Monday Morning Musings

Posted on January 5, 2015 under Monday Morning Musings with 3 comments

spiky cactus and hills (1 of 1)

Tuscon, Arizona

Photo courtesy of Peter MacDonald



What would a long road trip be without some sort of car problems? Ours began just before reaching the Texas border a few days ago. We had travelled through the Louisiana bayous ( an amazing experience in itself ) when we heard a clunking sound in the left rear wheel area. Fortuitously, we were only 20 minutes away from the visitor center in Texas so we were able to get off the Interstate. Peter was able to determine that a mount which keeps the shocks in place had become disabled. Through the magic of text and e-mail, we were able to track down three well known “do it yourselfer” mechanics from home. We sent them pictures of the problem and got a consensus that it was not safe to drive long distances.

With that in mind, we drove to Beaumont, Texas. As this was New Year’s Day, there was no chance of finding an automotive shop open so we hunkered down at a Ramada. There’s silver lining in every cloud and ours was to find a fantastic restaurant just up the road. I had the most amazing jambalaya which was only surpassed by the home made bread pudding, warmed with a rum sauce. If the good Lord had taken me at that very moment, it would have been with a smile on my face. If you ever get stranded in Beaumont, Texas, go to Floyd’s Restaurant. You won’t be disappointed.

The following day, we located a repair shop and the part that was required for the remedy, could not be found locally. They could get it later in the day from a parts shop in Houston. Ok. I don’t want to tell you everything that happened the rest of the day. I want to keep you in suspense for the story that will be coming shortly. Let’s just say that the hour I spent in the repair shop waiting for the fix, prompted me to put pen to paper. I was reading “Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” while the other customers listened ( rapt, I might add ) to two women calling each other whores on the Maury Povich show. The volume was at 10. Are you getting the picture?

My editor is putting the finishing touches on the story from the day and night Peter and I spent in New Orleans. “A Taste of Bourbon” tries to capture the sights and sounds from the French Quarter on New Year’s Eve.

And, speaking of Peter, I hope you are enjoying the wonderful pictures that he is taking to chronicle our trip. He has recently taken up photography and if he works as hard at this as he has done with his music, he will become an accomplished photographer. It took us several days and several states to find a lens that he was looking for but it was worth the wait. His pictures from New Orleans are special.

On our way to El Paso on Saturday, we pulled off the highway to get gas as we were perilously low. ( 15 km. before we would run out ). Normally, we never let ourselves get into this situation but on this stretch of the Interstate, there wasn’t a gas station for well over 250 kilometers. When we pulled up there were about a dozen vehicles lined up in front of us, all with the same predicament. Small problem. In this remote community of Bakersfield ( population 2 – the service station owner and his wife ), there wasn’t a drop of gas to be had. It was three in the afternoon with no gas expected until noon the following day.

There are still good people in this world as a couple of cowboys showed up with several gas cans…. enough to get us to the nearest town. I already have the story written in my head. It will be called “ No Fueling Around.” Stay tuned.

We lost a good chunk of time ( it could have been much worse ) and headed off only to find most hotels in the area full, the spillover from a brutal ice storm 2 days earlier. We soldiered on late into the night and pulled off for a bite. We were told that on that stretch of I-10, there were close to 175 accidents at the height of the storm. The Interstate was shut down for two full days. We were extremely fortunate not to get caught in the storm or be involved in an accident.

Yesterday we drove through New Mexico and Arizona, arguably the two most beautiful states we have seen thus far. Lots of desert surrounded by mountains. Spent a fascinating two hours at the Saguaro National Park, which is home to every imaginable type of cactus plant including the famous saguaro. It was sunny and warm for the first time on our trip. Not complaining but very surprised how cold it has been in the southern states.

Today we’re off to L.A. ,( Los Angeles, not Lake Ainslie ! ) followed by San Francisco and then the final push to Victoria. It has been a terrific geography lesson for both of us.

Have a great day. It’s been nice having you along for the drive.

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Highland Hearing Clinic

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