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  • Writer's picturevanlafaxine

week 3: cajun country, texas

day 16, louisiana:

drove into the cajun country swamp outside of new orleans. stayed at a bayou area state park that turned out to be pretty derelict, all of the trails (which have to be on boardwalks on account of the shortage of solid land) were destroyed from hurricane ida. i am only now figuring out that "cajun" is just saying "acadian" with a southern accent.

Stayed a few nights at Tikfaw State Park, a sleepy campground on the bayou in Louisiana. The first night part of our campsite flooded, so we moved sites the next day.

on the bayou

day 17, louisiana:

rainy day, tried to hike on more trails that were closed, did laundry, read a bunch of ulysses, amy took a nap. big storm rolled through, got a emergency tornado alert, spent the evening sheltering in the washroom listening to an old man from louisiana tell rambling endless stories, instant flashbacks to trying to take histories in primary care.

Apparently tornados, like hurricanes, are a common occurrence in Louisiana. When we got the alert on our phones to 'take shelter immediately' we both looked at each other...there are no basements around here, all the buildings are on stilts! We took shelter in the bathroom with two other couples - a younger pair who were also doing a road trip, and an older couple who told us things we 'wouldn't learn in college'. Cue stories about their kids flying out of the back of pickup trucks, and how 'no good deed goes unpunished'.

tornado tracks

day 18, louisiana:

got on our way to texas, drove up to northwest louisiana outside of shreveport, stayed at a deer farm, more old louisiana man stories ensued.

We stayed at our first Harvest Host and it did not disappoint! The location was a deer farm owned by a gruff but friendly old retired guy named Chip. We fed the deer some day-old bread right out of our hands! Chip invited us into his home to show off three black bear pelts he had hunted in Canada. He also shared some farm fresh eggs, which we devoured for breakfast the next morning.

day 19: shreveport to dallas

engine started making some tappy valve type noises increasing my level of concern, turned out it just needed an early oil change. stopped at buc-ee's on our way into dallas, a fan favourite texas gas station chain that is roughly the size of a canadian walmart. landed at tom's place in the evening, drank a few lone star beers.

Our first and most anticipated stop of the day was Buc-ee's!! Endless gas pumps (probably 50 at the location we visited), hot and cold food stations, various Buc-ee's branded paraphernalia (I got a chapstick lol), and strangely, a homeware section? We got so many snacks - the warm candied cinnamon pecans were to die for.

dallas is a sea of pavement. it is a braided spiderweb of 16 lane wide highways stacked 4 high, connecting an endless sea of parking lots and strip malls. the dallas fort worth metroplex has roughly the population of the greater toronto area but takes up 4x the space, and every inch of that is paved. despite the fact that this city has about fourty 401s in it, there is still traffic everywhere and driving to even the closest things takes at least 40 minutes. the driving here is also thoroughly unpleasant, everyone drives like an absolute asshole at 130 km/h with no signals (freedom), and there are accidents all over the place. it is statistically the most dangerous place to drive in america. so much of this city offends my delicate urban canadian sensibilities.

day 20: dallas

beautiful day, 20 degrees celcius, went to a local watering hole with tom, ana, and conor. drank a bunch of very texan offerings including "dressed" modelos (beer with a salt rim and a lime) and "ranch waters" (tequila, lime juice, and topo chico, a sparkling mineral water).

We took the morning to fix some things in the van, and then decided it was perfect patio weather, so we ventured to "Katy Trail Icehouse" - a bar with the biggest outdoor patio I've ever seen! It was nestled in the trees right by a walking trail. Queso is on every menu and I'm in heaven. What's not to love about hot cheese?

day 21: dallas

feeling fairly hungover. you can't really find clamato in most of america but mexicans love it for a drink called a "michelada", which is beer, tomato, lime, salt, and spices, or basically a pre-mixed beer/clamato in a can. we went for authentic texan bbq at hutchin's in frisco. got about 3.5 lbs of meat, plus sides. the brisket was super good but it turns out that the brisket i spent my childhood learning to make from a texan chef at the branch was as good as the stuff in actual texas. the mac and cheese in the south remains the show-stopper in my opinion.

For me, the main attraction in Texas is the food, so we continued our culinary tour with authentic BBQ. Brisket, turkey, ribs, sausage, greens, mac and cheese, potato casserole, a Texas Twinkie (a jalapeño stuffed with brisket and cream cheese, wrapped in bacon) and endless drinks and dessert (the banana pudding!!!!). Cue immediate food coma.

day 22: dallas

i had zoom book club for the majority of the afternoon, afterwards we went to mariano's hacienda for authentic tex-mex. again ate until we were bursting. i am about ready to leave dallas and do something other than eat and drink, maybe get some exercise and touch some grass, but a winter storm is rolling in with freezing rain and snow for the next 3 days and they don't do anything to prep the already wildly dangerous highways so we might be stuck until later this week.

Everything really is bigger in Texas. We restocked on food (Central Market, which Tom accurately described as Farm Boy crossed with the maze-like layout of IKEA...check out the selection of mushrooms though) and beverages (Total Wine, which is like Costco for alcohol). For dinner, we ate at the restaurant that claims to have invented the frozen margarita - yum! Tex mex in Texas is delish, more queso, guac and fajitas!

no video this week because all we have done is eat and drink




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