highway, it could not have worked out any better.  More pictures will follow as we pulled over from time to time to snap away.

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From here we rolled into White Sulphur Springs, MT for the night.  You already know the rest of that story.  Tomorrow it’s on to Beartooth Pass!