We picked Miles up in Asheville Sunday morning after his 18th birthday celebration with his buddies at the Playboi Carti show at the Orange Peel the previous night. We got him then headed for New Orleans to spend Thanksgiving as a family with Ashe, who is now living there while attending Tulane. We drove as far as Auburn, AL, where we set up camp for the night at Chewacla State Park for our second visit. We had spent a night there, last winter, on our way home from the FL Panhandle. We had been so pleasantly surprised by the nice park and campground then that we were happy to discover it is half way between Sapphire and NOLA, making it a perfect stop over to break up the extremely long drive. We arrived at dark and were unable to get a good hike in. It would have to wait until morning. Miles set up a hammock to sleep in rather than a tent. He said, the next morning, that had been a mistake, as he had a cold, uncomfortable, sleepless night. We left the bed down in the van for him to sleep en route to New Orleans, which he much appreciated. We did hike from the campground, around the lake, and down to the waterfall and back before we got on the road. This made the puppies happy after a day of travel, the previous day, and another to come.
I started the day in Auburn and finished it at dinner at Jacques Imo’s in New Orleans with my loves. So happy! It was wonderful to see Ashe again after being apart since I moved her there in August. Thankful for Wiley, driving Happy to NOLA, so we could be together for Thanksgiving. Miles was staying with Ashe at her place, which was good for some brother-sister bonding. Tulane had given us permission to “camp” on campus, which was nice and extremely convenient. Ashe lives less than a mile from campus, but there was nowhere for us to park at her house or on her street. The first night at Tulane at our spot next to the student center was a success!
Tuesday morning, we woke early. It was cold! We got PJ’s coffee and tea on campus then took an urban hike from Tulane, through Audubon Park, to Magazine Street and back for a total of 9.9mi. It was cloudy, sometimes misty, and surprisingly cool, but a great hike nonetheless. We connected with the children later in the afternoon, hanging out at Ashe’s for a bit. We ate dinner at Dat’ Dog on Magazine St in Ashe’s neighborhood, which was yummy. I highly recommend the Crawfish Étouffée dog!
Wednesday morning we rose, got our PJ’s, then took another urban hike from Tulane, through Audubon Park, up onto the levee trail, to Butterfly Riverview Park on the Mississippi and back for a total of 7.3mi before the children woke. Wiley and I sure enjoyed our campsite at Tulane, as a home base to hike from. We met up with the children and spent a beautiful afternoon in the French Quarter. We walked through the French Market, where the children had some lunch, to Jackson Square, then down Royal Street, where we caught some good music. We had a fun time playing tourists! We ate our Thanksgiving dinner a day early at Ashe’s tiny little house. I had cooked all the food at home and brought it to NOLA, since Ashe’s place is so small and doesn’t have a kitchen. All we had to do was heat everything up. We huddled in her small space and ate our meal, which turned out great. We were together, which was all that mattered. Wouldn’t have traded it for anything. We went out for yogurt at Ashe’s favorite neighborhood yogurt shop later that evening. She loved sharing her new hometown spots with us.
Thanksgiving morning Wiley, the puppies, and I ventured out onto the desolate campus. Sadly, PJ’s was closed. We walked from Tulane to Le Madeleine at the top of St. Charles Ave. We were thrilled to find it open. It’s a favorite of mine from my Dallas days. We had a lovely breakfast outside on the patio with all the other dog families. We walked back to campus then over to Ashe’s in the afternoon. We all hopped in Ashe’s car and drove out to the very disappointing, Bayou Segnette State Park. The trails were few, short, and not maintained with road noise coming from all around. We had wanted to take a nice hike and scope out the campground for future visits. Well, the hiking was sad, the park was not scenic, and the campground disappointing, so we won’t be back. Afterward, Ashe was ready for a nap and Wiley needed a break from family time, so Miles and I went out to enjoy some, what we call, Mommy-Miles time. We went to the daiquiri bar across from Le Madeleine, which was hopping on Thanksgiving afternoon in New Orleans. People were stopping by and grabbing multiple gallon jugs of varied daiquiri flavors to take home for their feasts. It was wild! We had a drink then decided to go out for Chinese. There were only a couple of other customers at the restaurant. We had a delicious meal, some great conversation, and precious time with just the two of us. So special!
Friday morning we got Happy travel ready, Ashe brought Miles to us, we said our goodbyes, and hit the road for Chewacla. We arrived early evening after stopping at the grocery to get dogs, etc., because Miles wanted to cookout over the campfire. Sadly, we arrived after hours at the park and were unable to buy firewood from the ranger’s office, so we ate in the van. Miles asked me if he should stake down his tent. I told him not to bother for one night. Bad call. It rained and was windy, so he and his stuff got wet…He was none too thrilled. Again, we left the bed down for him to sleep on the road the following day on the trip to Sapphire. Miles definitely is not a fan of family travel where we camp with us in the van and him in a tent or hammock. He better earn the monies, so he can have a van or afford a hotel room in the future. Sorry, Bud!
I am glad I got to share New Orleans with Wiley and loved spending time with Ashe and Miles. I am the one, who enjoys this most and they all do it to humor me. They each like to spend time with me alone, but not as much all together as a group. I hope in the future when the children are older that will change. A mom can dream. I’ll take what I got and be thankful for now.