Due to time constraints, Evan and I have spent a decent amount of time driving through states without stopping so that we can maximize our time elsewhere. This often leads to way too long of drives, an interesting array of sights, and a very delusional driver (particularly me). We’ve tried to entertain each other by reading short stories to one another, but once we’re sick of that it’s only up to my terribly uncreative imagination.
Most of how I’ve entertained myself is by generalizing regions based off of their welcome signs on the highway. While Texas’s sign says “Drive Friendly, The Texas Way,” after twenty minutes of driving, I reassigned the motto, “Drive Aggressively, Cut Off Everyone.” In New Mexico, the sign read “Land of Enchantment.” Laughing to myself, I mentally changed this to “Land of Many Speed Traps.” Like I said, my terribly uncreative imagination has been my only ally on some of these long drive, so I make with it what I can.
When we arrived in New Orleans after a few short days in D.C, Ashville, and Nashville, I had to imagine that if a specific New Orleans welcome sign existed it would have read, “Welcome to the Adult Playground.” Minus the casinos and pool parties, New Orleans falls just short of being a miniature Vegas. Actually, it so closely resembled an alumni weekend in Isla Vista that Evan and I had to catch ourselves from calling Bourbon St. Del Playa.
Our second night there we made it a goal to try to famous Hand Grenade. We were going to hop into a bar to order one when we came across a kiosk that sold to-go drinks. This is when we learned of practically the only law in New Orleans. You can’t drink from glass or bottles in the street, but plastic is fair game.
What really amazed me about New Orleans was how much things don’t really change. Neither of us had been asked for IDs since we started our trip. In New Orleans, however, we were practically the youngest people of age in the entire area. We got use to pulling out our IDs to prove our age as we watched large groups of middle aged people stumble out of the bars and pass out on the streets while their friends got water for them. Evan and I were sad to graduate from college and feel as though we had to grow up and welcome the real world. New Orleans gave a glimmer of hope that just maybe, for one vacation a year, we can still behave as if we’re college freshman.
After New Orleans, Evan and I headed to Dallas, Texas to spend some time with a friend of ours from high school. Our friend, Peter, had just moved to the area and insisted he knew just as much about his town as we did. We chose to test this theory by having him direct us around Dallas during rush hour, a decision that resulted in a 9 p.m dinner and a burning desire for a drink. Before we got on the road to head back, though, we stopped in at a small coffee shop called Full City Rooster.
When we rounded the corner, two men were standing outside and the shop appeared to be closed. He looked at us and asked us if we were coming for coffee and when we said yes, without even a moment’s hesitation, he opened the door and insisted we come in.
The owner who had opened up for us worked with his wife and one apprentice hand roasting coffee in the back of their store. They had only been open for seven months and since the city of Dallas requires all restaurants to have extremely expensive grease traps, they decided to give away all of their drinks on a donation basis only. You could tell he really had a passion for coffee and his products, and we were really blown away by his incredible customer service. After making us drinks, he sat down and said he wanted to hear more about our trip and Evan’s home roaster. He was incredibly genuine and interesting to talk to and his shop felt more like the living room of an old friend then a store in downtown Dallas. Right after we walked in, a group of four men came in also and he very happily made them drinks and chatted with them. I’ve never been inside a restaurant or café where the workers will willingly go out of their way to help others, especially when they are already closed.
Now we’re in Denver, fortunately during the International Gun Convention! Next we’ll be heading more West and camping along the way. Any suggestions of what to see?