Marfa, TX to Albuquerque, NM

As I mentioned in my previous post, I got into Marfa way later than expected.  What can I say?  I was having such a great time in Austin!

This was the romantic scene that welcomed me when I got to the Hotel Paisano.    Marfa itself is a teeny tiny town, so driving through to the hotel I was thinking, what on earth did I get myself into?

When I parked outside of the hotel and looked into the courtyard, I could see all the twinkling lights, hear the splash of the fountain, and saw a whole crew of friends drinking wine and laughing in the courtyard.  It was so endearing!

I wish I was anything less than exhausted to enjoy it!  Luckily, the view was much the same the next morning.

I decided to take the opportunity to walk around the town a little bit and grab some breakfast a block over at squeeze marfa.  I passed some lovely scenery on the way.

  

I loved staying at this hotel!  On my road trip it’s been a challenge finding hotels that are dog friendly. Which means I spend a lot of my time in really boring nondescript rooms.  When I did some research on a place to stay in Marfa (population 1,819) options were super limited, but luckily I found out that Hotel Paisano had a super reasonable pet fee of $20 a night.  A win-win!

The hotel also has some pretty cool history.  Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean stayed at the hotel during the 1955 filming of the movie Giant.

I loved that even their keys were old school actual keys instead of the cards you get in most hotels!

Another thing that I loved about this hotel was that I had my own private little patio!  The patio had a fireplace with a log waiting to be lit (didn’t realize it could get so chilly at night in Texas!).

I had the best time walking around the town.  Originally built as a railroad water stop, Marfa grew in the 1920s.  You can see some of the Art Deco influence in the buildings.

In the 70s, Marfa began attracting artists and it continues to do so to this day.  There’s a wide variety of galleries and museums and the town certainly has an artsy vibe to it.

I enjoyed my leisurely morning in Marfa and headed back to my hotel room to hang on my patio for a little while.  I had such a good time that I literally didn’t check out until 11:59 (Check out was at noon!).  Then I headed further west on my way to New Mexico.

Having had a few days to think about my time spent in Texas, I’m trying to think why it is exactly that I loved it so much.  I had a great time in Austin that’s for sure, but being confronted by the great big wide open beauty of West Texas just connected with something inside me.  Maybe it’s because I’m pretty sure I was a cowgirl in a past life.  There is a romance to the place.  That vastness of sky makes you feel like you can breathe a little deeper, stand a little taller, and walk with a little bit of a longer stride.

Pit stop number one was the Prada Marfa installation which is actually in Valentine, Texas.  This is actually how I found out about Marfa in the first place.  It’s so fun and totally ridiculous.  Absolutely the last thing you would expect to see in the middle of nowhere.

  

I wish I could say that the rest of my drive to Albuquerque was as charming and as full of art.  Sadly, it was not.  I made my way through El Paso, Los Cruces, a town called Truth or Consequences, and a little place called Elephant Butte (I know I’m 25, but I still giggled).

I made it into Albuquerque at about 6 pm.  But because I hated the idea of not seeing anything but the highway in New Mexico, I decided to take my super romantic dinner of Chipotle to the Ellen Gallegos Open Space at the base of the Sandia mountains.

What surprised me the most about New Mexico was how cold it was.  Like took my breath away cold!  I had to scramble and find my jacket that I had packed in one of my plastic bins.  I was so used to the heat of the Deep South–I was completely unprepared for the change in temperature.

We quickly figured out we weren’t quite wearing enough layers to make eating outside comfortable so we packed up and headed back to the hotel.  We’d be better prepared next time!

Distance traveled: 461 miles

High: Visiting the Prada installation

Low: Freezing my butt off trying to eat dinner on a picnic table and failing miserably

1 Week on the Road

Can’t believe that as of today I have been on the road for one whole week.  Thank you for following me on my journey!

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I have had an incredible time so far.  Many more posts to come!

Austin, TX to Marfa, TX

The night I got into Austin, I had met up with an old friend from high school and her boyfriend on Rainey Street (a super cool area of Austin with lots of restaurants, bars, food trucks and people walking around).  However, by the time I got back to my hotel room it was super late and no chance to see anything else in Austin.  So when I woke up the next morning, I knew I’d have to book it around town.

My first stop was the Texas State Capitol.  The building itself is huge!  It definitely felt like the biggest state capitol building I had seen (although that might just be some sort of Everything’s Bigger in Texas mentality creeping into my perception).  Apparently, to pay for the building, the government gave the builders something like 3 million acres of land.  If there is anything Texas has it’s a lot of land.

There were lots of people walking around the grounds, from tourists to legislators, but again, it wasn’t as crowded as I thought it’d be.  It was a Monday, so that probably had something to do with it.

Remy and I stopped for a few pictures, and he loved running around on all the grass!

Right after taking this picture though, we were caught in a sudden and very powerful thunderstorm!  I had known that there was a chance of rain (hence the hat), but we had to book it back to the car and still got pretty drenched.

I often wonder what is going through Remy’s mind as we go on these little excursions, but I’m pretty sure he just thinks I’m crazy.  This time around, he was certainly not pleased with what I had put him through.

Since the downpour meant we needed to find something inside to do, I opened up my trusty TripAdvisor app and looked for options.  The LBJ Presidential Museum and Library was one of the top attractions and so we decided to go for it.

Whenever I’ve been asked who my favorite president is, after you know the obvious ones like Washington and Lincoln, I usually say LBJ.  He was a freaking character y’all!  Have you ever heard the stories about him talking to a legislator and he would go into the bathroom, leave the door open and just keep the conversation going?  (Side note, I wonder if that’s where Clair Underwood got the idea from).  He was at the very least memorable, which is more than I can say for, like, Rutherford B. Hayes.

The museum had several different sections.  There were timelines, audio recordings of LBJ’s phone conversations with people like MLK, lots of trinkets and memorabilia (campaign posters and pins, old school reports, etc).  But one of my favorite parts of the museum was the recreation of LBJ’s and Lady Bird’s offices.  How sweet and colorful is Lady Bird’s decor?

I also liked walking through the recreation of the Oval Office, with a lot of original furnishings from LBJ’s time there.

I’ve always gotten the sense that people from LBJ’s generation perhaps don’t like him very much, and I’m sure that has a lot to do with his involvement and his escalation of the US’s involvement in Vietnam.  But I also think we have to respect the many things that he did accomplish: legislation furthering Civil Rights, Medicaid/Medicare, immigration reform, space exploration, and a focus on the rural and poor.

After leaving the LBJ museum, a got a chance to quickly catch up with two friends at the Facebook offices in Austin.  Which I loved!  It has been so amazing the people I’ve been able to connect/reconnect with while on this trip!

I met up with a friend and local Austin-ite for lunch.  When he asked me what I was in the mood for, I immediately replied, “Mexican!! Not barbecue sorry!”  I feel like I may have had my share of barbecue living in the South and I’m okay not having anymore for a while.  We had an amazing lunch at Guero’s, which I highly recommend.  It’s on South Congress, which is a fun little neighborhood with restaurants, cafes, and quirky vintage stores.  We also stopped in Allen Boots which I take to be kind of an Austin institution to browse their huge selection of boots.  I could have bought probably 15 pairs.

South Congress is also home to Jo’s Coffee, probably best known for their “I love you so much” wall.  It was adorable and felt undeniably authentic.  The story goes that when the owner of Jo’s Coffee was having a bad day, her girlfriend took a can of spray paint to the wall on the corner to leave a her a little love note.  How can you not love that?

I had originally wanted to go to Barton Springs Pool (it’s one of those quintessentially Austin things to do).  Unfortunately because of all the rain, it was closed.  Still beautiful nonetheless.

The last thing I did in Austin was head to the Barton Creek Greenbelt.  This was touted by my tour guide/friend as his favorite thing to do in Austin.  I’m so sorry to say that I didn’t take any pictures, but I think that’s how you know I was having a really good time.  The Greenbelt does not feel like it’s anywhere near a very metropolitan city.  If anything, it feels like you are out in the middle of nowhere.  There are lots of trails to hike on.

My favorite thing about the Greenbelt though, was that you could wade/swim in the creek.  Did I have my bathing suit on?  No.  Did I contemplate jumping in with just my undies on?  Absolutely.  (Don’t worry I didn’t.)  The water was insanely refreshing.  We crossed the very high (because of the rain) creek over to to a rock plateau on the other side.  Not going to lie, I was not sure I was going to make it.  And, I definitely wasn’t in the right clothes for such an excursion but I sucked it up.  Once on the other side, we just sat, chatted, enjoyed the view, weather and beautiful scenery.

I was so sad to have to leave Austin.  There are some towns that I wake up in and say, “Well, that was lovely, and I’m glad to have met you but I’m ready to go now.”  I think I have a little crush on Austin and I can’t wait to go back!

Unfortunately, my drive to Marfa was going to take me over 6 hours to complete and I had to hit the road.  The drive was miserable.  After I passed Fredericksburg, I basically left civilization behind for the next several hours.  Which is how I ended up eating McDonald’s for dinner, because that was literally my only option.

I did treat myself to a McFlurry because, hello! I deserved it.   The drive to Marfa took me so long, I actually got a call from the reception desk at Hotel Paisano asking me if I’d make it before 10 because the desk closed then.  Sadly, I didn’t make it in until about 11:30.  The receptionist actually taped an envelope with my key to the lobby doors so I could get in.  In any other city, there’s no way this could happen but Marfa is a teeny tiny town.  I hauled my stuff out of the car and was never happier to see a bed in my whole life.  Exploring Marfa would have to wait.

Distance Traveled: 491 miles

High: The Greenbelt in Austin

Low: Driving to Marfa and only being able to pick up 2 radio stations

Houston, TX to Austin, TX

Okay, so apologies in advance for the fact that this post will probably be the worst one along the road trip (setting the bar high!)  I took no pictures in Houston!  Also, I did nothing in Houston with any cultural, historical, or economic relevance.  Here is what I can share with you about Houston: Beyonce is from there.  And I’m pretty sure that is all you need to know.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had headed down to Houston from Natchez, Mississippi (guys, I am still freaking beaming from that charming little town).  Here was the most exciting part about being in Houston… I wasn’t going to be in a hotel!  One of my sister’s best friends, Perri was putting me up and I have never been more excited.  I was looking forward to it for so many reasons.  Firstly, I haven’t exactly been staying Motel 6’s or anything like that, but I always find that I’m never really and truly comfortable in a hotel room.  I couldn’t wait to be in a home.  Secondly, it’s so awesome to have someone to hang out with!  I haven’t really been that lonely on this trip since it seems like I’m always meeting strangers, chatting with randos, whatever, but I was going to actually sit down and have dinner with someone, hang out on a couch where I could take my shoes off and chill, catch up on the latest celeb gossip etc.  Thirdly, since Perri is one of my sister’s best friends… it’s basically like she is my sister.  And I miss that b!

When I got into Houston, Perri and I took Remy for a walk around the neighborhood.  Apparently, this was Houston’s “gay neighborhood” and it is an eclectic mix of homes, smaller condos, restaurants and random places like the Texas Junk Company.

We had the best time at dinner!  We chatted, caught up, and were just generally jovial.

The next morning, I was so sweetly included in her boyfriend’s Mother’s Day Brunch.  Having lived far away from my family for such a long time, it’s not that unusual for me to be apart from them on these kinds of holidays and celebrations, but I was especially missing my mom this time around.  I had just seen her, and she was honestly such an incredible help to me in making this move possible.  I seriously could not have done it without her and I wish I could have spent the day celebrating all she does with her!  So if you are reading this Mom, I love you!

It was so nice spending time in a family setting, and I was so very happy to be included!  It also really made me excited to realize that since I’m moving back to California I will have ample opportunity to do tons of these sorts of activities with my very own family.  To do: don’t forget that spending time with family is a blessing not everyone has!

After brunch, Perri and I headed back to her place and hung out, watched some Bravo (yes!), and I tried to quickly blog.  I really really really did not want to leave.  Perri had been so sweet my whole stay, always asking me if there was anything she could do to make me more comfortable/feel more at home/accommodate me.  It felt like I was living in the lap of luxury, having someone wanting to look after me and planning things for me.  Huge shut out to Perri for being such an awesome host.

But sadly, the time was here for me to go.  While I could have stayed longer, I kept reminding myself that I still have a long, long way to go before I make it back to California.  So I hit the road heading for Austin.

As I was driving on the highway.  I past a sign for a store called Hruska’s.  I immediately recognized it as the word for pear in both Czech and Slovene.  Thinking, “Hmmm… I wonder what that is all about.”  I pulled over to check it out.

Turns out, Hruska’s started as a little Czech bakery, and now has morphed into a bigger stop on the road between Houston and Austin in Ellinger, TX.  I obviously had to stop and get a kolach.

It was delicious.  As I drove and ate I thought about the fact that I was in Texas.  Arriving in Texas had felt very momentous to me the day before.  I know Texas is still technically in the South (maybe some people disagree, I’m no expert), but to me Texas felt very much in the “west”.  There was a very noticeable change between being in Louisiana/Mississippi and arriving to Texas.  Going from seeing tons of trees and more lush greenery, to more hills and sparse vegetation.  It made me feel like I was so much closer to being home.

The biggest shock to me was that as I was driving to my hotel for the night, I past an In n Out!  Too soon, Texas!  Too soon!  I’m going to hold out until I’m a little further west.

Distance Traveled: 165 miles

High: Mother’s Day Brunch

Low: leaving Perri and having to head to another hotel in Austin

Jackson, MS to Houston, TX 

As soon as I headed up north from from the Gulf Coast, I started noticing the Magnolia trees in bloom everywhere.  Magnolias to me are the quintessential southern plant, and I loved that my trip through the South coincided when they were in bloom.  Jackson was no exception to this, and I loved walking around Jackson in the morning seeing and smelling all of them!

Because the infectious enthusiasm of my new friend, Chris, that I met the night before, I knew that I needed to spend a little time exploring Jackson before I rolled out of town.  I decided to go see the Old Capitol.

One of the funniest things to me about the Old Capitol was that while the front of the building was so imposing, the back of the building was never stuccoed over, it was still left in uncovered brick.  Apparently what is now a parking a lot and highway, used to be a swamp.  Since they didn’t care what the side facing the swamp looked like, they never covered up the plain brick.

There were two other sites that I visited on the grounds of the Old Capitol were the War Memorial and the Confederate Memorial.

There are two things I want to mention about the Confederate memorial.  Firstly, there is a statue of Jefferson Davis inside of there (you can kind of see his legs in there).  Apparently, they had to enclose the statue within the memorial because it kept getting vandalized.  Secondly, there is no confederate flag flying on this memorial.  Given the controversy of the fact that the confederate flag still flies above the memorial right in front of the South Carolina state house, I thought that was super interesting.

The last thing I did before I headed west for Natchez, was head to Lemuria bookstore.  I wanted to get that book, Mississippi Sissy, that my friend Chris told me to pick up.  It really was a very cute, very charming book store.  There’s also a lovely cafe that was full of people eating brunch.  If I had more time, it would have been a great place to enjoy a leisurely meal with a book.

After picking up my new book, I headed out of town to Natchez.  Natchez, Mississippi had been on my bucket list since I decided that I was driving across country.  When I mentioned this to people, a lot of them had never even heard of Natchez before.  As a lover of all things historical, Natchez is right up my alley.  It’s full of antebellum mansions of planters who lived here.  Natchez is right on the Mississippi River, and cotton planters used the river to transport their cotton down to New Orleans.

While I started out my drive on the interstate, I eventually hopped on to a little two lane country highway.  While it takes a little longer to get where you are going, I love traveling on these highways in the right places.  On my way through Mississippi it was sweet farm after country fields.  Horses and little groups of cattle grazed.  Every once in a while a little historical marker would pop up and I would pull over to check it out.  Like the town of Union Church, and their 19th Century Presbyterian church.

When I made it to Natchez, I was so excited!  I stopped by the Visitors Center to ask them what the absolute must see’s were since I was on a limited time frame.  The very helpful gal there told me if I could only see two homes that I needed to go see Longwood and Rosalie.    I headed to Longwood first.

How incredible is this home!?  PS In case this house looks kind of familiar to you, it was featured as the home of the King of Mississippi in True Blood.

Longwood is a physical manifestation of the way that the Civil War impacted the lives of wealthy southerners.  Construction of the house began right before the Civil War erupted.  When fighting began, only the basement was completed.  Workers who had come down from Philadelphia to help the slaves with construction left their tools and everything in Mississippi thinking that the war would be short and they could come back to complete it.  That never happened and the rest of the house is literally just a shell of what it should have looked like.

The view from the back porch of Longwood: 

Aside from the tools left by the original workmen, there were also original boxes from purchases sent to the plantation all the way from Park Avenue.

The tour guide explained to us, “This family lived through the Civil War and the Great Depression–they never threw anything away!”

Then I headed on to the mansion, Rosalie:


Natchez was a totally magical stop on my trip.  In fact, I was so mad  that I spent the night before in Jackson and didn’t have more time there.  If you ever find it possible to make your way there, I can’t recommend it enough.  It’s incredibly romantic to walk among the magnolia and oak trees, underneath the Spanish moss, and think about all the people who lived in these beautiful big homes – many of whom lost everything after the war.

Leaving Natchez, I had two things on my mind: finding the next Chick-fil-a and getting to Texas!

I was so excited to get into Houston, as I’d be staying with one of my sister’s best friends.  I was so ready to not stay in a hotel.  When Remy and I crossed the border from Louisiana into Texas, you know we had to stop and take a picture!

Distance traveled: 417 miles

High: Visiting Natchez

Low: Not having enough time in Natchez!

Mobile, AL to Jackson, MS

Waking up on Friday morning in Mobile I was so excited to head to the beach!  I thought there was easier true beach access in Mobile proper, but while I could get to the water it seemed easiest to head a little outside the city to take my shoes off and walk on the sand.  Oh, also, have I mentioned that the dog love of my life, Remy makes things way more complicated?  There are tons of beaches on the Gulf Coast that I’m sure would be lovely, but sadly, no dogs allowed.

So after a little bit of Googling, Remy and I headed towards Dauphin Island.  The road from Mobile is exactly what you would expect a coastal southern highway to look like.  I loved all the colorful buildings, shops, and homes!

I don’t know why I’ve never heard of this adorable town before.  What a perfect beach getaway!

After driving around the island for a little while, we made it to the a beach on the south side of the island.

I’m afraid these pictures really don’t do the island justice.  My favorite part about this little town are the incredible beaches that seem to jut out beyond the island.  There are people who have walked out half a mile on these sand bars, or will take their little boats out and set up their rainbow umbrellas, towels, coolers, etc and spend the day there.

I loved that Dauphin Island seemed everything that a beach town should be, no crazy bars, flashing neon lights, or vendors aggressively hawking trinkets.

Remy and I spent some time walking down the beach.  I took my shoes off and waded ankle deep in the water.  It was just the right temperature.  The sun shone brightly and as I walked down the shore, I caught snippets of the country music playing on sunbathers’ radios.  It was perfect.

After doing my best to get the sand off myself and my pup.  We headed back to the car.  I decided to drive back along the coast before heading up north to Jackson.  I headed for Biloxi.  This is what my route looked like:

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Since it was getting to the afternoon, I decided to stop for lunch somewhere off the small highway I was driving.  Thanks to trusty Yelp, I found myself at this lovely establishment.

You know how they say, don’t judge a book by it’s cover?  I’m pretty sure places like this are the reason why they say that.

I ordered a Shrimp Po Boy.  In case you’ve never had a po boy before, it’s basically a sub sandwich, and you can get it with lots of different things, but in my opinion if you are going to get it, you should definitely get it with shrimp. Oh, and did I mention the shrimp is fried?  The diet starts after the road trip!

After finishing half of my po boy, I tucked it away for later and continued down the coast.  I drove through Biloxi parallel to the coast.  There are historical markers all along the road of homes and buildings that used to stand there but have been lost over time.  I saw Jefferson Davis’ house once again. I soaked up the last bit of sunshine and salt air before heading north.

My drive to Jackson was kind of annoying, but bearable.  You might be wondering how I pass the time, spending so much of it in the car.  I have not gotten to the point where I’m listening to the audiobooks on my phone just yet.  I try and catch NPR or local talk shows where I can because I feel like that helps me stay entertained.  True story, I absolutely love to listen to conservative talk radio in the car.  Driving up Highway 49 though, I basically couldn’t find anything aside from Christian gospel and Christian stations of preachers preaching.  Tough.

When I got to Jackson, I was kind of exhausted.  I’ve been making it a goal to try and go out to dinner when I can.  So began my search for a place that I could sit outside with Remy and enjoy a meal.  BringFido.com has been a great resource for me as I’ve struggled to accommodate having my dog with me.  In Jackson, MS there were exactly two results for restaurants.  Sonic Drive In…. two locations.  So, I turned to Yelp and looked for outdoor patio.  I called a few restaurants to see if they’d let me bring Remy.  I feel like I really got my pitch down quickly, “Hi! I’m calling to see if you allow dogs on your patio?  I have a small terrier mix who can sit on my lap/stay under the table/basically be invisible.”  After several strikeouts, I called The Manship, and the hostess was so sweet and told me to go ahead and bring Remy with me.

Do you know what it’s like when you move to a new town, or a new neighborhood and you feel like you have no idea where you are or where anything else is?  And it’s super disorienting?  Going on this road trip is like that all.  the.  time.  It can be incredibly challenging and I actually don’t think I would have made it out of South Carolina if it wasn’t for the magical powers of my iPhone.  So after driving in circles trying to find the restaurant, finally locating it, not being able to find parking, circling some more and parking the car.  We had finally made it.

I’ve mentioned before how eating dinner alone is kind of a sad endeavor.  Luckily, when my waiter at the Manship heard I was traveling cross country solo came by really frequently to chat, and ask me questions about my trip, and tell me about living in Jackson.

As I was leaving the restaurant, I was stopped by this man sitting on a bench with a friend, who asked if he could pet Remy.  I always feel terrible when people (especially kids) ask me to pet Remy.  Remy really doesn’t like strangers, and basically just tries to run and hide from them when they try and give him some loving.  Anyway, this guy Chris and I struck up a conversation.  The greatest thing about it was, he LOVED Jackson.  He loved it so much that it was actually palpable in everything he said about it.  I asked him what I should do tomorrow morning before I left, and he told me I should go to Lemuria Books and go buy a book called Mississippi Sissy.  He told me how great Jackson, he told me about this old music club where you would have to go into the basement of the building to listen to the music, and when you wanted a drink you’d have to walk up and out of a rickety stair case, go across the street and order from a lady who was serving them out of her window.  He told me that as an openly gay man, he’d never faced any kind of discrimination or bigotry and that he loved it here.  Dear Mayor of Jackson, if you are reading this, you should probably hire Chris as some sort of city ambassador.

This was one of my favorite moments of my road trip so far, and I hope there are many, many more of them.

Distance traveled: 266 miles

High: Meeting Chris outside of The Manship

Low: Leaving Remy alone in the car with half of my shrimp po boy and coming back to find it completely demolished.  He left me the lettuce though!

Birmingham, AL to Mobile, AL

The two weeks leading up to my departure for California, I’d been having a lot of trouble sleeping.  I could get to sleep alright, but it had been really hard to stay asleep.  I’d wake up throughout the night, heart pounding.  I’d get up, get something to drink and try and get to sleep.  I could usually manage a little more shut eye, before giving up for good and going outside with Remy for a walk.  I kept thinking that once I hit the road the anxiety would dissipate–that I’d just leave any worry behind.  Sadly, waking up in Birmingham at 6 in the morning, I realized I had not.

Luckily, being on this trip, there is always somewhere to go, always something to do and see.  Which brings me to Day #2 of the road trip: my journey from Birmingham to Mobile.

I’d driven through Mobile once before, heading back from New Orleans to Columbia.  I didn’t remember very much (in fact, the most memorable part of it was seeing Jefferson Davis’ house in Biloxi), but I had an intense desire to touch the Gulf Coast, to put my feet in the water, and smell the salty air.  Have you ever heard that saying, “The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea”?  I think there is a lot of truth in that.  There’s something that makes you feel so rooted and harmonious to be on the coast.  On the other hand, looking at the grandness of the ocean, how can you not be humbled?  Your problems are immediately diminished.

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So, I found myself heading south from Birmingham to Mobile.  About halfway into my drive, I realized I was coming up on Montgomery.  I hadn’t planned to stop, but thought it would be a good chance to stretch and walk around and I’m so glad I did!

Montgomery is a city of juxtaposition.  Take for example this monument to Jefferson Davis’ inauguration that stands outside the State House:

It’s right across the street from the church where Martin Luther King worked as a pastor:

I wonder if Jefferson Davis could have ever imagined that just across the street from where his inaugural parade marched as the band played “Dixie” there would be a church served by an African American pastor who would change the landscape of civil rights in America.

Just down the street from the Baptist church is the Civil Rights Memorial. There is a beautiful water installation in the front of the building.  There are two parts of the installation.  One is a stone waterfall bearing part of the Martin Luther King quote, “We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

  The other part of the installation was a disk shaped fountain.  Carved into the fountain in a circle were the dates of killings of African Americans by the Klan, Civil Rights activists by officers of the law, lynchings and so forth.  Some of the names, like Emmett Till, I recognized.  But so many others, I had never heard of before.  I was so moved by this memorial.  I hope it doesn’t seem trite to say so.  Given the state of race relations in this country today (which I won’t use this blog as a forum for), I think this was an incredibly relevant place to visit.  It gave me a lot to think about as I completed my drive down to the Gulf Coast.

Distance traveled: 277 miles

High: The Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery

Low: Eating Thai takeout for dinner in my hotel room while watching E!