Killeen Texas to Miami Florida Roadtrip- Stuck in Mardi Gras

The flight to Dallas was one of those winter time bumpy fasten your seat belts at all times kind of ride and as thousands of other flights we got there in one piece just with many passengers shook up in their head. In Dallas I was to run, dash, and skip stairs to get in my seat of a puddle jumper (many of you know the feeling specially when they always seat you in the tail of the first connecting flight). Well, I got there last but I made it and when I got there I had to bend my head in the airplane and still bumped into one of the exit signs . Why was there no mention of the inside roof height on this darn thing? Well when the flight was over I got another bang on my head making some people laugh at me, so yeah, the joke was on me, LOL. My bad this time around! The reason for the flight is that my son just finished his 4 years in the U.S. Army, again making me a very proud parent as my other two daughters have made me proud as well. I have flown to their graduations in Maryland, Boston, Fort Benin, and I have gone with my wife to prepare them to fly back or send their belongings via freight to Miami. This past weekend was to be a quick fly over to Killeen, Texas take my son’s wife’s car to her family in Dallas and start a 2 day road trip to Miami to unite him with his son. I said it before I am a grandfather :).

An aerial view of downtown Dallas as we approach the Airport.

Dallas BW

Our drive to Dallas started Cannon Ball style, we had to check our options quick, plan fast and run for the time we had in our hands. We also had to multitask and started at the same time to clean the rental house (I watched), check what we needed for the run, go to Wally world, get bungee cords, reflective tape, back to the house throw trash away give the neighbors some furniture, load the Jeep and go. UUUUFFFF! just got tired of thinking of all that. By the way I did help on everything except the cleaning 🙂

Ready for the road trip.

Seth and Jeep

On our way to Dallas.

On the highway   by a church

There was a small forest fire on the way, no traffic jam was caused, looking good.

forest fire near highway in Texas   getting close

We arrived at Dallas

Near downtown Dallas

Dallas rural area

In Dallas we were greeted by my daughter in law’s beautiful family, we had some Mexican style sopes (look it up they are great) sopeand after many greetings we were on the way with a nice full belly. Thank you Ssarai and Antonia! Back on the GPS game, I love technology!!! We rode and rode until the tank got to 1/2 empty (the glass analogy does not work in this case) as I have a rule to always drive on road trips with the tank no less than half full (wait the analogy works here or not?). Anyways we stopped at a Texas Petro stop and paid  20 cents less per gallon than I would pay in Miami, happy wallets this time. We got back on the road wishing we would have boarded the made up star ship across the street.

On to the highway we went.

manana road   out of Dallas

The star ship and some worm look a like silos? Interesting.

Spaceship   Worm sylos

Dallas’ roads kept going and going as if it was a battery TV commercial then we finally saw the Welcome to Louisiana sign and the welcome center exit. Boy oh boy was Louisiana to welcome us! It just didn’t feel right fog, tons of woods, dark at night, more fog, almost empty gas tank, you get the feeling. If not, we were wishing we filled the tank some more to have a sense of security. Bathroom was not an issue as we brought toilet paper and paper towels with us, you road trip travelers know the ropes, LOL. Food was not an issue either as we got some protein bars,water, and snacks with us from the last stop. As we drove it felt like days had gone by and then suddenly some signs of civilization came up and a beautiful gas station sign was in sight, but what we do? Ahhh we decided to stop at the next gas station, yeah why not we still had a quarter of a tank. We could make it we thought and so we kept driving listening to barely audible radio stations switching back and forth between old school rock, pop music, and country music. In the end country music was king and funny as hell with double meaning words. You know birds and the bees kind of talk but dirtier than dirt kind of thing and funny at the same time with a broken heart talk in between all of it wishing you went fishing and drinking some hard stuff to forget it all. If I lost you I apologize the songs lost me as well but I understood them later on. We barely made it to a gas station, filled up the tank and on we went thinking we only had 70 miles to New Orleans to make a sleep stop. OOPS! not the case we still had 3 hours left. Crap! After driving along and through many smoke stack factories we finally got to some neighborhood with plenty gas staions and lit streets.

UUUUHHHH Lord! We made it to I10! we were happy, it was nice to see more cars in the road. As we saw the signs to LA PLACE city we felt the Jeep shake and then we heard a weird noise, CLANK! CLANK! SCREEEKKKK! Crap we lost velocity so I pulled over the side of the road. My son gets under the car and asks is that a part of our car? I’m like, I do not think so it looks like a bottle in a bag (it was dark) so I told him to use his cellphone and check it. OUCH! he gets burned, it was the rear drive shaft, it broke off. Well I told him we still have the front wheel drive lets go to the nearest exit and call AAA. There was a waffle restaurant and so we went there and had some food while we waited amongst a few cheerleaders on their way home. We were told it is Mardigras so there weren’t so many tow trucks available and we had to wait a couple of hours.

We met a Muslim

The tow truck came and with it the driver was a nice person ,we though he was a Hispanic, maybe Mexican as his speech suggested. As he loaded the Jeep in the tow truck he told us that most shops would be closed until Monday so he would take us to a major repair shop in Matairie city and so we agreed. As we started to drive he figured one of us was in the Army as we were coming from Killeen and started speaking about the Middle East and the war there. He asked my son if he had been my son said yes he had been to Iraq he replied with a big smile oh I have friends there, my son asks in the Army? he says no they are Sunni (I believe). He started saying that they were always fighting the Shia. He stated stories in some people believing that they would be met by 40 virgins in heaven and that their families would be taken care of when they sacrificed their lives in the cause. He said it was all not true, that the families would just disappear and people believed they were taken to a better place. That many of these people were just forced to do as they were told. He went on to say that their religion was not about that and that if the rich in those areas would give their 2.5% that all Islamic nations would not be poor and there would not be a war. Since he said that I asked “and what is your religion?” He said “I am Muslim, a real Muslim, not the ones that believe in war or blowing themselves up. We believe in peace.”  As I understood it, it was the rich controlling the religion and not giving their percentage as mandated that kept the war going and it was simply for control of power as the rich may have been giving the money to those they wanted in power. Previous to that I had said that is a war that has been going on for thousands of years and so it will continue, he said yes, the USA will have to send their military back again. We all felt a bit uncomfortable speaking the way we did. I for one believe on not talking about religion and politics since these are the biggest makers of wars. As we were dropped off at the repair shop the driver showed us a website that showed the news in the Middle East. He said I am always informed.

We went to the Motel and found it to be a place close to a horror movie crossed with a drug dealer heaven. Cars coming and going in the parking lot talking to a guy in a corner, you get the feeling. We were tired so we decided to stay anyways. The rooms was well, there were two beds and that was enough for us plus they had a TV with the Disney Channel on? LOL. The next morning we left to the repair shop and saw a Major chain hotel that incredibly was only 30 bucks more so we stayed there for the next 2 days. Yes two days because at the shop we were told that only the car dealer would have the part and they also recommended us to go to another shop since they were not so good with 4×4 Jeeps. I am glad they were honest! We called the shop and were told to bring the car at 7 a.m. that they would have us out by noon. Well the parts were not salvageable and we had to wait another day to receive the parts.

As we were walking down to the repair shop.

Metairie

You might have some of these in your state, we sure don’t where we live in Florida.

Drive through Daiquiris? Computer Gaming Store? Kewl!

drivetrhough daiquiris   computer gaming

No one can say I don’t stop to smell the flowers. Well at least I look at the wild ones.

wild flower

Back to Sunday!

We had to wait anyways so we decided to go and check Mardi Gras in the daytime while it was still PG13 all around 🙂 We wanted to avoid all the drunks and craziness of the night time (a recommendation from the tow truck driver). We asked at the hotel desk how much a Taxi Cab drive to the French Quarter and we were told $30 bucks. They called us cab and so we went and this part is better explained in pictures:

Upon arrival a look at some balconies.

balconies in New Orleans

balconies in New Orleans 2   balconies in New Orleans 4

balconies   building in New Orleans

Burbon Street 2014

Some streets.

balconies in New Orleans 3   Burbon Street

                         NewOrleans   Street in New Orleans 2   

                                                  Street in New Orleans   

tent on a balcony   Mule in New Orleans

We stopped to look at the river and the cruise line and found a lot of fog covering the horizon.

fog

My son

Seth

Afterwards it started to rain so we decided to get back in the streets, where for the most part the sidewalks have cover.

Joan of Arc New Orleans  Jazz Band

Liked the colors on this bike.

bycicle

On the way we stumbled upon the Krewe Of Barkus Parade

woof parade New Orleans 2

woof parade New Orleans   woof parade New Orleans 3

woof parade New Orleans 6   woof parade New Orleans 5

woof parade New Orleans 4

After the Barkus Parade we went to take a look at the main parade but a truck broke down so we decided to just go back to the hotel and relax a bit. Right before we got our cab I found a local beer and had a taste.

                                Abita Beer

The taxi dropped us off at the 4 Corners by Sheraton hotel where we stayed two nights.

Taxi in New Orleans

The next day it was all about waiting, at the hotel they had a beer tasting bar so we tasted both Abita beers and liked them both. The Mardi Gras one had a bit of a kick in it, very good stuff.

Abita Beers

On the last day of waiting for parts it was the same waiting and tasting more Abitas, this time at a New Orleans burger joint.

                       New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood Co sign   New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood Co

The sunset was giving us a last good by at the hotel, and we were grateful for that moment.

sunset

Well, my point and shoot camera died so it was now just cell phone pics for the remainder of the trip. We went to pick up the jeep at GT Automotive, these guys worked very hard in trying to get us back on the road. We appreciate their hard work so much!

Repair shop

Jeep   us

We got back on the road and said good by to New Orleans.

New Orleans

We said good by and we loaded some quail eggs for extra protein 🙂

    on the road  quail eggs

We entered the Mississippi area and then passed by Alabama’s downtown tunnel along I10.

Mississippi   Alabama

As we drove pass Alabama and entered in to LOOOONG Florida we were getting too sleepy and the road became to hazardous for us to drive as we only had about 30 feet of visibility with the fog. We decided to crash in Tampa where my brother in law and his wife prepared us a bed and gave us a nice breakfast. We are so grateful to Edward and Rose for their hospitality. We kept on driving home after 3 hours of crash and burn sleep, it was more than enough to keep going.

We passed Punta Gorda and Naples Everglade areas.

Punta Gorda   Naples and the Everglades

In the end it was a very nice road trip. I got to spend time with my son and hope to spend even more time with him and my grand son before he heads back to Killeen Texas where he is to continue with his studies.

Seth and Aiden

I have to take a moment to say thanks to all my friends and family that called us or sent us messages offering their help. It is nice to know that we do not need to worry about bad times when we are surrounded by good people.

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