Monday, July 04, 2011

Back from Lu-Z-Anner

(NOTE:) I started this post about two weeks ago and only just now had time to finish it up

I've just returned from a short trip with my friend Christie to New Orleans where we attended the Southeastern Republican Leadership Conference and voted in the Straw Poll (GO RON PAUL GO!!)

Well, actually, the only reason we went was to vote in the Straw Poll for Ron Paul...because, really...who wants to hang out with a bunch of anti-fun, pro-war, anti-choice, anti-equal rights, bible-thumping, asshole Republicans who do stuff like this for shits and giggles? Not I. And especially not in New Orleans...the party capitol of the South. I keep thinking since most Republicans are against all of the extravagant debauchery that is New Orleans...why did they choose that city for the conference? And the answer is....drum roll...........they are just like everyone else only they lie about it. I saw a number of them on Bourbon Street that weren't wearing red badges (the colored badges of Ron Paul supporters). They want to control what the rest of the country does but not adhere to the same laws and principles.

Now, I've been to New Orleans twice before and both times it was in the winter and the temp was comfortable. This time it was summer and there is only one word to describe the hot jello like heat in the middle of June in New Orleans Louisiana....HELL. I really don't see that hell could be much hotter. It was fucking MISERABLE. I fully understand why NOLA has one of the highest per capita murder rates in the country year after year.

The heat.

If I had to live there I'd kill everybody. I only thought it was hot in Alabama. Let me tell ye...we ain't got jack on New Orleans. Or Mississippi for that matter. I'll get to Mississippi in a minute. No wonder monster storms that spawn F5 tornadoes always come out of Mississippi. GAWD!

Anyway, on the trip down I drove and we took I-10 through Mobile. Just outside of Mobile we hit a monster storm with wicked lightning and hail the size of marbles. I flinched every time one hit the windshield. Many people pulled off the interstate onto the shoulder....which is a totally dumbass thing to do. If someone hydroplanes then those people on the side of the road are going to get smashed. I simply slowed down to about 15 mph and turned the flashers on. I hate driving in rain like that as much as the next person, but if I am on the interstate then I will find an exit to stop at...unless it's on 59 in Mississippi, in which case there are no exits.

Once we got to New Orleans and got checked into the hotel (Never, ever, ever stay at the Hilton Riverside...they want $8 an hour for internet access in your room, and they charge $34 for overnight parking after they have charged you over $200 for the room) we took a little while to cool off and collect ourselves. Then we went out on the town. And yes I did take my 14 year old daughter down Bourbon Street. We stopped to eat on the Riverwalk next to the hotel. The service sucked. There was hardly anyone there and yet it took forever to get our food, which wasn't very good. However the tubs-o-liquor they were selling were tasty indeed. Christie and I both got the 32 oz pina colada. The waiter tried to sell us the 70 oz barrel version for $20 each with a promise to refill it for $10 the next day. He even tried to sell Bell an alcoholic beverage after she asked for root beer. Didn't ask for ID. And wouldn't have. We declined. I'm not much of a drinker, myself. However the frozen 32 oz pina colada hit the spot. I would'a dove in that sucker if the cup had been large enough.

After that we walked a few blocks to Bourbon Street to check out the many sights and sounds. Thank whatever deity you believe in for the overpriced gift shops that line Bourbon Street. They blast out the air conditioning to lure people in. I don't understand how, even with the horribly overpriced merchandise, they can afford what has to be a massive power bill. But goodness it feels soooooo good. We would have had three medical emergencies on our hands had it not been for the air conditioning. It was that hot. I don't understand how people live there. We were so drenched and exhausted by the end that we took a cab the few blocks back to the hotel.

The next morning we met up with a gentleman who directed us upstairs to register with the Ron Paul folks and vote in the Straw Poll. Unfortunately we missed all of the festivities with Dr. Paul the day before because we arrived late. I have had the opportunity to meet him before on a trip to DC. He is incredible.

While waiting in line to vote in the straw poll Christie, Bell and I were given tri-fold brochures promoting the sponsors of the event. Most of them were innocuous enough, selling media services, campaign websites and consulting ect....but one really jumped out at me...the gay bashing ad which stated, "Two dads can never replace a mom." Now, there are loads of gay people in the Republican party (don't ask me why). The former chair of the RNC came out as gay recently. Then there is Mark Foley, Larry Craig and God only knows how many other in the closet members of the Republican party. And yet one of the main sponsors was anti-family because they would rather a kid grow up in an orphanage, be passed around from place to place, be abused by religious whackos and thrown away than to allow two people, who happen to be the same sex to raise a child in a loving, caring home. Jeez I hate Republicans. They are such hate-filled ass wipes, hypocrites and control freaks. Not that Democrats are much better. But at least there is more acceptance and less hate with the D's.

I threw my brochure away. And then washed my hands...with lots of soap and hot water. I say as long as you are a consenting adult and you aren't hurting anyone else then what you do is your damn business and the government has no right to control it or interfere in it in any way.

After we voted in the straw poll we loaded up and headed back to Bama. We decided to come back on 59 through Mississippi since we were staying with Christie for the night just outside Tuscaloosa.

I-59 through Mississippi is the most desolate place on the face of the earth. I thought 65 South between Montgomery and Mobile was desolate and devoid of human life. Let me tell you.... 59 in Mississippi makes it look like a burgeoning metropolis.

Once you cross the state line into Mississippi there is like absolutely NOTHING. No exits, no gas stations, no rest areas with bathrooms, no humans, no nothing. Not even any road kill.It was creepy. I kept wondering how in the hell people get around Mississippi and where in the hell they lived and how one would get there and why there was even an interstate? I mean you'd ride 90 miles in between exits (all 2 of them) and occasionally in the middle of that 90 miles you'd see a neighborhood off to one side of the interstate or the other....but absolutely no way to get there, save driving down a damn embankment. I'm still wondering how one would get to those homes from the interstate. And if you broke down there would be no way for a wrecker to get to you without coming from 100 miles away in either direction. You'd be absolutely screwed...and baked to death by the brutal sun long before anyone got to you. It's like driving through the damn twilight zone.

And the ride itself was terrifying. Now, I love my friend Christie to death....but her driving scares me to death. I drove us out of NOLA and she said since I drove down she would drive back. This was the first time I had ever ridden with her. And on any future road tripping I will volunteer to do all driving. To be fair everyone's driving scares the hell out of me. I'm an incredibly careful driver. I've had one accident (which was caused by a hellacious thunderstorm). Since then I have not be comfortable riding with anyone. If I am in a vehicle I want to be behind the damn wheel. End of story. But I was tired and decided to be a passenger for the ride back.

No sooner had Christie taken the wheel than she began to fiddle with the cd player, the stuff in the floor, her drink etc. While talking to me she ran off the side of the interstate and hit those ridges meant to wake up sleeping drivers. I dove for cover. A few minutes later she did the same thing on the other side. I dove again. Then I told her if she did it again I was driving. And she did it again. Problem was there was absolutely no where to pull over and give me the wheel. We didn't switch places until we crossed back into Alabama. It was the most terrifying ride of my life. And it all happened at the light speed of 80 miles an hour. It's funny....the other day she sent me a text message saying she was on her way to the Dr. and that her mom was driving and that she was scared to death because of it. I wrote back that if her mom scared her then I couldn't imagine how bad her driving was :) It must be genetic.

So, here is my advice to anyone traveling to NOLA and back through Mississippi on 59. Go in the winter. The summer heat will nearly suffocate you. Get your windows tinted to keep from being baked alive in your automobile. Fill up the tank of your vehicle before setting out across 59....otherwise you will be stranded and dead long before anyone gets to you. Have a good spare tire and know how to change it. Take food and water and an empty jug to pee in cause your ass ain't stopping on 59 to pee or get gas or food or anything else for that matter. There isn't even any roadkill to bbq in case of an emergency.

Despite all my snarkiness in this post we actually had a lot of fun. It was great to get out of the house for a few days and see the sights and sound of New Orleans. The ride down was beautiful. Many thanks to Christie for inviting us along on her dime. She is generous to a fault and one of the best friends I have ever had.

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