Monday, October 24, 2011

New Orleans Road Trip - Day 01

Here we are sitting in the driveway and it's about time to leave. It is 6:43 a.m. on Monday morning, October 24th and the trip mileage meter is been reset to zero. To record it for posterity, our actual odometer reading this morning is 56,982 miles. Will be headed to the Daily Bagel Cafe where we're going to have some breakfast and coffee. Then we're on the road to Needles.

After our coffee and bagels at the Daily Bagel, we hit the highway for Needles at 7:28 a.m. John had a burnt "Everything" bagel with light cream cheese and a medium mocha with a triple shot. Linda had the house coffee (which you pump for yourself out of pump pots). She pumped in half dekaf & then added 5 of the other 6 flavors available for a real taste explosion (organic road warrior, Columbian, hazelnut, vanilla and pumpkin spice).

As we headed south on 101 we felt especially happy not to be one of the hundreds and hundreds of commuters on the clogged 101 headed north (later we heard from number one son Jay that there was a tractor-trailer overturned on 101 in Morgan Hill that caused the commute to be eXtra slow this morning).

There was a lot of fog in Gilroy and we were sure hoping that it would not last over the hills and into the valley where we got on Interstate 5.

Luckily, it cleared off very nicely. We stopped at the intersection of  CA Highway 33 to change drivers. It was Linda's turn. That was at about 9:15 a.m. We made pretty good time and in another 58 miles we were off of Interstate 5. Hooray!

We turned off onto Highway 46 from Interstate 5 and stopped at McDonald's for a potty break and to get some coffee. This gave Fannie Mae a chance to get out of her crate and go potty as well. Then she got to ride with Linda in the front seat. We made it in just over three hours from the time we left the Daily Bagel Café.

We stopped for lunch right before noon in Tehachapi. Found a Burger King where Linda got a salad with grilled chicken and John got Whopper with cheese. No fries, no mayo. We ate in the van since it was too hot to leave Fannie Mae cooped up in it. John finished first and took off on the highway again while Linda polished off her salad.

Just west of Barstow on I-40 John noticed we only had about 45 miles worth of gas left. The next town is a little place called Daggett which is 4 miles east of Barstow. Daggett doesn't appear to have a gas station but it actually does. You have to drive through Daggett and you soon find yourself approaching Interstate 15. At the intersection of I-15 and Daggett Road are several gas stations. At $3.659 per gallon the price was pretty good. At Newberry Springs, about 15 miles east of Daggett on I-40, they have one gas station. It was charging $0.50 per gallon MORE than in Daggett. Reckon when you're the only game in town, you can do what you want. Linda suggested that John use Daggett as his new "blue" word when he feels frustrated at any less than stellar drivers on the road.  It sort of has a ring to it and reminds her of her dad's favorite "curse" word: "DadGummit!!!".

We stopped at one more rest area for a bathroom break. Finally arrived at our motel, America's Best Value Inn, just after 4:00 p.m. About nine hours with potty and meal stops.  Our room is not fancy, but certainly adequate. The only potential issue is that the folks staying next door have four (count 'em.... 4 dogs). They were a bit noisy earlier, but seemed to have quietened down at almost 8:00 p.m. The only casualty on our trip today is that Linda tore off her pinky fingernail into the quick (yes, blood) while trying to find the pocket where she had stowed her cellphone which was ringing.  No, the call was not worth it (not your call, Jay).

We had dinner at the Wagon Wheel restaurant in Needles. John found this place earlier this month on the internet. It's been around since 1978. Sort of "down home" food. Linda got Navy Bean soup and dry rye toast. John got a ground beef steak with grilled onions, green beans and a salad with some bleu cheese dressing.

On earlier road trips we've commented on all of the "closed" rest areas in California. We passed about seven rest areas between Morgan Hill and Needles and every one of them was open. And Maggie found doggie friends at the 2 where we stopped (one named Jaque and the other named Raider).

John went to a Kaiser Permanente Weight Management Clinic in mid-August. The instructor mentioned a website called John explored it and found they also had an application for his Droid phone. He sort of dove in. He set a goal to lose 30 pounds at a rate of 1 pound per week. His goal achievement date was predicted to be February 12, 2012. Since August 16th, he has lost just over 29 pounds. It is now predicted that he will hit his goal by November 26th. He says it will probably be sooner but won't know until we return home. He has done so well because he has been under his daily calorie allowance every day since August 16th. He never goes hungry and is compatible with his lifestyle. His current calorie budget is 2,869 per day. Today he was under by 816 calories. He's planning on reporting his daily over/under in the travelogue, but won't be weighing again until the morning after we return home. Gotta watch those beignets and rich Cajun food.

On past road trips, Linda has done "Thought for the Day" and "Tea Bag Philosophy".  On this trip she has decided to do favorite sign of the day.  She took a lot of photos of signs at a restaurant in Needles but, all in all, her favorite sign of the day was a road sign as we approached Needles.  It said "Flower Road" and there was not a sprig of greenery, much less a flower, in sight.  So, in her humble opinion, it was named by a member of Optomist International, who thought that surely someone would eventually plant a flower on that Godforsaken road.  And maybe they will . . . someday . . .

While there are only seven photos in today's gallery, you can view them by clicking here. As always, when you are through looking at the photos, just close that browser page and you  will come right back here.

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