Family,  Travel

My second amazing (almost disaster) trip to Louisiana

Okay, my last trip, first visit to Louisiana, turned out amazing but was almost a disaster. I had a really bad panic/anxiety attack that became worst as my flight was delayed because of bad weather. We, the passengers, were already sitting inside the plane when the pilot made the announcement that we couldn’t leave until the storm cleared. I felt trapped in the airplane cabin. I had to get up and ask the flight attendant if it was okay to be standing up while we waited. I was traveling by myself. Two wonderful gentlemen that sat by me were wonderful souls that kept me entertained and helped to calm my nerves.

I’m not a fan of plane flights. Still, this is how I travel often to visit my family in Puerto Rico. And the reality is that my hard earned money is primarily intended to cover our cost of living. Most of my vacation trips are to visit family on the Island. Well, I have relatives who have moved to other states here in the United States, so I want to visit other states and see and visit these places.

Not all was bad. I still had a good time, as my cousin Aura was able to show me some of New Orleans great locations. Then, she ended driving me back to Florida because I couldn’t get on that flight back. To read more on that story check my previous post here

Shreveport, Louisiana

This time I planned a road trip with the family. We (read “I”) plan to visit my sister-in-law, who recently moved to Shreveport, another city in Louisiana. As it was a car trip, we (again me) also planned to take this trip as an opportunity to visit other states we have never visited.

I live with boys who are sports fans, so the plan included visiting a few sports buildings to make them excited about this long trip. Well, let me correct myself here: I live with guys, since my youngest son is now 15 years old, and is already taller than his brother and his dad.

My youngest son was my helper in planning this trip. Why him? Because he loves maps! (he gets this from me). He loves to follow sports and teams (He gets this from his dad). We only follow baseball and basketball, but he can name all teams and their cities, and their stadiums’ names, in all three sports: baseball, basketball and football. As a bit of trivia for those interested, there are 30 professional baseball teams, 30 professional basketball teams, and 32 professional football teams.

Our planned road trip. 14 hours from Orlando to Shreveport.
Image from Google Maps

This was the plan we came up with: from Orlando, Florida, travel through Alabama and Mississippi to go to Louisiana. While there, go visit Texas and Oklahoma, then on our way back travel north through Arkansas to Missouri to spend the night, then go to Tennessee, Georgia and back to Florida. That’s a count of ten (10) states.

For sports fans, Louisiana, the state we were visiting, is home to National Basketball Association (NBA) team New Orleans Pelicans, and National Football League (NFL) team New Orleans Saints. Texas is home of 3 NBA teams: Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, and San Antonio Spurs. It’s also home of 2 Major League Baseball (MLB) teams: Texas Rangers and Houston Astros; and home of 2 NFL teams: Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans. Oklahoma is home to NBA team Oklahoma City Thunders. Missouri is home to 2 MLB teams: Kansas City Royals and Saint Louis Cardinals, and also home of NFL team Kansas City Chiefs. Tennessee is home to NBA team Memphis Grizzlies and NFL team Tennessee Titans. Georgia is home to MLB team Atlanta Braves, NBA team Atlanta Hawks, and NFL team Atlanta Falcons.

Even though we didn’t visit these places, I want to add that our home state Florida is also home of 7 sports teams: 3 NFL Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Bucaneers; 2 MLB Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays; and 2 NBA Miami Heat and Orlando Magic.

Passing Tallahassee, Florida, on Interstate 10

Back to the trip. We rented a car, SUV, and we prepared for a long drive and a week long stay. From our house in Orlando to our destination the map online via GPS (Global positioning system) was estimating the driving distance of 14 hours (no tolls route). Well, traveling with kids (I mean young guys), I had to add a couple more hours for stops to get gas, food and bathroom breaks.

Sign at rest stop on Interstate 10

We made the first part of our trip without incidents. The only incident was that my curious son wanted to stop in every gas station we’ve never seen before, and he also wanted to stop at all the rest stops on our way. Another interesting piece of trivia is that we crossed time zones from eastern to central while still in Florida. Central time zone runs one hour behind Eastern. We got to enjoy the amazing views of the sky as the sun was setting.

Beautiful sunset, passing Florida to Alabama on I-10

We were visiting Shreveport, located in the northwest area of Louisiana. I like to look up the history of these cities, so I found out that Shreveport was founded in 1836 by the Shreve Town Company. According to the City of Shreveport official website, “the Red River had been cleared of the 180 mile long raft of debris that had clogged its channel since time immemorial by Captain Henry Miller Shreve, commanding the US Army Corps of Engineers. The village of Shreve Town and the Shreve Town Company were both named in Shreve’s honor. On March 20, 1839, the village of Shreve Town was incorporated as the town of Shreveport.” Visit the City of Shreveport official website here

We visited a few nice and beautiful recreation parks and a few local restaurants. There are many beautiful parks to visit around the city, including the Red River walking trail. While there, we experienced a cold weather front. Temperatures went down to 30 – 40 F, no snow though. I’m a Puerto Rican that lives in Florida. The weather I’m used to is tropical and warm. We often don’t get to see the season change. So it was really nice to see the different colors of the leaves on the trees.

Beautiful trees in Shreveport, Louisiana

There was one incident, lucky for us easily resolved. While visiting, we took our host’s van out for a drive. Not knowing the roads, and being a big car, the driver (not me) hit a sidewalk and we lost a tire. That was resolved, but not forgotten. It’s now one of our anecdotes when we talk about that time we visited.

American Airlines Center, home of NBA Dallas Mavericks

The first trip out of Louisiana, we decided to visit Texas and come back on the same day (Texas is a big state!). We drove a bit over two hours to get to Dallas. While there, we visited the American Airlines center, the NBA Dallas Mavericks arena. We didn’t know that recently retired player Dirk Nowitzki had a street named after him.

Nowitzki Way in Dallas, Texas

Our intentions were to visit the NFL Dallas Cowboys stadium, and then continue to Arlington to see the MLB Texas Rangers stadium. Well, my son started talking about going to Houston from here, because it was going to be a long 4 hours drive to get there, plus another 4 hours drive to go back to Shreveport. We changed our plan: forget about Arlington, we went to Houston.

Toyota Center, home of NBA Houston Rockets

We encountered really, really bad traffic. It was Sunday, so it took us about 5 hours to get to Houston. Once there, we found a good parking spot. We also found out that the Houston Astros Minute Maid stadium was at a 10 minute walking distance from the Houston Rockets Toyota Center. What we didn’t expect was that there was a music concert that night, so the area around the Toyota Center was packed! We still had a good time walking around. We only wished we had seen the Minute Maid stadium during the day.

Minute Maid Stadium, home of Houston Astros

The next trip planned was to visit Oklahoma and come back to Shreveport to stay there for a couple more days. Then, we were to head north through Arkansas to stay in Missouri, and make our way south through Tennessee and Georgia.

So after this first adventure to Texas, my co-pilot decided we were not going to do the second long trip we had planned to go back to Florida. His reasons? That was too much, too tiring and too much driving. The young one was disappointed and upset (I was too, but since I’m the mom I had to side with the dad’s decision.) This was the time when I saw an “almost disaster” moment forming.

Since we had canceled the long trip, we still drove to the town of Fouke in Arkansas (to say that we’ve been there), and we went to a small town north of Texas called Atlanta. There’s a spot on the road that my son had found on the map, that was listed as a tri-state corner. Well, he was a little disappointed that we didn’t see any markings on the spot announcing that all three states met there (Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas). If any of you know there is a marking place, let me know.

Tri-state spot on Interstate 49
Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas

To make amends and make him somewhat happy, we (me again) promised to drive south through Louisiana to go to New Orleans and visit the sport centers there. Since I’d been to New Orleans before, I knew that both sports centers were located near one another.

Mercedes Benz Superdome and Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana

It took us 5 hours driving to get from Shreveport to New Orleans. We visited both Mercedes Benz Superdome and Smoothie King Center. It was already late in the day, but we decided to brave the distance left and drive all the way home. Thanks to the technology of modern days, we had Internet connection available on our cell phones. This is something I never would’ve imagine: my sons watched a wrestling show on the phone, one they watch on TV every week. We made a few stops to eat, to get gasoline, and to stretch our legs.

Smoothie King Center, home of the NBA New Orleans Pelicans

There was another “almost disaster moment. I forgot there is a tunnel on Interstate 10 in Mobile, Alabama. (I don’t like tunnels!) But it’s a short ride, so it wasn’t that bad.

Passing the George Wallace tunnel on I-10 in Alabama

We made it back home to Orlando exhausted, but happy to have done this trip. One more thing: I promised my son that we would make that trip to Georgia-Tennessee-Missouri soon. And since we survived the 14 hours drive both ways, we (I) convinced them that we could make a car/road trip to a state where there is snow. That’s pending. It’ll have to wait for next winter.

Beautiful view on our way back. Entering Florida on I-10

Since my family don’t drink coffee, I enjoyed my daily cup of coffee and a nice “girl-talk” with my sister-in-law. We also enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine. We (my family) survived sleeping in the same room, and most importantly, we enjoyed time away together. I cannot wait to go on another trip soon (with or without the family).

While I plan and wait on my next trip, I have to go back to work, and back to our daily routine. But there’s always time to dream of that next adventure. It’s time for my tacita de café. Salud!

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I'm a Puerto Rican living in Florida. Mom, Blogger, and Writer! Fan of coffee, baseball, books, sweet romance novels and Hallmark movies, and of course, my beautiful Puerto Rico.