Our journey begins in the South. As we leave Miami behind we are more excited for what lies ahead than the reality of leaving; as we turn in the keys to our landlord and say our goodbyes to all of our friends. I am sure we will crave our "home", a small flat in South Beach surrounded by palm trees and Pitbull songs echoing on from Ocean Drive. But for now we are ready to begin this adventure starting off in Alabama.
You don't realize how big a state is until you have to drive through it. Well guess what Florida? You are never ending. After 9 hours of driving we finally made it to Mobile, Alabama; where the oyster po'boys are flowing and the streets have these weird yield signs on to oncoming traffic. By the time we arrive to our motel its late evening and we are exhausted. We check in and head to our room, looking forward to a warm shower and laying our heads to rest. To our dismay, room 301 greeted us with cracked walls, cigarette holes in the sheets, a stained bathroom tub, and a happy meal of french fries and nuggets in the heater vent. This was definitely not the idea of southern comfort we had in mind. We luckily get our money back and set off to another motel down the street (which was like the Ritz Carlton compared to our previous shack).
Our first morning in Alabama leads us to a railroad cart turned diner and a hike through Elberta, searching for dinosaurs in the woods. Yes, you read correctly. An "artist" by the name of Mark Cline, built dinosaurs out of fiberglass and dispersed them through the Elberta forest. So on you're leisurely hike you can expect to find a t-rex and a brontosaurus, nestled among the pine trees (which are very tall, thin, and perfectly aligned setting the vibe for Season Three of True Detective). And, in case you didn't want to make that trip all the way to the UK, you can find Stonehenge in Elberta, Alabama, known to the locals as Alabamahenge.
After our cultural enlightenment we were off to Mississippi. There isn't much to say, because unfortunately we spent our time just driving through due to our timeline (thanks again Florida). What I can mention is how friendly the people are. Grabbing a quick bite and having your male server call your husband "babe" in his thick Mississippi accent, more times than I'd call him that in a day, well thats what I call great service. And in case you ever needed to find Jesus or join a new fellowship, Mississippi is the state for you. Just like New York City with its coffee shops, churches of different denominations can be found on almost every other block, in buildings that look like storage units or wooden shacks, and in both neighborhoods and empty acres.
On to Louisiana we drove, and after several hours of bayous and swamps we parked in Shreveport at Herby-Ks. A family run restaurant/bar with a giant wall of vintage trinkets, seafood gumbo and etouffe that makes your tongue melt, and draught beers served in glasses the size of your face. I seriously had to hold mine with two hands.
The stop at Herby-Ks was well worth it but our food high was crushed after we realized we still had to drive to Paris...Texas. Don't worry there is an eiffel tower involved in this story. Ah Texas. Another state that is so big you could probably listen to the War and Peace audiobook 10 times and still be gazing out at the same bluebonnets and flat lands. So after our never ending drive we arrive late night at our chateau in Paris; the Knights Inn. Where can I begin with our "knightly" adventure? I think it started from that couple outside our room arguing for about half an hour, to our toilet sounding like a building was crashing down every time we flushed it, and back to the same fighting couple (or it could have been a different one) having a sex marathon all night, and finally ending with our door being banged on and fiddled with. It was only the heater. Every single time it turned on.
The three hours of sleep we did get, were enough to get us into Wards Diner where we gulped down the coffee, and scarfed down some eggs, bacon, and biscuits with gravy. Before heading back on the road we needed to take a stroll under the Eiffel Tower. A much smaller replica of the real one over in France with a red cowboy hat on its tip. Just in case you forgot you were in Texas. From Paris we made a pit stop in Austin to see family, and then on to Marfa we went.
Marfa is just like any other small town in west Texas except the difference is that an artist by the name of Donald Judd moved here in 1971, and turned the town into a cultural center for artists and artisans. Located on the Chihuahuan desert, you get the feel and attitude of being in a small town, but you also get a taste of hipster motels, art galleries, modern architecture, and small boutiques. Although I enjoyed all the art my true excitement lay on the one night of glamping in the dreamy El Cosmico. The only downside to our night was our faces almost freezing off in the 20 degree weather. Very well worth it. Our last stop in Texas, was a little shopping at a store, maybe you have heard of it, called Prada. Located right across the Davis Mountains and on the desert, this store is one of a kind because, well, its a piece of art. And only that.