Thursday June 20
My brother was spending a few last days in DC with us. After work, I went home and packed my bag. We left for Union Station at 9pm to catch the Mega Bus to Blacksburg (where my brother's over packed car awaited us).
Highlights of the bus ride:
- The bus driver telling us that if we had questions not to bother him, instead we should check the twitter or Facebook
- The bus driver giving the men on the bus a lesson on how to put the toilet seat down
- That crazy girl sitting across from me who clearly needed to break up with her boyfriend based on the ridiculous argument/ conversation she was having on the phone the entire trip
- The guy sitting behind my brother who, during the 15 minute rest stop purchased an entire pizza, a bag of chips and cookies. Apparently he was a loud smacker. My brother's thoughts on the matter:
Friday June 21 3:30 AM
- We get to the car when my brother realizes he has too much stuff in the car. We spend about 30 minutes tossing stuff into a nondescript dumpster behind a building. And then we were off!
- The next couple of hours I don't really remember because I was sleeping in and out. By 7 am we're stopping for gas in Knoxville, where I had the pleasure of brushing my teeth in a gas station. Gas refilled and breakfast acquired we keep moving.
- We get to New Orleans by 3:30 and we're both famished- we skipped lunch in favor of pigging out in NOLA and did we ever pig out!
- First Stop: Camelia Grill where we got the worlds best cheeseburger. I know that I was in the land of authentic cuisine and had a cheeseburger but that burger was so good that I have thought of it several times since I got back home.
- Then I had to have some gumbo. We were in NOLA after all. We tried to get into The Gumbo Shop but it was packed and I only want to try some gumbo, so we went to The Old Coffee Pot next door.
- To say I was completely underwhelmed by this chicken and sausage gumbo is an understatement. So much so that this happened:
- Walking it off. We took in Jackson Square and took a few pictures and got cursed by some Palm reader when neither one of us responded to her offer of getting our futures told on her birthday. I still don't understand why getting our fortunes told on her birthday was supposed to be a magical experience. Meh.
- Then we hit Bourbon Street. Folks, I work in a sketchy section of Baltimore so I thought I was prepared for whatever Bourbon street had to offer. I. Was. Not. Nope. That one street made all of Baltimore seem like the cleanest place on earth. I literally wanted to bathe in hand sanitizer. It wasn't the booze or the strippers that made me shudder, rather it was the smell of raw sewage that put me over edge. Maybe if I were younger and drunker I would have appreciated the place.
- Cafe DuMonde. Good lord. There is no photo evidence that this happened because there was powdered sugar EVERYWHERE! I did get a box of the mix to make beignets at home.
- We take the trolley back to the hotel and crash- we still had another 8 hours of driving to go.
- We start the second day bright and early and it's smooth sailing until about four hours in when the air conditioner stops working somewhere in Louisiana. Talk about miserable. It was so hot and there was nothing we could do except roll the down the windows and stay hydrated. We had to meet Pat's co-workers who had the keys to his apartment at a certain time so we just chugged along. Mercifully we ran into a rain storm that cooled everything off for a little while. And then we had our first introduction to the Texas State Police. Sigh. Luckily, the officer was an A&M alum and just gave us a warning and told us not to believe the GPS speed limits the rest of the way to College Station.
- 20 miles away we are both singing along at the top of our lungs to "Life is A Highway"
- We get to the school, meet up with some students who were there to help us move in (thank The Lord) and we unpacked the car in record time. We headed out to dinner with some of my brother's co-workers. I mentioned that I would love to try some authentic Texas BBQ and they suggested Texas Roadhouse. Sigh. None of his co-workers were actually from Texas. The next time I visit I am demanding brisket!
Layne's Soon To Be Famous Chicken Fingers.
- I read about this magical place that only sells chicken fingers, fries, Texas toast, potato salad and secret sauce. A basket of the above will run you $5. We were really really excited to try it out.
Apparently all of the seasoning for the chicken fingers is in that cup of secret sauce because there wasn't a hint of anything on the chicken or in the breading. I have never wanted Sweet Baby Rays BBQ more in my life, because there is no BBQ sauce. The locals love that secret sauce- and Laynes is pretty adamant that you only get once sauce for free. Extras are 50 cents. My problem is that I hate Mayo and I was so sure that was nothing but mayo and black pepper. Adequately stuffed we headed back to my brothers place to chill out before my 5 am flight from Houston back to Baltimore.
It was a great trip- so much happened in such a short time. I can't wait to get back to see some authentic Texas football to go along with that Brisket.