Texas Part 10 - Leaving for Louisiana

It was after 11am before I finally got my act together and started driving out of Houston.  As usual, I wanted to get a little driving in before stopping for gas. But I didn't get far. In fact, I believe I was still in Houston when I did stop.   And then I stopped again very soon thereafter, when I spotted a place in The Highlands/Baytown called River Terrace Park.  I couldn't get it to show up labeled in the map, but it's the dot near Pasadena, just east of Houston.

I guess it's technically in Channelview.  Anyway, we had a great time exploring this park/picnic area/boat launch on Old River.
We saw a turtle

He found a place that combined two of his favorite things, grass and still, fresh water.
I dont' know how safe and clean this water was, but he was having such a good time, i couldn't bring myself to stop him. I did give him a bath later, though. 

After swimming, he dried off by rolling around in the dirt in the parking lot.
Its a good thing I check my tires before driving off or I would have squished this lizard. 

So then we got back in the car and River discovered a new position. Today he was getting into resting his head on the platform that separates the boot from the back seat and watch the world go by out the rear window. 

I got hungry around Winnie, Texas and stopped for what will be my last Whataburger. I think of it as a Texas treat. I don't know if I will continue to see them as I travel further east, but this is my last one. I bought it at the drive through and took it across the street to a truck stop where I ate it standing up near my car, as River lied on the concrete nearby.

Somewhere in between Orange, Texas and Vinton, LA, I crossed over the state line and tried to take this picture of the sign welcoming me to Louisiana.  I mis-timed it.

The next exciting thing that happened was we drove over the Mississippi River. I wish it was more romantic. I know that it's an important River, and I do feel like driving over it is somewhat auspicious, but it's not a thing of beauty. I wish it were. It's cocoa brown and speckled with barges and industrial smokestacks line the shores. The bridge we were on was a web of steel girder and the traffic on it was thick and slow.  This video captures it well.

We stopped for gas in Baton Rouge and I let River take a break from the car to lie on the grass.

I had the idea that I should do some of my exercises while he rested. I am on a project to reclaim my abs, which includes adding random exercise sessions back into my lifestyle. So I laid down a blanket on the grass near him. I was about to take my shirt off so I could start my crunches, when he made his way to my blanket. But both of us were stopped by noticing the ant hill I had partially covered with the blanket. The little critters were scurrying all over the place, including River's legs. He hopped around, shaking his legs until I ran over and brush all the ants off.

After that, River was ready to get back into the car. I never got my exercise in.

I wanted to stop in New Orleans to feed River his dinner. I had set my navigation for Bourbon Street, but as soon as I got there, I knew that this was no place for a nervous dog. It is a beautiful city. So alive and so historical; vibrant, cultural and loves to party. I drove for a few minutes through the French Quarter, driving slower than running people, swerving around people taking pictures in the middle of the street, taking a detour to avoid a jazz band.... listening to the music, the crowds,  taking in the sights, the architecture, the smells that are all so unique to New Orleans.

The cab drivers did NOT appreciate my lackadaisical lookie-loo driving. It was nuts, so I couldn't really take pictures, though I wanted to many times. The only one I took was while stopped at a stoplight downtown.  Once we got into the French Quarter, I was busy navigating through the madness and making sure River stayed put. The most I could afford was to be present in the experience; photos were out of the question.

Well, I couldn't find a place to park, and didn't feel comfortable getting River out of the car in the midst of all the chaos, so I just drove up and down a few more streets in the FQ and then got back on I-10 for Slidell.

It was after 8 by the time we checked in the Motel 6. I fed River and then myself and blogged, paid some bills and went to bed. There will be no Nia for me in Louisiana. We leave tomorrow.


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