North to Alaska, Day 1 (Travel Begins)

Tuesday, March 20, 2018:

I woke lazily as I still had not adjusted to Daylight Savings Time. When I finally woke, I packed and debated what to bring due to the variance in temperatures along the trip. Narrowing things down, I was able to get all my gear together and stick everything in the car, so it would fit, Lily would fit, and have extra room.

I headed to one of my favorite customers because they were so close to my house and stopped there to give them an update. I told them I would visit before going to the Keys and that didn’t work out, so I made up for it this way. They got to meet Lily and I said a quick goodbye and headed to my former employer. As I walked in, one of my former co-workers was walking out with a server that was going to the place I just left. Lily walked in the door before me and was greeted with a scream from their front desk person. She gave me a hug and in the process of screaming, announced I was there. I said hi to a few people and avoided going upstairs because people were actually working. I parted, heading to our final destination in town.

We went to REI so I could get a Parks of America Annual Pass. I figured while on the road with no specific place in mind, it would be best to be prepared. I didn’t realize that it was backtracking to get on the road from there, but we did. Because I really didn’t have a plan, I decided to go to Georgia. On the way, I looked at my map and saw it was later in the trip and New Orleans was the second closest destination. Rerouting in mid-travel, delayed me quite a bit, as I started on 95 heading north when I could have gone 75. I added an extra two hours to my trip. I wasn’t sure how Lily was doing either as she needed water and a walk.

I stopped at a rest area and made a phone call for reservations to a place in New Orleans, and we now had a plan. When trying to make the reservations, my phone kept cutting out. I have a feeling some of the large trucks cause so much interference or have signal blockers. It took three phone calls and many requests to repeat what was said because the connection was so poor. Three-fourths of the way through, the person on the other line said it might have been his phone.

The drive up there was uneventful but windy. There were wind advisories all along the way. I was concerned about the weather at home because I kept seeing posts on Facebook hitting my screen about warnings. I called my sister and asked her to check on my house a bit sooner than she was expecting to make sure all was fine. Because I left that day, she was going there later in the week. She agreed to visit tomorrow.

We stopped a few times for Lily to walk and another water break. She slept most of the way but poked her head up a few times to see what was going on. I got pictures of some of the rest areas in each state as they were closed so I couldn’t get something to prove I was there.

On the way, I tried to listen to traveling music, took a break, and listened to a podcast I follow. Got two episodes down and was almost caught up. I tried to limit my data usage because my plan allowed for computer tethering, which I expected to use on the trip, but only if I didn’t have an unlimited plan. I figured I needed driving music, so I listened to the Baby Driver soundtrack as I pulled through Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

We finally arrived in town, well past the closing time, around 10:30 p.m. Eastern. The travel west shifted the time zone one, so my travel time seemed odd. It was 11:30 p.m. there. I followed the directions that were in the email and got to the room. Parking was around the corner, but I was able to unload everything, including the crate before I moved the car. My room was on the second floor again.

I’m a fan of a dark room and privacy and tried to adjust the blinds, but they would not turn with the adjustment bar. They only pointed so people from the courtyard could see up. I gave up on that and as I was getting ready to look for a place with food, someone approached up the stairs. It was Robin, one of the employees. She was staying in the room next to me and just got food from down the way. I was completely unfamiliar with the area and too tired to do anything. I also didn’t realize everything in New Orleans stays opened late. I opted not to eat and after putting the crate up and walking Lily, I went to sleep.

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