Just Visiting: Old Town Albuquerque

I had my right side Total Hip Replacement surgery on August 30, 2016. It’s amazing, this absence of pain. It, the pain, becomes such an integral part of existance that when you wake up from anesthesia and it’s gone, you’re momentarily confused.

Nevertheless, it’s awesome.

Except for the restrictions.

No bending. No bending while standing, no bending while sitting, so bending past 90 degrees. That means you use a three foot shoe horn to put on your shoes, and get someone else to tie them if there are laces, or you work out something else. You use a special contraption to put on your socks. You do not bend over to wash your feet and legs when you’ve been given permission to shower. No sleeping on your surgery side, and if you sleep on the other side, put a pillow between your legs.

And no driving.

Anyone who knows me, knows “no driving” and “MzSusanB” are mutually exclusive terms but I followed doctor’s orders.

Dr. Surgeon cleared me to drive again three weeks after surgery, on a Tuesday. The next morning I was on the road. First I wanted to see my mother in Atlanta, then I wanted to go to Myrtle Beach. Then, on the road to Myrtle Beach, I turned around and headed for Sedona, and ended up in Albuquerque.

No longer tied to my wheelchair, I was using a two wheeled walker to get around, so accessibility was still needed. Old Town ABQ is not for the faint of heart, as the sidewalks are brick, so the going is bumpy. The old buildings that make up the square often have narrow doorways, and the shops themselves are difficult to negotiate because they’re small and have steps in awkward places.

If you use a manual or motorized wheelchair or scooter, use caution.

But the air is clear and the colors vivid and I fell in love with the area.

 

 

 

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Just Visiting: New Orleans, LA

BlitzTours is what I’m gonna call my business when I open it: It will cater solely to those of us who suffer from RoadTrip-itis.

The criteria: Where can you go, how fast can you get there, how cheaply can you overnight, and what can you see?

Google Maps sez that from St. Louis, New Orleans is a mere ten hours straight down I-55.

Piece. O. Cake.

(Except that the roads in Northern Mississippi suck-with-a-capital-S, and they have some of the dullest scenery in early March.) Also, no matter what your GPS says, do not take the Huey Long Bridge, not even on a bet (altho’ in this case, I suspect Gloria, my GPS, was just pissed because we wouldn’t go to NOLa via Atlanta.)

ClifNotes version: Drive all day Thursday. Arrive at TravelLodge, Harvey, Louisiana. Sleep. Get up. Find beignets & coffee, wander around, take riverboat tour of the harbor. Take pictures. Lots of pictures. Sleep, go home.

Highlights: Harbor tour aboard the riverboat Natchez (http://mishaburnett.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/there-and-back-again-2/). Dinner at Voodoo BBQ. Breakfast at the Clover Diner.

voodoo269I’m not a big barbecue person — I don’t like the strong smoke taste that sticks to the back of my throat, and St. Louis sauces are way too sweet for me, but Voodoo BBQ was awesome. I had the brisket, which was moist and tender and not heavily smoked. Their sauces (there were three on the table) were more vinegar based, which I thought gave the sauces the right zing! to complement the meat. Voodoo also seems to be a small local chain, just three locations, I think, so all the folks there seemed to be locals too.

Would I go back there? In a New York minute with time to spare. Do I want one here in St. Louis? Hell, yes!

The Clover Diner: what can I say?

The Clover has twelve stools at the counter and six tables (with aluminum chairs — mmmmm retro goodness!), pink tiles and a phenomenal jukebox. When we walked in, the History Channel was showing something Viking and violent, and Culture Club was singing “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?”

Hmmmmm surreal much?

 

IMG_9181 IMG_9186The Clover is a classic old-school diner and the grease on the ceiling tiles attest to it. The food is first rate.  The omelette was amazingly high and fluffy and the grits (my true defining component) were perfect: thick enough the spoon stood up, but soft enough that the spoon eventually fell over. We were also jukebox serenaded by Cher and Abba (as if it could be anything else). The Clover is at the corner of Dumaine & Bourbon, and it is definitely a neighborhood place.

Despite the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, New Orleans is a vibrant city with great gobs of new construction. The French Quarter is eternal, and while everyone knows about the public drinking at night, I find that I love places before they put on their tourist masks.

The French Quarter is still a neighborhood. People have apartments there, and go to the laundry-mat, and clean the streets. The seven A.M. French Quarter is not something most tourists seek out, but I did (dragging poor Misha with me), and that’s where you find the true heart of the area.

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The Need for Sea

A couple of weeks ago, I got  a hard Yearning to hit the road again, and not just with a day-trip either.

While I love the desert, and want to go again, Roadtrip-itis requires money. I can’t bring myself to crowd-source the funding required to hit the road, photograph and blog so I limit myself to day-trips around the St. Louis Metro area, such as historical re-enactments or museums.

Until, that is, the Yearning hit, and I realized I needed to go to the ocean.

Looking back on my exif data on the photos on Flickr, I realized that I haven’t seen or smelled the Atlantic Ocean in years, maybe even as far back as 2005.

I was born in Brooklyn, NY. Summers meant heading out to Jones Beach out in the Island to get the sand between your toes and crisp the skin on your shoulders. One of my earliest scent-memories is of Coppertone suntan lotion.

I miss the sound of the surf. I miss the spray of the waves.

I miss the steel-grey waters of the Atlantic.

So we’re hitting the road for this holiday: Fifteen hours of driving and we’ll be in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and then back again. I want — and I need — the exhileration of hard driving.

Time to recharge my batteries.

 

 

(Did you know that if you click on the photos in the right column, it will take you to my Flickr page? Prints are available — just ask!)