Saturday, February 7, 2009

Friday, February 6, 2009
Last night we had a great time catching up with Kristen & Dan at their place in Myrtle Beach. It was great seeing them again and being so close to home. We said our good byes to them today and headed for Raleigh around noon. It was really nice seeing the Wake County sign and then the Raleigh sign and really nice when we pulled into Sherry's driveway! A special treat was seeing Scott (he flew in from Washington DC today)! It's going to take some settling in before we realize we truly are back! What a blast we had and truly will go down as one of the best adventures we have ever done! As we looked back today we came up with some conclusions:
Best city.....New OrleansBest state....New MexicoBest restaurant....Arnaud's in New Orleans French QuarterWorse potential disaster.....letting our GPS guide us to the heart of the drug district in Charleston, SC. We got out of there fast after seeing drug sales on each corner and guys drinking whiskey walking down the street...Fun times......meeting people from all over the worldGreat bonding moments.....enjoying the trip with Jeff

Thanks for all the blog comments and emails we got and look forward to catching up with our friends here in Raleigh soon...
And we are hatching some plans to continue this trip in a month or so by heading North this time (depending on Jeff's job situation)...stay tuned!

And saving the best for last a word of thanks to my sister Sherry for opening up her home to us. That lady has a big heart...

Friday, February 6, 2009

Feb 3, 2009
Hi --- sorry but the hotel we stayed at in Savannah GA had major problems with their internet connection so this is the first chance I had to catch up.
It was 67 degrees when we left Pensacola, FL and later that day when we arrived in Savannah, GA we were greeted with a high of 40 degrees! BRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are not used to cold, frigid, windy weather!
We are staying at the Planters Inn located in the heart of the Historic District. A nice feature is their wine & cheese happy hour…..and of course we had to attend! We met a couple from Toronto and another couple from Long Island, NY. Meeting people who are on their own adventures and sharing storied is definitely one of the highlights of the trip… especially from all over the world! Afterwards, we went to The Olde Pink House Tavern (an 18th century mansion) for drinks and appetizers……great atmosphere with a piano player and a huge roaring fire…loved it!

February 04, 2009
Today we took the trolley and toured the historic district, all twenty-four squares, River Street and City Market. We sure got our taste of winter….it was so COLD!!!!!! We decided to take off on our own walking tour so we could see things up close and enjoy the landmarks. One of my favorites was St John the Baptist Catholic Cathedral, the largest in the South. Beautiful stained glass windows, large carved-wood stations of the cross, and a solid white oak 2,081 pipe organ. A very beautiful place. Later we stopped at a café to warm up with hot tea and soup!
Wed night we ate at the famous “Paula Dean’s restaurant….for those of you that have waited in lines for hours you’d be so envious we walked right in! The fried chicken is to die for and as most of you know she loves butter but….believe it or not it was too rich for me!! I had a chicken pot and it was just too much!! Jeff really enjoyed the Southern style buffet with collards, green beans, turkey and fried chicken. Later we went back to the Olde Pink House to meet the NY couple for drinks!

February 5, 2009
Headed for Myrtle Beach…uneventful ride through Charleston other than ending up in the drug district where they had surveillance cameras throughout the area…..not the best area to be in!! Fortunately the GPS got us into a safe area quickly! Arrived at Kristen’s & Dan’s around 5pm…..loved seeing them again….almost home!! Tomorrow Raleigh….yea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sherry, get ready…

THIS WAS GREAT FOOD! Paula Dean did not disappoint us. That large dish in front of Gayle was her chicken pot pie (for one person!)/

After our meal at Paula Dean's restaurant in Savannah. Easy to get into when the weather is cold.

Jeff warming up in a coffee shop.

We were seated in the lounge right next to a warm fire. Doesnt get much better.

Enjoying the evening in Savannah.

Shops along River St in Savannah. Very few people ventured out in the cold...

Ship docked along the river front in Savannah.

US Flag flying from top the City Hall building in Savannah.

Very friendly Southern lady from Savannah.

Loved the stain glass windows in the cathdral, St John the Baptist in Savannah.

Very eerie picture in St John the Baptist cathedral.

Beautiful Catholic Cathedral - St John the Baptist in Savannah.

Some of the cobblestone walkways remaining along River St in Savannah. As you can see from Gayle's outfit, it was freezing!

On of the 24 squares that define the landscape of historic Savannah.

Story of Juliette Low who founded the Girl Scouts in the US.

Home of the Girl Scouts originated in Savannah.

Home Gen Sherman stayed at when he marched through the South during the Civil War. Savannah was spared as the Mayor surrendered.

Story about William Jasper, died 1779.

Statue to brave Irish-American who gave up his life in 1779.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hey Jeff,

Looks like you have much more fun than working for the County. What a life style! I am still waiting for the BIG $$$$ contract and a strategy to turn T.W. down. Lately I didn't golf too much. Too busy plus the Chinese New Year, you know the special days usually kills energy. I really need few cans of RED BULL. Give me a ring when you feel bore, or better yet, come back to LA. Sun shine will make you feel good. Anyway, enjoy your wonderful moments, and get ready for the new waves. Take care.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Gonna catch up with ya!

Hi Gayle and Jeff:

Just joined the BLOG and look forward to reading all about your adventures (I briefly scanned the trip but will carefully read all of it) - the pics are great! Thanks so much for sharing - look forward to seeing you soon. Safe and fun traveling. Welcome back to our "sunny South" - ha!


Monday, February 2, 2009

Monday, Feb 2, 2009

After many late nights in Houston & N Orleans we decided to make it an early night!

Nice reprieve ......stayed in and watched the superbowl and did the wash....what an exciting game!

Left this morning for Albany, GA.....very uneventful....ran into some rain...took the backroads from Cottondale, FL through Dothan, AL to Albany, GA. We decided on a cuisine we haven't had so it was Chinese night at the Hong Kong Cafe recommended by the hotel. Off to Savannah, GA tomorrow. Back on EST getting closer to home :).

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Friday, January 30th & Saturday, January 31st New Orleans!!!! The trip from Houston to New Orleans was really uneventful …..other then arriving once again during rush hour!! We stayed at The Maison Dupuy located in the French Quarter. We walked through the area and down the infamous Bourbon Street bustling with bars and nightclubs….nonstop party atmosphere….a lot of Spanish/French influence with ironwork balconies in just about every building.

My first impression was too many bands….I had imagined that it would be more jazz but the college kids have taken over the French Quarter most nights after 9pm and it does get crazy!
We ate at the Red Fish Grill (seafood restaurant voted best seafood in the last 4 yrs)!


We started out having beignets at the world famous Café Du Monde…..and then walked around going through the shops in the French Market.

Later, we took the New Orleans City Tour. Best thing to do being in the city for the 1st time….though Jeff has been here twice! We saw the destruction of the Lower Ninth Ward, so sad to see so much of it in ruins and nothing being done about it….amazing how high the water came up to in some places - 22 feet! ….and on the houses a number on the outside showing how many people had died in the home. Brad Pitt had hired several architectures to start rebuilding homes but the homes that they built are not really feasible for the elderly (a big segment of the homeless). T hey are all different in design but really too big and expensive (green technology) and are impossible for elderly with stairs leading up 2 flights of stairs into the homes! It’s great that he is doing it but the outcome is not the best. We walked through St. Louis Cemetery (most cemeteries are above ground), went through City Park, the biggest park in the US, rode along Lake Pontchartrain with a glimpse at the world’s largest Causeway Bridge as well as the 17th Street Canal ( the new wall that has been built to hold back the water) and saw how Hurricane Ike has put so much pressure on the wall that it is pushed out at the bottom), and then followed St. Charles Avenue’s oldest running streetcar, passing dozens of old historic mansions, some taking up most of a city block! We went pass several homes that movies had been made from…… one in particular was The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons.

After the tour, we went back to the hotel to freshen up and out again going through the shops in the French Quarter. We loved seeing all of the activity in the streets such as people singing on the corners and watching the mimes. We stopped at the House Of Blues to listen to a Band. The band was only playing until 9pm and then the rock bands start playing. We did an exit out of there fast.
We had dinner at Arnaud’s, whose cuisine emphasizes classic French-Creole foods. We ate in the Jazz Bistro and were treated to a 3 piece jazz combo. I must say that our meals, the music and the atmosphere were fantastic….and it’s definitely in my top 5!
Sunday, Feb 1
Sunday we went out to a café for breakfast and then headed for the National World War II museum. It was very interesting learning more about what my Dad and many members of my family went through during those tough times.
Later we said our goodbye’s to New Orleans and headed through Mississippi, Alabama and arrived tonight in Penascola, Fla where we watched the SuperBowl! Being a Cleveland Browns fan all my life I just couldn’t cheer the Steelers on (though Jeff felt he should since he has a lot of family living in Pittsburgh). Maybe next year the Browns!!
Tomorrow we are headed North up to Albany, GA……we lose an hour tomorrow but it’ll be nice to be back with EST!

Typical swamp view on trip once we entered Louisiana.
Mother Theresa statue in St Louis Cemetery.

Everyone is starting to decorate for Mardi Gras coming up mid February. Sorry we are missing the craziness to come!

Inside St Louis Cathedral in French Quarter New Orleans.

Good music by an eclectic group of musicians.
Enjoying a sunny day in the French Market area of New Orleans.

An amazing amount of devastation still exists in New Orleans.

Musician Village humor. Musicians being resettled by Harry Connick Jr.

Some new homes in the Ninth Ward New Orleans that was so devastated.
One gorgeous home after another in the Garden District New Orleans.

One of the beautiful homes in the Garden District New Orleans.

Gayle hanging out with one of the locals in the French Quarter in new Orleans.

Lookin' gooood..

Almost on the home stretch of our journey home and we still love each other.

A great night in New Orleans at Arnaud's restaurant in the Jazz Bistro.