Monday, February 16, 2015

Thank you, Convie

Our 2001 Honda Civic is named Convie.  One Thanksgiving, my generous aunt and uncle surprised me by giving her to us. I took a bus to visit them in Cincinnati and ended up driving her home. Convie’s previous two people were my cousins – one of them called her Connie and one called her Victoria Bouvamonte. We combined the two names, so now she’s Convie.

Convie was awesome during our trip. So reliable, so homey! The only issue we encountered was the driver’s side window refusing to go up, but that was easily resolved. We spent a lot of time driving, but we broke it up (the longest driving day was about nine hours). Convie contained our little world. She not only carried us and our stuff, she protected us and acted as our home-base. 

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We tried to keep things organized…

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I love facing the open road. 
There’s something so liberating about it. 





Roary is our lion. Niall found him at his old job at a bank. Roary oversaw us from the dash during the whole trip. He is still affixed there.


We also have Felix the Cat hanging from the rearview mirror. He’s our good luck charm, found while packing, from Niall’s first car.

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For at least the first few weeks, we had a spider hitchhiking along with us. By nightfall, the web would be wiped away, but next thing we knew, there would be a new one built. I think that the snow in Yellowstone was a bit too much for the brave traveler. 

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It’s amazing to think of all the places Convie has been. Through mountains,  busy narrow  city streets, hanging on along Highway 1, in freezing cold and intense heat, getting oil changes in all different cities, filling up with gasoline of all prices all over – high and low and everywhere in-between. When we arrived in Austin, she was covered with dirt and dead bugs and there were crumbs and debris of all sorts inside. We cleaned her up and she kept (and keeps) on truckin’.

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falling rock car



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Being a passenger often lulls me to sleep. Luckily, there's music for Niall, as I'm not the best company.

car and trains

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Here she is (below), finally parked at our current home after 12,956.2 miles on the road.

car and home

We will forever be grateful to Convie, for all the adventure she’s made possible. In fact, she continues on - she even took us to St. Augustine a couple of days ago for Valentine's Day. 

Monday, February 2, 2015


I love New Orleans.
We hadn't been there a long time - since before Hurricane Katrina. It's the halfway point between Austin and Gainesville, so I have visited many times in years past. It was nice to be back.
We had a quick, fun-filled visit and pretty much just stayed in the French Quarter. We stayed in a fancy room at the W in the Quarter, courtesy of Niall's cousin!

We went to Preservation Hall - I love that it hasn't changed since I was a little girl, sitting on my dad's shoulders in the back. Such wonderful jazz musicians perform there. There are several shows a night, there's no bathroom, there's no bar, just music.

Cafe Du Monde was a necessary stop. I thought I would break my veganism here - they have delicious beignets - fried doughnuts absolutely covered in powdered sugar - and no milk alternative for their coffee. However, I couldn't bring myself to "cheat." I stuck with the vegan options, which aren't many. I snuck in coconut creamer to put in the excellent chicory coffee and had an awesome fresh squeezed orange juice. It's great to people watch here - everyone leaves with powdered suger all over themselves.  

Jackson Square was sunny and lovely.

Lots of artists were out.

We took a ferry across the Mississippi to Algiers. It was short, but sweet. 

There were so many cats there. There seems to be a good deal of Trap-Neuter-Return work happening in New Orleans - hopefully it's going strong in Algiers, though I didn't see any evidence of it happening.

So many sweet souls to pet on porches.

It was quiet and slow in Algiers. There were many old houses and churches to admire while strolling along, with no place in particular to go. 

I must also mention Seed, a vegan restaurant we checked out. I had a po' boy and beignets! What a great treat. 

We were ready to have a home. We spent some nice moments in beautiful New Orleans and then headed down to Florida, to start our new lives.