We are inexorably drawn to the West. We really tried to convince ourselves to go East on this trip. We woke up yesterday morning still planning on going that way, but then we checked the weather, saw that Pensacola was going to get rainy and cold for a week, and said, “The hell with it, we’re going west again.”
Truth is, when I would look at the atlas and think about the next few months all I could see east of the Mississippi was a tight web of interstate highways. Ahh, but out west… Out west a man can slump over the wheel on a long straight stretch of county road and daydream for hours.
I could stare at that road atlas forever, and my eyes would rarely drift over to where the green forests begin. I like the desert. I like the vistas. I like open roads, and towns where the local’s hangout is the gas station. I like pulling off the road and not being bothered. And I like that Ali likes that too.
Ouest asked me this morning when we were going to go to the beach. I told her that we were probably going to go to the desert and mountains first. She thought that was okay because in the desert she could build a big sand castle.
So anyway, the east coast will remain a gaping hole in our travels for now. Some 60 or 70 countries in our life, but never a visit to New York City, D.C., or an Atlantic beach north of Florida. Maybe if we head west long enough we’ll get there.
We left New Orleans this morning. We didn’t see or do nearly enough there, but the city will still be around next time we pass through. Another ugly storm was brewing and we decided the best way to deal with it was just to blast straight on through it.
The biggest downer with the bus at the moment is the leaky windows. Every single window seal needs to be replaced. Even the back window that we pulled out and paid to have reinstalled. It leaks terribly. The passenger seat window is horrendous. There was actually a gap between the window seal and the fiberglass that we could see through. Like everyone else with these old leaky windows I tried slopping some sealant in there, but that half-assed approach never worked on boats either. Anyway, for now, rain really sucks.
Inevitably when I walk into a gas station these days the cashier asks me what year the bus is. When I tell them they immediately turn to their co-worker and say something like, “I told you it was the 60s, not the 70s.” Today a lady asked me, “Do y’all live in there?”
I told her we did and she replied with moon-pie eyes, “That’s awesome. I love it. We love it.” She pointed to her friend.
“How many kids have you got in there?”
Two. Just two.
“Why don’t you go on and pour them each an Icee? It’s on me.”
I haven’t run across a single person yet that has said that we’re crazy. Instead it seems that what we’re doing right now is a near universal daydream. Sailing is a niché, but traveling the backroads in an RV is something that anyone, at any age, and any income bracket, can get out and do.
This morning we found ourselves in Abbeville, Louisiana. We walked around the small town a bit and then went into the Depot. It was a knick-knack shop inside of an old train depot, with two totally restored old-time cabooses parked outside for anybody to climb through. The kids like trains.
The owner asked me, “What brings you to Abbeville?”
“Slow roads,” I said with a shrug.
She just nodded. That was as good an answer as she expected. She gave me tips on a few more.
It has to be strange running what is essentially a tourist shop in a non-tourist town. I can’t imagine there’s much money to be made selling baby alligator heads to locals. Ouest refused to believe that they were real alligators. After climbing around in their train cars I felt like we should buy something, but in the end we walked away empty-handed. What’s the point in buying an alligator head if your kid won’t even be scared by it?