June 29, 2007

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Below are the diary entries for June 29, 2007. We drove 449 miles (718 km) today; in total, we have driven 2280 miles (3648 km). Also, check out today’s photos.

Nicoline Eunice, LA
Nicoline (June 29, 2007)

Last modified: July 1, 2007 at 12:07:06

We left New Orleans behind, and wouldn't you know it, no sooner are you outside of New Orleans city limit or the Baptists are out in force again :-)

Anyway, we drove through a really swampy area between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, until we got to the road that took us to Eunice. The Cajun Hall of Fame was kind of interesting. It's only a small place, but since none of us know much of Cajun music or culture, it was a great place to get started. Lunch was a little disappointing. We ate at "Nick's" on 2nd street (Deuxieme Rue; all street signs in Eunice are in French) because the lady at the museum had recommended it, but we felt like second class citizens. Some of the locals came in after us but got their food and their check before the waitress had even found time to take our drink order. Whatever...

Between Eunice and the Texas welcome center on I-10 we ran into some pretty heavy downpours. At times I couldn't go more than 30 mph. However, the advantage of rainstorms here seems to be that they are intense, but they don't last that long. After the welcome center, Eric took over driving and we took a little detour along the Gulf Coast. We even got to swim in the Gulf! It is so nice to go into warm seawater. That's something we miss out on on the East Coast (and the West Coast, too, I hear). We used to take beach vacations in Holland when I was a kid and I never liked going into the water there, either, it was always freezing. We drove along the Gulf coast almost from Port Arthur to Port Bolivar. We enjoyed a beautiful sunset and took a ferry to Galveston. From there we drove north until just west of Houston, which is a city like a christmas tree. Really, I have never seen so many lights on at once! Too bad you can't take pictures of it at night. It was after 10 when we found a place to stay for the night, but it was a great drive!

Eric Into Texas
Eric (June 29, 2007)

Last modified: July 1, 2007 at 10:02:30

We will be heading into Texas today. If Louisiana was the first "new" state (we had visited all the others before at one time or another), Texas is the second new one. I'm particularly curious about Texas because I know the mental image I have is probably all wrong.

We get up, have a cereal breakfast in the hotel room, and while Nicoline and the kids finish packing, I go get the car out of the parking garage. Because the storage container on top was indeed scraping the ceiling of the parking garage, we want to get the car out of the garage before putting it back up. So I get the car our of the garage and drive it around the block to head back into the Holiday Inn entrance.

When Nicoline finishes checking out, Frank helps me to put the container back on top of the car, we pack the rest and go. We have some trouble finding the way out of New Orleans (some of the signs lost in Katrina don't seem to have been replaced yet) but do come by a cemetery. New Orleans cemeteries are special because nobody is buried under ground here.

Once we get to the I-10 west, we stay on it for a while. We make a brief stop at the Tiger Truck Stop where they have a real tiger; it looks kind of sorry, hanging around in a cage at a truck stop. It made Mark so angry that he wrote a draft of a letter to the humane society to protest this.

We continue on I-10, coming through marshes, swamps and other watery areas. For lunch we turn off to Eunice, where we visit the Cajun Music Hall of Fame and Museum. It is a small museum dedicated to Cajun music. One of the displays was a cabinet showing the steps in making a violin; the original owner was a musician as well as violin maker. This museum drove the difference between "Creole" and "Cajun" home to me; the former being the mix of a whole lot of cultures, heavily influenced by African and West Indies cultures, whereas the latter is mostly based on Western European French. The Creole language was almost completely incomprehensible (although I could see some of the French influence), whereas I could actually read the Cajun signs in the museum.

We have lunch in Eunice in a place called "Nick's on Second" and then continue back to the I-10. We're getting some more rain (it seems to be raining every afternoon when we're traveling). Traffic is backed up repeatedly so it is slow going into Texas. When we get to the welcome center, we stop to ask if there is any problem with the flooding we've heard about in the news, but they tell us we don't have to be concerned about that.

We continue on the I-10, congestion and all, until Winnie where we take the SR-124 south. Here we encounter our first Texas oil pumps.

Continuing along the Bolivar Peninsula, we are driving almost on the beach. At a random point, we stop, hike through a little bit of dunes (not even 100 yards) to get to the Gulf Coast beach. Here we take the opportunity to do some swimming -- the water is positively warm. Pelicans keep flying over while we swim here.

We have dinner in an Italian restaurant on the island. After dinner, we're seeing a very nice sunset.

We take the ferry from Port Bolivar to Galveston. Once in Galveston itself, we continue driving up the I-45 to Houston, taking its beltway, then back on the I-10 West. Beyond Houston, we find a Motel 8 to spend the night; it's past 10 pm by the time we get there.

Alisa DeGeorge wrote on July 2, 2007 at 10:42:42:

Oh,my gosh - I'm behind in the trip! Caught up today and learned so much!!! The difference between Cajun and Creole and about the smoke deflectors on the chandelier. I just love the photographs - I feel like I'm there. I've been to Galveston a few times, and New Orleans twice. I could just taste the beignets when I saw the photos and read the description. I loved the night shots of New Orleans.

Way to go for Mark composing the letter about the poor conditions of the tiger - when I saw the photo I felt like doing the same!

smitha wrote on July 3, 2007 at 12:34:08:

Hi Eric,

Enjoyed reading all the trip posts and pictures. Hava a great rest of the trip too.

Eric Grivel wrote on July 4, 2007 at 20:23:02:

Hi, Smitha. Glad you enjoy the site. We're having double fun here -- first, experiencing the trip, then, re-living it when writing about it. It keeps us from being bored on the longer stretches in the car :-).

Mark Day Seven - To Houston
Mark (June 29, 2007)

Last modified: June 29, 2007 at 16:10:07

Is it 8:30 or 9:30? Dunno, it doesn't make it easier that we went across a time zone, so here it's 8:30 and home it's 9:30... Well... Not much happened as of yet. Yet being 4:02PM Central time... We left the hotel and drove. Did I mention that we drove? Oh yea, we drove. And guess what! We're STILL driving... We stopped for lunch in Eunice and that's 'bout it. We did go see a small Music Hall of Fame. Meh, not much to see. We had lunch at Nick's. Still not much to do. They take their time with foreigners... Some locals got to the restaurant after us, go their food and FINISH it before us! They PAID before we GOT our food... Yea, screw you too Nick's! Well, we left again. Not much to say... We're driving again. We also JUST drove over a TALL bridge. Hm... No tengo mas ideas. Meaning: I don't have any more ideas. What to write...? How 'bout... NOTHING! I'll write some more on a more interesting day guys! Cya then!

Nicoline Smits wrote on July 1, 2007 at 11:46:59:

Well, at least "Nick's" gave you an idea of what it feels like to be discriminated against.... I agree with you, though. Let's hope it was just a slow waitress and not something they do on purpose.

Andrew Cheng wrote on July 2, 2007 at 18:02:54:

haha you seem bored... poor you! What mean people at Nick's! hmph you should sue! errrrm how would i include a video i want to send to you to pass your time?

Mark Grivel wrote on July 4, 2007 at 18:50:06:

Hmmm... Email? Or include the YouTube Link?