4 March 2017

The best US road trip EVER - Texas and Louisiana


Where do you even start with a road trip through Texas and Louisiana like ours? 

15 days, 2 US states, 3 cities, 800 miles of driving + 1 internal flight, a serious amount of Texan Bar-B-Que, a swamp tour on a Louisiana bayou with gators and raccoons, music pouring from doorways, a small red car christened Bonnie (just because we could), 7 hotels (definitely a record for us, we usually like to make a single central base), a goat called Max, lasso lessons, 80s TV shows and as much Iced Tea as we could get away with.

Texas and Louisiana Best Roadtrip Ever Adventures of a London Kiwi

People keep asking why we chose Texas and Louisiana for a roadtrip, and it’s mostly down to fascination and the amazing live music scene in both Austin and New Orleans. There are big festivals in Austin, but not knowing the bands we decided that a trip outside the chaos of tourists flocking there would be the most fun - intentionally out of hurricane season - so we booked our direct return flights to Austin and began planning.

Deciding that we would roadtrip through the two states (with a beginning flight hop from Austin to New Orleans, avoiding the traffic snarls of Houston) we mapped out our route of Austin > New Orleans > Dallas > Austin and fit in as much music as we possibly could. Blues in Austin ‘the world capital of live music’, Jazz bars in New Orleans French Quarter and cowboy music in Dallas – sorry I mean Country and Western - and so many streets simply alive with beats.

Texas and Louisiana Best Roadtrip Ever Adventures of a London Kiwi

Texas and Louisiana Best Roadtrip Ever Adventures of a London Kiwi

Would we go back? In a heartbeat. Our highlights were;

Austin
The tagline adopted by the capital city of Texas is a curious one. Found on T-shirts, posters and marketers, "Keep Austin Weird" and we can definitely confirm that in between the downtown skyscrapers and government buildings, a vibrant and bohemian community thrives. Full of music, delectable Bar-B-Que and quirky things only found in Austin we loved our time exploring the fabulous city.

Texas and Louisiana Best Roadtrip Ever Adventures of a London Kiwi

New Orleans
I don't think I know anyone who hasn't fallen under the spell of New Orleans. We wanted to love the home of voodoo, and we most certainly did. We adored our side trips (blatting on a boat through the Bayou to track down the coal-black eyes of alligators and a walk through the history of two quintessential Louisiana Plantations) but the city well and truly stole our wanderlusting hearts.

Texas and Louisiana Best Roadtrip Ever Adventures of a London Kiwi
Texas and Louisiana Best Roadtrip Ever Adventures of a London Kiwi


The home of Jazz is heavy with music spilling from each corner, the buildings are redolent with French-style balcony railings perfect for people watching and Mardi Gras beads literally hang from the Jackson Square trees year round. Creole and cajun spices imbue meals with history, a melting pot of cultures mingle in amongst music notes that hover in the air and everyone we've ever known to visit talks about the city their eyes light up remembering the joie di vivre. Even in the rain.

Texas and Louisiana Best Roadtrip Ever Adventures of a London Kiwi

St. Franvisville
Having followed the Mississippi River upstate from New Orleans slightly past the historic town of St. Francisville, we steered Bonnie along the curving driveway arcaded with Spanish Moss draped Live Oak trees, parting to reveal the kind of plantation house that only seems to appear on movies. A deep wraparound porch hugged the timber frame and the late afternoon sunshine dappled the lawn.

Texas and Louisiana Best Roadtrip Ever Adventures of a London KiwiTexas and Louisiana Best Roadtrip Ever Adventures of a London Kiwi

Dallas
It was totally surreal to somehow find ourselves in our little car nimbly dodging school buses and the aforementioned pickup trucks, and scooting along the late afternoon traffic that cruised ALONG INTERSTATE-20 INTO THE GLEAMING TOWERS OF DALLAS CITY PROPER. Sorry for the caps, but we just got so darn excited. It's just a shame we weren't in the Ewing family chopper... 

Texas and Louisiana Best Roadtrip Ever Adventures of a London Kiwi

Granville
The longer that I've been blogging, the better that I think our travelling choices are getting - and the more fun that the researching that we do becomes. However, this revelation flew quite out of the window when totally by chance I discovered that it's actually possible to stay on a working Texan Ranch as a tourist and set about booking us into an accommodation experience, rather than just another beige hotel.

Texas and Louisiana Best Roadtrip Ever Adventures of a London Kiwi

What was our favourite city? Honestly I couldn't narrow it down to just one. Each area had such a unique character compared to the one only 100 miles before and after it.

Texas and Louisiana Best Roadtrip Ever Adventures of a London Kiwi

The only thing I would change would be adding in another driver and a couple of days. There were a few things that we missed due to time constraints (including my reticence to drive after sunset.) We missed out the spaghetti junctions of Houston traffic which I have no regrets about whatsoever but I wish we could have seen even more of Texas and Louisiana, such as daytripping out to San Antonio, Jacob's Well and catching the World's Fair in Shreveport. What can you do?

Texas and Louisiana Best Roadtrip Ever Adventures of a London Kiwi

Except perhaps visit again? That's something we could definitely be tempted by. Oh, and side trips to North & South Carolina, Mexico, Georgia, Albuquerque, Nashville, Memphis...

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Where to go on Texas and Louisiana Best Roadtrip Ever Adventures of a London Kiwi

Are any cities in Southern America calling your name?

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