Thursday, September 20, 2012

Road Tripping-- Part 1.

Almost impossible to believe, but it was almost two whole weeks ago that I flew to Dallas to drive back to NC with Donny.  My dad drove me to the airport where I boarded a plane that was clearly not built recently...

The flight felt like it took FOREVER (which did at least give me a chance to read 250+ pages in my book), but I finally landed at Love Field, where the lovely Julie picked me up. We drove to Taco Cabana, where we found with Donny with our transportation for the next 72 hours along with his mom and a bunch of our other friends.  

Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to stick around and hang out for too long because we still had a 3+ hour drive ahead of us Friday night to Shreveport, LA.  So, we bid farewell to our Texas peeps (minus Monica and Rachel, who couldn't be bothered to join us went to Memphis to visit Elvis instead...) and hit the road.  We got to Shreveport at almost midnight, where we promptly checked into the hotel and went to SLEEP.  

Saturday got a little more interesting.  We got up early and made a quick stop (and by quick, I mean maybe 15 minutes) at the Horseshoe casino on the river.  We went in with $20 and left with $0.04, so clearly we aren't making a career change to professional gamblers.

The Million Dollar Wall

I really wanted to gamble on a riverboat.  The Horseshoe was one that was suggested to us.  However, it is NOT a riverboat.  You can see in this picture that it's on the water, but it's NOT a boat.  It's permanently attached to the building.  Oh well-- I guess it was close enough.

Our original itinerary had us taking our sweet time on Saturday to get to Birmingham (where we had a reservation for Saturday night).  We were going to stop in Vicksburg, MS, Jackson, MS, and Tuscaloosa, AL and wander around for a bit.  Then Sunday we were going to go to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute museum, which doesn't open until 1pm on Sundays, before coming home.  However, we got out of Shreveport more than an hour earlier than I had planned, and the weather was rainy and dreary.  Plus, we didn't really want to stick around in Birmingham that long on Sunday since it would put us getting home after midnight.  So, we basically threw out my entire itinerary for the weekend and were in a hurry to get to get to Birmingham with time to before the museum closed at 5 on Saturday so we didn't have to stay in Birmingham all day on Sunday.

We did still stop briefly in Vicksburg, MS at the Mississippi River.  It was cool to see and to cross such a huge American landmark.

After that, we were pretty much running for Birmingham.  We wanted to get there by 4:15 or 4:30 so we could actually spend some time in the museum.   We parked outside the museum about 4:40.  The lady at the ticket window didn't particularly want to let us in at all.  But she went to ask someone and when she came back asked if we had a "donation."  So, we gave her some cash and went in.

The security guard inside was great and told us a lot about the place and life in Birmingham during the movement.  We had to basically run through the museum, which was disappointing because what we did get to see was amazing.   

After we left the museum, we walked across the street to 16th Street Baptist Church, which was bombed in 1963.  The church now has been restored and looks beautiful.  

Across the street from both the church and the museum is the Kelly Ingram Park.  There's a lot of civil rights memorials, fountains, plaques, etc.  So, we walked over there to look around and were almost immediately approached by a man who wanted to be our "tour guide" through the park and tell us about his experiences in the movement.  He appeared to be homeless, and Donny said he smelled alcohol.  (I couldn't say myself since he put himself between the man and me to keep him away from me.)  Once we told this guy that we didn't have any cash, only credit cards, he quickly found some other people to talk to.

We considered driving all the way to Atlanta on Saturday night, but since our reservation was non-refundable, we had to stick around.  Our reservation was through a website ( that is like a marketplace for people who want to rent out their apartments, entire homes, or empty rooms in their home.  I hadn't been able to find a cheap regular hotel in Birmingham (which is baffling to me after having been there...), so we found a room in a woman's house in a nice neighborhood for a good price.  So, we stayed at her place-- her sister and brother in law were there when we got there.  They were super nice and, as it turned out, were from NC too!  After a very tiring day, it wasn't long after getting to the house that we decided to hit the hay...


  1. Hey we have a Horseshoe in Cleveland, too :) I'm totally not a gambler and never have won anything there lol. Looks like such a fun adventure you guys went on, can't wait to read more!!

  2. What an awesome adventure! And I just chuckled that you went to Taco C as one of the first things you did when arriving in Dallas. :) What a bummer that casino really wasn't a river boat!

  3. What a fun road trip! That million dollar wall is sweet! Too bad about the river boat casino!