Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Swamp tour and Cities of the dead....Spooky or something

Ok..so this is just going to be mainly Photo's..Spent the past couple of days Wading through swamps, Wrestling Alligators for dinner and sneaking through Vampire infested Cemeteries to get these..What do you want?....Blood!

More swamp


Marsh- This one was particularly hard to find...4 miles of foot melting swamp..but you don't care..ingrates! (Joss says that your not ingrates you're all lovely people.....sorry)




.......................................................................................................Proper tasty too!!

Urmmm..is it me but doing my laundry doen't usually invlove seeing a band, whilst being served beers and burgers?

Well after all of that...Lego man and Crabby were hungry too.. they weren't impressed with our deep fried gator ..so CHEEZ-IT po' boys it was..
Egg-o-metre: 2 days of sunny chilled minus 3-4...rising briefly when saw the lack of Reeses i the fridge

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Bourbon St and the Subsiquent hangover

As the sun (yep your read right) set on a beautiful day here in New Orleans .We got oursleves ready to head out into the French Quarter and specifically Bourbon St to experience what this city is best known for .....hedonism.

It was all a bit much even at 10pm when we first arrived and Joss really needed to GO!...so we jumped into the first bar with Live music...turned out to be a great choice. Fritzel's was the place and the band playing last night were amazing..Uncle Barry on the banjo left Mark in Awe of his talent. Infact it was quite unnerving how much awe!!..They were playing the standard New Orleans Jazz that this city is known for but they did it better than we have seen so far.
The beer was equally great (Abita amber the local brew)and the atmosphere was amazing. .mainly due to the group of Germans giving it some on a table right by the bar.. making sure everyone was letting loose.

Bourbon St. Is the only place we have visited where Street drinking is not only allowed but encouraged. With every bar having a "Take Out" booth..And everyone walking around had, at least, one HUGE plastic glass of assorted Booze..The most common being the Hand Grenade..served up in a Bright Green handgrenade shaped beaker.
This drink scared us so much that we steered clear opting for a Hurricane instead..this beverage was equally scary.. but much less green..!

The main dragg is closed to traffic all weekend...But no-one seemed to notice the irony in this sign..(no pd eh!!..) and the whole place acts like it too!
After several bars listening to live music ranging from Jazz to Motown we eventually gave in to the urge to hear "beats" and ended up in a hazy place playing hip hop and booty bass. Where we saw some dancing normaly only seen in the rudest of hip-hop videos.
It was going off!!!!
After deciding to stay on the shorts we ordered a "medium" Rum and Coke..This round was crippling..not only on the wallet but phisically too. There was at least a quater bottle of rum in each glass..needless to say this is why the photo's are a little blurry..but adds to the whole feel of the street..

Gotta say this is the most racially integrated town we have encountered so far. Black and White all enjoying being out on the town..which goes to show..so long as there is Booze,Music and Titties...the human race will see through it's prejudice.
Well done New Orleans for cracking this major issue which seems to be rife thoughout the rest of the country where integration is shunned by both sides.
Egg - o - meter: -8 for a blinding evening..without slaps ot the face by wierdos..lowering this morning however to a hungover but still minus -3

Friday, December 18, 2009


Shortly after our last update it became all hands to the pumps..quite litterally as the van started to leak due to the extreme amount of precipitation it had to deal with ( poor Chevy was sinking)..we bailed out, at a conservative guess, 30L of water using anything to hand. Leaving us one pan short of a full meal..cooking was tricky too. This was only the first sign of what was to come..RAIN!!!!!!!!
After going to the Park's bar the previous night. We needed to get some grub to soak up the booze so headed into town for the local delicacy Po' Boy's..Basically a massive sloppy sandwich. we elected the Meatball option..Hmmm messy! Oh was 22degrees and foggy..kinda like walking through the other specialtiy food.. Gumbo! .....Hmmm comfortable.

The French Quarter is well good innit..Bands in every bar and every street corner. If there isn't a band the buildings also emmit music..just to fill the void..
It's unlike any other place we've been..well there's history here for a start..and while there is tackiness it's of a different style..less corporate more grubby..we like it!!
To explain a little...While the bands still play for tips. You don't need to take out a mortgage to drink..everything is cheap..It has become our Mecca.
Stopped for a beer and to check out the below band..to find that Nicholas was on the drums...Little git said he didn't want to come..and if we knew he could play the drums like that.. Joss would have been out on his ear ages ago..Although he wasn't singing so don't kow weather we have a new Phil Collins on our hands or not.

Ok. So, for most people, the view from our van would not be all that attractive..but for the Clones it's Amaze-a-tron! Industry..and falling down industry at that.

New Orleans is a massive contradiction..The whole place was destroyed 5 years ago and the city centre has been completely rebuilt..Get a block out of this area and it's like stepping into the Rio slums..The roads are potholed and in parts not there at all. Entire neighbourhoods still boarded up with no roofs. Quite odd that the town has been hung out to dry by it's own country, to deal with it themselves..Oh it had flooded 14inches the previous night..again!
But due to the this and the resillience of the people is what gives this place it;'s charm, characterand care free vibe.
It was partly that and partly the fact that the rest of the USA is one gigantic ice block. That we decided to upgrade from van trash to trailer trash until at least boxingday..!!
Check out our new Gaff!
It has been a welcome relief to be warm, out of the weather and have some space to do some tunes and that.
We've also become part of the Ponchartrain Landing (RV park) community .. Meeting loads of locals who have recommended some great places to go..Unfortunately, the museum, like most of the city, was closed Monday so no pics.. so here's a couple of crazy bridges we have crossed.

So after a couple of days or so holed up escaping from the wetness making tunes, and from a recomendation from our new mate noal <> we decided to go check out some real new orleans nightlife. we headed for Vaughns bar , in bywater, for Kermit Ruffins weekly jazzy shindig. Complete with free red beans and rice and cheap beer...

As soon as we saw the sign we felt comfortable that we were finally free of the local feline trade!!!
This little shack in the middle of a packed residential area was a nice mix of locals and out of towners like ourselves grooving to the heady sounds of kermit and his b-b-q swingers. The more drunk they got the better it became.

Much hilarity ensued as we got into the spirit of things , making friends with crazy tash wearing
canadians, his wife included!
Whilst trying to communicate with a particularly hammered local lass we were both slapped in the face for use of extreme sarcasm in the presence of an american, we now are getting a handle on were the line is!!! always good to cross it though......
Still chucking it down when we left our journey was once again thwarted by a train driving through someones back yard.......no joke, no barriers either. the locals , having not seen the adverts, tended to ignore the flashing lights, the bell and the oncoming train, seemed to like playing chicken and cross regardless. mark on the other hand shat himself untill the tracks were clear and the lights had ceased. Got a good photo though....

Off out this evening to experience a friday night on the aptly named Bourbon st in the french quarter where every other building is a bar, restaurant or strip club!!! further updates when we sober up.

egg rating for the week: from a grumbling, soggy +2 at the start of the week. Improving to a socialable -5 last night.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

1800 miles,8 States in 8 days..oh and one new Alternator

Florida, Georgia,South Carolina (SC) , North Carolina (NC), Tennesee,Alabama,Mississippi,Louisiana.

So we finally left Florida..As you can see , our departure was commemorated by a storm which did not let up all the way through Georgia ( nice people by the way) until South Carolina which was our first night stop in the van. Old "Chevy Cheeze-it" (as the van has been named for it's stirling work getting us well on our way) was quite a warm bed for the night and Joss grew particulary fond of the van floor inbetween the chairs as no sooner had his head hit the pillow did the snoring occur..(sorry... heavy breathing !!)

The ext moring we were greeted by gorgeous sunshine if not the temperatures we had expected! and so decided to take the Scenic route following the Savannah River all the way up to Franklin (NC) where we were to stay with family friends Virinder and Carolyn on the Sunday.

Lego man and Crabby did enjoy the ride as we passed through many small villages and towns .At last some vistas and in the distace some rolling hills which were the first real signs of things to come.
Our Second night we rocked up to the Calhoun Falls National Park around 5 pm to get a campsite for the night.
The Park Warden was so agast at our willingness to camp (on the coldest night she had seen up there in years) she gave us the spot for free telling us that we should leave before ayone noticed in the morning.
Little did we know how cold it would be..
It was all worth it though when we woke up to the foggy and slightly etheral Richard B. Russell Lake sprawling out infront of us with it's tree lined shores and glassy stillness.

Without further Brass monkeys (yes it was cold and we'll keep reminding you of how cold as time goes on..what of it..you don't know coz you weren't there!!!!!) we climbed aboard old Chevy and hit the road to Walhalla to cross the first mountain pass to Franklin.

Crabby and Lego man decided to stop ad take in the view ....but what a shock when the van wouldn't start again!!!!!
So there we were half way up the mountain with no jump leads (these were supposed to be in the battery pack we bought in Florida!!!) no mobile phone and no Alternator.
Flagging down cars to help was not a problem . Finding one with Jump leads was.
Evetually as man of the woods (complete with several guns, ammo and dogs) came to our rescue.
without the boring commentary got us to the top of the mountain only 20 miles from our final destination.
What a bloke!!! never did tell us his name tho...(spooky)
Having contacted Virinder we waited whilst the cavalry arrived to tow us down to Franklin.
Virinder and Carolyn ensured we had showers, food (including a Bear meat and rice dish uber tasty BTW) and warm beds until we got the van back on the road.
If we could have wished for anywhere in the world to be stranded it would be Franklin..it's beautiful. in the foot hills of the Great Smokey Mountains surrounded by forests and rolling hills. With a distinct lack of the tackiness on wonton display in other areas we have been and will experience.
We extend great thanks to all who helped us again through this tricky time.

Whilst waiting for the van we were able to head off into the hills for a short jaunt into the NC countryside..encountering numerous waterfalls and great scenery as well as nice burgers and freindly folk.

Our next leg would take us over the Smokey Mountain into Tennesee and on to Nashville where we hoped to get a handle on the music and culture that made this areas name.

After the amazing sights following the Newfound gap over the Smokeys we decended into what can only be described as Blackpool-by-Hill..How can NC get it so right and Tennesee fall so short of the mark..the road through Gatlinberg and Pidgeon Forge was lined by Naff theme parks (cheers Dolly) and more malls than we had seen since Florida..Once again we were blocked by the weather as we had intended to check out Cades Cove which looked realy nice. But the road up there was closed...Instead of hanging around in this hellish place we put the foot down and did not stop until Nashville that evening.

Sadly another strong dissapointment. Unless you wanted to buy 2 for 1 cowboy boots or a stetson to camoflage you for your one night out in country musicville..there were ot many options...but to get hideously drunk and laugh at "city of broken dreams" (Joss dec 2009)...we did well at the latter.. After eventually finding a bar with an average age of less than 60 and minus the young country singer pimping herself out for $2 tips from middle aged men (we did feel quite dirty..infact should really have gone to the titty bar the taxi driver recommended to feel that wrong). We discovered PBR....DO NOT DRINK THIS BEER...Whilst it was the cheapest thing we could find it brought on sever nausia and a headache like only Stella can deliver..

Over our last of many drinks we met Tom.. a local..ish with a lot to say. including the classic.
"I try not be a racist", "Guatamala's great ..I bought my wife there" and finally.."If your going to Mexico get a gun and be prepared to use it"..If by gun he means spud gun. I'm all for it, but Joss says I missed the point.

Nursing the hangovers from hell and missng the fact we could have had an extra hour in bed due to the timeline we crossed we made the executive decision to get the hell outta Nashville by the quietist road we could find..The Natchez Trace Parkway..Hmmm..Lush...
And that is the problem with Tennesee..gorgeous countryside with Naff indistinct towns.
The Natchez Trace Pkwy is a crazy road, winding 435 miles south through Alabama (if very briefly) to Natchez Mississippi.
No-one uses it..it's slow so perfect hangover material and looks great..More trees that we have ever seen.
As it is so slow we took 2 days over it.. stopping in Tupelo Mississpi (still unbale to camp due to the freak COLD weather) ..We were very surprised to discover that this was the town where Elvis was born..
Still .Great Fried Chicken and biscuits (first of our trip). We were treated like local celebrities as all the kitchen staff came out to oggle the first white guys to enter there establishment since the KKK..

After completing the entire length of the Natchez Trace Pkwy. We had a meeting by the Banks of the Mississppi to decide our next move...it was still too cold to camp and our budget doesn't stretch to a new hotel every evening.
After checking the all Knowing BBC weather website..we were still no closer to a decision as the entire USA is under a cloud of Cold front and Storms..What were we to do?
Nothing for it..New Orleans only 150 miles.!!
Even if it was going to be cruddy weather the temperatures meant we could stay in the Van.
The heavens opened just before we got to Baton Rouge (Above) which looks crazy..Oil refineries and industry as far as we could see. ..if the weather improves we might go check it out properly.
The weather finally broke as we entered New Orleans..A quick scoot around the French Quater set our minds at rest that this was a good place to be and we set about finding a place to park up for the night.
After several attempts to find a sutable spot (the first few efforst we thwarted by gangs of nogoodnicks hanging around) we eventually found a nice little spot on a quiet residential street where we holed up for the night..really good nights sleep too.
This morning we had the impetus to get things sorted so set about trying to find a weeks accommodation for a reasonable price..again this was fruitless until came across an RV park.we have power, showers,toilets and a shuttle bus which will take us into town..so for the next week here we are New Orleans..will update more as we get it.
Our only worries at the moment are: Will we be washed away by the Tropical Thunderstom we are writting this in .and. How did Crabby and Lego man find the Gideons and why do they look so happy about it..?!
Egg-o-meter: swinging wildly from plus to minus in moments with the weather conditions.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What we been up too and woo, we got wheels.

okay so we've been lame and not updating this so often, but hey its been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. We visited miami last week and it rained , marvelous. Sat outside the hard rock cafe drinking beers and watching a parade of sterotypes having there pictures taken as if it was a national monument or vercase's house, fact.
Huge thanks to Bonnie and Jeff for their hospitality and guidance.

Unable to take pictures of the beautiful south beach , due to thunderstorms and it looking more like an afternoon in Eastbourne, which was a shame.As it's all rather impressive and charming down there.
Last Thursday Joss expierenced his first full Thanksgiving dinner , and boy what a feast it was! 2 turkeys(one deep fried) , a ham, and all the trimmings including a choice apple, cherry or pumkin pie for desert. much fun was had and we all ate far too much, brill!
After such a warm welcome at Ila and Steve's it seemed rude not to leave Jon and Leslie to a few days well earned rest from the Clones and move in to Cousin Ila's for a while.
It was the first time Mark had spent any real time with his cousisn's so it was great to all hang out drinking beers, playing guitar and ofcourse stting down to more food!! (got to look after to food babies they're growing)
Ok .. to the issue at hand the transport.
We spent litteraly days tring to get this RV up and runing ad the costs were mounting uncontrolably. Something had to change.
We got up on line and after a day of looking evetually found our ride. As you can see it's Outstanding and super Scooby-Doo!!
The van came at a snap of $800 although making it road worthy a little more (thanks Harrie and Michael). Well worth it though. Huge thanks go out to Steve and Ila for not only putting a roof over our heads and dealing with minus egg status but helping us BIG time in getting to the stage that we can finally leave Florida.
Love you all !!!
So tomorrow we Cheeze-it out of the state. Hopeing to get to South Carolina by sunset.
this might be the last update for a few days as we are off into the sticks of the Carolina's and Tennesee but be sure that we will be updating you all on our return to civilisation on all things egg and non egg related.
Egg-o-Meter: Swinging violently but leveling off over the past few hours to an expectant -2/-3