Cassie and Daddy’s Big Adventure

 

My youngest daughter got a new job as the Visiting Assistant Professor of Costume Technology at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Her prior job was Costume Shop Supervisor at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. I had promised to help her move, either to Dallas to look for a new job, or to Athens, if she got that job. So, on rather short notice, we arranged for me to fly back with her and drive a the 16 foot truck, with a trailer for her car, from New Orleans to Athens. She was already planning on being up here for my 60th  birthday, so it all fell into place rather nicely.

On August 11th, we got up about 5 am to drive to the Twin Cities to catch our first flight, which was to Houston. The second flight took us to New Orleans, where Cassie was reunited with her car, nicknamed Teenie Tiny.

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We went from the airport to the hotel she had booked for us, right near the French Quarter. After relaxing for a while we decided to go to one of the local restaurants, Cochon, to eat. We started with Fried Livers with Pepper Jelly and toast. They were so good, that we almost ate all of them before remembering to take a picture. We did eat the fried boudin (a cajun pork sausage) with pickled peppers before thinking to take a picture.

My main course was bourbon glazed pork belly with peaches and creamy grits. Out of this world good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cassie had  pork rib with coleslaw and grilled peppers

The meal was one of the best we’ve ever had, and I know she will really miss access to such great food in her new home.

The next day was going to be a very busy one, as we had to pick up the truck and go to her storage unit and load all of her belongings into the truck. We started off the day with a hearty Southern breakfast at the Ruby Slipper Cafe. Both of us had their Southern Breakfast, consisting of Two eggs any style, served with stone-ground grits,
applewood-smoked bacon, buttermilk biscuit and a fried green tomato. Food was great, and it gave us plenty of energy for the day.

IMG_0616After breakfast, we went back to the hotel to get her car and go to the truck rental office. There I met the truck and trailer that I would drive from there to her new home. The truck was 16 feet long with a trailer that Teenie Tiny would ride on for the trip. This was my first time driving such a rig, and it was a challenge to keep it in the traffic lane at times. We made it safely to the storage unit, and started loading all of her stuff. The storage unit was four floors up, and we used carts and the elevator to go back and forth. The temperature was in the mid-80’s and with humidity, felt like 96. I remarked that it was good I spent most days this summer outside working in the heat and humidity, as it conditioned me to be able to function outside in New Orleans.

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Within two hours we were done loading the truck. We then parked it at the storage unit facility and took her car back to the hotel to relax and clean up.

While on our way back, we made a couple of stops, including picking up a Muffuletta at Central Grocery for lunch while on the road.

Our evening’s entertainment was all within walking distance, so we first went to the famous Roosevelt Hotel and had drinks in their Sazerac bar. The sazerac is a drink created in New Orleans. It consists of rye whiskey, Peychauds bitters, a sugar cube, and herbsaint (an anise flavored liquor) We sat at the bar and really enjoyed the atmosphere.

The Sazerac Bar

We then took a short walk to a restaurant we visited the last time I was in New Orleans, the Acme Oyster House. This time we were able to walk right in and get a table, which was great. We started out with a dozen chargrilled oysters, and Cassie had their oyster and fish platter, while I went for the soft shelled crab platter. Sorry, no pictures 🙁

On Wednesday morning, the Big Adventure began in earnest. We went to the storage unit and loaded teenie tiny on the trailer, an interesting feat to say the least, and headed out across New Orleans towards our final destination for the day, Nashville, TN. Getting used to the truck was a challenge, especially when semi’s would pass, as the draft would try to move the truck and trailer. But keeping a close eye on the side mirror helped me prepare for all that jostling.

IMG_0621Cassie served as navigator extraordinaire through New Orleans and the rest of our trip. She also used my phone to post progress notes, such as crossing into a new state, on my Facebook page, so my wife and other daughters would know we were safe and making progress. Each time we entered a new state, or stopped along the way, she would update Facebook. These updates also helped me in composing this posting.

We made it across New Orleans, the rest of Louisiana, and Mississippi with no problems. The day was going along quite well until Birmingham, Alabama.

blown tireWe had a passing motorist point out to Cassie that one of the tires on the trailer had blown out. I quickly pulled over, under and overpass, and we spent the next 1 1/2 hours sitting there before the tire was fixed and we were on  our way again.

We finally arrived at the hotel in Nashville about 9 pm. Cassie found the last parking space our rig would fit into and it ended up being right near our room. The desk clerk looked a bit surprised with Cassie let out a whoop when she saw our room location. After supper at the Cracker Barrel next door we settled in for a good sleep before driving to our final destination.

On Thursday, we were up and going early, trying to beat some of the rush hour traffic. Both of us had to work hard at navigating, as there are several interstates that cross through Nashville, which meant lots of lane changes. The other big change was the number and height of the hills we encountered, which lasted most of the rest of the trip.

When we went through Lexington, KY, we got off the interstate and took a route that would allow us to bypass Cincinnati. The roads varied from four lane down to two lane roads with really no shoulder, which made driving even more interesting. But, we pressed on into Ohio and took SR 41 until we reached Highway 32, which was a nice four lane and took us the rest of the way to Athens. The scenery was breath taking, as we drove through, or more correctly, up and down the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. We arrived in Athens and then proceeded to try and find her new apartment, the upstairs half of a duplex. From prior research, it didn’t appear to be places to turn around, so we had to go around to the backside of the big hill she lives on and drive to her place that way. It was a rough, almost two lane road that we bumped along for a while before finally arriving at our destination.

IMG_0630Arriving at her new apartment was a great feeling after two long days of being on the road. She had talked with the realtor company about help unloading and they put her in contact with a college student and his friend who are on the wrestling team. With them doing the heavy lifting, especially up the stairs, we had the truck unloaded in less that 45 minutes.

After doing some unpacking we went into Athens to have some supper and do a little shopping. Once back at her place we did some more unpacking, and then spent the rest of the evening on her deck, seen above, looking at the stars and relaxing from all we had been through.

The next day started early, again, as we had to drop off the truck and then get me to the airport. The apps we used said the trip would take about three hours, but it ended up being almost four, and we still can’t figure out why as there were no delays along the way. Cassie followed behind me, to block the lane behind me if I needed to change lanes. The apps did lead us right to the drop off place, and I was very glad to hand over the keys and not have to drive that rig anymore. The Cincinnati airport was about five minutes away, so I was still there in plenty of time to get some lunch and get ready for my flight. It was sad to leave Cassie, as we had not spent this much time together since I moved her from Dallas to Madison, WI after she graduated from college.

While at the airport, I received a text message from United indicating my flight from Chicago to Minneapolis was delayed about 1 1/2 hours. The flight to Chicago was on time, which meant I had plenty of time to stroll to the other terminal and begin the long wait. The next flight left the gate about 3:30, but a problem with an alarm message caused us to go back to the gate while they replaced the sensor. We took off at 4:45, about three hours later than originally scheduled. I returned home at 9:30 pm, about 16 hours after Cassie and I left earlier that morning.

Overall, the trip was wonderful, because I was able to spend so much time with Cassie. We’ve gone through long stretches of time without being able to see each other, but have kept in touch via Facebook, text messages, and phone calls. Now we both have some memories that will last a lifetime, which is another reason I put this posting together, so those memories are recorded somewhere. I am hoping my wife can travel there to see her this fall, and we are making plans for her to come up home for Christmas. Hopefully, this will be her last move, or the last one for a very long time, as she wants to stay in one place for more than three years.

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