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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Sunday, February 9, 2014

From Brewery to Brewery


Sunday February 9,2014 Comfort Inn and Suites Covington, La Suite 116 3:15 PM CST

We only covered 38.5 miles today but that was our plan. We slept in late-didn’t check out until the check out time of 11 and headed right to Abita Springs. This is one of Louisiana’s finest breweries and I’ve loved their strawberry Spring seasonal for years. Today, however, I drank the TurboDog which is a stout and is wonderful. They have a new smoked stout, which for me, is too smoky though the motorcycle gentleman next to me at the bar assured me that after two I wouldn’t notice. Bill drank Abita light since there is no place to stay in Abita Springs and though Covington is really just around the corner, no one wants to be stopped for DWI especially as an out of stater. The menu is incredible but we weren’t late enough for dinner so we opted for sandwiches for lunch. Bill got the fried oyster po’boy, which I had eye-balled but I went for the Muffaletta. He did let me have a bite of the oysters—oh, heavenly. But I loved my Muffaletta, too. Neither of us ate all the fries and I brought one of my quarters home for TV snacking.

On the way over from Slidell we started to talk about our earlier trips—this is number 7 we figured We haven’t been in this part of La for several years and we are looking forward to visiting old haunts. St Francisville for Grandmother’s Buttons, Lafayette for the River View and maybe the bayou tour if the alligators have come out of hibernation yet and definitely, New Iberia for Books on the Teche and also the Japanese oyster bar. We’ve been all over La but the French parishes of the southern part are definitely our favs. Doesn’t hurt that the temperature is usually warm and today we weren’t disappointed----68 degrees, at last. Brought the big suitcase into the room to swap out sweaters for short sleeved shirts—soon the sneakers go for sandals. Cannot wait.

It has been a few years since we followed the Texas Gulf Coast so we may do that as well, once we’ve had our fill of Louisiana. There is certainly no rush. Friends and family have asked us about these trips—how much does it cost? Do you have an RV or trailer?  ect. One brother-in-law asked if the Choice Privileges rooms are nice. That sort of took me aback—would we stay in rooms that weren’t nice? Did he think we stay in Motel 6 or something. I think that is why I take pictures of our rooms—so you can see that even the standard rooms are roomy, airy and clean. These aren’t luxury hotels—we are not, as a rule, staying for more than one night. We want homey, comfortable rooms and that’s what they are. As regulars we frequently are presented with upgrades that sometimes are two or more room suite, other times a bed sitting room and at other times a bed sitting room with a Jacuzzi corner. The rooms for the most part are under $100 including tax—in 8 nights on the road, tonight's is the most expensive room at 99.18 tax included. We accumulate points each night which we will use on the way home for exactly the same rooms, including upgrades. We eat in local restaurants whenever possible, although we also go to Applebee’s and Olive Garden and Outback, which for us is a treat since we don’t have them at home. Sometimes we order in pizza, preferably from Pizza Hut. I keep pretty meticulous records and we have found that with meals, rooms, gas and souvenirs—everything we spend – the trip costs $! a mile and we cover from 7000 to 8000 miles a trip over six to eight weeks. We do not stint but we also don’t splurge—but that isn’t our style anyway-I’ve given up packing dress clothes—I don’t use them. We save each year for this trip and don’t do the little runs to the Maine coast or to Boston or Montreal the way we used to. But we figure we can’t do this forever and when we can’t do the driving anymore then we’ll do some of the other trips we have on our bucket list—like a train to Churchill, Canada or a winter rental on Old Orchard Beach or maybe  a place in Nashville or New Iberia for a few months.

Why a car and motels and restaurants? Because an RV is expensive to buy, the insurance is insane, the gas mileage is ridiculous, it breaks down frequently and the parts and repairs are expensive. There are roads like the Needles Parkway in Dakota where they just won’t fit and we certainly have no interest in towing a car behind. Besides, I’m on vacation, too and screw housework, cooking and cleaning up. We do have laundry but that is all—I leave the room almost as perfect as it was when we arrived but I don’t have to strip the beds and vacuum and wash the linens and towels and make up the new bed.  I eat my breakfast, which is not gourmet, and throw my plates, cups and utensils in the garbage.

Speaking of the motel meals, for the most part they are continental breakfasts. Plenty of coffee and several types of juice. Most often a waffle maker. Many different dry cereals though sometimes there is ( gag ) oatmeal. There is usually a meat, most often sausage patties but sometimes bacon and sometimes both. Eggs vary from decent scrambled to awful scrambled to sunnyside up which look like toy eggs meant for a small girl’s toy stove to hardboiled and sometimes several different forms at once. This last ova evaluation comes from Bill since I could care if I never laid eyes on a breakfast egg. So far as breads are concerned—in the north there is sliced bread of various types and bagels. As one moves farther south, the selection becomes almost exclusively bisquits—again fine with me. Unfortunately, though I don’t partake, those bisquits are usually in a warming bin right next to the sausage gravy—another yuk!  There is always yogurt—strawberry – banana is a favorite selection  and fresh fruit—apples, oranges and bananas. So, depending on how much breakfast means to you, the selection is adequate to get you to the nearest IHOP if needs be. We aren’t big breakfast people so coffee and juice and sausage is usually enough. The Danish selection also varies but there is always some sort of sweet coffee cakey stuff, too.

All in all, the trip is doable,comfortable and leisurely. The only thing that saddens me is that Bill won’t travel any time but the winter and I miss seeing the Pacific West and the Northern West like Idaho and Utah. Maybe if my sister and I do another trip together we will do it in Fall again and we’ll go back to those places.  Anyway, thought some of you might better understand what we are doing and how it works.

Now, I’m going out onto the patio in 72 degree weather and just soak it up. Take care everyone. KandB

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