I love adventures. I’ve been on adventures that took me to Hawaii with a group of women I’d never met before to swim with wild dolphins and rub bellies with manta rays. I went on one where I learned to surf with a bunch of hot, Latino surfer dudes in Costa Rica. I took an unexpected adventure when I got lost on an Arkansas mountain bike trail and was rescued in the moonlight by some firemen on a four-wheeler. Small adventures are just as fun as big adventures and sometimes a lot less costly. I tell you all this because I’m going on an adventure this weekend! I’m going on a college-style no budget romp through New Orleans at Mardi Gras.
I wrote yesterday about the idea and my plan, so if you want to read about it, check out yesterday’s blog. I have no budget for this. Over the last year, I relocated so my travel budget is almost nil. New Orleans is expensive during Mardi Gras. I don’t drink, so that helps a lot. But, I do have to eat. I headed over to Whole Foods tonight to get a supply of high calorie but protein-rich snacks to stuff in my backpack for the 2-3 day adventure. Now…..there will be plenty of food. I’m hanging out with bunches of people, and they will have food. The truth be told, I’ll probably eat very little of what I brought. But, I don’t want to be hungry, and I’m going to be doing a LOT of walking. I got some trail mix, packets of Justin’s Maple Almond Butter, fig bars, protein bars and just for kicks, some chocolate covered graham crackers. I stuffed some boiled peanuts in the bag of chips and stuff for my friend Jean Ann to carry to the hotel where I’ll be “flopping” for the night. So, I think I’m good on food. It may not be 4 star dining, but it will keep my blood flowing. So, I hope NOT to spend very much money at all over this weekend. One of the things I love about being down here is people take care of me. It’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever experienced.
I have one backpack that I can carry with me the entire weekend. Once I get to the hotel, I can empty out the clothes and use it as my Mardi Gras bead bag. And I could really only pack a few outfits. I limited myself to 3, and they are all interchangeable. The weather is supposed to be 75 and nice, so I packed a lightweight jacket to layer over some workout tops if it gets cool at night. With any luck, I’ll get some sun on my shoulders while I’m out at the parades. I’ll sleep in what I wear. I packed all of my toiletries, makeup, food, vitamins, and electronics chargers in my one bag. I can’t believe it fit. And, it’s actually not that heavy. I’m ready to roll.
I’m really looking forward to walking the parade route from City Park to the French Quarter. I’ve never walked that route before, and with Endymion rolling, there should be lots of excitement and fun along the way. The best thing about the weekend is there is no time schedule. The only time marker I have to hit is a 10:30 AM arrival in Gretna to park my car at my friend Missy’s house. After that, the weekend will do what it does. I don’t even know if I’m coming back Sunday or Monday. We’ll just see how it goes. The worst thing I’m worried about is the lack of sleep. There won’t be any, I’m sure of it. I tried to do some pre-sleep last night, and I’ll try it again tonight. I hope that by getting plenty of rest before, I won’t miss it too much later. There will be plenty of food, drink, laughter, beads, purple, green and gold, noise, and fun, but there won’t be plenty of sleep. And, the older I get the more important that element is.
Jean Ann and Tim left today packed like the Beverly Hillbillies to arrive at the hotel on Bourbon Street. Michael got to his family’s house last night. He texted me today and said he was making hurricane jello-shots out of real juice and was slated to bake several King Cakes this afternoon. In between, he got a Purple, Green and Gold pedicure that set the stage for the weekend. He called it the warm-up for the weekend. “I’m committed,” he said, “Fasten your seatbelt sista.” To which I replied, “You are so gay.” My brother and his family were headed out to some parades tonight, and I was dying to get out this evening. But, I finally gave up on the logistics of trying to park my car for free overnight and decided to wait until tomorrow. It’s so hard to delay an adventure….at least for me. While I’m writing, though, Michael is texting me scenes from the parade. At least I’m getting an appetizer. And, just now my sister-in-law Laura texted me they have changed their mind and are coming back tomorrow! Yesssss!!!! This is going to be fun.
My friend Jo Ann and a friend from work are already working on the country-style Mardi Gras adventure that will ensue after the New Orleans adventure ends. That’ll be a whole different kind of adventure, and I have no idea what to expect of that. But, I will be able to get a bath and a change of clothes before I head out. Poor Ashok….. she has to miss this four day adventure. There’ll be too many people and too much confusion for a dog. She’s set at the kennel for a weekend of relaxation complete with a bath and a pedicure of her own. I guess I should have asked for Mardi Gras colors. Dang it… it’s so hard to remember everything!