On to New Orleans 20230101
We left Vicksburg and took US 61 south to Louisiana, heading for the town of Convent, about an hour outside of New Orleans. We had reservations at Sugar Hill, but when we got there the camp host sent us down the road to Poche Plantation RV Park. We were worried that this was going to be big snafu, but the camp host there was very friendly and accomodating. And it turns out he is from Michigan! It seems like a nice spot for us to spend a few nights and get into town for some sightseeing. So we got settled in.
New Orleans 20230102
We thought today would be good for a tour of the French Quarter. The biggest problem is parking. Our truck is too large to go into a parking structure, so we needed to find an open lot that could accomodate us. And if yesterday was any guide, we expected a lot of humidity. Yet once we were in the city it was cooler than expected. The river gives a cool breeze, and it was even a bit chilly on top of the levee. We were able to park without a problem, thankfully, in a lot about 6 blocks away from Jackson Square. We did a little walking around the French Quarter on our own, then met our guide for a 2 hour guided walking tour of the old city area. We learned a lot of New Orleans history and enjoyed it greatly. But we may not need to go back to this area again. We have walked the French Quarter and been on Bourbon Street, and that may be all we do of that type of sightseeing. We went back to Poche Plantation RV Park and joined our neighbors in an informal happy hour before making our dinner.
New Orleans 20230103
Today the weather report is for thunderstorms, so we decided to take a day of rest and stay inside. I played a few hours of Civilization IV without getting into a winning position. Then we had dinner and watched another episode of “Picard” before going to bed.
New Orleans 20230104
We had a weird night. There was a thunderstorm, which was in the forecast, so not unexpected. In fact, we looked forward to it since the humidity was uncomfortably high and we needed a fan to get to sleep. But around 3am I realized the fan had stopped, and my CPAP machine had stopped, and that made it harder to breathe. I got up, and verified that all of the outlets in our bedroom were dead. But the outlets in the living room and kitchen were still working, so we ran extension cords and got everything running again, but it took a while to get back to sleep. Then around 5:30am it happened again, and now all of our outlets were out. So our first question was whether something had happened to our RV, or was it more general. But you don’t go knocking on people’s doors at 5:30am. Then a few minutes later I hear a loud bang and a flash of light, and thought to myself “I bet a transformer just blew”. And that is indeed what happened to a transformer about 100 feet from our camper, and as other folks got up and came outside we discovered that it had taken out the power for much of the campground.
Then a fellow came by who is an electrical engineer who also lives here, and who monitored what happened. He said that one leg had gone out first, than a few hours later the other one had gone. So apparently the 120V power to the bedroom is on a different leg from the 120V power to the rest of the RV. And it turned out this guy knew who to call to get reasonably prompt action from the utility. But in the meantime, Tom and Judi from the rig next to us invited us to join them in going out for coffee and breakfast, an invitation we gratefully accepted. Then we drove around the area to see some of the plantations, and they explained to us about the sugar cane fields. This area grows a lot of sugar cane, and you could say that the industry is all chemicals and refining on the one hand, and sugar production on the other.
Shortly after getting back to the Poche Plantation RV Park we saw a Utility truck arrive, and after looking at the transformer he decided that he needed to have a new one brought to him. And after sitting there watching a parked truck, we decided to do some grocery shopping, and when we got back the truck was just pulling out and power had been restored. By this point I was feeling somewhat sub-par since I had not gotten a good night’s sleep, hadn’t had my morning shower, and now had a bit of a headache. So it was dinner and bed.
New Orleans 20230105
We got an early start and headed into downtown New Orleans to visit the National World War II Museum. This is a pretty big place, occupying a city block, swith some great exhibits. But when they say “National” that means they are only concerned with the U.S. experience. Things like the Battle of Britain are only mentioned in passing, nothing about the Stalingrad and the Eastern Front, nothing about the fall of Singapore, and so on. So it begins with December 7, 1941 and talks about the places where U.S. soldiers were officially fighting. But it was very well done. We were told by our camp host to start with the movie. It is billed as “4-D”, but what that really means is that the lights in the theater are actively flashing and the seats are rumbling along with the film. But we had about 40 minutes to kill before the next showing, so we went to the D-Day landings exhibit first. After the film Cheryl had lunch and I had a coffee, then we went to “The Road to Berlin”. This started with the Allied landings in Morocco, then through the capture of Tunisia, the invasion of Sicily, and finally Italy itself, up to the capture of Rome in June, 1944, a few days before D-Day. Then it was on to D-Day, the hedgerows of Normandy, and the capture of Paris. From there to the disaster of Market Garden, the Battle of the Bulge, breaching the Siegfried Line, and finally Berlin and the German surrender in May, 1945.
After that we went to “The Road to Tokyo”. This was all about naval warfare and jungle fighting. It started with Pearl Harbor, then Midway, Guadalcanal, the battle of the Coral Sea, and the island hopping. There was lots of stuff about naval aircraft and carriers, about the engineers and construction battalions, and the amphibious landings on the islands. A look at what Japan did in China brought to mind that we tend to focus on the Nazis as the ultimate evil, but Japan was every bit as evil as the Nazis, and for much the same reason: a conviction of racial superiority coupled with a belief that other races and nationalities were less human. It was a good reminder of why it is so important that we stamp out white supremacy wherever it appears. Then it came to the fighting on Iwo Jima and Okinawa, which made a very convincing case for dropping the Bomb.
We could probably spend another day there quite productively, and if you have any interest in the history of World War II I recommend it highly.
New Orleans 20230106
Treason’s Greetings! Our last full day at the Poche Plantation is mostly about taking it easy and doing some errands. We need to fill a propane tank, do a little shopping, and dump our tanks. Life on the road in an RV is not one long vacation, you have to the life things as well. But in the evening we went to an American Legion post in Thibodaux for the Cajun Jam. You see, January 6, Epiphany is known as King’s Day here, and it is the start of the Mardi Gras. We had a nice dinner there, lots of Cajun music, and people dancing, many of them in colorful costumes. It reminded me of Irish Ceilis we have been to. The music was very different, but the spirit was much the same. By the time we got back from that we just went to bed.
On to Alabama 20230107
We were on the road shortly after 9am, and continued our acquaintance with I-10. Just over the border in Mississippi, we stopped at the John C. Stennis Space Center. This is the place where they test the rocket engines. We saw a genuine Saturn V First Stage, left over when they canceled the Apollo program. But there is not nearly as much stuff to see as at Huntsville. We went through in about 2 hours, and honestly you wouldn’t need to spend more time than that here. We did catch a half-hour 3-D movie while we were there, which was nice, but then it was time to get back on the road to Gulf Shores, Alabama, just south of Mobile. We pulled into Sun Runners RV park a little after 4, and relaxed until bedtime.