Wednesday, December 26, 2018

So Much More To Do

Hanging out in the French Quarter was so much more than I ever expected. So many experiences so little time. We crammed a lot into the short weekend we spent in New Orleans. 

The French Market - originally a Native American trading post along the Mississippi River. Now a bazaar type atmosphere with food, music and shopping. 

Cafe Du Monde is located near the French Market where they serve the famous Beignets, fried dough covered in powdered sugar. Everyone told me I had to try them. Honestly, I wasn't that impressed. I went when there was no line. I would have been frustrated if I had to wait in line for the sugary treat, which the lines can get pretty long.   

Trolley Ride St. Charles - a relaxing ride down St. Charles Avenue. If you take the trolley from one end to the other plan on about 2 hours

Hurrah Casino
Walking Tours: Cemeteries, Ghost, Vampires and more. Check out Groupon for great discounts

Plus, so much more we didn't get a chance to do. I am looking forward to my next trip where I can check out all the other coll things to do in New Orleans.   
Swamp tours  ~  Plantations ~ Riverboat Cruise ~ Pirates Alley

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Louisiana VooDoo History

VooDoo has a bad connotation, culturally we think of VooDoo as something evil. Hollywood has sensationalized VooDoo giving it a bad name. 

While I was in New Orleans we took a walking tour and learned about The Queen of VooDoo, Marie Laveau. She was a Louisiana Creole Practitioner of VooDoo. 

Louisiana VooDoo is a spiritual religion brought to New Orleans from the slaves of West Africa along with traditions from the Native Americans. Our tour guide shared that this spiritual religion was similar to Catholicism in certain ways.   

Louisiana VooDoo also used the knowledge passed down from their African and Native American ancestors of herbs, poisons, and ritual creation of charms and amulets intended to protect oneself. 

What I found interesting is how the VooDoo doll story came into effect. Marie Laveau was dedicated to her practice but she couldn't read or write. When she saw her "patient" she would make a doll of them. She would then stick a pin in the doll of where the injury or pain was. New Orleans residents would walk by her shop and see the dolls then see the patient walking down the street looking sickly.

The tour guide shared this is how the rumors started with VooDoo dolls. It was said she would stick the doll "in the knee" and the person would have knee pain. When it was just the opposite. 

I find this story and the story of the Salem Witches very intriguing. These stories are lessons we need to learn from. Especially in this day and age of "Fake News". I wonder what history will tell us in two hundred years about our time. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Ghost Stories

The main reason for my New Orleans trip was to experience Bourbon Street. 
And experience Bourbon Street I did! 
Tasty Fruity Drinks, Dancing, Live Music, and Beads.  

However, there is so much more in the French Quarter we discovered. 
Vampires & Ghosts Galore!
There is a wide variety of walking tours from ghosts and vampires to drunks and prostitutes to cemetery walks. 

We picked a ghosts and vampires walk and a walk thru New Orleans' oldest cemetery. Surprised by all the history, I remained mesmerized by the great story telling of the tour guides. The stories weren't made up ghost stories, but based on historical facts. Several times I felt chill bumps overtake my body. Or maybe the ghosts where messing with me? 

We learned about two Vampires that could still be walking the streets of New Orleans, John and Wayne Carter. To this day, there have been many sightings of the Carter brothers, even by the new owner of the apartment building where the Carter's once called home.   

You can even book a stay at local hotels and spend the night with ghosts like at the Andrew Jackson Hotel. Several boys died in a fire there decades ago when it was an orphanage. Patrons share stories of mischievous ghosts during their stay. 

New Orleans has the highest murder rate per capita. Even back in the early days of the French Quarter this was the case as most of the citizens of the area were the dregs of France sent to the area. This is because most people didn't want to live in a hot and humid, mosquito and alligator infested area. 

One such mass murder is said to have happened at one of the luxurious mansion's in the French Quarter. This one could just be a ghost tale but ghosts are said to be seen there. You decide. 

At the Cemetery stories about the Plessy vs Ferguson Supreme Court Case and Marie Laveau the Queen of VooDoo were shared as they both were entombed there. My next blog post will be the story of Louisiana VooDoo. I found it very interesting how gossip can become truth or we tend to believe the gossip and it turns into truth. This is true even in our day and time.   

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Top 5 Must Try Drinks on Bourbon Street

~ The heart of New Orleans, Louisiana ~ 
Known for it's Mardi Gras party all year long

The street is lined with bars, strip clubs, restaurants, shops and "take out" bars. Not only can you party to the wee hours of the morning you can drink in the streets. If you haven't finished your drink just take it with you as you hop on over to the next bar. A lot of the establishments let you bring in the drink from your previous stop.

First thing we did when we hit Bourbon Street at about 10am was find the nearest bar for the first of many drinks we consumed. Most all of these drinks were sugary cold refreshing drinks perfect for those hot summer days in New Orleans.

Here are the Top 5 "Must Try" Drinks on Bourbon Street every first- time tourist must try. 
Note: You must pace yourself and hydrate as you drink the day and night away! You certainly don't want to miss a minute of all the shenanigans Bourbon Street has to offer. 

Our first stop was Fais Deaux Deaux for the Fish Bowl, $10, a super fair price for the amount you get. Since it was our first stop and it was before noon the three of us shared this drink. 

A plastic fish bowl with a lid, straw and strap comes in only one flavor ~ red fruit punch.

It's a version of "Jungle Juice" just like the days of College or High School for some, filled with fruit juices (fruit punch), Vodka, Tequila, Rum, and Everclear.  

Our next stop was all the way at the other end of Bourbon Street, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar, known as haunted venue in on Bourbon Street. Also the oldest bar in America since 1722 surviving two great fires. 

The building is a National Historic Landmark. I loved interior atmosphere that transports you back hundreds of years, and the party at night flows into the street. One of my favorites as we ended up stopping at this bar four times that weekend. 

Of course while you are there you have to try the Purple VooDoo Daiquiri. A grape slushy with everclear, $9. Yummy, Yummy for the tummy especially on a hot New Orleans day. 

Next stop the Tropical Isle Bar ~ pretty close to the center of Bourbon Street  ~ for a Hand Grenade. This drink is trademarked and only allowed to be sold in bars associated with the drink. It's a melon flavored slushy with several different clear alcohols and a melon flavored liqueur. You can get it as a slushy or on the rocks. We preferred the slushy. 

It comes in a plastic green hand grenade type cylinder with a tiny plastic hand grenade on top. This was one of my favs. Another refreshing drink on a hot New Orleans day. 

We also made several stops at this bar, which by the way has a balcony you can hang out on to throw beads at the passerby's.  At one point I needed to use the restroom. When I came back to the bar my niece had a surprise for me. I sauntered up to the bar, the bartender started ringing a bell and blowing a whistle really loud. It was craziness as I was trying to figure out what was going on. 

Then the bartender shoved a drink towards me, took a plastic shark and turned it upside down in my drink. The Shark Attack! As the shark was shoved in the drink a red liquid ~ alligator blood ~ poured into the drink. At that moment it was time to drink.

Let's just say it's a very lemony drink.

And of course there is the Hurricane which is one of the more famous New Orleans drinks. There are several places that serve a "Hurricane" but they all have different recipes. Typically a Hurricane is a rum drink. We picked up our Hurricanes at the VooDoo Lounge

It was a buy one get one free, $12,  with the price of our Vampires and Ghosts walking tour ticket. The walking tour starts at this bar and you can bring your drink along on the tour.  

I am sure there are many other "specialty drinks" in the French Quarter. It would take you weeks to try out all the great places the area has to offer. All the streets up and down the French Quarter are littered with bars. And don't forget Frenchman Street with the live jazz. So many stops so little time!  

The one place I wanted to try out but just too overwhelmed was the Old Absinthe House. Another historic place on Bourbon Street rich with American history. This is not your typical sugary-drink glitzy bar. 

So until next time New Orleans, I will be coming back!   

Bucket List: Bourbon Street CHECK

As I neared my 50th birthday I began to realize life was passing me by and it scared me immensely, so I began to  evaluate my life. In that process, I made many changes. I dug deep to Find My Passion, created a Bucket List for the first time, which changes as I change, and began living a more simple life. Living a more Simple Life gives you the freedom and time to Enjoy Life ~ enjoy the things that really make you happy ~ and helps to get rid of the things that keep you from that happiness. 

An opportunity arose at the end of November. With my freed up time and money saved from my new simple life, I was able to spend the weekend checking off Bourbon Street from my bucket list. 

What an amazing trip thanks to my niece and her boyfriend who invited me to join them on a weekend getaway to the Big Easy. I went down to conquer Bourbon Street and came back with so much more than I ever expected. 

New Orleans is an amazing place with a vibe that no words can describe, a vibe you can only experience. The city is immensely rich in history, one weekend isn't enough to take it all in. Things to Do Blog Post - Coming Soon.

The French Quarter has so much more to offer than music and drinking. Like most cities in the South with many historic stories to be told, the stories New Orleans has to offer gave me chill bumps. Vampires & Ghosts Blog Post 

New Orleans is known to be the Most Haunted City in America. Knowing that we took a Vampires and Ghosts Walking Tour and a St. Louis Cemetery Tour - History Blog Post Coming Soon.

We spent most of our time exploring the French Quarter, New Orleans' oldest neighborhood. The nights were spent carousing up and down Bourbon Street dancing, drinking, and people watching. And grabbing a string of beads or two. There is no other street like this in America. It's an all day and night party with bars, restaurants, shops  and strip clubs lining the sidewalks. 

During these jaunts up and down Bourbon Street we made several stops to our favorite bars and of course trying out the several "must try" drinks New Orleans has to offer - Blog Post on the Top 5 Drinks of New Orleans ever tourist must try out - Coming Soon

What an amazing city with so much culture, history and great times! A weekend does not give you the time you need to really explore this unique city. I look forward to another visit real soon. Don't forget to stay tuned for more about my Bucket List Trip to New Orleans. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Rust Removal in 5 Easy Steps

Living in the Salt Belt creates extra problems for any off-roader, especially if you tend to scrape up your Jeep. Anytime you scrap your Jeep or Jeep parts you are opening up that part to a rust invasion. 

When you expose bare metal to oxygen and moisture you create prime growing conditions for rust. I have dinged my front and rear bumpers a lot over the years while off-roading. This Spring and Summer were especially rainy.   

I have always kept up with the maintenance of keeping the rust at bay. However, last winter there was an unusually obscene amount of salt dumping on the roads. That salt played havoc with my bumper and the rust invaded. I knew my old stand bys weren't going to work. 

The best solution to get rid of the rust is to sandblast the bumper. That would require down time of my Jeep and lots of money. So I will keep working within my budget.   

This time I tired the product POR-15, the rust prevention kit. It's a 3 step process. I have found in my rust treatments that prepping the metal is the key. I spent a lot of time sanding off the rust as best I could. 

Then it was on to the 3 step process of the POR-15 Kit. It's really very simple. Spray on the degreaser to clean the metal. The instructions stated to keep the metal wet for 15 minutes. During that time I used my wire brush to help remove that stubborn rust. 
After rinsing off the degreaser, the next step was the metal prep. This is a liquid that needs to remain on the metal for 15 minutes. 

After the Metal Prep is rinsed off the the bumper dries, the POR-15 can be painted on the bumper. POR-15 is a thick black paint. I used two coats. 

Once the POR-15 paint dried I sprayed on a black matte rust prevention spray paint. The POR-15 is sensitive to UV rays. 

After POR-15 was applied! 

Now my fingers are crossed this will do the trick. We will find out come this Spring how well it holds up to the off-roading dings and scrapes and the road salt. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Be Yourself

As I get older I realize my time is precious. So I am making a conscious effort to live my best life, to live every single day to the fullest. As I search how to live my life to the fullest, I have come to realize there are several ways I have been wasting my precious time. 

10-16-2018 Blog Post

A big part of living your life to the fullest is not wasting your time. There are so many ways we waste our time. One of those is trying to be accepted by our friends, co-workers and society. 

Everyone wants to be liked and accepted, but many of us spend too much time and energy worrying about what other people think. This kind of thinking makes you feel unworthy. It can become unhealthy and stressful. You might not even realize you are doing it. 

Too many times during my life I found myself trying to fit in, and losing myself in the process. As I get older I find myself not caring if other people approve of how I choose to live my life, or caring if I fit in to one group or another. 

Recently the movie A Star is Born inspired me. Bradley Cooper's character talked about having something to say and knowing how to say it. He talked about finding your voice. That can be hard when you are bogged down with people telling you how to act, who you should be, and what you should say. 

Time is our biggest currency. A currency you cannot get back.  I decided to quit wasting my life trying to fit into what I thought society's mold for me was.

Now is my time, time to be who I want to be and not worry if I get the approval of my peers, friends, neighbors, co-workers or society. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Bucket List: New Orleans

Life isn't going to last forever...
So what am I waiting for....

Sometimes we have a false sense of ~ I will have time to do the things I want to do. In truth time goes by way to fast, so when my niece invited me to hang with her on Bourbon Street I couldn't pass it up.  

Visiting Bourbon Street in New Orleans is on my Bucket List.

As I get older I realize that time is my most valuable resource. It's a limited, finite resource. Once I use it I can't reclaim it.

One of my top priorities is to make the most of my time.  To make the most of every moment takes a lot of deep digging and soul searching to learn about yourself; to learn what makes you truly happy, and what your real passions are. 

By finding out more about myself has helped me learn not to to waste my time on things that don't make me happy. Instead I am beginning to live a more productive happy life. 

Bourbon Street Here I Come! 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Top 5 Winter Jeep Accessories

Winter means different things for Jeepers around the US. For Jeepers in the South it’s a time to get topless, but for all of us in the colder climates it is a totally different experience. 

We have to deal with cold temperatures, snow, ice, sleet, slush, road salt and that slushy mud mixture. That snowy weather is coming our way soon, so it’s best to get your Jeep ready. 

Here are my Top 5 Jeep accessories to make your winter a little more bearable.

Jeep Momma's Garage YouTube Video 

Floor Liners - There are a lot of Jeeps out there that no longer have carpet, but floor liners are still a good idea. After a week’s worth of tracking in that winter snow it makes for a nasty mess in your Jeep. 

They help keep that slushy snow salt mess contained and makes for an easy clean up.  Having a really good set of floor liners will help maintain the mess. You will want ones that are rubberized or molded plastic.  

These types of liners normally have deep grooves to contain mud, slush or water, and tall sides to prevent those things from overflowing into your carpet. Plus, you can easily pull the liners out and clean off when needed.

Winter Wiper Blades - There are different kinds of wiper blades. Some winters you could use your wiper blades more than in the summer. Not only will you want to keep that wiper fluid reservoir full you will also want to think about getting winter wiper blades. 
They are built with a protective rubber boot that helps keep snow and ice off the blade and uses a high grade rubber for superior performance in the wet winter weather.    

Seat Back Storage - The Molle Seat Back Panel is the perfect place to store you Winter Survival Kit supplies. It's an easy access storage solution. 

Knit Hat -  There are so many different kinds of hats for the winter. My favorite is my black Jeep knit hat. You are going to want to have more than one, as well as extra gloves and socks. If you are out making a recovery there is a good chance your outerwear will get wet. You will want to change into something dry once you are back in your Jeep. 

Hardtop Insulation Kit - This looks like a really good idea if you have a hardtop which I don't. Think of it as a sweater for your Jeep Wrangler’s hardtop. Something designed to retain heat inside the cabin or stay cooler in the summer all while reducing road noise and providing better audio quality.

60 Before 60

I recently shared about revisiting my bucket list on this new season of my life.  Bucket List Revised - 2023 As I approach another milestone...