An Amazing Coast to Coast Road Trip

Two-stepping at a honky-tonk, partying in New Orleans, sailing on the Mississippi, and eating the most fabulous Southern food. Who knew we’d have such an Amazing Coast to Coast Road Trip?


My quest to be warm in winter — my Endless Summer — has us scrambling all over the globe when Fall comes. This year we decided to go across the USA to Florida. Maybe even go down to Latin America and enjoy the weather there. But first we had a lot of fun to squeeze out of the 5500 miles we traveled along the way.

Our first delightful experience after leaving San Francisco was the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This had long been on Phil’s bucket list. Another place on his list was Carlsbad Caverns so we went there, too. We were so fascinated by the caverns that we headed over to Sonora Caverns just across the Texas border. That’s were we got our first piece of travel advice from some Texas motorcycle riders.

Balloon Fiesta Albuquerque

These folks are ready for lift-off at the Balloon Fiesta

Balloon Fiesta Albuquerque

Fire in the belly at the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque

Giant Dome in Carlsbad Caverns

Giant Dome in Carlsbad Caverns is one of the largest stalagmites in the cave

Caverns in Sonora Texas

Sonora Caverns in Texas is a “living” cave. It’s still growing while Carlsbad is finished


“Where can we hear some good music in your town?” I asked the group of bikers from Austin, Texas. “Open any door,” was the understated reply from one of them.

That statement was full of punch — Austin abounds with music. We two-stepped around the dance floor in a famous old honky-tonk, sang on stage at a gospel brunch, and saw Willie Nelson perform in a church. Our road trip through the South was off to a terrific start.

halloween in n’awlins

In what wild town would you like to celebrate Halloween? We had the good fortune to be in New Orleans where it’s crazy most all the time and especially on Halloween. They love parades in that town. We saw a parade with a bride in her wedding dress, a funeral parade with the brass band playing “When The Saints Go Marching In” and, of course, a crazy parade for Halloween. On Bourbon Street you can have open containers of alcohol on the street so that area was good for watching wild antics of all kinds of people. After viewing the goings-on there, we made our way the few blocks over to milder Frenchmen Street to hear some terrific music.

Oysters, bread pudding, pralines, gumbo, fried chicken, po’boy and the famous muffaletto – the food in N’awlins was over the top and we were over the top in how much we ate!

One of my favorite places was the famous Creole restaurant Dookie Chase. The food was fabulous as was its history as a meeting place for music and entertainment, civil rights and culture in New Orleans. Both George W. Bush and Barack Obama have frequented this family run restaurant. Our waitperson regaled us with the tale of how the entire neighborhood was cordoned off for Obama’s visit. They say Dookie Chase taught Julia Child how to fry chicken. Theirs was yummy!

We loved walking around in the above-ground – haunted, some people say – cemeteries in New Orleans, touring grand old mansions, and sailing down the Mighty Mississippi on the last remaining paddle steamboat while listening to an old-timey jazz band.

The governor and ribs in Mississippi

On our way to Memphis, we stopped in Jackson, Mississippi on a day the Governor’s Mansion was open for visitors. On a delightful tour, we learned the history of this mansion. It is the second oldest continuously occupied Governor’s Mansion in the U.S. and is a National Historic Landmark. Said to be one of the finest surviving examples of the Greek Revival style in our country, it was refurbished by the architect and designer to the White House, Edward Vason Jones.

We weren’t allowed to take photos inside (why do they do that?) but I did get myself a handful of cocktail napkins with the Mississippi State Seal. I am using them when serving my Kentucky Bourbon, straight from the distillery, which I will tell you all about in my next episode of

Governor's Mansion in Jackson Mississippi

The Mississippi Governor’s Mansion was open for a tour

State Seal of Mississippi

The Mississippi State Seal on my souvenir cocktail napkins

It was the massive slab of ribs in Jackson that made Phil happy. I loved the fried green tomatoes and collard greens – true local food. I’d say they are the best I have ever eaten and this Southern girl claims to be an authority in that department!

To be continued….

Thank you for reading the first installment of the tale about our Amazing Coast to Coast Road Trip. Please stay tuned for the upcoming segments which I will finish soon. It’s just that I’m having so much fun these days that it’s hard to stop long enough to write it down! I hope you’re enjoying my story and that you will leave me a reply below. I would love to hear your comments.

13 responses to “An Amazing Coast to Coast Road Trip”

  1. Linda says:

    Always love hearing about your adventures, critch and I did similar rout one spring and this brought back many memories, thanks. Linda

  2. Diane says:

    Always enjoy hearing ’bout your travels….and, The Food!
    How do you stay so-o trim & fit ?
    Esp. in New’Arlins! ;*)!
    Keep the blogs comin’; they’re inspiring!

    • CarolSue says:

      Thanks for your comment, Little Darlin. I especially like it that you think I stay trim. Aaarg – it’s hard work. But as a special friend (you) once said, “The second bite tastes just like the first one.” So sometimes I can actually forego the 2nd (or, more likely, 3rd or 4th) bite. Thanks for your wisdom and continued love and support. You are very special to me!

  3. lisa says:

    Glad to see all of your adventures! Enjoy!

  4. Do you get my first message?
    I joined in with a new company, that is Not for Profit to help train pharmacists about detecting and hopefully preventing suicides in the future.

    Pete Hueseman, R.Ph., P.D.

    P.S. My first message was:
    CarolSue and Phil:
    Great trip, wish my wife liked to travel longer than 10 days at a time and do something similar. Since she doesn’t we are going to do similar things over the next few years as mini trips. Our interest is seeing and doing more things in our country, the USA, for some states and things neither of us has done as we grew up, had jobs and etc.
    Happy New Year!
    Pete Hueseman, R.Ph., P.D. (cell- 314-517-8708)

    • CarolSue says:

      Pete, I figure there are many ways to travel. Your way works, too. Not everyone can live without a “sticks-and-bricks” home. I’m surprised how much we like it. Matter of fact, Phil dragged me to an RV place to look at a newer, incredibly luxurious RV yesterday – our current idea of a “home”. Of course, we’re not buying now. No need when we are going to Europe for 7 months! At this time home for us is where we are for the night! Thanks for your comment. Carol

  5. Do you get my first message?
    I joined in with a new company, that is Not for Profit to help train pharmacists about detecting and hopefully preventing suicides in the future.

    Pete Hueseman, R.Ph., P.D.

    • CarolSue says:

      Good to hear from you, Pete. I did not get the first message, unfortunately. Your new position sounds terrific – good work. Thanks for reading my blog post. More to come soon….Best, CarolSue

  6. Vickie Lambe says:

    CarolSue & Phil: Enjoyed reading about your travels! Donnie & I wished that we could join you guys! It seems that you two are fullfilling your “bucket lists”. Keep it up! Enjoy life together….life is too short to set at home all the time!! Donnie & I are getting ready to go to Sunset Beach for a few days. That’s our “pleasure trip and bucket list” for right now!! It is suppose to be 10 degrees in Greensboro in the morning! Another good reason to go to the beach!! Stay safe and I hope to see you both back in NC before I’m too old to keep up with y’all!!

    Love Ya Both!! Your Cousins….Donnie and Vickie Lambe

    • CarolSue says:

      Good to hear from you, Vickie, and it was good to see you when we came through Greensboro. Loved the fruitcake you gave us – we ordered more to send to family! You and your sisters are a trip! So glad you are my cousins. Love to all of you.

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