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Don Jose’s Grill

2722 Williams, Kenner, LA

We went to dinner here one of the last nights in Kenner, LA.  The interior I loved! Most Mexican places border on gaudy with their bright colors and random wall accessories.  This place has three colors total, and while it definitely looks like Mexican restaurant decor, it was done very much in line with my own personal taste.  Blacks and golds and deep reds.  Lovely.

We were all pretty excited about the items on the menu that had their influence in the islands.  Gabe and I each got something and then shared to try them both. One was a typical fajitas style grilled dish.  One was an island-esque kebab fajita style dish.  The first dish was very good, but it might have been the chorizo added.  🙂  The Island one just didn’t have much flavor in the meat, veggies, and pineapple.  All in all, decent meal.

On to the drinks.  They offer 5 different sizes for their margaritas.  Small, medium, large, pitcher, and gallon.  We ordered a pitcher for the two of us and then got a gallon to go (which is the only way they’ll let you order the gallon).  Good top shelf margarita, and far cheaper than getting one at the Crowne Plaza hotel bar (one drink for $10 VS $30 for a pitcher that was about 6 drinks).

I suppose if we ever stayed at Crowne Plaza again (which we won’t), we’d go again.  But honestly, there’s way too much really good food in New Orleans to visit again unless we just happened to be around for some other reason.

Lake Charles visitor center and Millennium park

We stopped for lunch one day in Lake Charles.  We typically aren’t in the area during a time when we are stopping for long, but this trip was a bit longer on both ends, and we left earlier than we normally do.

Millennium Park is HUGE!  It’s seriously a very large play structure with an area for littles as well as one for bigger kids. From what we were told, there are still plans to make it about twice as big.  Lots of places to sit and have lunch.

Afterwards, we went to the visitor’s center, which meant we had to loop around the freeway and it was awkward.  Google maps didn’t have it located where it actually is.  If I would’ve known, we would’ve stopped there first because then we wouldn’t have had to backtrack.  Anyways, the visitor’s center has what they all have, coffee, some brochures about the area, a sign in sheet, and a small gift shop.  Then you can walk outside and across a grassy area and see a fenced in pond with four alligators in it.  Probably not what we would’ve gotten if we had gone to an Alligator farm, but for free, not bad.  You get to see them up close.  Also a nice grassy and shaded area with nice views of the lake.  Would make a nice place to pull over for a lunch stop as well.

More Family Fun

Some random fun family moments on our trip.  

BTW, I’m fully aware of how many shots are of us eating.  We tailgate a lot just before going into whatever we’re sightseeing for the day.  In some cases, these are the only pictures of it.

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Lambert’s Cafe, Alabama

LAMBERT’S CAFÉ in Foley, AL

 

We did it.  We waited for over an hour to have the opportunity to have rolls thrown at us, along with a parade of a whole bunch of food.  It was a novelty that everyone said you should experience.  And lots of people were from the area and just going to eat there.  They said that it was amazing!

 

Well, one guy said, “It’s alright.  Mine is better.  But my wife and her mom like it.”

 

I agree.  Being in Texas, we’ve eaten a lot of BBQ.  It’s one of our favorite cuisines (if I can use that word to describe grilled and smothered meat with fatty side dishes).  The food WAS good.  But it wasn’t wait-in-a-line-for-an-hour good.  Honestly, it was just as good as a million other BBQ joints we’ve passed on the road. 

 

They serve it all differently.  There’s the thrown rolls, of course, which amounts to a young guy coming out of the kitchen with roughly 30 rolls and yelling “Who wants a roll?” and then throwing them at the people who raise their hands.  Lots of fun with the kids.  But I saw lots that missed and hit the ground and thought it was a waste.  Oh well.  Then there are the “sharables”.  Different servers walk around with a huge pot of macaroni and tomatoes, or fried okra, or something else that we never did try because we were full.  Basically, they come and dish it up on your plates and you can have as much as you want.

 

Honestly, our entrees were more than enough food.  They were all served with two sides, plus your meat selection.  Which is really enough food.  So to be fair, we didn’t have the “full” experience, because we just weren’t hungry enough to say “yes” to the sharable sides.  Everything we ate was good.  But, if I had to answer…..no.  I would not be willing to wait for over an hour for Lambert’s.  I’ve had tons of better BBQ.  Even within that one trip, we went to two other BBQ places that I thought were better. 

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Pensacola Lighthouse

THE LIGHTHOUSE

 

We’d aimed on going to the Aviation Museum in Pensacola.  Twice.  Twice we had a problem and couldn’t go.  The second time, we decided to check out Fort Barrancas and the Lighthouse.  Fort Barrancas was a no-go as well, though.  Due to budget cuts, both it and the Aviation Museum were closed Mondays and Tuesdays. 

 

So, we toured the Lighthouse.  The house portion was small, but interesting.  A lot of info on the keepers on the Lighthouse over the years, and their families.  Of course, the highlight is the 200 steps up to the top.

 

If you plan on going, it’s not as taxing as you’d think it would be, first off.  Secondly, you must wear shoes with backs.  It can be sandals, as long as they won’t easily slip off your feet. 

 

My joints were acting up and I was having a hard time of it.  But, that wasn’t noticed by anyone.  Why?  Because as it turns out, Gavin is deathly afraid of heights.  Keep in mind, this is a circular staircase the entire way up.  And behind him was me and a family of 13, give or take.  So, worst case scenario, he’d trip and bump into a few people, and we’d be a bit put out, and we’d continue climbing. 

 

But phobias don’t have any room for logic.  Gavin little by little climbed the stairs, clinging to the wall like he thought he was Spiderman, with me behind him sighing loudly and telling him encouraging things like “For crying out loud, Gav!  Just walk up the stairs!”  I’m sure the couple behind us were glad I hadn’t decided to have as many children as them, since they saw me at my finest, lovingly encouraging a child, all my skills well showcased for them.  But to be fair, I was in pain, and tired, and on new medication, and Gavin was the last straw!  I could get myself up the stairs, but I had nothing more to give to anyone else. 

 

We got to the top and Gavin stayed inside the lighthouse.  I got pictures so he can see what we saw.  Gabe and Corbin went out onto the walk, and then went back in again.  The littles and I walked around a few times, taking pictures, posing for pictures while hanging loosely onto the railing.  It was breathtaking!  The view was gorgeous and I’m very happy I went up.

 

Then we got to go back down again.  This time, since I was in a hurry up and wait pattern while waiting for Gavin to creep back down the stairs, I took a few pics.  One of him doing his best Spiderman, a few out the windows placed along the way.  I had decided to try to have a better attitude about it. 

 

So, to the large family that went up, and then back down, behind a scared kid and his grumpy mom, sorry.  I really am nicer normally.  And to the group that had to move to the middle to wait while our side went down (as per instructions from the lady we met at the beginning), I’m sorry it took roughly 30 minutes for my son to finally get past you.  He’s normally MUCH, MUCH faster.  (In fact, most pictures of him are of him IN THE AIR!  That boy is always jumping and running around.)  And to everyone else reading this and thinking you’d like to try it out…..if you’ve got someone in your party not good with heights, let them stay downstairs.  They REALLY mean it, they don’t like heights. ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Oak Mountain State Park, Birmingham, AL

Oak Mountain State Park, Birmingham, AL

$24/night water and electric

 

This camp was gorgeous!  And it had tons of stuff to do.  They have a full on golf course, an equestrian camping area, horses to be able to “rent”, a nice little lake and lots of trails.  The sites were very interesting as well.  The main campground looked like any other RV campground.  But the tent site were situated on the edge of a ravine with a creek at the bottom.  It had a three sided stone wall to act as a bit of a wind break.  And there is plenty of room for a few large tents. 

 

Bathrooms were awful.  I believe there were washers and dryers, but we didn’t use them.

T.O. Fuller State Park, Memphis, TN

T.O. Fuller State Park, Memphis, TN

$24/night with water and electric.

 

 

We were just passing through Memphis when we stayed here.  It’s a nice small campground, lots of grassy areas to set up tents.  The sites are all listed as “RV” sites, although I don’t know if I’d want to try any of the back in sites with a large rig.  There were a few pull throughs that would be do-able.  The one thing that I really liked was their primitive tent area.  Usually, primitive sites are under $10/night, and a lot of the time they are free.  There’s no picnic table or water or electric or anything.  However, even in most state parks, where it’s not quite wilderness, the primitive sites mean you have to park and hike at least ½ mile with all your stuff.  Which would be fine if we were pack-backing.  But we’re car camping.  And we have a lot of stuff between the six of us.   In this park, they have a large grassy area, bordered with crape myrtles, to pitch your tent.  It was probably the first primitive site I’d seen that I thought we’d be able to do with the amount of stuff we’ve currently got in our truck bed. 

 

There were two washers and two dryers next to the restrooms.  The restrooms were pretty bad.  Although Gabe said the men’s was better than at Oak Mountain, so he was thrilled.  The women’s was worse than Oak Mountain, and I’d really wanted a shower.  UGH.