Leg 7, day 11 Tuscaloosa to New Orleans, Southernmost point on the trip.




Confession: I did not go in with high expectations to University of Alabama, you know, Forest Gump and all that. But it really is fantastic! The school spirit, driven by the football team is unique. This brings about a special pride that permeates the whole school, truly impressive. I had a great conversation with Prof. Ana Corbalán, and it is clear they run a great PhD program. Rent is a joke compared to Boston. I’m very excited to apply!

Breakfast was the best coffee I’ve had in days at Chloe’s cup, another pleasant surprise.

After visiting T-mobile again to sort out some phone issues – Collin you are the man! It was back on Rocinante to New Orleans.

It was warm and pleasant, so the ride was very enjoyable. Unfortunately Rocinante started leaking some oil from the air intake, so I stopped at the closest dealer, by now in Mississippi, where I bought a new air filter and changed it. Big shout out to Bubba at Chunky River Harley-Davidson for letting me work on his beautiful parking lot! A few miles later I detected a bad burning smell. I was worried something was going wrong with the new air filter and was about to stop, when I turned a corner and saw a burning truck. Phew!

Although I was pressed for time I took some back roads in rural Mississippi, and boy was it worth it. The sweet smell of fresh cut hay, beautiful farms and homes, rolling hills, tiny villages. What a sunset! Unfortunately that meant a night approach into New Orleans.

Advice for traveling on the cheap: Stop at the state welcome centers when you enter a new state. They have coupons on great hotels.

So I am staying at the cutest hotel in NOLA. The Olde Towne Inn, in the French Quarter for forty Buckaroos! With locked parking for Rocinante.

I walked a little looking for a restaurant for dinner and to stretch my legs. I found a great bar/restaurant where I had a Veggie Po’Boy and met a Tulane grad student in social work, Lea and her roommate Laura who is applying for her PhD in Latin American studies also at Tulane. They participate in the online Couch Surfing program where you connect online with people and you get to crash on their couch. It is free and you get to meet interesting people, something to explore definitely. What a great conversation.

Tomorrow I am meeting  Sophie, a Tulane grad student in Spanish Lit who has volunteered to chat with me, God bless her. I can’t wait!