TRAVELS WITH GREASE AND PADDLE
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Coast to Coast
We left Yuma with a new rear differential and camped in Las Cruces. Slim pickins' on grease in El Paso. It was blowing like snot in the desert. Beautiful, windy ride across west Texas to Austin under a big orange moon, past little central Texas towns festooned with thousand of strands of white lights.
Found our old friend, the fiddler Ben Swan, in Austin, and returned to the Continental Club to see Haybale, a great band featuring Merle Haggard's guitarist. Hit up a jazz club downtown before bed.
Easy Austin grease fill-up and north to the town of West, and their Czech stuffed pastries. The kolaches tasted good, but made a solid mass in one's stomach. North some more towards Arkansas, but news of an ice storm steers us east toward Shreveport instead. The road trip arrives at Herby K's, a cajun shack in the abandoned industrial part of town. It glowed like a campfire when we turned down a quiet street, and was better than we hoped. Great cajun food, Abita, internet, fine grease, and friendly people. An idea was hatched to make the most of the detour and paddle Caddo Lake, on my radar since a few years ago, when OK WFR Dave showed photos of deep, dark cypress groves a few hours west of Dallas.
It was a cold and beautiful sunrise paddle through the swamp and a huge push to Bessemer, Al, for a welcome feed at Bob Sykes' BBQ. We drove through a rainstorm and camped in Ft. Payne at the edge of a field. Chicken's night terrors continue, as he wakes up shouting that I am plotting to kill him. He wakes up yelling three or four times a night.
Early morning grease score at a Japanese restaurant in Chattanooga for the big push to DC. Quick stop at Dude's Drive-In in Christiansburg, VA, along the way up the Blue Ridge.
Johnny heralds our arrival in DC with a bunch of friends and jugs of mead.