Tuesday March 28, 2006, San Angelo, Texas
We are on the road again, after a very pleasurable and mostly relaxing sojourn in Baton Rouge. There were some real highlights that are definitely worth mentioning. The first was our Wednesday night dinner at Tsunami, a sushi restaurant on the 6th floor of the Shaw Center for the Arts in downtown Baton Rouge. As well as the food being excellent, you are treated to a fantastic view of the Mississippi River through huge glass windows.
We also had a pleasant dining experience at a restaurant/bar called Chelsea's. It has a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere and serves good food - a lot of it vegetarian. It also has live music - we first went there on Saturday after the parade. They had a Saint Patrick's Day party which was full of a variety of people of all ages. It was also their re-opening party, as they had recently had to move from their long-time home because the building was being demolished. We went there to eat and see the band on Thursday, and our friends commented that all the same people were working there and the menu was much the same as before. It takes a place, with a particular type of reputation and following, to transfer its whole business to a new location, and its clientele feel immediately at home. It seems to be the consensus that the new Chelsea's is every bit as good as the old.
On Saturday night we drove again to New Orleans. We visited other parts of the city which showed more devastation, but I will let the photos speak for themselves. The four houses we photographed were clustered around the same intersection in Lakeview.
I had wanted to revisit the places I had gone on New Year's Eve 2004, so we walked down the famous Bourbon Street and then went to Coop's Place for dinner. You can sample all kinds of local food here from a Gumbo to a Poboy.
After dinner we went on to Jean Lafitte's - reputed to be the oldest building in the United States to continually house a bar - it started life as a blacksmith shop I believe.
On Sunday afternoon we left Baton Rouge and started our long journey west to eventually pick up our camper in California. We drove as far as Jasper in the very east of Texas, where we spent the night.
Yesterday we continued in a westerly direction and covered more than half of Texas. As I have mentioned before, we have decided to avoid the major highways as much as possible, and once again this choice provided us with interesting sights and experiences.
A couple of hours into our trip, we decided it was time to stop to eat, and Crocker seemed to be a good place to stop. We couldn't find a picnic area - they seem to be a bit scarce so far - but we stopped in the grounds of the local Baptist church, where there was a wooden bench under a pecan tree. After eating, we thought that a coffee would be a good idea, so we continued through the town and spotted the Moosehead Café. From the outside it didn't look all that inspiring - at least, not like we would expect a café to look! But we decided to go in. When we walked through the doors we walked into a large room of bustling activity and loud conversation. It seems that the Moosehead is the place to be in Crocker, and busy waitresses were coming from the kitchen continuously with trays of steaming food. We sat at the counter, as we only wanted coffee - my first experience of sitting on a stool at a counter and having the waitress serve coffee from behind it, just like we've been seeing on television all these years! The café had an antique and collectables shop in the rear and various objects around the walls of the café as decoration. There was also a stock of homemade style preserves at the front of the store for purchase, along with tiny angels, with every name imaginable on them, to give to people for their protection. The coffee took a while, as they were having trouble with their machine, but we didn't mind. It gave us the opportunity to soak up a bit of small town Texas!
We drove on through changing landscapes, sometimes lush and green, with flowers everywhere signalling spring, and sometimes almost barren, with stunted shrubs, rocks and stones in the paddocks, and cactuses along the fence lines. The roads also varied, from dead straight with hardly a bend to be seen for miles, to windy and hilly. Also from four lane highways with rough surfaces to small country roads with perfect driving conditions. You definitely can't predict a road by checking its classification on a map!
After driving another hard and long day - I can hear our readers groaning with sympathy! - we arrived in San Angelo at about 8.00pm, went to eat at a local Mexican 'hole in the wall' (description by motel manager), and went to bed. This morning we will check out what this city - it sounds interesting - stay tuned!!!