We awoke in Martha's Vineyard to the ominous sound of rain yesterday. After breakfast, we had a 3 mile bike ride to the ferry which would take us off the island and back to the Cape. There was no complaining as they donned their rain jackets and rode off. It was my day to drive the van. The rain followed us across the channel, but when we waited for the crew to unload our bikes, we realized the rain had stopped. A few miles later and we were all riding on the Cape Cod Rail Trail in pure sunshine. Sometimes it's as if someone is watching over us on our tours.
This was Karen's (left) first tour with us. She came with her sister, Elaine, and she's all ready to come back this fall on our New Mexico tour. Laurie (right) will be guiding that one as well. We all wish we were related to Karen, as she works at Nike and her family gets a discount at the company store in Portland.
Today there is more cycling on the Cape Cod Rail Trail into Provincetown. And then it may just be warm enough to stop by the beach.
I had the opportunity to visit New Orleans last month. Our Meandering Mississippi Tour starts here next May, so I longed to see how the city was doing. I stayed at one of the best hotels in town and it was cheap – and empty. If you're looking for a place to visit, there's no town that needs your tourist dollars more right now than New Orleans. The French Quarter is as charming as ever, but there is evidence everywhere that it is struggling to become what it used to be. Famous restaurants like Brennan's are closed for renovations. There are help wanted signs in every storefront.
East of the city is where you see the devastation. Huge parking lots of cars covered in dried muck, left unclaimed since the hurricane. Miles upon miles of empty houses, deserted malls, former neighborhoods where the only people we saw were clean-up workers wearing breathing masks.
But in the French Quarter, from our hotel room on the 26th floor, we watched the huge ocean-going ships as they floated down the Mississippi River. We walked along Bourbon Street and listened to the Zydeco music dance through the open bar doors. We stood in line for 30 minutes to eat the best shrimp Po’Boy sandwiches in town. These are signs of the old New Orleans, signs of renewal, signs that this city will come back.
So come join us on our Meandering Mississippi tour next May. And help revitalize a city that needs our support.