October 22, 2013

Hit the Road Jack…lyn

I love a road trip. It’s my preferred method of travel, no matter where I’m headed. Oh, I know airlines are quicker – usually – but there’s all the hassle of stuffing everything you need into one carry-on bag, paying to check bags if your stuff won’t fit, and . . . well, let's face it: the comfort factor leaves a lot to be desired. Besides, you can’t stop and visit interesting places along the way when you’re cruising at 30,000 feet. Trains are interesting but not very practical, and the bus? I've only been on one very short bus trip but it ranks pretty low on my list. 

Nope, give me a car and a few tanks of gas any day.

A few months ago my youngest daughter, her husband, and my grandchildren moved from Florida to Texas, and I’ve been missing them. Just before the end of September, (or as a friend of mine calls it, the month of cake, cake, cake and pie) I was missing them more than usual. Four of my family’s birthdays are squished into September, and I was about to miss two of them. It wasn’t right.

After a whirlwind of spontaneous preparations, I loaded a car with clothes and shoes, a manuscript in revisions, my computer, a couple of audio books to keep me awake, and a whole slew of gifts for the birthday girls from friends and family who were missing them almost as much as I was. I planned to stay a week, but plans have a way of getting changed, and this trip was no exception. 

Photo0107But I’m getting ahead of myself. The really great thing was that since my route took me right past New Orleans, and since I was passing by right around lunchtime, I decided a small detour was in order. Unfortunately, it was raining hard that day so all of my pictures were kind of watery.

While in Texas I attended my daughter’s new church, celebrated her birthday with our traditional cake and ice cream for breakfast, tried to have dinner at her favorite restaurant (a failed attempt since the restaurant is closed on Mondays), had birthday doughnuts for the IMG_6641princess’s birthday the following day, did the cupcake-at-school thing that afternoon, and then rushed home to pack because plans had changed. Instead of staying in San Antonio for a week, we were hitting the road early the next morning so we could sneak back to Florida and surprise my other daughter for her birthday—which, I’m happy to report, was a grand success.
While Daughter #2 was reconnecting with the friends she’d been missing since the move, the grandkids had lots of fun being back in familiar territory. We hit all their favorite spots, which include McDonald’s and the local library. They also got in a little beach time, a necessary part of any visit for my beach babies.

IMG_6691And then it was back to Texas with another stop in New Orleans, this one not in the middle of a rain storm. We lunched on po-boys in the French Quarter and stopped for coffee and beignets at CafĂ© Dumond. For a short tour, check out Rita’s blog post from earlier this month at Killer Characters. (You can find a character from the Piece of Cake mystery series there on the 14th of each month, so come on by!)

IMG_6781I spent a great week in San Antonio after we got back and even got to spend a couple of days with my son-in-law who had been out of the country when I arrived. We even finally got that belated birthday dinner for my daughter at Jerusalem Grill (which was fabulous, by the way.) My son-in-law has a few other places picked out for my next visit, and I can’t wait!

In the end, I flew back to Florida and shipped all the stuff I couldn’t fit into my carry-on. Even though the guy who sat next to me on my second leg of the journey seemed to think that all the shoulder space on our row belonged to him, I didn’t even mind the flight. I had such a great time on my unexpected and barely-planned vacation, it was a small price to pay.

The Cakes of WrathJacklyn Brady lives on the Gulf Coast and writes the Piece of Cake Mystery series set in New Orleans. The series features cake artist and trained pastry chef, Rita Lucero.

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The Cakes of Wrath, book #4 in the Piece of Cake Mystery Series, is available now!