Mardi Gras – Here We Come via Carlsbad

 

Left Tucson on Wednesday, January 30th.  We enjoyed the mild weather, but we were anxious to get on the road.  We drove to Ft. Bliss RV Park in El Paso Texas and spent the night..  This is a nice park with cement parking spots.  We would like to come back and explore more of El Paso.

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KOA in Carlsbad, NM

On January 31st we drove to Carlsbad, NM and spent the night at a KOA.  For us this was not worth staying at.  The park seemed okay, but we had to drive 17 miles past the town of Carlsbad and then we had to drive back the 17 miles to get on the freeway for San Antonio.

Carlsbad Caverns

Wow !  What an experience and what a wonderful natural wonder !  Everyone should put this on their bucket list.

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We started with a 750 foot descend by elevator to start the tour.  The underground trail is paved and mostly level, although there were a couple short steep areas.  We rented an audio guide that told us where we were and a little history of the cave by pushing corresponding numbers on the pad.  Highlights included the Lion’s Tail, Hall of Giants, Bottomless Pit and Rock of Ages..  This route took us about l l/2 hours and was 1.25 miles long.

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The pictures I took do not do justice to this spectacular cave.  Go to www.carlsbadcaverns.com and you will see much more information.

February 1, 2013

We are now in San Antonio at Lackland Air Force Base.  This RV park is really old.  It seems well-maintained, but you can tell its been well used.  We could not get into Ft Sam Houston.P1020670

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While in San Antonio we went to the Mexican Marketplace.  It was fun wandering around the shopping areas.  They had some local kids performing.

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Of course we had to go see The AlamoP1020672 P1020673 P1020674 P1020675 P1020676

“Originally named Misión San Antonio de Valero, the Alamo served as home to missionaries and their Indian converts for nearly seventy years. Construction began on the present site in 1724. In 1793, Spanish officials secularized San Antonio’s five missions and distributed their lands to the remaining Indian residents. These men and women continued to farm the fields, once the mission’s but now their own, and participated in the growing community of San Antonio.

In the early 1800s, the Spanish military stationed a cavalry unit at the former mission. The soldiers referred to the old mission as the Alamo (the Spanish word for “cottonwood”) in honor of their hometown Alamo de Parras, Coahuila. The post’s commander established the first recorded hospital in Texas in the Long Barrack. The Alamo was home to both Revolutionaries and Royalists during Mexico’s ten-year struggle for independence. The military — Spanish, Rebel, and then Mexican — continued to occupy the Alamo until the Texas Revolution.

San Antonio and the Alamo played a critical role in the Texas Revolution. In December 1835, Ben Milam led Texian and Tejano volunteers against Mexican troops quartered in the city. After five days of house-to-house fighting, they forced General Martín Perfecto de Cós and his soldiers to surrender. The victorious volunteers then occupied the Alamo — already fortified prior to the battle by Cós’ men — and strengthened its defenses.

On February 23, 1836, the arrival of General Antonio López de Santa Anna’s army outside San Antonio nearly caught them by surprise. Undaunted, the Texians and Tejanos prepared to defend the Alamo together. The defenders held out for 13 days against Santa Anna’s army. William B. Travis, the commander of the Alamo sent forth couriers carrying pleas for help to communities in Texas. On the eighth day of the siege, a band of 32 volunteers from Gonzales arrived, bringing the number of defenders to nearly two hundred. Legend holds that with the possibility of additional help fading, Colonel Travis drew a line on the ground and asked any man willing to stay and fight to step over — all except one did. As the defenders saw it, the Alamo was the key to the defense of Texas, and they were ready to give their lives rather than surrender their position to General Santa Anna. Among the Alamo’s garrison were Jim Bowie, renowned knife fighter, and David Crockett, famed frontiersman and former congressman from Tennessee.

The final assault came before daybreak on the morning of March 6, 1836, as columns of Mexican soldiers emerged from the predawn darkness and headed for the Alamo’s walls. Cannon and small arms fire from inside the Alamo beat back several attacks. Regrouping, the Mexicans scaled the walls and rushed into the compound. Once inside, they turned a captured cannon on the Long Barrack and church, blasting open the barricaded doors. The desperate struggle continued until the defenders were overwhelmed. By sunrise, the battle had ended and Santa Anna entered the Alamo compound to survey the scene of his victory.

While the facts surrounding the siege of the Alamo continue to be debated, there is no doubt about what the battle has come to symbolize. People worldwide continue to remember the Alamo as a heroic struggle against impossible odds — a place where men made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. For this reason, the Alamo remains hallowed ground and the Shrine of Texas Liberty.”

We strolled along the Riverwalk and ate P1020677P1020678

at the Hard Rock Cafe

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February 5, 2013 — We left San Antonio and headed toward Louisiana.  We stayed at the Coushatta Luxury RV Resort in Kinder, LA.  Nice place.  We stayed there again on the way down to Corpus Christi.P1020681

February 6, 2013

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Bridge over Mississippi River

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Mississippi River

We made it to New Orleans!!  We are staying in the Aviation Arbor RV Park on the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base. P1020684

We were able to go online and print off a schedule of all the Mardi Gras parades.  There were usually four or five a day and more on the weekend.  On Fat Tuesday – the last day, were even more.

We had a lot of fun watching all the floats.  They are pulled by tractors and are loaded with people in masks that throw out beads, coins, bags, bracelets, etc.  We have three shoe boxes full of beads to take home to the grandkids.

We took a ferry over to Canal Street which is one of the main streets in the French Quarter and is where most of the parades took place.  To get a feel of what the French Quarter is like, go to Google and put in French Quarter New Orleans.  You can see on the map where it is in New Orleans.  It’s right on the Mississippi River and covers about a 12 x 10 block area.

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We had a lot of fun watching all the floats, marching bands and horses.  There were bands of all types in between every float.  The floats are pulled by tractors and are loaded with people in masks that throw out beads, coins, bags, bracelets, etc.  We have three shoe boxes full of beads to take home to the grandkids !!

P1020736P1020729P1020722P1020725P1020709P1020693P1020692P1020690P1020688P1020687P1020685Cafe Du Monde — Famous for beignets — pastry covered with powdered sugar…ummm

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Crazy partiers on Bourbon StreetP1020699P1020697P1020696P1020698

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Night life on Bourbon Street

Lots of people dressed up for Mardi Gras.  We saw more on Fat Tuesday but there were always some that wore outlandish clothes and costumes.  It was like Las Vegas on steroids.

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We had so much fun.  Mardi Gras is just as crazy as everyone says it is.  We enjoyed meeting people and yelling for beads.  I probably could have and should have taken more pictures, but I couldn’t take pictures and yell for beads at the same time !

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Me reaching for beads

The surprising thing to me was how dirty and trashed the streets were after a parade would roll through.  The people on the floats would throw the bead wrappers and boxes on the street.  You would walk down the street and there would broken beads, cups, paper trash, etc.  However, by the next morning, everything would be cleaned up.  We passed a convoy of street sweepers and dump trucks after a parade that had taken place outside the French Quarter limits.  These crews must work all night long to get things cleaned up.

The weather was blustery and had rained off and on for two days.  The morning of Fat Tuesday was foggy and rainy.  It never did clear up.  The temperature was about 70-72, but the humidity was probably 90%+.  So it wasn’t cold, but you felt clammy all day.  We were really glad to get back to the trailer and dry out….kinda.  It was humid there too.

We left Wednesday the 13th of February and stayed at the Coushatta Casino and RV Resort in Kinder, LA again.  Thursday we got up early and drove eight hours to Corpus Christi, TX.  We are here now, have a view of the ocean and are we enjoying the warm dry weather again.

More later

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