After getting coffee and breakfast, we headed out to Springfield, Missouri for lunch. The restaurant we went to was called Van Gogh’s Eeterie. It was super cute and the food was absolutely delicious with lots of vegetarian friendly options. After a short walk up and down the street we switched drivers and headed to Memphis. Memphis was the first city we spent the night at and the first place we camped. Within minutes of pulling into the campground we each had about a dozen mosquito bites so we hopped back into the car to find dinner at a southern style vegetarian cafe. They had fried “chicken” and Kaila was happy. Less so about the kale slaw. It was basically steamed kale with some cold diced garlic. Um, what?
We found a liquor store with a decent selection of local beer and then darted into the tent. The couple next to us was very talkative for a couple of hours. They spent a lot of time talking about their financial situation before finally heading to their tent; which, by the way, was a “instant” tent that they made sure to tell us about.
The next morning we woke up early, put on bug spray and quickly packed up our tent. We weren’t getting any more bug bites this time! We had packed breakfasts for camping but it wasn’t worth the possibility of bug bites this morning so we ate pop-tarts on the road. On our way to New Orleans we stopped in Jackson, Mississippi for lunch at Cool Al’s. Every burger that they had could be made with a beef, turkey, black bean, or impossible patty. Every single menu item had a vegetarian or vegan option!
Story time: We were the only two people in the restaurant. They had just opened at 11 and we showed up right about then. There were maybe three staff working; one in front of house and two in back. The front of house person was a college-aged kid and the two back of house people were around middle age. After we got our food a short, late twenties-ish, guy walked in and spoke to the front of house kid about a possible job. Basically begging. He suggested handing out fliers or cleaning tables and the kid was hesitant. The kid went to go talk to the back of house and this white guy turned around, saw us, and said “surprised to see YOU in here.” Kirk and I nervously laughed while exchanging a confused look. Clearly we didn’t know this random person so what kind of comment was that? The kid came back out and politely told the man to come back some other time and one of the back of house people got on the phone saying something about a man making them uncomfortable and being generally obnoxious. We finished our meal and headed back to the highway to find gas about two blocks down from the restaurant. Where we saw the guy getting arrested…
After this excitement we were finally headed to New Orleans! Kaila took this afternoon leg of driving, and boy did she have a surprise in for her. We chose to drive across Lake Pontchartrain…all 22 miles of it. Unfortunately the weather decided it needed to rain for the majority of that drive but it was all worth it once we arrived in the city!