Thursday, February 05, 2015

Silly Solo Trip to Louisiana: Preview

Alright, here's the deal. I have five days of vacation time I need to use between now and the end of March, or else I lose it. Amber has pretty much no vacation balance at the moment, and even if she did, now isn't really the optimal time for big family road trips. Other than visiting family, and maybe a quick overnight trip or two to some place close (e.g. Charlotte, the beach), we're holding off on any longer road trips until after Bruce's first birthday. (Just in time for fall!)

I'm saving two of my five vacation days for potential snow days, but for the other three, I'm going on a solo trip to Louisiana next week.

That's a picture I dug up from 2004, when my friends and I drove from Tallahassee to Louisiana for the day. This was one month before I graduated from FSU, because I figured Tallahassee was as close to Louisiana as I was going to get for a while. (I've actually been back to Louisiana a couple times since then, though.)

Why Louisiana? Because I've gathered that of all the places in the US, the "Deep South" is Amber's least favorite place to go. Louisiana may not be 50th out of 50 on her list of "favorite vacation states", but it's gotta be close. I don't want her to miss anything on this trip she would particularly enjoy. But also, I'm going here because there are a lot of counties parishes in Louisiana that I haven't been to yet. And that's really going to be my primary goal on this trip: county collecting.

Actually, there is one drive in Louisiana I think Amber would enjoy: the road from New Orleans down to the Mississippi Delta.

But, I'm not going to do that drive on this trip, not only to save it for another time, but also because that drive would be very inefficient in terms of county collecting. I only have three days*, you know, and most of that time will be spent just getting to and from. Out of these three days, I only expect to spend a total of 7-8 hours actually in Louisiana.

(* - Pre-children, we would make a five-night trip out of three days' vacation, leaving after work on "Day 0", and then being away for three weekdays plus a weekend after that. I'm not leaving for Louisiana until Monday morning, though, so that I don't miss any weekend time with the family. Normally I might use extra vacation time to go to an out-of-town curling bonspiel, but to do that I would have to miss weekend time at home, instead of limiting my time away to work days.)

So instead of going down to the "end of the road", here is the route I'm taking through Louisiana:

(I really hate the new Google Maps embedding, by the way. The old Google Maps was so much better for this.)

Nothing all that exciting, really, but I am going to get lots of newly visited counties parishes out of it! (And, US-90 from New Orleans to Lafayette has always intrigued me for some reason.) The routes I'm taking through Mississippi and Alabama were also specifically designed to maximize my county intake. The goal for the trip is 47 new counties/parishes, which will put me at nearly 55% for the country.

Am I going to be doing any sightseeing during these three days? Nope. Just driving. Louisiana is far enough away from home, three days isn't enough time to go down there and sightsee. Besides, anything worth stopping for, I would want to have the family with me anyway.

Gas prices are low, curling season hasn't started yet, and the weather forecast looks good, both at home and in Louisiana. (By "good" I really just mean "not icy/snowy".) Now is the perfect time for something dumb and silly like this. Weeee!

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